Read recently that at last count, the U.S. national debt was over 7 trillion dollars… is that right? Who on earth do we owe all that money too? How much do other countries owe us? Anyone have some good references on this?
Start at the website of the US Treasury Department.
When the government spends more than it receives in tax revenue, it runs a budget deficit.
To cover it, they borrow money. The Federal government’s accumulated borrowings is the national debt, now running at 7.8 trillion dollars. That works out to about $26,000 per US citizen (and growing).
To borrow money, the Treasury issues bonds. Who holds them?
From the GAO:
The biggest holder of Federal Bonds is… the Federal Government! These are Federal Trust Funds, for example the Social Security Trust Fund. In total the Feds hold about 42% of the debt.
The Federal Reserve, which conducts monetary policy, owns about 9.5% of the debt. States and localities own 7.9%.
Private citizens own 18.4%. Foreigners own 22%, with Japan topping the list.
From the link posted by David Simmons, the US national debt as of Wednesday was $7,776,435,356,595.00. Check back later for Thursday’s figure.