I keep hearing people erroneously claim that China is funding US deficit spending. It seems that every eejit with a fundamental misunderstanding of mathematics (and access to Xtranormal‘s animated talking bears) has been pushing this concept.
It turns out to be only partially true — and by partially, I mean 7.5% true. But that means the statement is 92.5% false.
The biggest holders of US debt are American individuals, institutions, and Social Security. We own more than 2 out of every 3 dollars of US debt — about over 67%. Hence, we depend far less on the kindness of strangers than you might imagine if your listen to the intertubes.
Those viral animated bears may be clever, but they sure suck at math.
Total United States’ public debt was ~$13.562 trillion at the end of the fiscal year (30 September 2010). As of last week, January 4, 2011, the United States’ total public debt outstanding has surpassed 14 trillion dollars.
Political Calculations has whipped up a chart showing exactly who is holding US debt, and funding our deficit:
U.S. Treasury Department:
Monthly Statement of the Public Debt of the United States (September 30, 2010)
Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities. (At end of September 2010)