Is America in debt? If yes, then to whom?

Answer by Matt Wasserman:

The government of the United States is in debt for about $18 trillion.

About $5 trillion of that is technically owed to itself – intragovernmental debt. Money collected for specific purposes (like Social Security or Medicare) goes into the general fund, and non-transferrable treasury bonds are issued in its place. For example, the Social Security trust funds currently have about $2.6 trillion worth of these bonds, but no cash other than what's been collected in the last 30 days.

While the money is technically owed to the government by the government, it's really owed to the citizens. And while these are not the same bonds being sold in the open market, I think it's a safe bet that defaulting on them would have a significant impact on our credit worthiness.

The other $13 trillion is in the form of treasury bonds, treasury notes, savings bonds, and other forms of government issued debt. $6 trillion of that is held by foreign investors, banks, and creditors. August 2014 numbers from Treasury look like this (in billions)-

China,Mainland    1269.7
Japan    1230.1
Belgium    359.9
Carib Banking Centers    313.9
Oil Exporters    267.5
Brazil    261.7
Switzerland    189.1
Taiwan    172.9
United Kingdom    172.8
Hong Kong    160.5
Luxembourg    150.5
Russia    118.1
Ireland    106.8
Singapore    106.3
Norway    87
India    80.4
Mexico    75.2
Turkey    73.4
Germany    69.4
Canada    64.9
France    59
Korea    56.9
Thailand    40.8
Sweden    36.3
Kazakhstan    36.1
Colombia    34.8
Philippines    34.6
Australia    33.9
Netherlands    33.6
Italy    30.8
Poland    29.4
Chile    27
Israel    26.4
Spain    21.8
Denmark    16.2
Vietnam    14.6
Peru    11.4
South Africa    10.3
All Other    182.3
Grand Total    6066.6

The remaining ~$7 trillion is held by people and entities in the US. The Federal Reserve holds about $2.5 trillion of it. Mutual funds and pension funds hold about $1.6 trillion. State governments hold about $800 billion. Insurance companies, $270 billion. Banks, $380 billion. Savings bonds are about $180 billion. Individuals and other entities hold the rest, about $1.1 trillion.

State governments are in debt for another $1.2 trillion. Some percentage of that should be added to the federal debt because the money is borrowed to fund federal programs.

Local governments are in debt for about $1.9 trillion.

Consumer debt is about $11.6 trillion.

Yes, America is in debt.

Is America in debt? If yes, then to whom?


How is Portugal seen in your country?

Answer by Chris Hawkins:

The above answers are incredibly interesting, given that despite the relatively small size of Portugal in terms of geography and populations, this nation has had one of the greatest impacts on three of the planet's largest continents, viz Africa, Asia and South America.

Before Portugal began its voyages of discovery, the nation was almost the first in Europe to define its borders and class itself as a nation, way before France, Spain, Italy and Germany. As long ago as 1143, following the Treaty of Zamora, the nation was recognised as in independent sovereign state – global opinion network although it took another 100 years to finalise the conquest of the southern most regions of Portugal, viz the Algarve.

The University of Coimbra, ( University of Coimbra ) was founded in 1290, well in advance of Heidelberg and many Italian, German and Spanish centres of learning.

It was Portugal's Voyages of Discovery, Portuguese discoveries, from the middle of the 15th Century onward, that began the projection of the nation onto the world stage. Although its eventual colonisation of swathes of Africa, Brazil and Asia would in the late 20th and 21st Century be considered anathema by much of the world, there is a strong argument for the thesis that the Portuguese were the pioneers of "Globalisation"!

Portugal's Unending Sphere of  Influence

Portuguese maritime technology gave impetus to the subsequent maritime adventures of The Netherlands, England, France and Spain.

Portugal's maritime influence also resulted in major contributions to some of the world major languages and evolution of culinary styles. Portuguese Jesuit priests were the first westerners to penetrate Japan and China.

List of Japanese words of Portuguese origin

There are apocryphal suggestions that the word "Mandarin" used in English to describe putonghua/guoyu originated from the Portuguese phrase "mandar em", – "to send in" which was used by Portuguese envoys to the Chinese Emperor's court to refer to the court officials who were the only ones allowed to enter the presence of the Emperor.

Fast forward five hundred years, and one finds Portugal again "punching above its weight" on the world stage.

Ignoring its ongoing economic crisis, most people are not aware that, almost alone among its former colonial peers, Portugal has managed to maintain and develop extremely strong social, cultural and economic links with the other nations in the CPLP ( Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa ) grouping of  Portuguese speaking nations.

By various rankings, Portuguese is the 4th or 5th most spoken language world-wide.

Português a quarta língua mais falada no mundo

It also handled with aplomb the return of its former colony Macau to Chinese control and used the opportunity to reinforce links with China.

Furthermore, Portuguese technocrats are in key positions in both the Public and Private Sector throughout the world.

José Manuel Barroso – Current President of the EU Commission
António Guterres – Current UN High Commissioner for Refugees
António Horta Osório (banker) – Chief Executive Lloyds Bank, London, United Kingdom
Carlos Tavares — Wikipédia – Former Senior Executive of Renualt and now Chief Executive of PSA (Peugeot – Citroen) – France.

Portugal is blessed with a great resources of well-educated multi-lingual talents at all levels.

Portuguese outward investment is also notable with groups such as Jeronomo Martins, a national retailer, now being the owner and operator of the largest retail operator in Poland, (Biedronka) and now spearheading a similiar effort in Colombia.

EDP Renováveis, a subsididary of national power generator, EDP ( Energias de Portugal ) , is the third-largest generator of wind energy globally with large operations in the use.

Since the economic crisis began 5 years ago, Portugal has used these influences and links to successfully engineer a turnaround in manufactured and service exports attracting substantial foreign investment, (much more than has Greece ) and leveraged its position to be a gateway to three of the countries with some of the biggest growth potential world-wide, namely, Angola, Brazil and Mocambique.

It may be that Portugal, because of its small size and small economic "footprint" is viewed as small and unimportant, but in reality it is currently creating conditions to grow its economy out of recession and continue to be a force in the world.

How does Portugal look from where I live…?

Pretty good, growing and with great potential.

and I haven't mentioned football or NCIS Los Angeles once….:::

How is Portugal seen in your country?