How Much Does The US Owe? How Big Is The US Debt?

Submitted by: AntEconomist 6 years ago in

Preview: The US is screwed.
There are 102 comments:
Male 663
The problem with these types of graphs is that they are comparing data over multiple time frames. The GDP numbers are for ONE year, while the unfunded mandates are multi year obligations.
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Male 1,598
We had our fingers crossed when we promised that money... doesn`t count
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Male 707
Ah, silly little human
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Male 792
TheShgn2...what you`ll see happen is an unrest within the "empire". Economic trade will decrease significantly to the country, and it`s "puppet" states will begin to grow unruly, and begin to topple the regimes the empire had put into place long ago. Soon, it will lose control of all of it`s overseas holdings, and it will begin to collapse internally.
Look what happened to the USSR in 1990.
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Male 559
You know, if the greedy politians (from both ignorant parties) would have just left Social Security alone, our problem wouldn`t have been half this bad. If we stop spending money on stupid s h i t, and cut some pay for the rich bastards in DC, we could take care of the other half in 10 years. This is why the two party system is doomed to fail or will destroy the nation, which ever comes first.
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Male 12,365
[quote]How come no one ever comes up with the numbers of what other countries owe us for money we gave them in world war II. Not trying to be a douche, if it`s paid off then so be it, but I`ve heard it`s not and we`ve essentially forgiven them their debts[/quote]

Can you find any actual evidence of unpaid loans? Not what you`ve heard, but actual evidence?

If we`re getting into that, can we have payment from the USA for the following things we gave them in WW2 and in many cases deliberately suppressed in the UK to give the USA free run at profiting from them after the war.

RADAR
Jet engine
Programmable electronic computer
Controllable supersonic aeroplane

Just 4 off the top of my head. I could find the rest if I looked it up, or at least the transfers that were declassified in the 90s.

In case you`re wondering, the UK also repaid its post-war rebuilding loan from the USA in full, with interest.
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Male 626
I honestly want to know, no sarcasm or anything, who`s going to make the us pay their debts? Its not like nuking us would get money from us.
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Male 3,431
Eh, sure but the world`s gonna end in 2012 anyhow.
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Male 29
The rest of the world wouldn`t keep buying up our debt if they didn`t NEED to because WE buy all of the stuff THEY make. It`s a messed up situation for sure, but our ridiculous debt isn`t really anything to worry about UNTIL India/China have a large and legitimate middle class with expendable income.
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Male 1,744
How come no one ever comes up with the numbers of what other countries owe us for money we gave them in world war II. Not trying to be a douche, if it`s paid off then so be it, but I`ve heard it`s not and we`ve essentially forgiven them their debts
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Male 2,506
Chimmey got ma hopes up
yeay america
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Female 160
"so in the last 100 years we have borrowed a little more then the world makes in a year? the GDP of the U.S. is around 13 trillion monies... In other words we owe what our country makes in 5 years..."

So essentially it`s like the US mortgaged a really nice house?

BTW, what is the exchange rate on monies in dollars?
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Male 684
so in the last 100 years we have borrowed a little more then the world makes in a year? the GDP of the U.S. is around 13 trillion monies... In other words we owe what our country makes in 5 years...
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Male 15,510
If I could have 1% of all that money
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Male 226
Reminds me of Fable 3...
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Male 309
"Where does he get the 65 trillion figure? I would like the CFR on such. I think he has over-hyped the sum. The gross national debt is around 14 trillion and is currently offset by the 6 trillion in US trust funds making a total of 9 trillion in debt held by the public."

That doesn`t include entitlement programs. When you add those in, you get the $60 trillion figure. He even talked about all that in the video.
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Male 2,591
China got deebo`d the most.. sittin there holdin their busted eye runnin back to their daddy`s escort cryin
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Male 2,591
To all the other countries we owe money to: That`s our money now punk! (Daaayum! you got knocked the fxck out!!)
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Female 382
holy poo!
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Male 309
"Interesting but misleading."

