Brother, Can You Spare a Billion? Apple Has More Cash Than Uncle Sam

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An iPod in every pot? The Statue of Liberty holding an iPad in her left hand? Steve Jobs’ on Mount Rushmore? Don’t laugh, considering Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) now has more cash on hand than the U.S. government.

According to the U.S. Treasury, Uncle Sam closed the day of business on July 27 with $73.768 billion in total operating balance (TOB). In effect, TOB means the amount of money the government can spend before it bumps up against the debt ceiling.

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Apple, on the other hand, reported in its June earnings statement that it has $76.156 billion in cash and securities. It’s been a good week for Apple, which is now the biggest smartphone vendor in the world, with 18% market share, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.

Apple is also the second-largest corporation in the U.S., as measured by market cap, right behind Exxon Mobile (XOM), according to FactSet Research:


Company                                    Market Cap

Exxon                                      $405 billion

Apple                                       $364 Billion

Source: FactSet Research


Without even getting into the lousy week that Uncle Sam has had, could Apple theoretically lend a hand to a poor America down on its luck? Not even remotely.

For one thing, the federal government spends $10 billion per day. Given the federal government’s cash demand, Apple would burn through its cash reserves in a few weeks.

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And anyway, Steve Jobs would veto the idea. All indications are that the Apple CEO would likely walk past Uncle Sam and his tin cup without a glance. Last October, Jobs noted his philosophy on cash. “We don’t let the cash burn a hole in the pocket or make stupid acquisitions. We’d like to continue to keep our powder dry because we think there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future.”

So, no, the nation’s capital isn’t moving to Cupertino any time soon. But if money really is power, then Steve Jobs holds more mojo right now than the President of the United States.