According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the total amount of the U.S. national debt was $16.74 trillion on Sept. 30. Almost all of that is dependent on the statutory debt ceiling and that is presently set at just under $16.7 trillion. This actually leaves an unused debt capacity of only $25 million. Real-time numbers can be viewed 24/7 online with the national debt clock.
You may have already known all of that, so here are a few interesting facts regarding the national debt that you might not have been aware of:
- In spite of the fact that U.S. government debt is probably the most widespread class of security worldwide, 28.4 percent of the national debt was actually owed to some other branch of the federal government on September 30.
- In USD, this equals approximately $4.76 trillion owed to other branches of the government.
- The largest creditor is Social Security with $2.76 trillion worth of special Treasury securities that are not traded.
- This comes out to 16.5 percent of the total national debt.
- Please note that Social Security revenues exceeded the benefit payments paid out for a number of years now. That means that by law, they must invest that surplus into U.S. Treasuries.
- The next largest domestic debt holder is the Federal Reserve System. They hold almost 12.4 percent of the national debt at $2.1 trillion in Treasuries.
- The Federal Reserve has been aggressively holding down interest rates, therefore the government has been paying interest rates that are low by historical standards.
- The public debt interest rate has been averaging 2.43 percent, according to the Treasury Department.
- Demand still remains strong to purchase U.S. government debt in spite of the lower interest rates.
- Rumors are always flying about China owning all of the U.S. national debt, but that’s not necessarily true. China is only our largest creditor overseas.
- The U.S. owes China approximately $1.28 trillion for their Treasury holdings, which is only 7.6 percent of our total debt.
- This is slightly ahead of what the U.S. owes Japan, which amounts to $1.1 trillion worth of treasuries.
And, on the home-front, most salaried employees in the U.S. might be surprised to find out, by taking a look at their time clock calculator, that they are actually working an average of 47 hours per 40 hour work week, according to nationwide figures. That’s a lot of working hours to still be burdened by so much debt. It’s becoming more difficult these days for all of us to manage our debt load. Could the answer to lowering debt simply be to work more and spend less? As it stands, most consumers are already stretched too far anyway. A dramatic lifestyle change must occur for every single one of us if we are going to bring about a significant change in our burdensome debt.
These are just a few pertinent facts regarding the national debt. For further info, just log on to the debt clock online or treasury direct to stay on top of what’s happening with the national debt and other U.S. treasury issues nationwide.