Government debt (also known as public interest, public debt, national debt and sovereign debt) contrasts to the annual government budget deficit, which is a flow variable that equals the difference between government receipts and spending in a single year. The debt is a stock variable, measured at a specific point in time, and it is the accumulation of all prior deficits.
Government debt can be categorized as internal debt (owed to lenders within the country) and external debt (owed to foreign lenders). Another common division of government debt is by duration until repayment is due. Short term debt is generally considered to be for one year or less, and long term debt is for more than ten years. Medium term debt falls between these two boundaries. A broader definition of government debt may consider all government liabilities, including future pension payments and payments for goods and services which the government has contracted but not yet paid.
Governments create debt by issuing government bonds and bills. Less creditworthy countries sometimes borrow directly from a supranational organization (e.g. the World Bank) or international financial institutions.
Monetarily sovereign countries (such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia and most other countries, in contrast with eurozone countries) that issue debt denominated in their home currency can make payments on the interest or principal of government debt by creating money, although at the risk of higher inflation. In this way their debt is different from that of households, which are restricted by their income. Thus such government bonds are at least as safe as any other bonds denominated in the same currency.
A central government with its own currency can pay for its nominal spending by creating money ex novo, although typical arrangements leave money creation to central banks. In this instance, a government issues securities to the public not to raise funds, but instead to remove excess bank reserves (caused by government spending that is higher than tax receipts) and '...create a shortage of reserves in the market so that the system as a whole must come to the [central] Bank for liquidity.' 
During the Early Modern era, European monarchs would often default on their loans or arbitrarily refuse to pay them back. This generally made financiers wary of lending to the king and the finances of countries that were often at war remained extremely volatile.
The creation of the first central bank in England—an institution designed to lend to the government—was initially an expedient by William III of England for the financing of his war against France. He engaged a syndicate of city traders and merchants to offer for sale an issue of government debt. This syndicate soon evolved into the Bank of England, eventually financing the wars of the Duke of Marlborough and later Imperial conquests.
The establishment of the bank was devised by Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, in 1694, to the plan which had been proposed by William Paterson three years before, but had not been acted upon. He proposed a loan of £1.2m to the government; in return the subscribers would be incorporated as The Governor and Company of the Bank of England with long-term banking privileges including the issue of notes. The Royal Charter was granted on 27 July through the passage of the Tonnage Act 1694.
The founding of the Bank of England revolutionised public finance and put an end to defaults such as the Great Stop of the Exchequer of 1672, when Charles II had suspended payments on his bills. From then on, the British Government would never fail to repay its creditors. In the following centuries, other countries in Europe and later around the world adopted similar financial institutions to manage their government debt.
In 2018, the global government debt reached the equivalent of $66 trillion, or about 80% of global GDP.
A government bond is a bond issued by a national government. Such bonds are most often denominated in the country's domestic currency. Sovereigns can also issue debt in foreign currencies: almost 70% of all debt in 2000 was denominated in US dollars. Government bonds are sometimes regarded as risk-free bonds, because national governments can if necessary create money de novo to redeem the bond in their own currency at maturity. Although many governments are prohibited by law from creating money directly (that function having been delegated to their central banks), central banks may provide finance by buying government bonds, sometimes referred to as monetizing the debt.
Government debt, synonymous to sovereign debt, can be issued either in domestic or foreign currencies. Investors in sovereign bonds denominated in foreign currency have exchange rate risk: the foreign currency might depreciate against the investor's local currency. Sovereigns issuing debt denominated in a foreign currency may furthermore be unable to obtain that foreign currency to service debt. In the 2010 Greek debt crisis, for example, the debt is held by Greece in Euros, and one proposed solution (advanced notably by World Pensions Council (WPC) financial economists) is for Greece to go back to issuing its own drachma. This proposal would only address future debt issuance, leaving substantial existing debts denominated in what would then be a foreign currency, potentially doubling their cost
Public debt is the total of all borrowing of a government, minus repayments denominated in a country's home currency. CIA's World Factbook lists only the percentages of GDP; the total debt and per capita amounts have been calculated in the table below using the GDP (PPP) and population figures of the same report.
