Here's Who The U.S. Owes That $US17 Trillion Of Government Debt To

Josh Brown of Ritholtz Wealth Management recently tweeted the chart below, which was created by National Public Radio. (See the original and some additional notes here.)

The chart shows who holds the $US16.8 trillion of U.S. federal debt that is currently outstanding.

In other words, the chart shows who the U.S. government owes all that money to:

Some observations:

  • We owe most of the money to ourselves.
  • We owe a big chunk of the money — about $US6 trillion — to the Federal government. So if there ever were a default (hopefully there won’t be) the government would also be stiffing itself.
  • We owe about $US5 trillion to other countries, including China.
  • The total debt to China is only $US1.3 trillion. So we’re not in hock to China as much as some people think we are.
  • Yes, it’s a boatload of debt. But the experience of Japan, the U.S. after World War 2, and other countries, suggests that it’s a manageable amount, as long as we eventually get our long-term entitlement spending under control.

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