Sweet 16 today!
US debt tops $16 trillion: So who do we owe most of that money to?
The Treasury Department reported Tuesday that the national debt had topped $16 trillion, adding fuel to Republicans' criticisms of President Obama's deficit spending just as the Democrats are kicking off their national convention.
Mitt Romney lamented "the enormous debt" being handed the nation's children, while House Speaker John Boehner called it a "sad reminder of President Obama's broken promise to cut the deficit in half."
But if you thought China's been doing most of the bankrolling, you might be surprised to learn who really holds our federal mortgage.
Fully two-thirds of the national debt is owed to the U.S. government, American investors and future retirees, through the Social Security Trust Fund and pension plans for civil service workers and military personnel. China, it turns out, holds less than 8 percent of the money our government has borrowed over the years.
“It is true that China is the largest foreign owner of our debt,” said Josh Gordon, policy director of the Concord Coalition, a Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates getting the nation’s debt under control. “But the vast majority of our debt is held by us.”
“It is true that China is the largest foreign owner of our debt. But the vast majority of our debt is held by us.”
- Josh Gordon, Concord Coalition
Economists differ on when the National Debt actually crested the $16 trillion mark, with some saying it occurred on Friday and others saying it happens on Tuesday. But none doubt that the federal government's tab is immense and growing. Just under $5 trillion of the national debt is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund and federal pension systems. A little more than $11 trillion is owed to foreign and domestic investors and the Federal Reserve, which buys up treasuries in order to drag down interest rates through quantitative easing.
China has actually decreased its holdings of U.S. debt over the past year, dropping from $1.31 trillion in June 2011 to $1.16 trillion a year later, according to the Treasury Department. Japan holds nearly as much, at $1.12 trillion. Those countries are by far the biggest foreign holders, but dozens of other nations, including Brazil, Russia, Taiwan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom hold trillions more.
Read more: US debt tops $16 trillion: So who do we owe most of that money to? | Fox News
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