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$14 Trillion in Debt, But Who Owns All That Money?

contributors@theatlantic.com (Vincent Trivett)
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GRAPHIC/WASHINGTON POST

In the next few days, Washington will almost certainly reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling above $14 trillion, which is the current level of total government debt. Who owns all those promised payments?

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We do, mostly. More than half of the total national debt is owed to the Federal Reserve, "intragovernmental holdings," such as the Social Security Trust Fund, domestic investment accounts, and U.S. households. Within the more regularly cited category of "public debt" held outside the U.S. government, foreign sovereigns and investors own about half.

Who owns what? Here, let us break that down for you: