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Episode 90: Why do elections matter with Guest Cass Larry

Elections are an integral part of democracy, as they give citizens a say in who governs them in a peaceful, orderly manner, and to ensure that power passes from one elected official to the next in order to uphold democracy.

My guest today is Mr. Cass Larry. Mr Cass is a political strategist for the Republican Party. Together, he and I discuss American elections as the cornerstone of democracy. Mr. Cass explains why elections matter, the requirements to vote and to run for political office as well as the notion of term limits. 

Hello Mr. Cass Larry and welcome to Apostrophe Podcast. My first question to you is: Why do elections matter.?
Hi Dr. Rousseau and thanks for having me. Elections help ensure that power passes in a peaceful, orderly manner from citizens to their elected representatives—and from one elected official to his or her successor. The U.S. Constitution gives certain powers to the national (or “federal”) government and reserves others for the individual states, and the people. In many countries, national governments set education and health policies, but in the U.S., the 50 states have primary responsibility in these areas. National defense and foreign policy are examples of federal responsibility. The Constitution requires that each state have a republican form of government, and it forbids states from violating certain specified rights. “No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. But states otherwise retain considerable power. The American system can appear complicated, but it ensures that voters have a voice at all levels of government.

Mr. Cass, clearly elections give citizens a voice in their government in the most fundamental way by deciding who governs. In this case, who is eligible to vote in elections.?
When George Washington was elected as the first president in 1789, only 6 percent of the U.S. population could vote. In most of the original 13 states, only landowning men over the age of 21 had the right to vote.
Today, the American Constitution guarantees that all U.S. citizens over the age of 18 can vote in federal, state, and local elections.
The U.S. Constitution sets the requirements for holding federal office, but each of the 50 states has its own constitution and its own rules for state offices.
For example, governors in most states serve four- year terms, but in other states the governor is elected for only two years. Voters in some states elect judges, while in others judges are appointed to office. States and localities elect thousands of public officials— from governors and state legislators to school board members and even dogcatchers.
The only elected federal officials are the president and vice president, and members of Congress—the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the 100 senators.

Thanks Mr. Cass, according to your answer, all Americans who are at least 18 years old can vote. That brings me to my next question “Can anyone run for political office.?
The American Constitution establishes the requirements for holding an elected federal office. To serve as president, one must be a natural- born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. A vice president must meet the same criteria. Under the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the vice president cannot have served two terms as president.
Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives must be at least 25 years old, have been U.S. citizens for seven years, and be legal residents of the state they seek to represent in Congress. U.S. Senate candidates must be at least 30, U.S. citizens for nine years, and legal residents of the state they wish to represent.

Excellent, when are elections held in the United States?

Elections for federal office are held in even-numbered years. The presidential election is held every four years and takes place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Elections for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are held every two years. Senators serve six-year terms that are staggered so that one-third of the 100 senate seats come up for election every two years. If a senator dies or becomes incapacitated while in office, a special election can be held in an odd-numbered year or in the next even-numbered year. The newly elected senator serves until the end of the original senator’s term. In some states, the governor appoints someone to serve the remainder of the original term.

Now Mr. Cass, what can you tell us about term limits? Better yet, how many times can a person be president.?

After George Washington, the first president, declined to run for a third term, many Americans believed that two terms in office were enough for any president. None of Washington’s successors sought a third term until 1940, when, at a time marked by the Great Depression and World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt sought, and won, a third presidential term. He won a fourth term in 1944 and died in office in 1945. Some people thought that was too long for one person to hold presidential power. So in 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, which prohibits anyone from being elected president of the United States more than twice.

Mr. Cass, what about other political offices?
There are no term limits for members of Congress. Term limits, if any, for state and local officials are spelled out in state constitutions and local ordinances.
The two chambers of the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, have nearly equal powers, but their means of election are quite different.
The Founders of the American Republic intended members of the House of Representatives to be close to the public, reflecting the public’s wishes and ambitions. Therefore, the Founders designed the House to be relatively large to accommodate many members from small legislative districts and to have frequent elections; specifically, every two years.

