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Apple now has more cash than U.S. Government

July 29, 2011

This put a smile on my face today. CNN reports that according to the latest statement from the U.S. Treasury, the government had an operating cash balance Wednesday of $73.8 billion. This puts it in second place to Apple Computer’s healthy stash of $76.2 billion in cash and marketable securities.

The article continues to explain why Apple has been so successful lately, and doesn’t mention the current tussle in Washington over the debt ceiling, which has delayed budget funding that would probably put Uncle Sam back on top. Even if Apple seems to be able to “print money” with its wildly popular iPhones and iPads, it’s still far easier to ask the Fed to just type in a few zeroes when necessity demands it. But at least for a moment, credit is given to the “old school” way of making money: creating value for consumers.

This unusual event is ironically as things should always be. One entity creates so much value for people that they willingly stand in line before the doors open to hand over wads of cash. Combined with sound financial practices, you can see why Apple would have so much in the bank. Compare that to the government, which some would claim does “a lot of public good” – yet the only lines of people you see eager to pay the government form at the last possible hour on April 15 – and those are only to avoid the threat of having the IRS show up at the door with handcuffs…

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