A debt-to-GDP ratio is one of the most accepted ways of assessing the significance of a nation's debt. For example, one of the criteria of admission to the European Union's euro currency is that an applicant country's debt should not exceed 60% of that country's GDP.
|% of GDP||per capita (USD)||% of world public debt|
* US data exclude debt issued by individual US states, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of Treasury borrowings from surpluses in the trusts for Federal Social Security, Federal Employees, Hospital Insurance (Medicare and Medicaid), Disability and Unemployment, and several other smaller trusts; if data for intra-government debt were added, "Gross Debt" would increase by about one-third of GDP. The debt of the United States over time is documented online at the Department of the Treasury's website TreasuryDirect.Gov as well as current totals.
Municipal, provincial, or state governments may also borrow. Municipal bonds, "munis" in the United States, are debt securities issued by local governments (municipalities).
In 2016, U.S. state and local governments owed $3 trillion and have another $5 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
Governments often borrow money in a currency in which the demand for debt securities is strong. An advantage of issuing bonds in a currency such as the US dollar, the pound sterling, or the euro is that many investors wish to invest in such bonds. Countries such as the United States, Germany, Italy and France have only issued in their domestic currency (or in the Euro in the case of Euro members).
Relatively few investors are willing to invest in currencies that do not have a long track record of stability. A disadvantage for a government issuing bonds in a foreign currency is that there is a risk that it will not be able to obtain the foreign currency to pay the interest or redeem the bonds. In 1997 and 1998, during the Asian financial crisis, this became a serious problem when many countries were unable to keep their exchange rate fixed due to speculative attacks.
Although a national government may choose to default for political reasons, lending to a national government in the country's own sovereign currency is generally considered "risk free" and is done at a so-called "risk-free interest rate." This is because the debt and interest can be repaid by raising tax receipts (either by economic growth or raising tax revenue), a reduction in spending, or by creating more money. However, it is widely considered that this would increase inflation and thus reduce the value of the invested capital (at least for debt not linked to inflation). This has happened many times throughout history, and a typical example of this is provided by Weimar Germany of the 1920s, which suffered from hyperinflation when the government massively printed money, because of its inability to pay the national debt deriving from the costs of World War I.
In practice, the market interest rate tends to be different for debts of different countries. An example is in borrowing by different European Union countries denominated in euros. Even though the currency is the same in each case, the yield required by the market is higher for some countries' debt than for others. This reflects the views of the market on the relative solvency of the various countries and the likelihood that the debt will be repaid. Further, there are historical examples where countries defaulted, i.e., refused to pay their debts, even when they had the ability of paying it with printed money. This is because printing money has other effects that the government may see as more problematic than defaulting.
A politically unstable state is anything but risk-free as it may—being sovereign—cease its payments. Examples of this phenomenon include Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries, which nullified its government debt seven times during a century, and revolutionary Russia of 1917 which refused to accept the responsibility for Imperial Russia's foreign debt. Another political risk is caused by external threats. It is mostly uncommon for invaders to accept responsibility for the national debt of the annexed state or that of an organization it considered as rebels. For example, all borrowings by the Confederate States of America were left unpaid after the American Civil War. On the other hand, in the modern era, the transition from dictatorship and illegitimate governments to democracy does not automatically free the country of the debt contracted by the former government. Today's highly developed global credit markets would be less likely to lend to a country that negated its previous debt, or might require punishing levels of interest rates that would be unacceptable to the borrower.
U.S. Treasury bonds denominated in U.S. dollars are often considered "risk free" in the U.S. This disregards the risk to foreign purchasers of depreciation in the dollar relative to the lender's currency. In addition, a risk-free status implicitly assumes the stability of the US government and its ability to continue repayments during any financial crisis.