Each of the 50 states is entitled to one seat in the House, with additional seats allocated according to population. Alaska, for example, has a very small population and therefore has only one U.S. representative. California, the most populous state, has 55. Every 10 years the U.S. Census is taken, and House seats are reallocated among the states based on the new population figures. Each state draws the boundaries of its congressional districts. States have considerable latitude in how they do this, so long as the number of citizens in each district is as close to equal as possible. Unsurprisingly, when one party controls the state government, it tries to draw the boundaries to the benefit of its own congressional candidates. The Senate was designed for its members to represent larger constituencies or an entire state, and to provide equal representation for each state, regardless of population. Thus, small states possess as much influence as large states in the Senate.

Thanks for your time Mr. Cass, let me recap what we have discussed so far.
Elections are an integral part of democracy, as they give citizens a say in who governs them in a peaceful, orderly manner, and to ensure that power passes from one elected official to the next in order to uphold democracy. The American Constitution outlines certain powers to be held by the federal government and others to be held by the states. Elections also require that each state has a government and forbids states from violating certain rights. To be eligible to vote or run for political office, citizens must meet certain requirements, and many states have term limits for elected officials. 

You are welcome Dr. Rousseau. It was an honor to chat with you.  
Reference: USA /// ELECTIONS /// IN BRIEF

Episode 89: Online Dating: No good profile photo no swipe right

A good profile photo gets you a first date and ultimately, to first base.

Whether you describe yourself as smart, rich, honest, or genuine on your online dating profile, you will get no swipes right if you don’t look handsome or beautiful on your profile photo. It is because only your look or physical attraction, not your “About Me” will get you a first date, and ultimately, to first base. Dating apps users are wishing for something more significant than what they publish on their dating profile. 

Online daters do not care about “About Me” or profile description; they care about perceived looks and physical attractions. Thus to get “swipe right”, they spend ample time choosing the profile pictures that will attract people of all sexual orientation. Swiping left or right is about liking the looks, not about reading profiles. 

With that said, it is a lie when people write they are looking for friendship, something casual, long term or are DTF; what they are looking for is the hope that the one who catches their eyes online will look like the one they will meet in person. People who are on dating apps, whether males or females like or swipe right first and then they read later to find out if that person is not a psycho or a criminal, and to a certain extent; although many online daters would not mind, a transgender, an animal lover, or a 420-friendly. 

Whether they were DTF or looking to have fun, when the chemistry is amusing, exciting or when the date does not catfish, online daters keep the momentum to hope for lasting and meaningful relationships. They do not want to waste their time going out on dates over and over just for casual sex or friendship; they seek to crave and feel something genuine and consistent. 

In summary, online daters do not care about what others say they are or looking for; they swipe left or right based on profile photos. The better the users look on their pictures, the more “swipes right” they receive. Online daters seek something lasting and meaningful. Many people who said they were there to get some found love after they liked or swiped right on each other’s profile photos. 

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast 

Episode 88: Information the government doesn’t want you to know

The government creates distraction to shift public attention from one political issue onto another by releasing to the public certain types of information. However, they claim they were leaked or spilled and that the public was not supposed to know them. This is an effing lie.

This episode discusses how the government’s reasoning for classifying information could lead to potential abuse of power. It also suggests possible solutions for balancing transparency with national security concerns to promote trust and accountability in government.

The government creates distraction to shift public attention from one political issue onto another by releasing to the public certain types of information. However, they claim they were leaked or spilled and that the public was not supposed to know them. This is an effing lie. 

Under the banner of protecting public security and national defense, the government establishes a system of information classification to prevent the public from knowing some pertinent information. They claim that some information, such as military secrets, diplomatic negotiations, or intelligence sources are sensitive and if they are to be released, the country would be in danger or could lead to vulnerabilities or potential terrorist attacks on American institutions. 

When considering the leaks from Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Jack Teixeira, it is easy to say that the government is not safeguarding and handling information effectively. Maybe, it is their poor handling of information they deemed confidential and classified that gave us 911, allowed Hillary Clinton to host a private email server in her living room, and Trump, Biden, and Pence to have classified information in their basement. 

Claiming of maintaining peace and stability, the government labels as classified or for official use only information that the public should know, for example, the causes of the 911 attacks, the origin of COVID-19, and whether the 2020 election was stolen. 

It is hard to believe and trust a government that lacks transparency and intentionally hides the truth from its people. Classifying information on an “on the need to know” basis or making them sensitive is more about control than national security and national defense. Such a practice hinders democracy and solidifies the government’s political power and interests. The government weaponizes withheld information to manipulate its allies, intimidate foreign opponents, and create dependency of third world countries on America. Moreover, it hides certain information to auction them up to news outlets that publish them to create public panic, false propaganda, and divisive political discourse. 

