Apple has more cash right now than the US Treasury

Matt Hartley at the Financial Post was the first to point this one out:

As Republicans and Democrats continue to work towards a compromise to the country’s debt ceiling crisis, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday that Washington now has a total operating balance of only US$73.768-billion. Meanwhile, Apple currently boasts a cash reserve of US$75.876-billion, as of its most recent quarterly earnings report at the end of June.
More nuance and analysis around the web: NPR, Apple Insider, Fortune.

Photo: Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage to discuss the iCloud service at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, June 6, 2011. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach


    1. Clearly we need more tax cuts for corporations so that they’ll have more money to hire people with.

      Forget about making jobs. Jobs is already a made man if there ever was one.

  1. Photoshop art: Steve Jobs looking heroic, pushing uncle sam out of a ditch or something.  Caption “Buy another iPad, he can’t do it alone!” (props to Cliff Chiang) [edit to get the name right]

    1. I think the policy decision that this points to is that the US government is in the wrong business… Perhaps they should set up a committee to start selling stylish consumer electronics…

    1. which entity has more assets and which one can print more cash?

      Are we counting iTunes gift cards?

    2. Printing more cash only devalues the currency. Right now the US dollar is worth less than the Canadian dollar for one reason, investors have lost faith in the US dollar. Paper currency itself has no value, it relies on the faith and backing of the government that issues it. If the US just started printing more to pay debts, people would start to lose faith in the ability of their currency to buy goods and services. You see this in the fact that commodities, such as gold is at an all time high.

      Personally, I hate the way corporate interests have their hands in the pocket of the US government; many taking advantage of so many loopholes (many that they wrote into the tax code) that they don’t pay their fair share. Same goes for those dick-wads on Wall Street that created the mess in the first place who’re trying to push for lower taxes on the basis that it’s good for the public sector. Wrong. It’s only good in creating more wealth for themselves. They don’t give a crap about growing the economy.

    1. MS has about 52 billion in cash themselves and I’m sure they could manage to crank out a new version of Windows if needed.  At this rate I keep waiting for some company to just outright buy a country.

      1. At this rate I keep waiting for some company to just outright buy a country.

        I’m pretty sure that’s basically already happened all over the world especially when it comes to energy companies and the military-industrial complex.

    2. As much as I love my Microsoft products, I would love to see them merge with Apple. Bill and Steve were homeboys back in the day; let’s bring their good ideas into the same room and see where it gets us. I bet it would lead to some impressive innovation.

      Mr. Torvalds, Sun Microsystems and their people may, of course, hang around and maintain their superior attitudes if they wish. Somebody’s got to keep the networks live.

  2. The other way round. Total operating balance of the US is not even as much as the cash reserve of a single company. Just think about that. Frightening.

    1. Correction: Total operating balance of the US *GOVERNMENT*.

      Maybe they won’t be able to buy gas to fuel their horrific slaughter machines. 

      Oh noez!

  3. Coincidentally, I just mailed $1,200 to the US Treasury, so we should be good for another nanosecond.

  4. $75.88 billion isn’t entirely the $100 dollar bill kind you see stack up in briefcase… It is Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities (short and long term), and Microsoft does has 3 times more cash than Apple.

  5. Hmm, I was all set to make a snarky comment about the cash reserves of Google and Microsoft and, while they are considerable, Apple still has more than they do, too. WTF, Apple? You can’t think of anything to spend all your money on? Even Microsoft, which has more money than God, manages to think of ways to burn it and you can’t?

    1. There’s always the chance that the next big thing is the next Newton.

      Silly me, when they introduced the iPod I thought it was the next Newton.
      (Apple stock at that time: <$30)

  6. You’d think that Apple would use some of that money to buy Apple stock.  Makes me wonder why they don’t.

  7. Last fall the estimated combined worth of the 10 richest people in the US was $270.8 billion.

  8. I hate this comparison. The way each entity takes in money and what it is obligated (and allowed) to do with it are not comparable. It is idiotic and shows a lack of understanding of macroeconomics.

  9. Apple could respond as Babe Ruth did when asked what he thought of his yearly salary being higher than the President’s: ” “I know, but I had a better year…”

  10. Or, putting it another way, Apple has enough cash resources to create a permanent human colonization effort on Mars… and still have most of their money left over!

    Google has said they’re willing to commit a billion dollars to a viable Mars colonization effort. Imagine how our world — I mean, our worldS — would change/improve if Apple and Google and the other tech companies with surplus actually did something like that.

    1. I think it’d be a vastly better improvement in the human condition if they put that money towards sustainable energy and a single payer system for healthcare in the USA.  But, yeah… Mars…

      1. I think most would agree that it’s a given that sustainable energy and functional universal healthcare are basic requirements for the survival of humanity along with a sustained high quality of life. That said, I think that sustainable energy is a problem that will “solve itself” soon enough because it makes economic sense and is profitable and thus the engines of economy will make it happen.  And healthcare, well, I don’t think that it would be a good idea to wish for a private sector solution (even an angel investor solution). After all, private sector healthcare could be argued to be what got America into its current mess!

        1. I think that sustainable energy is a problem that will “solve itself” soon enough because it makes economic sense and is profitable and thus the engines of economy will make it happen.

          Soon enough?  The problem is the dirty energy companies are trying to milk their current infrastructure for as long as possible (until resources run out) and are extremely sluggish in pushing towards sustainable energy.

          Most energy companies spend more money and resources on producing lies (FUD) against sustainable energy by building and/or supporting bullshit “think tanks”, paying off apologist liars and supporting media campaigns than they actually spend on any sustainable energy research itself (much less actually implementing it).

