Who Owns America’s Debt?

By Jordan Chussler On February 25, 202307:00 AM

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Weiss Ratings Daily


by Jordan Chussler
By Jordan Chussler

$31.5 trillion. That is where America’s federal deficit now stands.

For context, that is roughly equal to the combined gross domestic products of the U.S., China and Japan — the world’s three largest economies.

Put another way, that is $94,391 in debt per citizen. But because not all citizens pay taxes, for every taxpayer, that is $246,867.

To get an even better idea of how bad things have gotten, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio has skyrocketed over the past 40+ years:

  • From 34.52% in 1980
  • To 59.05% in 2000
  • And now, in 2023, an astounding 120.37%.

The interest alone on our debt has now surpassed $534 billion … or roughly the GDP of Sweden.

If this appears unsustainable, that is because it is. But rather than point fingers at this administration or that administration (they are all guilty), I want to discuss …

Who Owns America’s 
Ballooning Debt

The answer may surprise you.

Some $6.8 trillion of the deficit is in intragovernmental holdings — debt to other federal agencies. For example, agencies like the U.S. Social Security Administration take in more revenue from taxes than they need. These agencies then invest in U.S. Treasurys.

The rest of our federal deficit — a staggering $24.6 trillion — is public debt held principally by foreign governments, U.S. banks and investors.

However, when thinking of foreign governments, most people suspect China or oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia hold the most debt. Fact is, it is Japan with $1.08 trillion. China does rank second, though, with $870 billion.

Major foreign holders of U.S. public debt.
Click here to view full-sized image.

But when it comes to the world’s three largest economies, misery loves company.

Revisiting the debt-to-GDP ratio, as of December 2022, Japan’s debt is 225.9% of its GDP, and China’s is

It is frightening to realize that the nations with the three highest GDPs are being propped up by massive, debilitating, distending debt.

And while the best we, as average citizens, can do is hope a divided Congress does not allow the federal government to default …

Hope that China and Japan continue to want the U.S. dollar to remain stronger than the yuan and yen to keep their respective exports cheap and their economies growing …

And hope the global fiat currency standard remains the greenback …

It is increasingly evident that investors must take matters into their owns hands in order to protect their wealth using proven Safe Money strategies.

To learn more about how to do that, here are this week’s top stories from our team of editors and analysts.

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Until next time,

Jordan Chussler
Managing Editor
Weiss Ratings Daily

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