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast

Episode 87: Will You See the Collapse of the Dollar Before You Die?

In this episode, I explain why it is unlikely that the dollar will collapse. I also outline some strategies America must continue to implement to maintain its global economic power.

In this episode, I explain why it is unlikely that the dollar will collapse. I also outline some strategies America must continue to implement to maintain its global economic power.

The collapse of the dollar will mean it will lose all its value. If this happens, investors will no longer do business with the United States, America will pay more to import products, Americans will pay more taxes, and the dollar will no longer be the global reserve currency. Don’t be afraid. Let me tell you why that day has not yet come.

In addition to the five US territories, the dollar is the official currency of eleven other countries worldwide, and 72% of world trade is done in dollars. Moreover, with an annual GDP of $23 trillion exceeding that of China and Japan, which are respectively $ 17.7 trillion and $ 4.9 trillion, the US economy continues to attract global investors looking for a safe currency to trade goods.

Compared to other currencies backed by gold or silver, the dollar’s strength is backed by America’s reputation and weight in global financial markets. Investors are always reluctant to accept and adjust to change. Therefore, it will take time to build trust and faith in any other existing currency, let alone in a new currency, even if many countries would adopt this new currency to make their trade.

For the dollar to fall, the United States would have had to face a series of unfortunate events, such as natural disasters, wars, social unrest, political upheaval, high debt, or uncontrollable inflation. In any of these cases, the dollar can become the casualty. Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I still believe that any of these events is almost impossible to happen. Maybe inflation could happen, but America has a solution for it already.

The dollar, like any other official currency, loses its value due to inflation. The Federal Reserve, America’s central bank, controls the dollar’s volatility through tax adjustments and investment incentives to prevent inflation from becoming hyperinflation. Hyperinflation occurs when prices of goods are galloping continuously or increasing by more than 50% in the same month.

The dollar would lose its global primacy would be if and only if other countries decided to stop using it for international trade. However, the chances of this happening are meager.

If the dollar were to collapse, it would cause significant financial damage to the American economy. To preserve the dollar’s primacy in the global economic sphere, the US government must dominate the global diplomatic narrative to strengthen its foreign policy and counter the influence and rise of China on the global scale.

In summary, currently, the dollar is a global reserve currency, meaning many countries use it for global trade. Economic experts say the dollar is losing value because of the BRICS expansion and China’s rising influence on the world trade market. If the dollar were to collapse or if another global reserve currency entered the financial system, the economic world would be in shambles. This collapse is not near because 72% of world trade is done in dollars and 16 other countries use the dollar as their official currency.

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast

Epizòd 86: Èske wap wè efondreman dola avan w mouri?

Pou dola ta rive efonfre, fòk Etazini ta fè fas ak on pakèt evènman enpòtan tankou dezas natirèl, lagè, eklatman sosyal, boulvèsman politik, gwo dèt, oswa ipèenflasyon.

Jodi a, nan epizòd sa, mwen eksplike poukisa li pa fasil ke dola a pral efondre. Mwen esplike tou kèk estrateji Amerika dwe kontinye aplike pou l ka kenbe fòs ekonomik mondyal li.
Efondreman dola a pral vle di li pral pèdi tout valè l. Si sa ta rive fèt, envestisè yo p ap fè tranzaksyon ak Etazini ankò, Amerika pral peye plis kòb pou enpòte pwodwi, Ameriken pral peye plis taks, epi dola a pap rezèv mondyal ankò. Ou pa bezwen pè. Kite m ‘di w poukisa jou sa poko ap rive.

Anplis de senk teritwa ameriken yo, dola a se lajan ofisyèl onz lòt peyi atravè mond lan, epi 72% komès mondyal la fèt an dola. Anplis de sa, ak yon IDP anyèl de $ 23 milya ki depase pa Lachin ak Japon an ki se respektivman $ 17.7 milya ak $ 4.9 milya, ekonomi ameriken an kontinye atire envestisè mondyal k ap chèche yon lajan ki an sekirite pou komès machandiz yo.

