Look Who Owns The USA…


Japanese left pondering the enduring hostility of some Americans to their nation could be forgiven for wondering why it is they have leant them almost a trillion dollars to help fund their record 14 trillion dollar public debt – and what the even more unpopular Chinese think about their massive loan to the states is anyone’s guess.

Who, aside from Americans themselves (who finance about 40% of their government’s debt), lends the US government the cash (figures in billions):

China: $1,152.5

Japan: $906.9

United Kingdom: $333.0

Oil exporters: $221.5

Brazil: $206.9

Taiwan: $154.5

Caribbean banks: $138.1

Russia: $125.4

Hong Kong: $122.4

Switzerland: $112.4

Canada: $87.7

Luxembourg: $78.4

Germany: $61.3

Thailand: $60.7

Singapore: $60.3

Other: $657.2

More details for those interested.

Of course, all this also means the likes of China and Japan can hardly afford to be smug about the USA’s economic woes, let alone upset them – not if they ever want to see their trillion dollar loans repaid, at any rate…

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    Avatar of Minru
    Comment by Minru
    12:55 27/07/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    You know what they say...

    Owe the bank 100k, you are in trouble.
    Owe the bank 100 million, the bank is in trouble!

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:45 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.3)

    well, owe the bank 100 million they go out of their way to please you, owe the bank 100k, they will fuck you up the ass for being even 1 penny short.

    Avatar of 大和魂 【門前の小僧習わぬ経を読む】
    13:01 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    You can say that again.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:55 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Exactly, china and japan cannot and will not stop buying the bonds, in order to maintain their "exports" to US.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:49 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Economy is all an agreement anyway. In the end, realistically, you could take the currency out of it and it's still a trade in products and services, it would just require a change in societal perception."

    Execpt that money cant go stale or bad, its value is in flux with others so it always as a set price even if the price changes.

    Bartering went the way of the dinosaurs for a reason. You might have had an arraignment for getting your latest porn for a beaver pelt but the person with the porn could have easily said that those pelts weren't good enough for him and walked away after all that hard work.

    Avatar of Elc
    Comment by Elc
    16:10 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    sigh... I wish it was possible to actually get people in positions of power here in the US that actually care about doing their jobs right instead of just trying to get re-elected or push their political party into power...

    and on a similar note to the graph in the article above... heres a bit of contrary information:

    Avatar of HouseLife
    Comment by HouseLife
    01:33 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Economy is all an agreement anyway. In the end, realistically, you could take the currency out of it and it's still a trade in products and services, it would just require a change in societal perception.

    It doesn't matter, this system doesn't really work anyway. Those that don't function will collapse rightfully, those that do will grow stronger, and then the smart ones will follow the ones who are doing things right and survive.

    It's bar graphs that show increasing debt and all that are just scare tactics. If you actually think about it, it doesn't actually mean anything, because nobody will do anything about it. If they did, they'd shatter themselves.

    That's actually the benefit of the catastrophic economy right now. The world now finally is faced with the fact that those imaginary lines that separate us mean precisely jack shit in reality, and as such are being forced against their will to recognize that we are a connected species regardless of cultural differences and can no longer deal with people on a 'country' basis. So while corporations can be quite eye-rollingly assholic in their methods, they are also one of the key reasons that we are becoming "Humanity" instead of nations.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:00 27/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    I have heard somebody say something like
    "Don't interfer with USA's problems. They are the train that pulls us all"

    What I realy would like to know is.
    Who lays the track, and where does it go?

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:15 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Let's hope the tracks aren't laid by incompetent, greedy politicians leading straight off a cliff.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:38 27/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    No, they are laid by greedy corporate fatcats and asshole j**s like George Soros (the man who once pwned the British economy).
    Is that any better?

