Consider these numbers to put some current news topics in perspective:
$16.9 trillion = annual US gross domestic product estimate (www.BEA.gov)
$2.7 trillion = total US government annual tax revenue, fiscal year 2013 estimated (http://www.gpo.gov, Fiscal Year 2014, Historical Tables, Table 2.1)
$17.2 trillion = US government national debt (www.treasurydirect.gov)
$3.66 trillion = currency exchange reserves held by the Chinese government as of Oct 2013 (www.blogs.wsj.com)
17.2 / 2.7 = 6.4. The US government owes more than 6 times what it brings in annually with taxes. (per my own math)
3.66 / 2.7 = 1.4. the value of China’s foreign exchange reserves are equal to the US government tax revenue for a over year and a quarter.
Check out the links. There is a story behind each of these numbers, but the numbers themselves are generally not disputed.