Los Angeles Times

National debt clock

The National Debt Clock, which displays the current United States gross national debt and each American family's share, hangs on a wall next to an office for the Internal Revenue Service near Times Square, in New York. The Treasury Department said the nation had hit its $14.294 trillion debt limit -- a milestone that has little practical impact beyond injecting a note of urgency into the debate over taxes and spending that has dominated Washington this year.Reuters photo