Who is the current U.S. Treasury secretary?
Jack Lew, Kathleen Sebelius, Wilbur Ross, or Steven Mnuchin?
The role is currently filled by Steven Mnuchin, the nation's 77th secretary of the treasury.
One role of Secretary Mnuchin's department is to manage America's public debt, the amount of money the U.S. government owes to other governments, groups, investors or businesses. Right now, that number stands at $22.9 trillion.
The thing that makes that number grow is the deficit, when the government spends more money than it takes in. And America has been doing that for centuries. The only time in history it didn't have a national debt was in 1835 under President Andrew Jackson.
On Friday, though, the gap between what the government spends and what it takes in reach $984 billion for a 12-month period ending in September.
That's its biggest gap since 2012 when it had been exceeding a trillion dollars for several years. But if U.S. trade disputes with other countries continue and if global growth slows down, as many analysts expect it to, the U.S. deficit could exceed $1 trillion once again next year.
Why is it so high? Secretary Mnuchin says wasteful government spending needs to be cut. Also, the tax cuts that were passed in 2017 reduced the government's revenue.
But when you're looking at the debt and the deficit that causes it, the numbers are also in flux.