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:54 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    It's the great revolving door.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:47 28/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    "Let's hope the tracks aren't laid by incompetent, greedy politicians leading straight off a cliff."
    You forgot to say "Oh Wait" at the end of that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:47 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    You good sir are quoting Winston Churchill after he visited Philadelphia for the second time and saw that sheer amount of industry we were churning out

    The first time he visited Philadelphia was on Black Friday October 29th when America lost 85% of its wealth in the greatest stock market crash ever. Yes the first day of the Great Depression.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:40 30/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The USA isn't a train,it's more like a dead weight that creates economical crisises with its financial system (banks,hedge fonds and stocks that have no value in reality but thousands of billions in cyber cash...) and is going to pull us all down if we keep getting involved too much with them (last years bank-fatality and their stupid rating-agencies weren't enough already as it seems,we need to provoke a global financial crisis this time and all because of America who made our money worthless <_<)...

    I hope they go down fast and won't damage our economy just a little with it so that we can stop these childish games at the stock market/derivate sector of banks/fonds where they get rid off their foul credits/worthless stocks...
    We need more idependence from a purely destructive economy like the USA that will hopefully end after Tuesday 02.08.2011 when they have gone bancrupt!

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:23 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Who is your daddy...and what does he do?

    Avatar of Gradius
    Comment by Gradius
    01:55 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    U.S. is totally broken.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:47 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    And yet, Moodies or whatever the fuck that American ratings agency is called, it's trying their damned best to make my country (Portugal) pass for paupers and beggars who can't pay their debts (bullshit, compared with Greece and Ireland, our financial problems are like a mosquito fart blowing in the wind).

    All i see when i look as America's financial situation is a giant with clay feet and a glass ceiling, but who insist in talking big.

    America needs a jumbo sized humble pie delivered at their doorstep.

    I'm not an America hater. I'm simply calling it as i see it.

    Avatar of Your Name
    Comment by Your Name
    12:30 27/07/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    So, when do I get paid?

    Comment by GodMan
    12:37 27/07/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Here's an IOU

    Comment by Anonymous

    Ha ! As if you can trust anything a USian says ! USA have a large history of backing out of their promises and contracts, so basically they are just pathological liars and cheaters. Like the one time USia fucked France and refused to pay their debts. Should have been nuked that time, or at least French debt collectors should have broken arms and legs of that dumbass USian president.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:55 27/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Now put your biased view aside, and look at all the times the US has kept their promises and contracts.

    Oh man, who'd of thought?

    Avatar of Firetribe
    Comment by Firetribe
    21:00 27/07/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Historically, the US has defaulted three time in historically, but yes they have been able to make all their payments once they got off the gold standard. Now we can pay by printing money out of thin air. If the US cannot borrow money, having the reserve currency, they could just print the rest. The problem with this is the blow back of devaluing the currency. In 1964, you could get your gas at 10 cents a gallon with full service. Today, you can get gas at $4 a gallon and you have to pump it yourself.

    What makes the pre-1965 dime special is that it is backed by it's silver content. It's worth about $5 now and can still buy you a tank of gas as it did in 1964. Today's money is backed by the credibility of the US and we are losing it. But alas the checks will continue to come in - just they won't buy as much as they used to.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:33 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Firetribe, printing money is essentially a tax which hits the poorest people hardes. (Everyone loses the same fraction, so rich people lose more, but it turns out that when you take into account what the money actually does for you, standards of living of poor people are actually more affected. Rich people will turn moderately affluent, but poor people start to have trouble paying their bills.)

    For those interested in past defaults:
    And here's another article about the current situation:

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:58 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Aside from the obvious military might which America reluctantly contributed to save its own butt from the Axis powers, the "help" for the UK in WWII was mainly in the form of loans that we only just finished paying back a few years ago. Talk about pound of flesh...

    Avatar of Kuraudo
    Comment by Kuraudo
    18:00 27/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    He *does* have a point from a certain point of view.

    For example, look at how quickly we backed out of the Missile Defense treaty with the Eastern European nations - we left out allies completely hanging after breaking our written word because we wanted to please a country we had no such agreements with (Russia).

    Remember South Vietnam? We left them to die at the hands of the North Vietnamese butchers - millions perished in the resulting pogrom while we did nothing.

    Those are just two examples off the top of my head - the point is that we have a history of this kind of thing as much as we'd like to tell ourselves otherwise. It's an ugly history that goes back a ways. I want to say we make good on most of our promises, but the ones that stand out are pretty ugly, there's no question. It's up to us citizens such as ourselves to make a stand and put an end to such broken promises, however.

