Foreign Governments Own Large Portion of Total US National Debt
The United States currently has a total outstanding public debt load of nearly $12 trillion dollars ($11,827,966,342,208.43 to be exact).
This means that every man, woman and child in the United States currently owes $38,930 as their share of the total national debt.
Many people see this staggering figure and ask the question - who does the United States owe all of this money to?
To start to answer this question, let's first divide up the total national debt into two different categories - public debt and intragovernmental holdings.
As of September 17th, the US government had $7.52 trillion dollars in public debt, and an additional $4.3 trillion dollars in intragovernmental holdings.
Intragovernmental holdings represents money that the federal government has borrowed from various agencies, such as Social Security.
For instance, in the case of Social Security, the federal government has borrowed over $2 trillion dollars from the program in the form of special series, non-marketable US bonds. If the Social Security program takes in more money than it pays out, then the federal government will borrow the difference.
The government also borrows money from other programs, but Social Security is its favorite source of funding.
Next up - public debt.
Public debt is, for the most part, owned by these entities:
Countries such as China, Japan, Brazil and the United Kingdom all own at least $100 billion dollars of US debt. China currently owns the most, having nearly $750 billion dollars worth of US debt to its name as of January 2009.
China and Japan own nearly a trillion and a half dollars of US debt between the two of them.
Why do you think that the United States has sent at least two high-level envoys to China over the past year? It's because they are desperate for China to continue buying US debt, especially given the fact that the US will need to borrow nearly $10 trillion dollars MORE over the next decade to fund its deficit spending.
Economists predict that Social Security will no longer be a source of funding by around 2015, as the government will have to start paying out more than it takes in, barring any legislative changes.
This is one of the reasons why countries such as China and Japan will play such an important role over the next decade or so. If they decide that US debt is not a very smart investment, then the printing presses in the United States will need to hit overdrive.
This is never a good thing, but it seems almost unavoidable at this point.
Source: U.S. National Debt Clock
Filed under: General Knowledge
48 COMMENTS - What Say You?
Comment by Mosheingun on October 26, 2010 @ 8:39 am
How do you figure it's unavoidable? It's only unavoidable if we let it happen. Yes, the system we currently use is based off of debt and is in fact impossible to ever rise above the debt, because the interest we get charged doesn't actually exist. Well.... STOP USING A BROKEN SYSTEM!
Stop putting money into the stock market, stop putting money into 401k's, close your bank accounts and cash your paychecks at a currency exchange. Remove all your money into an actual hard form, instead of a number on a screen.
MAKE THE SYSTEM COLLAPSE.
Why is our currency privately owned anyways?? Who's the idiot that came up with that idea??
In all actuality, WE DON'T OWE ANY MONEY AND WE ARE DEBT FREE!!!
The federal reserve has nothing backing their currency, EXCEPT the U.S. government. I vote we disban the federal reserve for being a monopoly.
GET RID OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND GET RID OF DEBT!!!
Comment by C, W, JON on December 13, 2010 @ 1:55 pm
Every country that have been in trouble or in
war the U.S. Have help rebuild. In time of trouble every country start calling on the U.S.
For help or for money. So all I went to know is when did we get the money back that China and Japan own the U.S.
Comment by guy on December 29, 2010 @ 10:08 pm
It's all fake money anyway
Comment by JM on January 16, 2011 @ 11:32 pm
Why are we in so much debt but yet we send all this money for all kinds of aid to all these other countries? Why not invest in our own country and buy made in the USA not China? All this money going to Iraq's rebuilding such as hospitals and all these other buildings which are empty and not used when we need the money?
Comment by i need this answer for a history quiz on January 18, 2011 @ 2:54 pm
who do we owe all that money to
Comment by Ronald Bell on February 11, 2011 @ 9:32 pm
How much money does the united states collect in taxes,fines.levies, tarrifs,and other sources
Comment by dr. davis on February 28, 2011 @ 11:26 am
what happens when china wants to be payed in full or more than the minnimal payment as of now the china want go to war with us , is that what us does go in to debt so we want go to war ?
Comment by Stacey on March 03, 2011 @ 7:47 pm
So in effect, tax payers are punished for PAYING their taxes when the gov spends frivolously, but then if they choose NOT to pay taxes they are punished for breaking the law. What a conundrum. Why does the gov get a free pass to steal for tax payers??? This has been going on long enough!
