Over at Political Calculations, they have updated an excellent graphic showing the various folsk Uncle Sam owes money to:
click for larger graphic
Source: Political Calculations


Category: Credit, Digital Media, Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

12 Responses to “To Whom Does the U.S. Government Owe Money?”

  1. HubbaBuba says:

    Financially speaking, can one think of a bigger oxymoron than “Social Security Trust Fund”?!?

    Up there with “Madoff” made-off with the money. And,
    BP had a problem with the B-lowoff P-reventor.

    Some things are being being able to make them up!

    • willid3 says:

      well, social security did by bonds (special ones) but they are not really different than the bonds that are sold to investors, banks etc. other than they were bought by SS. so when some one advocates for not paying those binds back, the other bond investors will panic, since their bonds are no better. and considering that these are bonds owed to the people, why would foreign investors think they are safe? its like a business selling its bonds to its investors and management, and then threatening to not pay those back. why would the others trust that company any more?

      • ilsm says:


        Beside interest all the cash that bought the treasuries held in the SSTF came from working people, whose contributions start at the first busk earned from work and end a bit over $100K in income. The only cash appropriated by congress that has gone into the SSTF has been in the most recent couple of years to pay “interest” in the form of cash to pay a small fraction of retirees’ checks. While the SSTF has been noted to require cash from congress the past couple of years its balance has risen each year since Reagan increased payroll witholding.

        The Civil Service (OPM) Retirement Trust Fund* differs from the SSTF as it requires about $100B cash a year from congress to keep its balance from going down by that much as it pays out retirees benefits.

        The Military Retirement Trust Fund* is 100% funded by congress and any “balance” is the result of non cash appropriations. Not one cent of soldiers’ money is in that trust fund. When the trust was established in 1984 to lower pentagon spending to free cash to buy more star wars fictions the GAO estimated the unfunded liability to be half a trllion in 1984 dollars!

        No wonder 47 republican senators voted in Feb 14 to be cheap with veterans.

        Each year GAO reports its audit of the federal debt and relates the audited balances in a GAO opinion.

        While DoD could not get such an opinion of its books which mismanage trillions of dollars.

        *I care about the GAO audit, I am a “double annuitant” with an OPM and Military (reserve) annuity rolling in each month.

    • kaleberg says:

      That is extremely cynical. You are arguing that the US will pay its debts to China, Japan, Russia, England, large corporate investors and to every other creditor, but will, despite this, shaft American retirees.

      You are probably right, and we’ll probably get a right wing Supreme Court decision arguing that Americans over 65 aren’t people.

  2. steveh18 says:

    I never see anything about how much Chinese debt we own. Or Japanese or Belgian.

  3. Livermore Shimervore says:

    Belgium has more than 1% of our debt??

  4. tinmanwp says:

    Belgium has almost 2%. Belgium. Huh.

  5. noncist says:

    All they need to do is raise the age at which you can take social security and it will last as long as the policy makers want it to. As long as the average lifespan continues to increase, this even seems reasonable.

    • Jack O says:

      All they need to do is apply payroll taxes to all income and social security will last as long as it needs to. This would have a small impact on less than 10% of individuals and would reduce the federal debt. If either was the real objective…

  6. ch says:

    The us owes the money to soc security…what happens to those ust’s when soc security owes that money to 78m Baby Boomers…10,000 more every day for the next 10 yrs?

  7. Aussi says:

    Is the figure for Belgium really debt to Belgium or is it EU debt distorted by the fact that the EU headquarters are in Brussels?

    • formerlawyer says:

      Does not appear to be so, rather from the source document:
      “The biggest surprise in this edition of our chart (compared to the previous edition) is the appearance of Belgium on the list, which jumped ahead of several other nations by more than doubling the amount that is being lent to the U.S. government from the small European nation over the last six months. Since Belgium is a major international banking center, what this really represents is the accumulation of U.S. debt by other foreign entities through Belgium’s banks in much the same way as London’s banks have historically served this role for countries such as China.”

      The actual table includes EU countries eg. Germany, France etc. see: