Pundits love to tell us that the American economy is circling the drain due to the recession and politicians throwing money out the window like it's made of bees. To hear them say it, America is always just on the cusp of a Mad Max-style blasted hellscape.
But in the midst of all that doom and gloom, there are a whole bunch of very smart people saying that things aren't nearly as bad as the inflammatory headlines make it look. We aren't saying they're right (spoiler alert: nobody can actually predict the economy), but there's no reason why we should always assume the pessimists are right, either. So if nothing else, it will improve your mood a bit to hear ...
5No, China Isn't on the Verge of Owning America
What You've Heard:
As hysterical ads like this tell us, American spending is so off the charts that President Obama has to fly to China every year and beg on his hands and knees for the Chinese president to lend America money. With the Chinese owning most of America's debt, it's only a matter of time before China asks for their money back and we all become slaves to the dastardly communists, because that's totally how it works.
"So how much more of this until we're considered even?"
But Actually ...
First of all, China only owns 8 percent of the total U.S. debt. That's probably not enough to repossess Rhode Island, let alone the whole United States. And Washington isn't begging China for money, either. The debt that we owe to China comes from treasury bonds, which are kind of like IOUs, which they buy because it helps to keep China's currency low, which is better for trade. And because they sell so much shit to America, China basically has to buy our debt as a way to unload the trillions of American dollars we're giving them.
"That'll be $4 trillion."
Also, for those worried about China swinging their economic dick around, China can't just recall their debt. First of all, you can't do that with treasury bonds, and even in a fictitious world where you could, it would be economic suicide for China. What, you thought the "debt" was money they lent because they felt sorry for the U.S. and wanted to bail them out, like lending your buddy 30 bucks until payday? No, they buy debt because it's a good deal for them.
And while it's easy to panic about the amount of debt that America owes to other countries, people forget that the U.S. buys other countries' debt too, so much that it almost cancels out the issue. For every dollar the U.S. owes a foreign country, it is owed 89 cents in foreign debt. America actually makes more money off of buying other people's debt than other people make buying theirs. And rest assured, those countries are probably also running terrifying ads about cackling American students making fun of their economy.
"One ... two ... three ... fuck Quebec!"