The words 'national debt' does tend to confuse me. Who are we actually in debt to and why are most countries so bad at living within their means? Like us, they must know how much comes in and how much goes out, so why can't they budget it properly?
Of course the reason is complex because it isn't physical money that is lent, it is forecasted that we will get this much from here, here and here so we can pay out this much to there, there and there. If one of the here's fall shorts it all unravels.
The US treasury puts the US debt at $14 trillion. The US Census Bureau puts the US population at 307,006,550. My calculator shows that if the debt was divided equally by the population, each American would owe $45,601.63.
The measure of the physical money supply, known as M0, shows how much physical cash there is in the economy, the sum total of every note and coin. The Federal reserve puts Americas M0 at $908 billion.
Back on the calculator and we see that $908 billion divided by the population means that if it was divided up equally, each American would own $3000 in cash.
So America, and i only use America as an example because it has the easiest M0 to find, has a debt of $14 trillion but only has $908 billion in cash. That means that even if every American gave his $3000 to the American Treasury to pay off the debt, they would still owe over $13 trillion to someone. But they only have $908 billion in actual money.
Did nobody, at any time, point out that they owe over 14 times more money than they actually have?
As this wilful dismissal of living within their means seems to have gone on in almost every country on the planet, is it any wonder the whole thing has collapsed? And why are we trusting the same people to get us out of the mess?