Here`s a way of saying it that`s not misleading: If the total debt is $60 trillion, then each American owes around $200,000. That`s a new house you could have bought with straight cash were it not for the debt.
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Male 111
Interesting but misleading. Debt figures are totals, GDP is an annual figure. What he is really saying is that all US debt and future social security and medicaid payments could be paid off with one year`s worth of the total GDP of the world. The debt and future social security/medicaid payment are liabiities spread out over 30-80 years.
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Male 306
So countries like Mexico is going to have immigrants from US mow their lawn and stuff?
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Male 213
Seems like one big ass pyramid scheme you guys have going there.
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Male 987
You can manipulate figures to make things appear worse or better than they are to serve your agenda.

The correct representation would have been the present value of future obligations, which is considerably less than the amounts he showed.

Comparing long-term debt to current GDP is incredibly misleading.
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Male 1,744
these are dumb. I don`t want or care to know how much the gov`t has "promised" to may me or anyone, just how much we OWE. I can promise to pay my buddy 100 trillion dollars in 50 yrs, but my creditors would not say I`m in debt by 100 trillion dollars.
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Male 84
Every time I see a comment from 5shats I think "Thank God he`s a canuck and can`t vote here". Then I think "Aw, that sucks, I like Canada".
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Male 97
All together now, "Americaaa...F**K YEAH!!!"
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Male 93
In the post-War era, the US bought global defense while Europe, Japan and others bought national healthcare and pensions. If the US is to pay for national healthcare and pensions, the rest of the world is going to have to take care of global defense. Perhaps Europe, which has a far greater dependence on Middle Eastern oil, might lend a (constructive) hand ?
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Male 88
Dayuum.
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Male 40,739
Obama has the answer! Throw TRILLIONS more out the window!~ That`ll create 800K jobs! Oh sorry, it`ll LOSE 800K jobs...
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Male 101
And Australia has roughly $40 Billion as our `rainy day` stash, meanwhile the rest of the Earth is in disbelief of how far the US Government has f**ked their country up, not that the rest of the population didn`t have anything to do with it either
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Male 3,915
how about we just increase taxes?

people need to get off their high horse and realize the country is doomed if we don`t pay off our 2000-2008 mistake...just raise taxes until we have a decent date of being in a surplus..

ya know....like 2075 or even better 2050
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Male 573
I don`t trust libertarians.
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Male 1,116
Sorry China, we just need a few more days to get the money, don`t worry we`ll pay ya back. Promise.
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Male 2,402
@mcfudge

Just at what point do you consider the USA in dangerous debt. I would tend to think 14 trillion way up there.
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Male 12,365
[quote]If China decided to call in the loans it has provided to the US government, the US governemnt have to declare bankruptcy[/quote]

And what? Give China the keys to the White House and leave? Declare that the USA is part of China? Move everyone out of the USA and...and what? Go where?

The only way China could *force* a repayment of the debt is my military conquest, occupation and exploitation of resources. Since China has far more resources than the USA anyway, what would be the point even if they could? Which they can`t.

The worst that could happen is that China closes its borders to USA businesses (which it won`t, because it wouldn`t be profitable for China) and that the international credit rating of the USA drops a rank (which is unlikely, because the USA is still good for the debt).

