Substantial attention is paid the U.S. government’s growth in debt these days, yet far less is paid to America’s total debt picture as a whole. More should be, because a quick look at the chart below will make you realize that much of America’s perceived debt ‘binge’ these days is the result of hype rather than fact.
Yes, the American government has increased its borrowing at a record rate. But, if you look at ‘total net U.S. borrowing’, which takes into account borrowing by everyone — the government, private U.S. households, financial companies, and non-financial companies — then it turns out that 2009 was indeed a monumental year for U.S. borrowing… in that total U.S. borrowing fell by $438.4 billion. (shown in red below)