American Money Matters

  Bingalau 18:27 02 Aug 2011

I don't normally do "serious" ... But I would like to know who do the Americans owe all the money to? I thought they owned most of the money in the world. I know we in the U.K. always seem to be in debt, which makes me wonder how we can afford to give money to other countries such as India and Pakistan, who obviously don't need it. Have we paid off our post war debt yet? No body tells me these things so I don't know, I believe in the end it doesn't matter. We can always go back to bartering.

  Aitchbee 18:50 02 Aug 2011

Somebody said if America sneezes the rest of the world will catch a cold. I think America stiffled that sneeze today.

  daz60 00:05 03 Aug 2011

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Who on the pages 1-19.

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read this.

  daz60 00:13 03 Aug 2011

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this is ours with no country by country comparison,%35 owned by foreign investors.

  wiz-king 05:29 03 Aug 2011

"Have we paid off our post war debt yet?" Yes, 31st December 2006 was the last payment.

  Wilham 19:18 03 Aug 2011

The last maybe, ... not the final. More payments are to come when the the government starts to settle its three and a half per cent War Loan.

  Forum Editor 23:55 03 Aug 2011

"who do the Americans owe all the money to?"

They owe quite a lot of it to us. UK investors (individuals and institutions) own approximately £200 billion worth of American debt, which is why investment bankers have been having a particularly busy time of it recently - trying to advise their jumpy clients on the likelihood of it all going horribly wrong. Had America defaulted our own economy would have been dealt a vicious blow at a time when we least need it.

Massive amounts of American debt are owned by China and Japan. In the unlikely event of those two countries cooperating to flood the market with their US bond holdings they could bring the American economy to a grinding halt in no time at all, and precipitate a recession of cataclysmic proportions. It's one of the reasons why you'll see the American government making a very big fuss of any high-ranking Chinese government official who visits the country.

Once you start analysing international debt you begin to realise just how desperately we all need one thing more than any other - stability. It takes very little to unsettle investors, both huge and small, and a confidence landslide, once started, would be almost impossible to stop. We should all feel mightily relieved that the Obama administration has managed to avert a default situation - even if it is only a temporary respite.

The world needs economic stability, and at the moment that's not in abundant supply.

  Forum Editor 00:05 04 Aug 2011

We made the final payment on our post WWII loans from America on 31st december 2006, as wiz-king points out. The loan was made to help us through the post-war aftermath and not - as many people think - to help us fight the war itself. That help came by way of the lend-lease programme, which was entirely different.

What we haven't done is pay off our First World war debt to America. That amounted to $4.4 billion in 1934, which equated to around £866m at the exchange rate in force then.

  Aitchbee 13:39 05 Aug 2011

Bingalu - 'We can always go back to bartering.' I like that idea.

Don't tell any one but...

My American friend lives in a block of flats which has 2 big communal washing-machines and 2 big tumble driers.He pays a big rent. When on certain days he can't manage his allotted wash day, I volunteer to do his washing (ie keep his 75 minute slot) and at the same time I can get my king-size duvet cleaned and dried.

I hope the forum editor approves...ok he's not an American :o)

  Quickbeam 19:46 05 Aug 2011

I had no idea that we still owed for the Great War.

A google search doesn't bring much up on it, but plenty on Germany's great War debt being paid off in 2010. I always thought that was why they allowed the between the wars hyper-inflation to thrive, to devalue the value of their debt and write it off the books early.

  CurlyWhirly 20:31 05 Aug 2011

I know that running a families budget is different to running a countries budget but I can't understand why the US still has a AAA credit rating when it has reached it's debt ceiling and it needs to borrow more (an additional $2.3 trillion) in order to pay the interest on the debt !?

What a crazy way to run a countries finances and the same goes for Greece for example or am I being naive ?

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