Foreign + Banks + Wealthy = Not Quite Overwhelming
(But Still More than Half)

On yesterday’s post I got a comment indicating that most government debt is actually held by US workers in their 401k’s.  Clearly that was not my understanding, so I went digging.

And after I dug, I went to Excel.

And after I went to Excel, I went to PivotCharts.

The results are pictured above.

“Overwhelming” was Too Strong a Word.  “Majority” is Better.

OK, so foreign holdings + bank holdings = about 45% in the chart above.

But then we have these, which account for 25%:


25% Falls Into These Two Categories

Of that 25%, what is owned by the wealthy?

I’m pretty sure it’s more than half, as the wealthiest 1% own more than half the stocks in the US, but I haven’t found good numbers on Treasury (government debt) holdings.  If someone has that please let me know.

Anyway if it’s about half, we’re looking at 57% total ownership by Foreign + Banks + Wealthy Individuals.

Am I Upset at the Wealthy?

No, not at all.  Nothing wrong with being wealthy – I aim to be one of them someday Smile

But it certainly isn’t smart for the rest of us to be paying so much interest to them, to banks, and to foreign countries.

Being in debt just isn’t smart – and not because of the debt itself, but because the interest payments pile up and drown you.

So if “austerity” means “reduce the debt,” fantastic.  I’m all for it.

But if it means “stick the average citizen with the bill while continually funneling interest payments elsewhere,” I am opposed.  Sorry Right Wingers.

I also think it’s stupid to just ignore the debt and say “austerity is bad.”  Sorry Left Wingers.

I bet there are more than two options here.  Someone smarter than me will have to propose alternatives.  But I’m pretty sure the two “options” being argued over are, as usual, a false dichotomy – we lose either way.

This is Just Weird


That Our Government Holds 30% of its Own Debt is Kinda Good News I Guess,
But it Also Indicates Some Serious “Creative” Accounting Going On

The Workbook

The workbook for this post is available here.