Uncle Sam owes many things to many people
As of summer 2012, the federal government’s outstanding debt surpassed $15 trillion. Who are the nation’s creditors? The government owes the most money to — itself. U.S. government agencies, including giant trust funds of the Social Security and Medicare systems, and the independent Federal Reserve System account for 41 percent of the federal debt, more than $2 of every $5. Nearly one-third of the national debt is owed to other countries. China is the biggest foreign creditor ($1.144 trillion), followed by Japan ($1.076 trillion), but together they own less than 15 percent of it. Mexico and Canada together are owed $90 billion.
How do we know?
Check the original sources behind the fact:
- US Department of the Treasury: “Ownership of Federal Securities”
- US Department of the Treasury: “June 2012 Treasury Bulletin”
- US Department of the Treasury: “Monthly Statement of the Public Debt of the United States”
- Federal Reserve: “Who owns the Federal Reserve”
- US Department of the Treasury: “Major foreign holders of treasury securities”
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