Comment by Mike on March 05, 2011 @ 10:57 am
i come from the old school. if you owe money you do not borrow any more money until you are debt free ! our government has abused the system because they can. if the U. S. is in debt the U. S. can not afford to help any country except the U. S., it's time we brought our troops home and start paying the bills before we help anyone else. our government has abused the system long enough. this is a nice thought but as we all know, this will never happen, our government likes to impose our beliefs on other countries that do not want them. and they like stealing the peoples money because they can.
Comment by Web Webster on March 09, 2011 @ 4:11 pm
Very Interesting Question:
"Why are we in so much debt but yet we send all this money for all kinds of aid to all these other countries? Why not invest in our own country and buy made in the USA not China?"
It is because AMERICAN BUSINESS... republicans... outsource to foreign countries so they can get rock bottom prices... and then sell to us, the U.S. public. Of course those products are highly marked up by the time we get them OR they are ridiculously low in order to capture market share and drive out industries, and the US Government allows, but it is actually our fault because we vote people like that into office. But watch out, the "republicans" number one cry is "protectionism". IF YOU WANT IT TO STOP. BUY ONLY U.S. MANUFACTURED AND OWNED PRODUCTS!!! The only economic rule you need to know is YOUR DOLLAR IS A VOTE.
VOTE WISELY. :)
Comment by Bill on March 15, 2011 @ 9:12 am
I think that Obama should put a lock box on social security . And make it a law that the Gov. can't borry any more money from it....If the Gov. spent the money as if it was thiers own we would not be in such a big debt.
Comment by Ben on March 18, 2011 @ 12:12 pm
I think that the other countries of which we buy our products. (Made in China, Made in Japan) have at somepoint put their thoughts together and decided to have a silent war with us in such ways to make us have disbelief in our government. I believe our government is doing the best they can. Debt it Debit. whether it is paid or not. We as a country are always looking for someone to blame (whether its our governement or a different one). We need to stand up for our government more instead of blaming them. If the public needs to blame something, blame war and hatred of mankind.
Comment by Richard on March 21, 2011 @ 12:49 am
Bill has it right! Your dollar is your vote. If you want to support communism, shop at Walmart. That's the biggest bait and switch this country has ever seen! Sam is dead and everything you buy there is made in China!
Comment by Layne on March 26, 2011 @ 12:02 am
What isn't made in China these days?
Comment by David on April 12, 2011 @ 12:37 pm
when a country is in debt law makers should not get a paycheck intil a profit is made
Comment by Tyler West on April 18, 2011 @ 8:12 pm
why buy stuf from china.
Comment by Dude on April 30, 2011 @ 9:36 pm
The U.S. owes close to two trillion dollars to China and close to one trillion to Japan, close behind is England and Australia.
14.3 Trillion in debt, stupid goverment spending, dumb war, idiot president and military advisors. Are law makers get rich, corporations and insurance companies get away with stealing tax payer blind.
The U.S. rides on the back of the working class and taxes us to death.
I'll let them foreclose my house, stop paying off my loans, quit my job, file for unemployment, all after maxing out all my credit cards and filling for bankruptcy like other a**hole Americans.
Comment by darryll on May 02, 2011 @ 10:55 am
I like the report however the real report should have been your last statement about printing money. this is a much larger disaster that could result in the fall of the us dollar. the more money we print the less it is worth. leaving to beleive other countries will eventually leave the us dollar behind and removing it as the world currency removing our right to print money, what would we do about our problem then.
Comment by islandman on May 14, 2011 @ 4:07 pm
then all Americans stop buying things made in China..... ....every country thats the US helps hate the american people but government just keep sending more money Aid ....Aid unempoyment forecolse
Comment by bill stone on June 13, 2011 @ 9:16 am
LOL, Read "The Creature From Jekyll Island" and it will answer all these questions about our national debt and monetary system in genera.
Comment by R A on June 15, 2011 @ 12:06 pm
our goverment needs to stop sending our money ( tax payers)to other countries.If these countries need help, we can send professional teachers,plumbers,carpenters,agronomist, ect... to help teach them to better there country.Sending money just goes to waste because no one agrees on the right way to spend it and we do not send anyone there to make sure the money is used wisley.Our own goverment needs to stop taking money from social security and learn how to just save money and take care of it's own citizens ( the tax payers ).
Comment by Aqeelkhan on June 16, 2011 @ 6:58 pm
Showpiece- Country with the highest GDP.
Hidden beneath- Country with the largest trade deficit over a period of 6-8 decades.
Country with the largest budget deficit in decades.
This despite having the advantage of possessing the world's reserve currency.