Lending to a national government in a currency other than its own does not give the same confidence in the ability to repay, but this may be offset by reducing the exchange rate risk to foreign lenders. On the other hand, national debt in foreign currency cannot be disposed of by starting a hyperinflation; and this increases the credibility of the debtor. Usually small states with volatile economies have most of their national debt in foreign currency. For countries in the Eurozone, the euro is the local currency, although no single state can trigger inflation by creating more currency.
Lending to a local or municipal government can be just as risky as a loan to a private company, unless the local or municipal government has sufficient power to tax. In this case, the local government could to a certain extent pay its debts by increasing the taxes, or reduce spending, just as a national one could. Further, local government loans are sometimes guaranteed by the national government, and this reduces the risk. In some jurisdictions, interest earned on local or municipal bonds is tax-exempt income, which can be an important consideration for the wealthy.
Public debt clearing standards are set by the Bank for International Settlements, but defaults are governed by extremely complex laws which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Globally, the International Monetary Fund can take certain steps to intervene to prevent anticipated defaults. It is sometimes criticized for the measures it advises nations to take, which often involve cutting back on government spending as part of an economic austerity regime. In triple bottom line analysis, this can be seen as degrading capital on which the nation's economy ultimately depends.
Those considerations do not apply to private debts, by contrast: credit risk (or the consumer credit rating) determines the interest rate, more or less, and entities go bankrupt if they fail to repay. Governments need a far more complex way of managing defaults because they cannot really go bankrupt (and suddenly stop providing services to citizens), albeit in some cases a government may disappear as it happened in Somalia or as it may happen in cases of occupied countries where the occupier doesn't recognize the occupied country's debts.
Smaller jurisdictions, such as cities, are usually guaranteed by their regional or national levels of government. When New York City declined into what would have been a bankrupt status during the 1970s (had it been a private entity), by the mid-1970s a "bailout" was required from New York State and the United States. In general, such measures amount to merging the smaller entity's debt into that of the larger entity and thereby giving it access to the lower interest rates the larger entity enjoys. The larger entity may then assume some agreed-upon oversight in order to prevent recurrence of the problem.
According to Modern Monetary Theory, public debt is seen as private wealth and interest payments on the debt as private income. The outstanding public debt is an expression of the accumulated previous budget deficits which have added financial assets to the private sector, providing demand for goods and services. Adherents of this school of economic thought argue that the scale of the problem is much less severe than is popularly supposed.
Wolfgang Stützel showed with his Saldenmechanik (Balances Mechanics) how a comprehensive debt redemption would compulsorily force a corresponding indebtedness of the private sector, due to a negative Keynes-multiplier leading to crisis and deflation.
In the dominant economic policy generally ascribed to theories of John Maynard Keynes, sometimes called Keynesian economics, there is tolerance for fairly high levels of public debt to pay for public investment in lean times, which, if boom times follow, can then be paid back from rising tax revenues. Empirically, however, sovereign borrowing in developing countries is procyclical, since developing countries have more difficulty accessing capital markets in lean times.
As this theory gained global popularity in the 1930s, many nations took on public debt to finance large infrastructural capital projects—such as highways or large hydroelectric dams. It was thought that this could start a virtuous cycle and a rising business confidence since there would be more workers with money to spend. Some have argued that the greatly increased military spending of World War II really ended the Great Depression. Of course, military expenditures are based upon the same tax (or debt) and spend fundamentals as the rest of the national budget, so this argument does little to undermine Keynesian theory. Indeed, some have suggested that significantly higher national spending necessitated by war essentially confirms the basic Keynesian analysis (see Military Keynesianism).
Nonetheless, the Keynesian scheme remained dominant, thanks in part to Keynes' own pamphlet How to Pay for the War, published in the United Kingdom in 1940. Since the war was being paid for, and being won, Keynes and Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury, were, according to John Kenneth Galbraith, the dominating influences on the Bretton Woods agreements. These agreements set the policies for the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank, the so-called Bretton Woods Institutions, launched in the late 1940s for the last two (the BIS was founded in 1930).
These are the dominant economic entities setting policies regarding public debt. Due to its role in setting policies for trade disputes, the World Trade Organization also has immense power to affect foreign exchange relations, as many nations are dependent on specific commodity markets for the balance of payments they require to repay debt.
