Friday, May 17, 2013

Who Holds Federal Debt?

Below, Corrections depicts the holders of Federal Debt in three categories:  debt held by the public, minus the Federal Reserve (which is normally counted in debt held by the public), the Federal Reserve, and intergovernmental holdings (primarily Social Security and similar programs).  Click to enlarge.
We depict the same thing in percentage terms (click to enlarge).  Note a modest error in the legend:  "Total" appears where it should not, while "Federal Reserve" is left blank.  Total should not exist: the total is always 1, while the light green line refers to Federal Reserve.

After the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve went from holding around 9% of Federal Debt to around 11%.  The recent increase from about 4.5% to 11% came on the heels of a large decrease during the crisis from 9% to 4.5%.

Data is from the Federal Reserve's H41 release and the Treasury's Bureau of Public Debt data.

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