Comment by Dora on June 30, 2011 @ 12:56 pm
i like the comment from David- no profit-no pay
Comment by Dora on June 30, 2011 @ 12:58 pm
the goverment is also borowing money on YOU-your future tax payment is their income and therefor they will borow on it..precisly-your birth certificate-each baby born is money to the goverment
Comment by roy, just another fed up american on July 14, 2011 @ 6:27 pm
Well all libs can point right , consers can point left. Its a problem of a govt thats got to big for their pants. Its a govt interest in business not people. It will take alot to diburse all the corruption in american govt. So all you people who want point finger, eithier way, is a waste of your time. America is great, American govt is sess pool of the world. Politians are interested in theirselves and not you. You want to do something about govt and not personnel views, Americans need to stand together as people with beliefs, as one force. Not for personnal gain but for greater america. Playing agianst one another is what big govt wants. To keep occupied with this right that right. Look at our country. We stand in groups not as one. Divided we will fall. So eithier we can come together as one or be just another empire like the past. Its pretty simple. Its up to americans not govt to get country to greater days. Just my opinion. Whos gonna help when this country goes under, u think govt or neighbor. Stand as one
Comment by Billie Billyard on July 21, 2011 @ 12:50 am
When FDR set up the Social Security
department, he put in safeguards to keep the government from stealing money from this fund. The greedy politicians changed the law so they could get their hands on this Trust Fund. They borrowed more than 2.4 Trillion dollars from the people. And now the government is saying that Social Security is out of money. This is a LIE. The government must pay this money back and they must pay all the interest this money would have earned back. The law must be changed back to what FDR intended. This money taken from our paychecks was never a tax. It was a retirement plan by the people for the people. It was never meant to be a part of the government's budget. I believe it was unconstitutional for the Government to change the law and take our money.
A new report out of Brown University estimates that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq--together with the counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan--will, all told, cost $4 trillion and leave 225,000 dead, both civilians and soldiers.
The group of economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists involved in the project estimated that the cost of caring for the veterans injured in the wars will reach $1 trillion in 30 or 40 years. In estimating the $4 trillion total, they did not take into account the $5.3 billion in reconstruction spending the government has promised Afghanistan, state and local contributions to veteran care, interest payments on war debt, or the costs of Medicare for veterans when they reach 65.
The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, has assessed the federal price tag for the wars at $1.8 trillion through 2021. The report says that is a gross underestimate, predicting that the government has already paid $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion.
The people must DEMAND that this insanity STOP.
Comment by Rudy on July 25, 2011 @ 10:07 am
this gov. is not ran by the people for the people it's ran by the gov for the gov. i know i sure didn't give my ok to raise the debt limit. each year the US pays foreign countries millions to be our ally and they don't even like us or support us. we just found out about pakistan harboring ben laddin. now H. Clinton turned around and gave pakistan more money. what's up with that CRAP. thanks to our gov the retirement age is being raise to help off set the depleting social security. what they are hoping for is large numbers of people to die so save money. why should they worry about SS when theirs is garunteed for life along with their retirement. if they had to rely on the SS system when they retired there would not be a problem with it there would be no borrowing from it. they don't, it's all paid BY US the tax payers. i believe there ought to be term limits on everyone in congress. i am thinking 8 years max. the one place they are wanting to cut is defense. at the time of unrest around the world and terriost wanting to destroy the US defense should be the last thing to cut. The people that we have now making decisions for the people of this great country i feel is a joke. if it doesn't benifit them it's not good. tell me on a congressman's salery of approx 170. a year how can he afford to by 3 or 4 vacation homes over a million dollars each. everytime there is a problem that comes up created by the gov it happens to be the peoples fault and we have to bail them out. the speculators driving up prices in oil, gas, food. we pay for it they don't. how about having the speculators pay for some of this stuff they seem to be making all the money. need a change.
Comment by bhall on July 27, 2011 @ 8:20 pm
this country sucks
Comment by Toosoft on July 29, 2011 @ 6:18 pm
Let's face it; The free trade agreement was a disaster. I thought that we would be collecting $ that was owed to the U.S. if we helped other economies. But, unAmerican companies moved their operations to other countries for the cheaper labor.It seems; the more we help others, the more we get screwed! STOP !!!
Tariff on goods from countries that are putting Americans out of work.
STOP !!! sending aide to our enemies.
STOP !!! borrowing on borrowed $.
STOP !!! worring about hurting the feelings of our allies. "WE HAVE DONE ENOUGH".
