Popular wisdom has it that the US is largely now “owned” by China or other foreigners. That we are basically borrowing from the world to stay afloat. Thus, ushering in the specter of these lenders calling our loans due and breaking us.
It turns out that’s not quite true. In fact, it’s not even a little true. Business Insider actually looked at the data, and the perhaps surprising result is that two-thirds of the $14.3 trillion debt is held right here in the US.
Think of that a little differently. $9.8 trillion of American government debt is held by US taxpayers. The same people (well, some of the same people) ultimately responsible for paying off that debt. The same people who would pay should the government opt to raise more revenue through taxes.
The government is the people in this country. We hear all the time how the US debt is a legacy of burden on our grandchildren. Yet, at least collectively, those same grandchildren are sitting on a massive asset which is the notes on that very same debt. It would be as if you had $70,000 worth of gold buried in your backyard, a $100,000 mortgage you couldn’t make the payments on, and spent all your time whining about how you were broke.
Make no mistake, the current debt crisis is one of choice on many levels. The government may well be broke, but the country is not. And the government is broke only because it (or we) have chosen make it run that way. This leaves us no license to bitch about it.