    I don't like it any less than you folks do, but the poster *does* have a point.

    Avatar of ♥Jacky la Mort♥
    Comment by ♥Jacky la Mort♥
    15:16 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    "Now put your biased view aside, and look at all the times the US has kept their promises and contracts."

    Did I miss something? O_o

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:44 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    so wait... the aid given wasn't just charity? It was just a way to make other countries indebted to the US?

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:08 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    @ Ciscotaku
    Help? US financed both sides. If by your twisted logic it is HELP then yes it is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:44 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    wtf is an usian? is it really that hard to type out american?

    Avatar of Ciscotaku
    Comment by Ciscotaku
    15:05 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    so i guess, the help france, uk, china got in WW2 doesn't count. + all the billions that goes out in aid

    Comment by Anonymous

    The US helped Europe in two world wars and that counts for a lot, but it is true they could've been more generous about it and not made Britain give them the keys to the Atlantic and pay back loans forever while giving so much to Germany and Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous

    It's not just about food and other aid. The US has a very high credit rating because, historically, even though the US borrows money like crazy, there has never been an issue of whether or not the US would be able to make payments on that debt owed.

    Countries may not like our foreign policy, but they lend to the US not only because it serves a strategic interest to them, but because they know that they will be paid back over time.

    Comment by Anonymous

    now that's a successful troll

    at least if you apply the newfag definition of trolling:
    act retarded - get replies

    if you don't apply that definition though you just made yourself look like a complete idiot

    Comment by Anonymous

    What do you mean "just a way to make other countries indebted to the US"? Why should historically very wealthy countries like the UK and France be given gifts to clean up the mess they made of Europe? Damn right they have to pay it back...eventually. It's not like the US drained them dry or anything.

    Comment by Anonymous

    or all the food the us gives out for free, the aid we give out and general help.

    sure, people abuse their power some times in foreign countries, but this is a rareish occurrence.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:11 27/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Do the math and figure out how much your cut would be, then come over to the US and ask the first American citizen you meet to pay up. I'm sure one of us will gladly oblige.

    ...or reach for our gun. One or the other.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:32 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    America owes each and every Japanese person 7086 USD. Feel like paying up? (907 billion / 128 million)

    Avatar of Rakshasa
    Comment by Rakshasa
    21:42 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Artefact, pretty much all of that Japanese debt is in the form of yen dominated government bonds held by Japanese investors.

    The Japanese export industry is also very strong and remains far above import levels ($765.2 billion versus $636.8 billion in 2010), thus the debt is not in any way as serious as what the US is facing.

    It is, however, true that as long as the Diet doesn't introduce some proper VAT levels and look into fiscal austerity measure... It will remain very hard for them to raise the near-zero interest rate on borrowing, and thus leave very few mechanisms to kick the economy out of deflation / near-deflation.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    That's nothing - every Japanese person has borrowed $93,000 by way of their government (their national debt stands at over $7 trillion).

    As their population is now ageing, shrinking and retiring, and the only way of paying their pensions is by borrowing even more and taxing the few young people who remain, their problems make those of the US look positively benign.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:58 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    ...and our own government owes each of us much more. Get in line.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:28 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    wait if im not mistaken
    only 10 percent of our gdp comes from taxes

    i doubt we are paying our debt with only taxes

    Avatar of erochichi
    Comment by erochichi
    05:52 30/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Artefact, Japanese government owes money almost solely to Japanese creditors. Japanese government can tax those very same creditors to get rid of debt, if it feel it necessary, politically acceptable or if possible new government has it in their political program.
    There is a difference being in debt to creditors in own country, or to foreign creditors.

    Avatar of Phrantick
    Comment by Phrantick
    01:36 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    If 907 billion is owed to the Japanese government, it doesn't mean that Japanese people are owed anything at all by the USA. It's just the government.

    Also, the amount of profit these countries will make when the money is paid back in full could even be more than twice the amount they lended.