Comment by alicia on July 30, 2011 @ 6:20 pm
Comment by Mrs. Glo on August 02, 2011 @ 10:21 pm
I think we still live in a wonderful country. What we need the President to think about is, bring our jobs back to America, then we could possibly lower our deficit and lower our unemployment rate and build a better america
Comment by boo on August 03, 2011 @ 12:49 pm
14 trillion in debt . 42% of which is owed to US individuauls and multinationals , pharmacuticals and weapons manufactures . its time the people at the top paid their way
Comment by Dr. Al lPope on August 07, 2011 @ 1:34 pm
It is "all" our fault for voting in those Jerks in Congress (both houses) and the White House. Next Nov vote them all out regardless of party.
Comment by willyin ky on August 10, 2011 @ 4:49 pm
wow what a scry time we all live in . i just have one ? were the hell is all the money who has it . i know china has 1.9 t and the rest of the world has like 5 trillion so were is the rest of it who has it cuz i sure as hell dont have any . im trying to feed 2 kids as a single dad makeing 12 bucks an hour and thay say save for your retirement lol i say yah ok um with what money do i savve this with i say to all the flunkies in washington dc keep your damn dirty hands off my money and i do agree with term limits . 4 to 6 years and out on your ass and geta job just like the rest of us and no full blown retirement package when u go and make the pay for this job low so that way u know when this persontake the job he or she is not doing it for the money thay are doiung it for the town or city or state thay live in will kinda make them a little less corupt i would hope well god bless america and all of us that live here
Comment by Dave Nelson on August 10, 2011 @ 7:29 pm
I don't have a website, but I would appreciate a reply at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the above article published 2009-09-18 US public debt load is set at 12 Trillion dollars. The article goes on to point out that as of Sept. 17, I take it this means in 2009, that the US owes China $750 billion dollars.
I am writing this inquiry in August of 2011, so would there be any argument if we pegged the US debt to China at say $850 billion dollars, and the public debt load at say 14 Trillion dollars by now?
What I would like to know is, in which year did the US start taking loans from China? I understand the US secures these loans via the sale of US Treasury bonds. So, would anyone be able to tell me when the first transaction concerning US Treasury bonds occurred between the United States and China?
According to the US Treasury Department's own web site the creation of what is called the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue occurred in September of 2006. Is that when the first US loan from China was arranged? Or did the US get money from China before that?
If the first loan from China to the United States happened in September of 2006, then 2 questions must be asked.
First, has the United States government ammassed a debt to the People's Republic of China of $850 billion dollars in less than just 5 years?
Second, why would the Chinese allow these loans to continue without even partial re-payments?
As troubling as those questions might be however, all I want to know is, when did this all start? Does anyone out there know, in which year did the US start taking loans from China?
I await a reply,
- 30 -
Comment by Lois on August 14, 2011 @ 1:44 pm
Why are all these American Multi-National co's supporting a Communist economy and why as Americans are we supporting a Communist economy by purchasing their products when they have turned their backs on this country and the American people. They fiddle while we burn. Recently a member of the House said the Republicans are giving American Multi-National co's $12 Billion a year to off shore jobs. Wal-Mart, for one, sold only American made products when it first opened. Sam Walton was a real man. The kids don't have enough Billions and went to China. Too bad most of their customers have lost their jobs and homes but continue to support them. I guess it's because of their cheap goods and don't forget they are made with CHEAP labor. When is enough money enough? This is one company after another. This US needs American jobs, products made in the US by American workers to survive. Without American workers and American products sold abroad and American workers paying into the system we will sink further. Is there anyone with the testes who will step up to the plate and run for election who REALLY CARES about the AMERICAN PEOPLE and THIS COUNTRY?, someone who understands money and who can pay for his or her own campaign and refuses to sleep with the rich and powerful and who will close these tax gaps so these companies pay their fair share of taxes and the government pay the iou's to Social Security and start up manufacturing again in this country so Americans can make a decent wage. Someone who will stop sending Millions and Billions to other countries while telling the broken American people that there is no money for Social Security and Medicare. We need aid here, there are plenty of American people who have lost their homes and are starving and laying in the street with children because there are no jobs.
Comment by know me on September 12, 2011 @ 4:32 pm
Comment by Person on October 17, 2011 @ 8:48 am
You didn't answer the question of "where the money goes to"... the borrowed money must be paid back. Who gets that money, or what entity gets that money? i.e. the debt and the interest payments. The Fed has something to do with it, but i can't find anything published that will explain where the money goes.
Comment by Charlie O on December 10, 2011 @ 5:58 pm
You're not answering my question. Who made this decision? You're telling me the whats, but not the how did.
Comment by j.c on February 28, 2012 @ 8:46 pm
vote for ron paul !
