China no longer views the U.S. as creditworthy

Viewed from Beijing, it looked very different. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine what more we could have done to vindicate the Chinese Communist Party’s position that Western democracy is a form of institutionalized chaos to be avoided by all sane Asians.

One of my friends from China asked me how much of the federal debt was owed by the government to itself. I had to check. The answer is just less than a third, since various agencies like the Social Security Trust Fund are major holders of U.S. Treasuries.

“So,” he mused, “Congress just voted not to default on the debt the government owes itself?” I had to admit that was correct. “And how much of the federal debt is owed by the government to the American people?” More checking. The answer is that just more than a third is owed to U.S. citizens and the banks and pension funds that manage their savings.

“So the will of the people was that it would be better not to default on the government’s debt to…the people?” I couldn’t deny it.