Mike has often explained here on his blog and in the comments that Treasury Security issuance would best be thought of as an interest rate maintenance operation, and that now that the Fed has the ability to pay interest on reserve balances, Treasury issuance is now only required due to a self-imposed Government prohibition on running a negative balance in the Treasury's account at the Fed. Warren Molser recently addressed this in a comment on his blog:
" if tsy spends without selling tsy secs when it uses up its balances at the fed the additional spending will be booked as an overdraft at the fed, which is not allowed. so the no overdraft rules and the debt ceiling rules combine to force the tsy to issue secs first and then spend. operationally this is entirely unnecessary and at the macro level these self imposed constraints serve no purpose apart from being potentially disruptive and counter to public purpose."
So all of the debt demagoguery is just the ignorant rantings of politicians or economists that should know better. They are for some reason incapable of understanding simple accounting. Perhaps some pictures will help:
A positive number here
Would be the same as a negative number here:
Yes, it's that simple.