Like the UK, the USA is in financial trouble but it isn`t catastrophic. You might need some unpopular domestic economic measures.
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Male 541
Sigh.. I`m sick and tired of this fear mongering bullpoo. It is basic common sense to compare an absolute value to something relevant, or put it PROPERLY into perspective. Why not? I mean that`s how we measure other stuff within economics and demographics etc. Percentages, relevant ratios. For example, the depth-to-total-GDP ratio is far less for the US than Germany AND Japan... BY FAR!
This is propaganda at best.
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Male 3,310
What a Debbie Downer
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Male 2,332
The following Zeitgeist segment explains it fairly well imo

System of debt
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Male 537
The US is in debt... but not dangerously in debt like the republicans would have you believe. We exported a few trillion dollars worth of goods last year alone, our debt really isn`t that much of an issue. We are also not in 64 trillion dollars worth of debt... its FAR less than that, more like 14 trillion, very little of which is actually in the governments control. Public debts are the fault of the public only. We do not owe other countries bajillions, its that simple.
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Male 10,440
I`m gonna try and stay impartial as I`m not an economist. It looks like the US has had some poor financial decisions in the past.

All you guys keep saying "house of cards" this and "enslave us" that... what does that mean? If a person spends that much, they`re headed for bankruptcy, but if that person creates a debt to themselves, what`s the problem?

I`m not pro-debt or anything, I just want to know the implications here.

Biggest problem I see is that nobody seems to have a plan for the future.
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Male 2,402
Where does he get the 65 trillion figure? I would like the CFR on such. I think he has over-hyped the sum. The gross national debt is around 14 trillion and is currently offset by the 6 trillion in US trust funds making a total of 9 trillion in debt held by the public.
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Male 39,899
nothing new. Just bigger numbers.

But US doesn`t want to stop spending.
We`re not willing to pay the price of
reduced services.

So we continue to build a house of cards.
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Male 270
USA doesn`t need to pay that, they just threat other country`s with their army...
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Male 698
Why do I have the feeling that US debt might enslave us?
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Male 551
USA... Bigger than the Earth
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Male 5,163
You must also consider ammount of interest rate that is growing evry second. Time is money in this crazy world.
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Male 5,163
In any case the real problem is the debt with other countries.
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Male 5,163
@kingpong Hmm is not like that, state give you 5 and ask you 3 for example. So the difference of 2 continue to cumulate and this for each person. If state give you 5 and ask you 5 no one can live.
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Male 639
@AntEconomist, yes, but in the American System you have a zero-sum game, whenever A gives 5 dollars to B the house has not lost money. The gov gets money from taxes which are then paid back to the citizens which then goes to taxes. With a cyclical system like this you can pay any amount to each other with enough turns. The debt essentially becomes zero, it`s only when it leaves the American system that it becomes a problem. As long as the gov pays the citizens first and continues to take taxes, this internal debt is essentially zero.
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Male 25,416
Just print more money. No one will know ;)
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Male 374
@kingpong and volsunga

It`s no different than housemate A borrowing from housemate B. If A borrows more than he can repay, B is hosed. The fact that they live in the same house is irrelevant. When the US government defaults, American citizens who hold worthless Treasury Bills will be just as hosed as the Chinese government who holds worthless Treasury Bills.
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Male 740
"maybe if you guys stopped spending 500billion a year on your army it wouldnt be so bad for you." If you use the number you just presented us with, and the $65 trillion dollars of debt, you`d be able to figure out that the amount spent on the army is 0.77 % of the debt. I agree that less should be spent on weapons, but that would do a very minimal amount to the debt.
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Male 740
I really don`t think the US would go for hyperinflation, so I`d say "No" to the latter.
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Male 1,547
@AntEconomist
If you`re going to use GDP as the context for comparison, then yes, it is relevant.
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Male 4,793
"If China decided to call in the loans it has provided to the US government, the US governemnt have to declare bankruptcy"

