Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just Who Owns America's Debt? Americans!

Truth is elusive. But it's a good thing we have math. Our friends at Business Insider know this, and put those two principles to work today in this excellent and highly informative little slideshow, made even more timely by the ongoing talks in Washington, DC aimed at staving off a US debt default.

Here's the big idea:
Many people — politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China and, to a lesser extent Japan, own most of America's $14.3 trillion in government debt. But there's one little problem with that conventional wisdom: it's just not true. While the Chinese, Japanese and plenty of other foreigners own substantial amounts, it's really Americans who hold most of America's debt. Here's a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total US debt, according to Business Insider:

Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9%)
Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1%)
Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1%)
Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5%)
Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6%)
Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2%)
Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1%)
State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2%)
Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4%)
United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4%)
Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5%)
State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5%)
Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4%)
US households: $959.4 billion (6.6%)
China: $1.16 trillion (8%)
The US Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3%)
US Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19%)

So foreigners own about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion and there's where a default would hurt the worst!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Obama using scare tactics via television interviews rather than working on the problem

Well President Obama warned us yesterday that retirees might not receive their Social Security checks in August if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement on how to reduce the federal debt.

"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on Aug. 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama told CBS's Scott Pelley in an interview set to air tonight on the CBS Evening News.

Here's my response....."Why don't you quit giving all these television interviews and actually go work on fixing the problem?"

Roughly $20 billion in Social Security checks are set to be mailed out on Aug. 3--a day after the Treasury Department says the US will begin defaulting on its financial obligations unless the debt ceiling is raised.

But the president cautioned that it's more than just Social Security checks that could be affected. "These are veterans' checks. These are folks on disability," Obama said, according to excerpts released by CBS News. "There are about 70 million checks that go out."

The president's comments come a day after he warned of dire financial consequences should Republicans and Democrats fail to come to an agreement on raising the debt ceiling and paying down the deficit. In a press conference yesterday, Obama said if Republicans fail to compromise on a debt deal that it could "throw millions of more people out of work."

Obama and congressional leaders are set to meet again later today as the two sides continue to bicker over the debt ceiling and how to shore up the nation's dire fiscal state. The White House is pressing for an agreement by July 22nd (a little over a week before Aug 2), the date when Treasury officials say the US will hit its debt limit.

Get to work please Mr President and stop running around using fear tactics on the American public. Get a room. Sit both leaderships down. Hammer out a compromise. Get on with business rather than promoting your own personal agenda that is not in the best interests of our country!