Understanding the structure of public debt and analyzing its risk requires one to:
Sovereign debt problems have been a major public policy issue since World War II, including the treatment of debt related to that war, the developing country "debt crisis" in the 1980s, and the shocks of the 1998 Russian financial crisis and Argentina's default in 2001.
Government "implicit" debt is the promise by a government of future payments from the state. Usually this refers to long-term promises of social payments such as pensions and health expenditure; not promises of other expenditure such as education or defense (which are largely paid on a "quid pro quo" basis to government employees and contractors).
A problem with these implicit government insurance liabilities is that it is hard to cost them accurately, since the amounts of future payments depend on so many factors. First of all, the social security claims are not "open" bonds or debt papers with a stated time frame, "time to maturity", "nominal value", or "net present value".
In the United States, as in most other countries, there is no money earmarked in the government's coffers for future social insurance payments. This insurance system is called PAYGO (pay-as-you-go). Alternative social insurance strategies might have included a system that involved save and invest.
Furthermore, population projections predict that when the "baby boomers" start to retire, the working population in the United States, and in many other countries, will be a smaller percentage of the population than it is now, for many years to come. This will increase the burden on the country of these promised pension and other payments—larger than the 65 percent of GDP that it is now. The "burden" of the government is what it spends, since it can only pay its bills through taxes, debt, and increasing the money supply (government spending = tax revenues + change in government debt held by public + change in monetary base held by the public). "Government social benefits" paid by the United States government during 2003 totaled $1.3 trillion. According to official government projections, the Medicare is facing a $37 trillion unfunded liability over the next 75 years, and the Social Security is facing a $13 trillion unfunded liability over the same time frame.
In 2010 the European Commission required EU Member Countries to publish their debt information in standardized methodology, explicitly including debts that were previously hidden in a number of ways to satisfy minimum requirements on local (national) and European (Stability and Growth Pact) level.
The 2012–2013 Cypriot financial crisis was an economic crisis in the Republic of Cyprus that involved the exposure of Cypriot banks to overleveraged local property companies, the Greek government-debt crisis, the downgrading of the Cypriot government's bond credit rating to junk status by international credit rating agencies, the consequential inability to refund its state expenses from the international markets and the reluctance of the government to restructure the troubled Cypriot financial sector.On 25 March 2013, a €10 billion international bailout by the Eurogroup, European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) was announced, in return for Cyprus agreeing to close the country's second-largest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), imposing a one-time bank deposit levy on all uninsured deposits there, and possibly around 48% of uninsured deposits in the Bank of Cyprus (the island's largest commercial bank). A minority proportion of it held by citizens of other countries (many of whom from Russia), who preferred Cypriot banks because of their higher interest on bank account deposits, relatively low corporate tax, and easier access to the rest of the European banking sector. This resulted in numerous insinuations by US and European media, which presented Cyprus as a 'tax haven' and suggested that the prospective bailout loans were meant for saving the accounts of Russian depositors. No insured deposit of €100,000 or less would be affected.Nearly one third of Rossiya Bank's cash ($1 billion) was frozen in Cypriot accounts during this crisis.2013 Mediterranean Games
The 2013 Mediterranean Games (Turkish: 2013 Akdeniz Oyunları), officially known as the XVII Mediterranean Games (XVII Akdeniz Oyunları), was an international multi-sport event held in the tradition of the Mediterranean Games, as governed by the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (ICMG) (French: Comité international des Jeux méditerranéens). The host city of the Games was Mersin, Turkey, as announced after an on-line poll conducted on 23 February 2011 by the ICMG. The games were held from 20 to 30 June 2013. Mersin is the second city in Turkey after İzmir to host the Mediterranean Games. All 24 member National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the ICMG participated in the Games. The official programme for the Games is featuring events in 27 different sports.Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras (Greek: Αλέξης Τσίπρας, pronounced [aˈleksis ˈt͡sipras]; born 28 July 1974) is a Greek politician serving as Prime Minister of Greece since 2015.
