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To Those Seized by Debt Fear: China Holds Just 10 Percent, Down From 2 Years Ago

Posted: 10/19/2012 3:55 pm

America is not Greece. We are the world's #1 nation, and the U.S. dollar is the world's reserve currency. Others want to buy our Treasury notes, even at absurdly low interest rates.

History will view our failure to finance the rebuilding of our roads, bridges, tunnels, water systems, electric grid -- all due to Republican obstructionism -- when others are almost handing us the money to do it as one of the epic economic follies of all time. Nothing like mindless fanaticism to spoil a good day -- or decade, eh?

Nor, as the conventional wisdom would have you believe, have we "mortgaged ourselves to China."

How many times do we hear the forces of doom -- primarily from the right wing that wants to end just about everything government does that can help the American people -- that we cannot going on "borrowing from China"?

Most Americans seem to believe that we have mortgaged our entire country to China, and that it is only a matter of time before China "forecloses." Not only would it tank the Chinese economy if it tried to "foreclose," but -- and here's the key point -- China only owns 10 percent of our debt.

Ten percent. And, that is down from 12 percent just two years ago.

Mitt Romney, in debate #1, said that he liked Big Bird and Jim Lehrer, but "he could not borrow money from China to pay for it."

I attended a major economic forum at Stanford University earlier this year. Niall Ferguson, Harvard Professor of Economics, talked about the dangers of debt by raising the specter that we are fighting wars we are "borrowing from China" to pay for. The audience, that included some of the world's leading economists and financial managers, nodded their heads. [I raised my hand to object, but did not get called on].

There may be many reasons why increasing the debt is not a good idea -- e.g., the interest payments required when interest rates return to more normal levels, and the need for us to have reserves to fund the retirement of the boomers, but the Bushies blew that surplus 10 years ago.

But the concern that China is funding our spending is another fiction drummed up by the establishment and fed to us day after day by the lamestream (Sarah, I will always thank you for this one, you got this right!) media, too lazy to say even, "wait a minute, just how much of our debt does China hold?" to the bloviating head-nodding establishment types that appear on our news as "experts." [One might add that, even if China did hold 50 percent of our debt, calling the loans would hurt them more than us, but why bother with such complexities].

Indeed, I have yet to hear anyone object to this canard. If they did, one suspects they would never be invited back on the program again, because they have violated the sacred belief system.

And, would it not make them apoplectic if they had to acknowledge that, in the last two years under President Obama, the amount owed China has declined to 10 percent, from 12 percent, of our debt.

Now, that would be a real stick-in-the-eye.

 

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