    Avatar of HouseLife
    Comment by HouseLife
    01:39 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    I admit my mind shuts off as soon as I realize what the Tsunami and the power plant and all the repairs will do to affect that. Unfortunately, that shredding paper of an economy we have will continue to shred, but until we step to the side of it and acknowledge that it's just a sheet, we'll never let it be what it is, and it will continue to be what we make of it.

    Avatar of shiroki
    Comment by shiroki
    12:59 27/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Q: Using the data given in the graph above, calculate the year when the USA would finally pay off all their debts.

    Avatar of Lexi
    Comment by Lexi
    14:08 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    America has only ever paid off its debt once in history, when Andrew Jackson sold off federal land in order to do so.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:57 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, it depends on how you look at it. Their debt is a continuous thing. Sure, it's never hit $0, but they have paid off things, but only gained new ones afterwards.

    It's like paying off an old hooker, but then getting a different one at the same time.

    Avatar of erochichi
    Comment by erochichi
    06:01 30/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    You need to understand the quality of Chinese export is not trash anymore. Not since early 90`s.
    I am afraid the quality of US products has begun to fail instead.

    Avatar of CC
    Comment by CC
    21:43 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    More like borrowing money from the loanshark to pay off your debt to the bank.. it just cannot end well.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:35 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Keep in mind the US is the loan shark what could China or Japan do?
    The US stops importing trash China's economy dies over night.

    Avatar of Firetribe
    Comment by Firetribe
    22:01 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Try calculating using this.


    Avatar of Rakshasa
    Comment by Rakshasa
    14:01 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Cut gas and farm subsidies, introduce 10% VAT and you'd pay it back without needing to cut the budget,

    16:14 27/07/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Focus VAT mostly on Chinese imports call it a carbon footprint tax which it is.
    On gas it got to be very careful maybe just eliminate subsidies to foreign oil but subsidize domestic energy esp alternative and energy from thorium.
    You simply cannot have a healthy economy with expensive energy.

    It takes 50% more energy to produce lets say a wrench or mp3 player in China then it would in the US or Mexico.

    BTW I'm being conservative with that number actually it could be double if you count shipping the ore around.

    Next restore the top income tax and top capital gains tax rate to 40%.

    The debt would disappear in less then ten years.

    Avatar of Rakshasa
    Comment by Rakshasa
    21:48 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's not VAT, that's tariffs...

    And speaking of CO2 and tariffs, I still can't believe none of the green movement and workers rights movements haven't been more vocal about using tariffs as a means of pushing non-cooperative nations to do what is right.

    The situation in Bangladesh for textile workers is horrendous, yet none of the 'good' clothing chains can move to improve the conditions due to the local government and other, more greedy, companies. So tariffs would work perfect here, where factories would get punished if they didn't provide proper wages and working conditions.

    Same goes for the US / China and other countries that don't seem to want to follow the various international movements for reducing emissions.

    02:08 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yes it is a tariff.
    I gave this a lot of thought a 10% VAT on all transactions would be a bad idea.
    It would negatively impact the sell of durable goods.
    If you made VAT on everything including necessities like fuel and food it might even cause riots and justly so.
    But making imports of trash from China a little more expensive would not harm the economy.
    So some guy has to buy $40 vs 35 dollar for a DVD player he would not even complain.

    It also would level the playing field with other countries who choose to actually try to follow environmental protection and human rights laws.
    China does things that would not even float in Mexico or Vietnam etc.
    Such as making people work 80 hours a week for $12 a day and live under conditions that would be illegal even for prisoners in the first world.

    A lot of assembly jobs would move to near by Mexico to avoid the carbon and human rights abuse tax.

    This would be good for the US by helping immigration and the Mexican factories would buy chemicals and microchips made in the US helping the US industrial economy.
    Some may even move to automation and be inside the US.

    To be fair I would allow a Chinese company to wave the human rights abuse tax if the factory can be toured and it shown the workers are given fair pay ,work reasonable hours, and are provided proper home.
    Another requirement it must be privately owned vs state owned.

    The biggest loser from China's dominance of manufacturing was not the US but the rest of the developing world.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:00 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    About energy - Germans and Japanese would like to disagree. Personally, I agree with low energy, but disagree on low gas prices. It just leads to inefficient energy use and is, in fact, living on credit (at the cost of future generations, who will have to deal with gas-less world much sooner thanks to all your gas-guzzers).