Konpare ak lòt lajan ki apiye sou lò oswa ajan, fòs dola a apiye pa repitasyon ak pwa Amerika genyen sou mache finansye mondyal la. Envestisè yo toujou ezite aksepte ak ajiste nan chanjman. Se poutèt sa, li pral pran tan yo mete konfyans ak lafwa nan nenpòt lòt lajan ki egziste deja, alevwa nan on nouvo lajan, menm si anpil peyi ta adopte nouvo lajan sa pou yo fè komès antre yo.
Pou dola ta rive efonfre, fòk Etazini ta fè fas ak on pakèt evènman enpòtan tankou dezas natirèl, lagè, eklatman sosyal, boulvèsman politik, gwo dèt, oswa enflasyon enkontwolab. Nan nenpòt nan ka sa yo, dola a ka vin viktim nan. Antouka, m pa kon pou ou, m ret kwè ak 100% ke youn nan evenman sa yo preske imposib pou ta rive. Petèt, inflasyon ka rive, men Amerika gen solisyon pou li deja.

Dola a, mem jan ak nenpòt lòt monè ofisyèl, pèdi valè siplemantè l akòz de enflasyon. Rezèv federal, kise bank central Amerika a, kontwole volatilite dola a atravè ajisteman taks ak ankourajman envestisman pou anpeche enflasyon vin iperinflasyon. Iperinflasyon rive lè pri machandiz ap galope san rete oswa ogmante pa plis ke 50% nan mem mwa.
Teknikman, sèl fason pou dola ta pèdi primasi mondyal li se ta si e selman si lòt peyi yo ta deside pa sèvi ak li ankò pou komès entènasyonal. Sepandan, chans pou sa ta rive soul pe, ekstrèmeman minim.

Si dola ta rive efondre, li tap koze gwo domaj finansye nan ekonomi Ameriken lan. Pou prezève primasi dola nan esfè ekonomik mondyal la, gouvènman ameriken an dwe domine naratif diplomatik mondyal yo pou ranfòse politik etranjè li ak alye li yo ak kontrekare infliyans ak monte Lachin sou echèl mondyal la.

An rezime, aktyèlman la, dola a se on rezèv mondyal. Sa vle di ke anpil peyi itilize l pou yo fè kòmès antre yo. Sepandan, si dola sa ta rive efondre, li tap genyen konsekans negatif sou ekonomi mondyal la. Pou mwen, efondreman sa pa fasil paske, anplis ke 72% komès mondyal la ki fèt an dola, genyen 16 lòt peyi ki itilize l kòm monè ofisyèl yo. 

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast

Episode 85: If you could go back, which mistake you’ve made would you’ve corrected?

A mistake is a mistake only when you want to correct it after you’ve made it. Correcting your mistake, if you could, would not change who you are today and ultimately, who you would be tomorrow. At the time you made a specific mistake, that was the right thing to do.


Episode 84: Let’s see whether gun control reduces mass murders

Debates around gun control and gun violence are nonsense and a total political demagogy, as the law already makes it impossible for criminals to own guns in America.

Welcome to the Apostrophe Podcast, where we learn to teach, have to share, and possess the knowledge. I am your host Dr. Bobb Rousseau. In this episode, I share with you comprehensive knowledge to give you a better understanding of what is relevant to your intellectual well-being. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Today, I explain whether gun control  is linked to gun violence or whether gun control  is linked to mass shootings. Better yet, I explain whether stricter gun control policies would reduce the number of mass shootings by guns in America. 

Despite popular belief, it is already impossible for criminals to own guns in America. Gun stores must conduct criminal background checks on all individuals before selling them weapons and states must issue permits to gun owners to allow them to carry and transport their weapons. 

Gun control will inconvenience and deter law-abiding citizens from buying firearms. Thus, the problem of gun safety and gun restriction is already resolved, and any debate is complete nonsense and dead on arrival.

There is no evidence pointing that people buy guns for mass shootings. Individuals usually involved in mass shootings already own guns or have no criminal record when they purchase their guns. 

The debate that gun control would reduce mass shootings is further from the truth. Individuals who don’t find assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to do mass shootings would likely use machetes, baseball bats, matches, and gasoline to achieve their feat. Gun control policies may reduce gun deaths, but it will not reduce the number of mass shootings because criminals will always find a way to get some types of deadly weapons.

The debate must not be about reducing mass shootings through gun control but about reducing mass shootings by making owning a gun a requirement for all citizens. When everyone has and carries their gun everywhere, potential active shooters would think twice before pulling out their weapons, machetes, baseball bats knowing their match would not be too far away. 