A socialist, Tsipras has been leader of the Greek political party Syriza since 2009. Tsipras is the fourth prime minister who has governed in the course of the 2010s Greek government-debt crisis. Originally an outspoken critic of the austerity policies implemented during the crisis, his tenure in office has been marked by an intense austerity policy, mostly in the context of the third EU bailout to Greece (2015–18).
Tsipras was born in Athens in 1974. He joined the Communist Youth of Greece in the late 1980s and in the 1990s was politically active in student protests against education reform plans, becoming the movement's spokesperson. He studied civil engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, graduating in 2000, and later undertook post-graduate studies in urban and regional planning. He worked as a civil engineer in the construction industry, based primarily in Athens.
From 1999 to 2003, Tsipras served as the secretary of Synaspismos Youth. He was elected as a member of the Central Committee of Synaspismos in 2004 and later the Political Secretariat. In the 2006 local election, he ran as Syriza's candidate for Mayor of Athens, winning 10.5%. In 2008, he was elected as leader of Syriza, succeeding Alekos Alavanos. He was first elected to the Hellenic Parliament representing Athens A in the 2009 election and was re-elected in May and June 2012, subsequently becoming Leader of the Opposition and appointing his own shadow cabinet.
In January 2015, Tsipras led Syriza to victory in a snap legislative election, winning 149 out of 300 seats in the Hellenic Parliament and forming a coalition with the Independent Greeks. On 20 August 2015, seven months into his term as prime minister he lost his majority after intraparty defections, announced his resignation, and called for a snap election to take place the following month. In the September 2015 election that followed, Tsipras led Syriza to another victory, winning 145 out of 300 seats and re-forming the coalition with the Independent Greeks. As prime minister, he has overseen negotiations regarding the Greek government-debt crisis, initiated the Greek bailout referendum, and responded to the European migrant crisis. In 2015, he was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people globally.As Prime Minister of Greece, the opposition parties have accused Tsipras among other things of having capitulated to enacting increasingly harsh austerity measures to keep his country on the surface in contrast with his pre-election promises and also of having exacerbated problems that already existed in the Greek economy, with the country having lost about 25% of its GDP since the start of the crisis.Australian government debt
Throughout this article, the unqualified term "dollar" and the $ symbol refers to the Australian dollar.The Australian government debt is the amount owed by the Australian federal government. The Australian Office of Financial Management, which is part of the Treasury Portfolio, is the agency which manages the government debt and does all the borrowing on behalf of the Australian government. Australian government borrowings are subject to limits and regulation by the Loan Council, unless the borrowing is for defence purposes or is a 'temporary' borrowing. Government debt and borrowings (and repayments) have national macroeconomic implications, and are also used as one of the tools available to the national government in the macroeconomic management of the national economy, enabling the government to create or dampen liquidity in financial markets, with flow on effects on the wider economy.
The net government debt is gross government debt less its financial assets, which is often expressed as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or debt-to-GDP ratio.
As of 11 April 2017, the gross Australian government debt was $551.75 billion. The government debt fluctuates from week to week depending on government receipts, general outlays and large-sum outlays. Australian government debt does not take into account government funds held in reserve within statutory authorities such as the Australian Government Future Fund, which at 30 September 2016 was valued at $122.8 billion, and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Nor is the net income of these statutory authorities taken into account. For example, the Future Fund net income in 2014–15 was $15.61 billion, which went directly into the fund's reserves. Also, guarantees offered by the government do not figure in the government debt level. For example, on 12 October 2008, in response to the Economic crisis of 2008, the government offered to guarantee 100% of all bank deposits. This was subsequently reduced to a maximum of $1 million per customer per institution. From 1 February 2012, the guarantee was reduced to $250,000, and is ongoing.