    Quite frankly - efficiency is the only way to go. Scarce natural resources will only go even scarcer and we cannot hope for truly cheap energy until and if (and it's a HUGE if) ITER fusion project will become commercially viable. Which might take 50 years or more.

    Regarding tax:
    US was at it's prime when highest tax rate was at 90% (yes, really), I would say that with current high capital mobility, 40% is too low.

    03:41 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    @ Anon 3:00
    Germany and Japan are partly why I say energy must be cheap for a healthy economy their economies are in worse shape then the US's.
    Efficiency can't answer all the problems some things such as freight trains are already getting close to maximum Carnot efficiency.
    Then there's the diminishing returns with increased complexity.

    A Prius does not get much better mileage then a Geo Metro or VW diesel which is less complex.
    In fact under some conditions it's actually worse.

    Any engineer worth their degree knows an energy source must be affordable or it's unpractical.

    Plus keep in mind the size of the US.

    BTW the scarcity of fuel is artificial condition created by speculators the US has vast reserves of oil shale.
    oil can be made from coal at a profit for $45 a barrel.

    Transportation energy must be affordable as transport is a vital part of modern society.

    I still think we should get off fossil fuels as it's wrecking the atmosphere.
    Cheap energy need not wait until fusion which seems to always be 20 years away it can be had now.
    I also think ITER is the wrong path for fusion anyway tokamaks seem to be a dead end.
    Polywell may be a better path.
    The answer near term is energy from thorium and biofuels.

    Thorium is a common element and more energy dense then even uranium.
    Enough to supply a person their life time energy needs would be the size of a walnut.

    A LFTR reactor would be cheap and extremely safe producing electricity for 5 cent per KW.

    It can not fail like Fukushima cut the power the salt plug melts and core which is already molten falls into the cooling chamber.

    On biofuel corn is not the answer switch grass is the crop that needs to be grown.
    Diesel can be made from algae.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Lets have low gas prices and high energy consumption, and have China, India, Brazil and any other upcoming countries decimated the atmosphere with their businesses.
    This is my wet dream.

    Avatar of Shaolan-kun
    Comment by Shaolan-kun
    13:57 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    >Error: Debt Overflow
    >Please reboot system

    16:09 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Restore the upper bracket taxes to 1960s levels all the national debt both foreign and more importantly domestic could be paid off in ten years.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:20 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    You might want to take into account that Laffer himself said that his curve ONLY works in circumstances of very high taxation. It doesn't apply to the present situation.

    The claim that the Laffer curve somehow applies outside a situation of extremely high taxation is just a complete fabrication.

    Not that I'm accusing you of any dishonesty. All I'm saying is that the idea that raising taxes in an ordinary situation would not increase revenues is pure voodoo-economics and promoted by rich people who don't want to pay.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:04 28/07/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Doesn't work. Look up the "Laffer Curve." Increased taxes does not equal increased revenue.
    I say restore spending to 60s levels, instead.

    Avatar of Bigall
    Comment by Bigall
    14:29 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Do you mean WW3 by that? Because right now it's the only way.

    Avatar of Firetribe
    Comment by Firetribe
    21:10 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Wars don't create wealth, they only destroy. The US is spending 10bn a day in Libya. WW3 would only cause the debt to balloon.

    Comment by 666
    15:28 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    I really hope it's going to be WW3, because my home town misses the bombardments of russian artillery. ^_^

    Comment by Anonymous

    China should wave their share because one everything they made was crap and two they would be not even exist anymore if the US did not save them in WWII.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:30 27/07/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    We saved the Nationalists, not the CPC. The CPC doesn't consider itself to owe any favors or debts based on agreements with the Nationalist government. If the US wants to collect on war favors it has to ask Taiwan for them.

    Comment by Anonymous

    If without the help of USA,the USSR would extent its helping hand to China,and Japan either bare its ass to USSR or USA and saying'Fuck me hard,baby".what a pathetic samurai nation,HA.

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