false, the US govt would have to declare douchebaggery and inform China that we are not paying them.
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Male 4,793
China realizes we aren`t going to pay them back, right?
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Male 639
Nlupu, how can America be a virgin if it`s in bed with corporations? Zing!!!
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Male 336
If China decided to call in the loans it has provided to the US government, the US governemnt have to declare bankruptcy
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Male 229
or america is the 40 year old virgin living in mommys basement eating all her food and spending all her social security checks.
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Male 901
I have gotten the impression that the effects of a large debt are very complicated and not at all straight forward. I mean, who will collect the debts? It`s not like there`s a big international judge who will crush america`s population and give the money back to China.
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Male 141
well done america, You`re first place!
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Female 182
hmmm glad I live in England XD
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Male 639
@Ant, how is it not relevant? The key thing is that it stays in the American system. What the gov pays the people, the people will eventually pay back to the gov and vice versa, the money stays in America and the value doesn`t change unless the Fed prints extra money to pay the citizens faster.
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Male 358
"America is like that shtitty roommate that never pays for anything because he knows he can kick your ass and you don`t want to get your ass kicked"

Not really, America is more like the friend that everyone takes advantage of.When he`s got money they`re all hanging around him for a handout,But when he`s going through hard times they call him a jerk and talk poo behind his back.
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Male 1,920
"We can all agree on something from time to time."

I disagree. >-(
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Female 229
:-O
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Male 374
"Most of the "debt" the US is in is mutual within itself..."

That`s not relevant. The US government is not the same as the US people. The fact that the US government owes some of the debt to the US people doesn`t "cancel" anything. The government is still in hock for the money.
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Male 328
drat.
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Male 2,229
That`s what you get when your think and act like big potatoes, but don`t have the balls to back the grandiose plan of dreams and nightmares. When ya build house of cards this big, do expect it crash most spectacularly. Making thur to the other side will and is the challenge that most people don`t or won`t be prepared for.
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Male 639
@piperfawn, technology wins over numbers unless you are invading, which I doubt the US would go for in a situation like us vs China. There`s a reason Israel exists in the middle of an area extremely opposed to their existence and it`s not their massive population. China is developing but they do not have the stockpile we do, plus our new technology for land, sea, and air is changing the way wars will be fought and China`s military appears to be preparing for a 20th century engagement. And we already know Russia can`t compete with our military build-up and they don`t exactly see eye-to-eye with China either, I`m not convinced they would ally to begin with.
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Male 931
Can we just switch the economy off and on again? Might reset itself.
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Male 1,547
There`s a little bit of bias in this data set. It completely ignores other countries` debt to us. It also includes the "internal debt" (which includes future Medicare, future social security, and the "intergovernmental debt") which is not the same kind of debt as that which you would be able to logically compare with GDP. In the comments of an earlier video, somebody proposed a situation with a hotel manager in which the same $10 bill was used to clear $50 of debt because the debt was mutual. Most of the "debt" the US is in is mutual within itself, They are only adding up the total dollars owed without even trying to come up with a net debt. Comparing that total with GDP (which does calculate the net) is dishonest.
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Female 55
we`re boned.
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Male 639
Y`all do realize that it`s not beneficial to anyone to call on these debts, right? There`s two ways to pay off these debts, either work hard and burn off the debt slowly or print an s-ton of money and pay off the debt immediately. You know which one we`d go for, the latter. That leads to hyperinflation of the standard currency and then instead of trillions of dollars, the collectors are left with trillions of nothing. It`s the rest of the world`s fault for making the world dependent of one country`s currency. Y`all put y`allselves in a situation y`all can`t get out of without messing things up.
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Male 5,163
@kingpong I`m still not so sure about our over power. And also if it was Europe + Usa population is barely a bilion. China and Russia is near the double. War is done with weapons but numbers allways are relevant. We don`t know so much about China military power but i`m pretty sure they are not still fightings wit bows and clubs.In case of an east west war i`m really not so sure occident will prevail.
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Male 335
Time to move to Canada.
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Male 10,338
LOL Baal.

We can all agree on something from time to time.
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Male 4,546
China`s debt situation is... complicated, but using the same comparables, China is at about 17% Public, and about 5 to 10% external debt.
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Male 639
@piperfawn, are you serious? We are allies with most other major powers, have the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, have the best funded and most technologically advanced military, and our military is combat ready. I`m not saying it`s gonna last forever, but certainly for at least the next 30-50 years. There`s a reason the US is considered the only superpower in the world right now. The Far-East is catching up, but they can`t quite compete yet.
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Male 406
Quote: "Correct me if I`m wrong (and someone almost certainly will) but doesn`t China have huge debt problems too?"

