"The People's Money": A crisp, simple, thorough explanation of how government spending is paid for

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/16/deficit-hawks-vs-reality.html


Every time I read something like this, I think about how many of the disagreements on policy I read and hear about might come from none of the relevant parties knowing what they’re talking about. Not in the “they’re reasoning wrong” sense but in the “they don’t even know what the words mean or what they want the words to mean” sense.

Also, honest question: why do so many people think foreign-owned US debt is a bad thing? At first glance is seems like other countries and their citizens give us something we value in exchange for a promise to given them things we can create with a keystroke, if we so choose.

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That is useful. Should be required reading whenever someone starts advocating a return to the gold standard.

From what I understand (not an expert), people have some fear that China can manipulate the U.S. market by selling (or really, just decreasing their regular buying) of U.S. debt. That fear is probably overblown.

But there are so many misconceptions about debt. The whole thing where somebody divides the total debt by the U.S. population and states the result—meaningless! Not to mention that most of the debt is owned by U.S. institutions and individuals. Remember when Trump said he might renegotiate the debt and get creditors (uh, mostly Americans?) to accept less?

Exactly. NPR tried to figure out what in the world Trump might’ve meant. He had no idea what he meant.

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