Who Do We Owe?

Why does it matter who owns our debt? Is it worse to borrow from China than from other lenders?

The national debt currently stands at more than $15 trillion, with much of that money owed to foreign nations and foreign investors. Our interest payments on that debt are enormous, $414 billion in 2010 alone. Over the course of the next decade our payments are expected to quadruple, which will mean even more tax dollars flowing overseas. The largest foreign holders of US debt include countries with whom we have complex or even antagonistic relationships: China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, among others. Continued deficit spending leaves Americans no choice but to pay a large portion of our taxes to foreign governments.