In summary, debates around gun control and gun violence are a total political demagogy, as the law already makes it impossible for criminals to own guns in America. The best way to reduce gun violence is to allow everyone to have and carry guns.

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast

Episode 83: Money Laundering vs Embezzlement

Both money laundering and embezzlement are federal felonies. They carry a minimum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a minimum of $15,000 fine. 

Episode 83: Money Laundering vs Embezzlement

Welcome to the Apostrophe Podcast, where we learn to teach, have to share, and possess the knowledge. I am your host Dr. Bobb Rousseau. In this episode, I share with you comprehensive knowledge to give you a better understanding of what is relevant to your intellectual well-being. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Today, using a real example, I explain the differences between two types of financial crimes: money laundering and embezzlement. 

Erick opens a coffee shop, and he hires James as his accountant. Let’s identify the source of the money Eric uses to launch his business and how James handles the coffee bookkeepings.

Erick earns his money from drug and sex trafficking. Since he cannot deposit that money into his bank account, he opens a coffee shop with that money. Although the business makes $1,000 profit every day on average, James, his accountant, agrees to inflate the books by layering a $2,500 daily profit. Eric takes $1,500 from the drug and sex trafficking money, adds it to the $1,000 profits, and deposits them into his bank account.

In simple terms, Erick places his dirty money into a business, hides the trail of the “dirty” money by entering layered fraudulent financial bookkeeping transactions, and integrates his dirty money into the legal financial system. This is money laundering. Money laundering is a process of disguising the proceeds of illegitimate activities through a series of illegal transactions to make it appear legitimate. It’s done with the intention to evade the law and avoid attracting the attention of law enforcement agencies, regulators, or taxing authorities.

James is responsible for making the deposits daily. However, he deposits only $2,000 into the account and pockets the other $500 every day. By year-end, he buys a brand new vehicle with the funds he misappropriated and stole from the coffee shop. This is embezzlement. Embezzlement is the theft of assets entrusted to a person by their employer or someone else. Embezzlers steal or misappropriate funds from their employers or clients, henceforth, violating a position of trust.

Both money laundering and embezzlement are federal felonies. They carry a minimum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a minimum of $15,000 fine. 

In conclusion, I hope you now have a better understanding of the differences between money laundering and embezzlement. These two financial crimes are insidious and destructive, but they can be prevented. By educating ourselves and our organizations, we can better protect ourselves from these types of fraud. Join us next time, where we will be exploring a new type of financial crime.

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast

Episode 82: Blanchiment d’argent et détournement de fonds

Aux USA tout comme en Haïti, le blanchiment d’argent et le détournement de fonds sont des crimes passibles d’une peine minimale pouvant aller jusqu’à 10 ans de prison et d’une amende minimale de 15 000 $.

Bienvenue sur le podcast Apostrophe, où nous apprenons pour enseigner et à avoir pour partager. Je suis votre hôte Dr Bobb Rousseau. Dans cet épisode, je partage avec vous des connaissances approfondies pour vous donner une meilleure compréhension de ce qui est pertinent pour votre bien-être intellectuel. Sans plus tarder, commençons.

Aujourd’hui, à l’aide d’un exemple concret, j’explique les différences entre deux types de crimes financiers : le blanchiment d’argent et le détournement de fonds.

Erick ouvre un restaurant et engage James comme comptable. Identifions la source de l’argent qu’Eric utilise pour lancer son entreprise et comment James gère la comptabilité du restaurant.

Erick gagne son argent grâce au trafic de drogue. Puisqu’il ne peut pas déposer cet argent sur son compte bancaire, il ouvre un restaurant avec cet argent. Bien que l’entreprise réalise un bénéfice de 1 000 dollars par jour en moyenne, James, son comptable, accepte de gonfler les livres en affichant un bénéfice quotidien de 2 500 dollars. Jérôme prend 1 500 $ de l’argent de la drogue, l’ajoute aux 1 000 $ de bénéfices et les dépose sur son compte bancaire.

En termes simples, Erick place son argent sale dans une entreprise, cache la trace de l’argent «sale» en saisissant des transactions de comptabilité financière frauduleuses et intègre son argent sale dans le système financier légal. C’est du blanchiment d’argent. Le blanchiment d’argent est un processus de déguisement du produit d’activités illégales par une série de transactions illégales pour le faire paraître légitime. C’est fait avec l’intention d’échapper à la loi et d’éviter d’attirer l’attention des forces de l’ordre, des régulateurs ou des autorités fiscales.

