If the U.S. paid off its debt there would be no more U.S. Treasury bonds in the world. "It was a huge issue ... for not just the U.S. economy, but the global economy," says Diane Lim Rogers, an economist in the Clinton administration. The U.S. borrows money by selling bonds.
Congress has made many attempts to lower the national debt, but it hasn't been able to reduce the growth of what the nation owes. The U.S. debt is the outstanding obligation owed by the federal government.
What would really happen? The economy would slump. Consumer spending is roughly 70 percent of GDP.. Since, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the savings rate is currently 3.7 percent, increasing the savings rate—a corollary to paying off debt—would mean a decrease in spending by 26.3 percent.
If China ever did call in its debt, it slowly would begin selling off its Treasury holdings. Even at a slow pace, dollar demand would drop. That would hurt China's competitiveness by raising the yuan's value relative to the dollar. At some price point, U.S. consumers would buy American products instead.
The public holds over $22 trillion of the national debt. 3 Foreign governments hold a large portion of the public debt, while the rest is owned by U.S. banks and investors, the Federal Reserve, state and local governments, mutual funds, pensions funds, insurance companies, and holders of savings bonds.
There are countries such as Jersey and Guernsey which have no national debt, so the pay no interest. All this started with the Napoleonic wars when the government borrowed money to fund the war.
China has steadily accumulated U.S. Treasury securities over the last few decades. As of October 2021, the Asian nation owns $1.065 trillion, or about 3.68%, of the $28.9 trillion U.S. national debt, which is more than any other foreign country except Japan.
It also marked the first time since May 2010 that China's holdings fell below the $1 trillion mark. Japan is now the leading holder of U.S. debt with $1.2 trillion.
Japan, with its population of 127,185,332, has the highest national debt in the world at 234.18% of its GDP, followed by Greece at 181.78%. Japan's national debt currently sits at ¥1,028 trillion ($9.087 trillion USD).
As a result, the U.S. actually did become debt free, for the first and only time, at the beginning of 1835 and stayed that way until 1837. It remains the only time that a major country was without debt.
It would greatly impact the economy and people in the U.S. A default would increase interest rates, which could then increase prices and contribute to inflation. The stock market would also suffer, as U.S. investments would not be seen as safe as they once were, especially if the U.S. credit rating was downgraded.
While public debt remains a concern for countries that borrow US dollars, it is less of an issue for the US itself. The dollar is the world's reserve currency and more debt doesn't decrease outside investors' demand for it. Economists sometimes believe that increasing the federal debt weakens the dollar during crises.
A government economist puts that figure, from sea to shining sea, at $22.98 trillion. That's William Larson's estimate for the value of the 1.89 billion acres of land that accounts for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Bank of Russia's estimate, external debt of the Russian Federation as of June 30, 2022 totaled $472.8 billion, having decreased by $9.2 billion, or by 1.9%, since the last year-end.
The statistic shows the national debt of China from 2017 to 2020, with projections up until 2027. In 2020, the national debt of China amounted to around 10,418.31 billion U.S. dollars.
China's debt is more than 250 percent of GDP, higher than the United States.
Tax Cuts. Large tax cuts passed by Congress during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Donald Trump have played a large part in the subsequent deterioration of government finances and the resulting growth in the national debt.
First, total US debt is roughly $30 trillion. If China sold all its debt, it is only 3.6% of all outstanding US debt. A shock to the system maybe, on the day it happens, but just a temporary shock, not a death blow. Second, consider what's happened to our budget deficit the last couple of years.
Broadly speaking, U.S. debt is an in-demand asset. It is safe and convenient. As the world's reserve currency, the U.S. dollar is extensively used in international transactions. Trade goods are priced in dollars and due to its high demand, the dollar can easily be cashed in.
Of the $35 billion that the world's 74 lowest-income nations will owe in debt service payments this year, about 37% — or $13.1 billion — is owed to Chinese entities, according to the World Bank.
What is the current U.S. National Debt amount? The current U.S. debt is $23.3 trillions as of February 2020.
With the breakdown of the economic bubble came a decrease in annual revenue. As a result, the amount of national bonds issued increased quickly. Most of the national bonds had a fixed interest rate, so the debt to GDP ratio increased as a consequence of the decrease in nominal GDP growth due to deflation.