Australia's net international investment liability position (government debt and private debt) was $1,028.5 billion at 31 December 2016, an increase of $5.4 billion (0.5%) on the liability position at 31 December 2016, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.Australia's bond credit rating was rated AAA by all three major credit rating agencies as at May 2017. Around two-thirds of Australian government debt is held by non-resident investors – a share that has risen since 2009 and remains historically high.Debt-to-GDP ratio
In economics, the debt-to-GDP ratio is the ratio between a country's government debt (measured in units of currency) and its gross domestic product (GDP) (measured in units of currency per year). A low debt-to-GDP ratio indicates an economy that produces and sells goods and services sufficient to pay back debts without incurring further debt. Geopolitical and economic considerations – including interest rates, war, recessions, and other variables – influence the borrowing practices of a nation and the choice to incur further debt.External debt of India
The external debt of India is the total debt the country owes to foreign creditors. The debtors can be the Union government, state governments, corporations or citizens of India. The debt includes money owed to private commercial banks, foreign governments, or international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
India's external debt data is published quarterly, with a lag of one quarter. Statistics for the first two quarters of the calendar year are compiled and published by the Reserve Bank of India. Data for the last two quarters is compiled and published by the Ministry of Finance. The Government of India also publishes an annual status report on the debt which contains detailed statistical analysis of the country's external debt position.As on 31 December 2018, India's external debt stock totaled US$ 521.2 billion, a quarter-over-quarter increase of 2.1%.Government Securities Act, 2006
The Government Securities Act, 2006 is a legislation of the Parliament of India, which aims to introduce various improvements in the government securities market and the management of government securities by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).Greek government-debt crisis
The Greek government-debt crisis was the sovereign debt crisis faced by Greece in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007–08. Widely known in the country as The Crisis (Greek: Η Κρίση), it reached the populace as a series of sudden reforms and austerity measures that led to impoverishment and loss of income and property, as well as a small-scale humanitarian crisis. In all, the Greek economy suffered the longest recession of any advanced capitalist economy to date, overtaking the US Great Depression. As a result, the Greek political system has been upended, social exclusion increased, and hundreds of thousands of well-educated Greeks have left the country.The Greek crisis started in late 2009, triggered by the turmoil of the world-wide Great Recession, structural weaknesses in the Greek economy, lack of monetary policy flexibility as a member of the Eurozone (according to certain arguments),and revelations that previous data on government debt levels and deficits had been underreported by the Greek government (the official forecast for the 2009 budget deficit was less than half the final value as calculated in 2010, while after revisions according to Eurostat methodology, the 2009 government debt was finally raised from €269.3 bn to €299.7 bn, i.e., about 11% higher than previously reported).
This led to a crisis of confidence, indicated by a widening of bond yield spreads and rising cost of risk insurance on credit default swaps compared to the other Eurozone countries, particularly Germany. The government enacted 12 rounds of tax increases, spending cuts, and reforms from 2010 to 2016, which at times triggered local riots and nationwide protests. Despite these efforts, the country required bailout loans in 2010, 2012, and 2015 from the International Monetary Fund, Eurogroup, and European Central Bank, and negotiated a 50% "haircut" on debt owed to private banks in 2011, which amounted to a €100bn debt relief (a value effectively reduced due to bank recapitalisation and other resulting needs). After a popular referendum which rejected further austerity measures required for the third bailout, and after closure of banks across the country (which lasted for several weeks), on June 30, 2015, Greece became the first developed country to fail to make an IMF loan repayment on time (payment was made with a 20-day delay). At that time, debt levels had reached €323bn or some €30,000 per capita (a per capita value still below the OECD average, but high as a percentage of the respective GDP).
Between 2009 and 2017 the Greek government debt rose from €300 bn to €318 bn, i.e. by only about 6% (thanks, in part, to the aforementioned debt restructuring); however, during the same period, the critical debt-to-GDP ratio shot up from 127% to 179% due to the severe GDP drop during the handling of the crisis.Internal debt
Internal debt or domestic debt is the part of the total government debt in a country that is owed to lenders within the country. Internal debt's complement is external debt. Commercial banks, other financial institutions etc. constitute the sources of funds for the internal debts
Internal public debt owed by a government (money a government borrows from its citizens) is part of the country's national debt. It is a form of fiat creation of money, in which the government obtains finance not by creating it de novo, but by borrowing it. The money created is in the form of treasury securities or securities borrowed from the central bank.