James est chargé d’effectuer les dépôts quotidiennement. Cependant, il ne dépose que 2 000 $ sur le compte et empoche les 500 $ restants chaque jour. À la fin de l’année, il a acheté un tout nouveau véhicule avec les fonds qu’il a détournés et volés à l’entreprise. C’est du détournement de fonds. Le détournement de fonds est le vol de biens confiés à une personne par son employeur ou quelqu’un d’autre. Les détourneurs de fonds volent ou détournent des fonds de leurs employeurs ou clients, violant une position de confiance.

Aux USA tout comme en Haïti, le blanchiment d’argent et le détournement de fonds sont des crimes passibles d’une peine minimale pouvant aller jusqu’à 10 ans de prison et d’une amende minimale de 15 000 $.

En conclusion, j’espère que vous avez maintenant une meilleure compréhension des différences entre le blanchiment d’argent et le détournement de fonds. Ces deux crimes financiers sont insidieux et destructeurs, mais ils peuvent être évités. En nous éduquant et en informant nos organisations, nous pouvons mieux nous protéger contre ces types de fraude. Rejoignez-nous la prochaine fois, où nous explorerons un nouveau type de crime financier.

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast

Episode 81: What is U.S. national debt?

The best way to understand the U.S. national debt is through a pawn shop example.

Hello, I am Bobb Rousseau, and this is Apostrophe Podcast. Today’s episode explains how the federal government incurs debt. It also discusses the logic behind the debates regarding raising the debt ceiling. Without further ado, let’s begin.

The best way I know how to explain the U.S. National debt is through a Pawn Shop example. When you have bills to pay and groceries to purchase, but do not have money to meet such financial obligations, you pawn your assets. You incur a debt when you do so because, if you want your asset back, you must pay down monthly until you pay off the entire debt. This is the same thing the federal government does when it does not have enough money to pay its employees and fund social services. 

But first, let’s talk about fund appropriations. 

Congress has the power of the purse, meaning it decides on how much money agencies receive and what the agencies must do with the funds they receive. Congress also decides on how much money is to fund federal programs. Fund appropriations lead to the U.S. national debt because once the money is allocated, agencies do not have to wait for the actual money to begin spending them. 

So, if I were to define the U.S. national debt, I would say that it is the sum of money that the government forecasts to give to its various agencies to improve the well being of the American people. 

Since now, I get the definition out of the way, let me explain to you how the United States ends up owing money to Americans, national banks, ad foreign countries. 
When you hear that the United States owes money, that does not mean it borrows actual money from foreign countries. When you hear the government will default on its loan, that does not mean that it will be unable to pay back its borrowers. It simply means, it will not be able to pay its employees or fund federal programs such as social security, health, income security, national defense, Medicare to name just a few. 

The U.S. national debt occurs when taxes collected by the government are not enough to cover its expenses. To have money to fulfill its financial obligations, The government sells its assets to Americans, national banks, and foreign countries respectively. These assets are called marketable securities. Americans hold 70% of the outstanding debt while foreign creditors hold the remaiming 30%.

Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, and Brazil are the major foreign holders of U.S. public debt. 
See, I say holders, not owners. It is because, same as the assets you pawn that remain your properties unless you decide to not pay anymore, American marketable securities, although they can be sold or transferred to other entities, remain the properties of the federal government as holders can only sell them for cash back to the government. 

The more funds the government injects in federal programs, the higher the debt and thus come the debates regarding increasing the debt limit. Congress sets the debt limit or how much assets the government can sell to cover expenses. For the Republicans, spending cuts are the way to decrease the debt limit whereas for the democrats it is through tax increases. Neither side is wrong or right but both of them must depoliticize the debt ceiling debates to further the economic well-being of the American people. 

In summary, the U.S. National Debt is a sum of money that the federal government gives to agencies to provide social services to the American people. It is not actual money the government owes foreign countries. The debt starts when Congress, which has the power of the purse, allocates funds to agencies and social services. It accumulates when the country sells its assets to cover the expense that taxes it collects are not enough to fulfill its financial obligations. Although asset holders can transfer or sell these securities to other entities, the assets remain the property of the federal government. 

Bobb Rousseau, PhD
Apostrophe Podcast