Debt in the United States and Who Holds It

English: Estimated ownership of all US treasur...

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It is no conundrum that debt is the single leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States, but who is it that holds all this debt?

For individuals experiencing bankruptcy in the United States, the debt held for most average Americans is held by credit card banks, mortgage banks, credit unions, and regular banks. When you obtain a debt that is federally backed, the federal government uses one of these types of banking institutions to loan you the money and guarantee the loan. Private loans in the United States, like some pay day loans or automobile manufacturer loans, can also be a part of a debt that ultimately will send you into bankruptcy.

American society as a whole is now in debt to almost the point of complete bankruptcy. The national debt is now over $15 trillion and rising, and it is not likely to be paid off because the United States annual tax revenue currently cannot pay off the interest on the national debt.

The national debt of the United States comes from the federal government borrowing money by selling various investment securities that are backed only by the good faith in our government. These are not secured loans but have historically been low risk because of the financial stability the United States has enjoyed since the Great Depression. But now, bankruptcy looms for us all.

It might surprise you who holds the national debt of the United States. Here is a simple breakdown of the top 10 holders of our national debt.

  1. The Federal Reserve and other government holdings. The United States Government is the largest single holder of our debt at $6.328 trillion. Federal banks own $1.65 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. Other government entities like the Medicare Trust Fund and the Social Security Trust Fund own the rest.

  2. China. $1.132 trillion of our debt is owned by a foreign country who has been our enemies in the past and recently exclaimed they did not understand unsecured risks.

  3. A large diverse group of investors. Private United States citizens, private businesses, public businesses, and a host of others in the diverse group, both foreign and domestic, have invested in savings bonds and other government securities. This group holds about $1.107 trillion of our national debt.

  4. Japan. One of the United States’ largest trade partners holds about $1.038 trillion of our debt.

  5. Pension Funds. This group includes mostly United States private and local government pension funds that have invested about $842.2 billion in our national debt.

  6. Mutual Funds. This group of investment holders currently manage about $653.5 billion in U.S. Treasury securities.

  7. State and Local Governments. Currently, the best estimate for this group of investors is about $484 billion.

  8. The United Kingdom. The United States biggest ally within the last two years has increased buying U.S. Debt by 8 times to a current $429.4 billion.

  9. Depository institutions. Commercial banks, savings banks, and credit unions now own about $285.4 billion of our national debt.

   10. Insurance companies. Property-casualty and life insurance companies hold about $250.1 billion in Treasury securities

Not all inclusive, this should give you an idea of who holds most of the debt in the United States. Over 1.4 million Americans filed for bankruptcy last year. With so much debt, is there any wonder why bankruptcy is so prominent in the United States?
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