Green Room

No Red Dawn – U.S. Citizens Still Responsible For Most of Our Debt

posted at 9:24 pm on September 18, 2012 by

I know the talk about China, besides government being too large, is always something that comes up in a conversation about the national debt. Many late night talk show hosts quip about our relationship with China, but I assure you that the tiger economy doesn’t own as much of our debt as many believe.  Amidst the upcoming release of the Red Dawn remake, which was originally set to have the Chinese as our enemy before executives opted to maintain access to the Asian box office – I’m sure the discussion would have been similar: Debt = China = end of sovereignty.

However, according to, 42.8% of American citizens and institutions are responsible for our $16 trillion dollar debt compared to 8.2% held by China.  However, as Craig Eyermann wrote on September 16:

Although the United States’ total public debt outstanding has now exceeded 16 trillion dollars, at least as of 31 August 2012, the relative percentages for the major holders of all the debt issued by the U.S. government shown above are likely unchanged.

Taking that larger national debt figure into account, as well as the likely growth in the number of U.S. households, we estimate that the current national debt burden per U.S. household is roughly $131,113. Over the last four years, that’s up by $49,129 per U.S. household from the $81,984 per U.S. household figure set in 2008.

So, although our situation is still dismal – we shouldn’t expect Chinese troops invading our shores due to default.  Furthermore, given the thickness of the dome that engulfs Washington D.C. – we shouldn’t expect members of the political class to act on the sheer amount of debt each household and citizen owes the government.  Right now, the “Red Dawn” threat is coming from the regulation onslaught against business in this country.

P.S. – The villains in the Red Dawn remake are North Korean – Is anyone else puzzled by this?

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Actually, the more of our debit China holds, the less they will want to risk war with us. War is the one way that we could renounce all of that debit, leaving them with little more than colorful paper.

Count to 10 on September 18, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Interesting chart! I like the breakdown…

Man are we ever ‘owned’ and owed…

So what IS Obama spending our trillions on?

I see nothing to account for that massive debt?

That’s what I want to see, how has Obama spent 6 trillion dollars!!

Scrumpy on September 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM

China was buying US debt during the Bush years, not lately, right now it’s the fed buying up the bonds. What China has to be worried about is the eventual inflation that could wipe out their investment

China has been acting a bit strange lately, Here’s the question… which way does the dog wag, do they prefer a weak America or one that can pay them back.

halfbaked on September 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Too bad Europe is insolvent…they owe us a chunk for WWI&II.

trl on September 19, 2012 at 11:04 PM