RALEIGH, N.C. — The national debt is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. The debt represents money the U.S. government owes to someone. But who’s that “someone”?
To figure it out, N.C. State University economist Mike Walden takes a look at the breakdown of our total national debt, which now stands at $14 trillion.
“Actually the biggest single holder of that national debt is Social Security, as well as assorted other government trust funds,” Walden said. They hold $4.5 trillion of that $14 trillion debt.
The Federal Reserve, which is another part of the federal government, holds $1 trillion.
“So right there between Social Security, the Federal Reserve and some other government agencies, $5.5 trillion of the $14 trillion is actually held by the federal government itself,” Walden said.
Domestic private investors — regular people — and businesses that can buy federal debt, they hold $4 trillion.
“The part that everyone seems to focus on is that held by foreign investors,” Walden said, “that also amounts to $4 trillion. So $4 trillion out of the $14 trillion is held by foreign investors. “
Out of that $4 trillion held by foreign investors, China has about $1 trillion. Japan has about $900 billion. And then the U.K. is actually the third biggest holder, foreign holder, at $500 billion.
“So, foreign investors, do hold a lot of our debt, but they certainly do not hold a majority,” Walden said.
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!