          I’m sure the Shell commercials make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but it’s bullshit.  The main purpose of those commercials is to pay off the networks to not actually report on what they are doing and as a bonus… sway the public into thinking they are moving forward at a rapid pace.  Manufacturing consent and apathy.

          We’re running out of time and waiting on conglomerations of entities with state-sanctioned profit motives (that trumps human suffering) to suddenly start worrying about the human condition isn’t going to do the trick.

          You really think that the same energy companies that currently do THIS:

          Are going to come running to save the human condition in time?  Or will they put profits above all else first?  We only have to look at their history and their present activities to know the proper answer.

          And healthcare, well, I don’t think that it would be a good idea to wish for a private sector solution (even an angel investor solution). After all, private sector healthcare could be argued to be what got America into its current mess!

          Sorry, I thought we were fantasizing about a grant from Apple, not an investment.  ;D

          1. Your points are all true and valid; however, it is not the energy companies that will save us. It is the free competitive market, which would come in the form of small, lean, innovative renewable companies that were able to beat the oil companies on price simply because their product was cheaper to produce.

            The problem is that the free market is not allowed to work. The oil companies receive MASSIVE subsidies – both direct (‘leases’ on ‘public’ land, which they plunder and abandon) and indirect (ie, ‘war for oil’).

            If energy consumers had to pay the actual cost, ie directly competing for the oil reserves, fully compensating surrounding property owners for all the environmental harm extraction causes, eating the loss of value oil companies cause to their own land through extraction, etc…oil would be much, much more expensive.

            But, a large part of the cost is payed for by taxpayers and property owners who suffer harm but are not compensated.

            So, consumers make their choices based on the existing prices. Fossil fuels are artificially cheap, in comparison to renewables. All taxpayers are already forced to pay for oil (ie, pay for the military etc.). So it is hard to convince them to ‘pay twice’, and pay more for renewables instead of enjoying the artificially low prices of fossil fuels.

            I agree that, until we end all the great abuses and price supports oil companies receive, it is a defendable position to economically prop up small renewable energy companies.

            But, we should see where the root of the problem comes from. If we had working markets and property rights in the first place, these things wouldn’t be necessary. Oil would have priced itself out of relevance decades ago. But, it is a politically powerful cartel protected in various ways by the government.

            It’s a similar story with health care. But that’s another discussion.

          2. Thank you for your wise words, buddhaflow.  I agree with pretty much everything you said.  I would add that the only thing that’s going to push us into a free market is the American public demanding it.  But in our current reality, the first place for Americans to push will be where the money is and forcing these energy entities who operate on our soil to stop with the extremely powerful FUD.

            Too many Americans believe lies about sustainable energy because of this FUD and those of us who know this need to do everything in our power to quell it and counter it.

  11. Apple only works because it’s an extremely closed system that is run by a dictator. Would you REALLY ant that for a country?

  12. The comparison is sort of silly- Apple’s reserves are in “cash and marketable securities.”  Treasury bonds are usually considered the most marketable security there is, and the US just spent 6 months buying about $600B of them.  If you include non-cash equivalents the US is sitting on, it wouldn’t sound quite so exciting (ignoring the fact that the US owns the printing presses to make more money, while Apple hasn’t released that app yet.)

  13. Totally aside, sorry, but am I the only one who interprets the accompanying graphic as Steve Jobs casting a satanic shadow?

  14. Maybe Obama could sell 51% of the US to Apple, then all personal computers would be applish and one per citizen.  A couple of years later, when production becomes totally US based and minimalist design is rule, the hegemony would be spread to the world, not by war, but an apple at a time.

    1. Everyone using Apple computers? And I thought nothing in this human experience was worse than war :P

  15. $73Bn? Hah! The Pentagon has that much stuck in a cookie jar in the cafeteria. No doubt those defenders can cough up a couple hundred bill(s) so that they’ve got something left to defend….

  16. Given how much the USA has spent on the development of computers and not to mention the net I think it is high time a new royalty system is worked out for the cost invention and innovation paid by society and not just those companies that grabbed the flag or have the prettiest package. 

  17. Given their current debt load, most people reading this have more money than the US does.

  18. I think Google should say to the Government…  “we’ll take the healthcare system off your hands…”  (just like taking over car payments.)

    Google can do for administering healthcare what they did for webmail. 

  19. When asked about this on the Fallon show, Brian Williams (NBC anchor) replied; “Apple makes cooler stuff.”

  20. Do you know how fanatical that articles sounds?  Do you know how many more companies have 200 or 300 Billion on hand?  Many.  Hell, Google has almost more than Apple and MS combined.  Big freakin’ deal!

  21. Given how much debt the US has, I think it’s save to say that *I* have more cash right now then the US Treasury.

    And I only have about $20 in my wallet.

    1. Now if we can just knock some sense into tea baggers on where the majority of money is really going instead of the lies they believe, we can get somewhere.  Hint: Tax cuts for the rich and wars.


      But, unlike Apple, tea baggers have a huge aversion to facts when they go against the lies they are fed by Fox “News” and other rightwing corporatist media.

  22. The government imposes a constraint on itself so it ‘seems’ like they have less money than Apple.

    But, logically, no-one can have more dollars than the government, who create it under monopoly conditions.  They just choose (via big bussiness lobbying) to impose this constraint on themselves, thereby providing corporate welfare for the most well-off in society.

  23. As the BB update thread have been closed (a automated disqus “feature”?), i just want to mention that the “in response to” popups do not work that well with long texts…

    1. Yeah, I know. You have to hit the jump link to see the whole comment.

      You can take housekeeping comments to the Comment Policy thread. That will always remain open.

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