The US is almost $20 trillion in debt; who do we owe?


According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. is more than $19 trillion in debt. But who does the U.S. actually owe?

The largest debt is to American citizens and U.S. entities — more than $14 trillion. That figure is made up of securities like Treasury bills, notes, bonds and savings bonds.

The rest consists of foreign holders, beginning with China at more than $1.15 trillion. Japan is a close third with more than $1.13 trillion in foreign holdings. The "Emerald Isle," Ireland, is next, owning more than $270 billion of U.S. debt. The Cayman Islands is No. 5 with more than $260 billion. And Brazil comes in sixth at more than $258 billion.

President-elect Donald Trump has made several suggestions about how to decrease that $19 trillion figure. He initially told CNBC he wanted to refinance the long-term debt.

"No, I think this. I think there are times for us to refinance. We refinance debt with longer term. Because you know, we owe so much money. ... I could see long-term renegotiations, where we borrow long-term at very low rates," Trump said in an interview in May.

RELATED: Photos of Trump's 'Thank You' tour:

16 PHOTOS
Donald Trump's 'USA thank you' tour
See Gallery
Donald Trump's 'USA thank you' tour
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump throws a cap to the audience as he speaks during a "Thank You USA" tour rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar 
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a "Thank You USA" tour rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016" in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 . REUTERS/William Philpott
A protester walks out of the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at a rally as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016" in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 . REUTERS/William Philpott
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence hold a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016". REUTERS/William Philpott
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016". REUTERS/William Philpott
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 01: Guests listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks at U.S. Bank Arena on December 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump took time off from selecting the cabinet for his incoming administration to celebrate his victory in the general election. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son speak to the press after meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a USA Thank You Tour event at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Supporters cheer for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at a USA Thank You Tour event at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Republican presidential then nominee Donald Trump and Ben Carson walk to Carson's childhood home in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/ File photo
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets members of the press at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

But then he backtracked, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, by suggesting buying back some of the debt at a discount.

"Well, if they can make good deals. If they can buy the debt back at good deals, you could buy it back in the market. And if rates go up, you'll always — you're always given that opportunity. But no, I'm not talking about negotiating with — with people that own the debt or creditors or anything like that," Trump told The Wall Street Journal.

Trump has been highly critical of President Obama's approach to the national debt, but economists say Trump's proposals could hurt the majority stakeholder in U.S. debt: American citizens.

Read Full Story

Markets

DJIA 21,580.07 -31.71 -0.15%
NASDAQ 6,387.75 -2.25 -0.04%
S&P 500 2,472.54 -0.91 -0.04%
NIKKEI 225 20,099.75 -44.84 -0.22%
HANG SENG 26,706.09 -34.12 -0.13%
DAX 12,240.06 -207.19 -1.66%
USD (per EUR) 1.17 0.00 0.30%
USD (per CHF) 0.95 0.00 0.01%
JPY (per USD) 111.13 -0.75 -0.67%
GBP (per USD) 1.30 0.00 0.23%

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.