Comment by Scott T.K. on March 18, 2012 @ 5:50 pm
I see a lot of talk about China (being cheap to make items, but I'm guessing the cost to ship and package them doubles or triples before it reaches the US market) but the biggest piece is the 42+% that is US individuals and Institutions. Just the interest rate of those debts is unreal to the average American. Who are these Individuals???? and Institutions we can guess - but lets see a list, so we can point a finger at them and say why? (there's lies the real debt bunny) Two billion a day in interest, are they making money or losing it knowing the gov't will NEVER be able to pay it back. HEY you individuals call it your marker on the US and lets see what happens. Then you'll know who really runs the country - because it isn't the president, congress or we the people.
Comment by melissa on September 21, 2012 @ 10:16 am
Good luck finding anything to buy thats made in the USA
Comment by RUSSELL J KEELER on October 05, 2012 @ 4:07 pm
PEOPLE LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE, THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTEND TO PAY ANYTHING BACK TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THEY HAVE PLAN A INEFFECT TO KILL US OFF BEFORE OUR TIME. THERE PLAN IS TO SHORTEN PEOPLES LIVES BY POISONING THE FOOD THE AIR THE MEDICINES WITH FLU SHOTS AND VACCINES ETC. ETC, WAKE THE---- UP.
Comment by Hmmm? on October 17, 2012 @ 11:21 pm
You think they burrow money from the Rothschild family?
Comment by anon on October 30, 2012 @ 10:22 am
money the US owes is areound 16 trillion. they they don't just owe china they owe everybody. One reason the interest is so high is that the figure of money being owed. why would you give some one 1 million dollar only knowing that they have 1 000, you wouldn't. if the government borrows more the US system WILL fall
Comment by Retired person on January 02, 2013 @ 12:35 am
We are the most powerful country in the world and help everybody in need but yet we are so far in debt that we are unable to pay our debt to who? Maybe we should just stay in the good old USA and take care of all our own that are in need.
Comment by A woman with Common Sense on January 05, 2013 @ 3:21 pm
The answer is relatively simple. The US is currently in a 16 trillion dollar deficit. Only 1.2 trillion dollars of that debt is owed to China. The remaining debt is owed to several other countries such as Russia, Germany, UK and etc. When the jobs are outsourced overseas, it's primary objective is to delay the impending debt owed to these other countries. Corporations are able to evade certain tax breaks, and it becomes a win-win situation. Both for the federal government and the major corporations. We are no longer a super-power. Lets face it, not appearing unpatriotic, I love this country, but the truth is the truth. As for assisting other countries in need, it's an illusion, 'smoking mirrors,' a facade, reminding third world countries that the US is still one of the major players in the game...when in reality, we're often mocked by the rest of the world as being the Greatest Monetary Liability!
As for the solution found for the current fiscal cliff, I strongly believe it was a wise one. The Corporations received bailouts, tax breaks, bonuses...and did nothing to strengthen the economy by creating employment in the US...It's FINALLY time to pay the piper! No more economic loopholes.
This debt needs to be paid off...PROMPTLY! This is the only way the US can move forward and get back in the game.
Comment by Butch on January 19, 2013 @ 12:44 pm
It is sickening that we (America) have been cheated by our elected leaders that they are doing what's best for the Country. They have been given so much power to change laws to fit their spending needs. This was once a strong Nation, a riper power physically and economically. Now our countries debt, our law makers stupid decisions not in the best interest of the Country but in many cases in their own interest for financial gain. Not counting the politicals perks that the politians enjoy they have the right to pass a law for automatic pay raises for theirselves. Wow, how many families are living off minimum wage with no benefits. People in this country can't feed their families and many list their homes to foreclosure. This countries leaders spend money on other countries that hate us why our citizens are homeless and starving. Our leaders have sent jobs overseas by agreements with other countries we are in debt to. How can this country be broke? Our leaders made decisions to benefit theirselves and other countries while our country is in an economic disaster. Our leaders put us in this shape, why don't they pay their money to help us out. I've never seen a broke politian. Their many homes aren't being foreclosed. Their kids aren't working for minimum wage or going to college with borrowing money from student loans. I can't believe that these leaders act like they care about this country as they are ruining it. This debt this country is in is unbelievable yet they are still spending money on every country but this one. Lets fix our country before we help others. Lets pay our bills before we give money away to others we need. Stop spending money like it yours. It is this countries and not your private money to throw around. We need our country back. We need to support this country first. Our leaders don't deserve pay raises, they don't deserve the money they get now. Lets pay them based on results. They would need found stamps then. Fix it you broke it. It's our leaders that messed it up.
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