Not if the US pays it debts to China.....

Link to CNN:Money
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Male 4,546
....

Do me and AuburnJunky agree? That`s like the third time this year...
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Male 5,163
@gorgack2000 hmm i don`t think and also if it was China nowaday have the major economic grow in all world. Also you must think that the major part of debt USA have is with China.

@kingpong Are you so sure that your army is the most powerfull in the world? Remember this, never wake up the sleeping dragon. Maybe your army is the most active around the world but this don`t mean they can afford to overtake the rest of the world forces.
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Male 4,546
Or to put it another way, that compares comparables and not random figures and minor deceptions:

The USA owes $46K per person, compared to Europe`s $43K.
Or
The USA owes 97% of it`s GDP, compared to Europe`s 120%.

That`s all external debt.

Public debt gives you a figure of:
USA 58.9% of GDP.
World average 58.3%.


Although, yes, compared to say, German GDP, the sum is large. That may or may not have to do with Germany being roughly half the size of Texas.

Long story short, when a country is 30 times bigger than another country, many other factors also get larger.

For example, you may be shocked to find out, it takes Americans 46 days to run across the country, and only 9 days for Brits to run across theirs.

Interesting numbers, but to start using it to say Americans are 5 times less fit is silly.

Info at CIA world factbook.
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Male 10,338
Every country has Debt. I don`t think there is one that is in the black, except some of the oil countries.

Even China is overspent.
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Male 2,004
i say that we should start isolating america and its currency, so that we don`t have to bother with yet another economic crisis that may be the result of their debts
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Male 153
@AfroAussie

Our Armed Forces are not the problem in the slightest, it is all the other stupid stuff that the government spends money on.
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Male 5,194
Yeah, ok, we`re a little short this week because Mubarak skipped town and didn`t pay for those THAAD missiles - can we get back with you on this next week? We`re expecting a refund check from BP, going to foreclose on some houses and stuff.
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Male 4,680
Correct me if I`m wrong (and someone almost certainly will) but doesn`t China have huge debt problems too?
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Male 1,021
USA should change its name to "Washingtonland" and then when the debt collector come calling we would be like "USA? Who`s that? I think they moved"

Or when China wants to collect its debt, we turn off the lights and pretend we are not home.
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Male 2,988
Theres only one way out of this. Spend more.
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Male 3,745
"Simple solution: Raise taxes."

hoooow aboooooout...no...

"OK now all we gotta do is file bankruptcy and tell eveybody to go drat themselves. It`s the American way!"

NOW you are thinking :)
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Male 2,372
And you know who`s to blame for this mess, don`t you? Sarah Palin! >-(
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Male 5,094
Simple solution: Raise taxes.
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Male 639
You know why I don`t care? Our military. America is like that shtitty roommate that never pays for anything because he knows he can kick your ass and you don`t want to get your ass kicked. That and since our money is still pretty much the standard ruining our economy ruins it for everyone.
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Male 1,455
More than the whole planet can output? Damn, you`re in deep deep poo.
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Male 73
maybe if you guys stopped spending 500billion a year on your army it wouldnt be so bad for you.
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Male 2,516
ha!
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Male 124
Interesting. Still, as far as I know, most developed countries has a significant debt to pay. Swedens debts to other countries is massive, and they never even make an attempt at settling it.
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Male 1,815
Someone done goofed
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Male 532
OK now all we gotta do is file bankruptcy and tell eveybody to go drat themselves. It`s the American way!
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Male 374
Link: How Much Does The US Owe? How Big Is The US Debt? [Rate Link] - Preview: The US is screwed.
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