These may be traded but will only rarely be spent on goods and services. In this way, the expected increase in inflation due to the increase in national wealth is lower than if the government had simply created the money de novo and increased the more liquid forms of wealth (i.e., the money supply).Italian government debt
The Italian government debt is the public debt owed by the government of Italy to all public and private lenders. This excludes unfunded state pensions owed to the public. As of January 2014, the Italian government debt stands at €2.1 trillion (131.1% of GDP). However, Italy has the lowest share of public debt held by non-residents of all eurozone countries and the country's national wealth is four times larger than its public debt.List of countries by future gross government debt
This is a list of countries by estimated future gross central government debt based on data released in April 2018 by the International Monetary Fund, with figures in percentage of national GDP.List of countries by public debt
This is a list of countries by public debt to GDP ratio as listed by CIA's World Factbook and IMF. Net debt figure is the cumulative total of all government borrowings less repayments that are denominated in a country's home currency.National debt of the United States
The national debt of the United States is the total debt, or unpaid borrowed funds, carried by the Federal Government of the United States, which is measured as the face value of the currently outstanding Treasury securities that have been issued by the Treasury and other federal government agencies. The terms "national deficit" and "national surplus" usually refer to the federal government budget balance from year to year, not the cumulative amount of debt. A deficit year increases the debt, while a surplus year decreases the debt as more money is received than spent.
There are two components of gross national debt:
Debt held by the public – such as Treasury securities held by investors outside the federal government, including those held by individuals, corporations, the Federal Reserve System, and foreign, state and local governments.
Debt held by government accounts or intragovernmental debt – are non-marketable Treasury securities held in accounts of programs administered by the federal government, such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Debt held by government accounts represents the cumulative surpluses, including interest earnings, of various government programs that have been invested in Treasury securities.In general, government debt increases as a result of government spending, and decreases from tax or other receipts, both of which fluctuate during the course of a fiscal year. In practice, Treasury securities are not issued or redeemed on a day-by-day basis, and may also be issued or redeemed as part of the federal government's macroeconomic management operations.
Historically, the US public debt as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. The ratio of debt to GDP may decrease as a result of a government surplus or due to growth of GDP and inflation. For example, debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 35 years. In recent decades, aging demographics and rising healthcare costs have led to concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government's fiscal policies. The aggregate, gross amount that Treasury can borrow is limited by the United States debt ceiling.As of June 2019, federal debt held by the public was $16.17 trillion and intragovernmental holdings were $5.86 trillion, for a total national debt of $22.03 trillion. At the end of 2018, debt held by the public was approximately 76.4% of GDP, and approximately 39% of the debt held by the public was foreigners owned. The United States has the largest external debt in the world. In 2017, the US debt-to-GDP ratio was ranked 43rd highest out of 207 countries. The Congressional Budget Office forecast in April 2018 that the ratio will rise to nearly 100% by 2028, perhaps higher if current policies are extended beyond their scheduled expiration date.Ottoman public debt
The Ottoman public debt was a term which dated back to 24 August 1855, when the Ottoman Empire first entered into loan contracts with its European creditors shortly after the beginning of the Crimean War.The Empire entered into subsequent loans, partly to finance railway construction and partly to finance deficits between revenues and the lavish expenditure of the Imperial court. Some financial commentators have noted that the terms of these loans were exceptionally favourable to the French and British banks which facilitated them, whereas others have noted that the terms reflected the imperial administration's willingness to constantly refinance its debts.The Ottoman government declared a sovereign default on its loan repayments with the Ramazan Kararnamesi (Decree of Ramadan) on 30 October 1875. Six years later, as part of the Muharrem Kararnamesi (Decree of Muharrem) on 15 October 1881, which reduced the overall public debt, the Ottoman Public Debt Administration (OPDA) was established. This made the European creditors bondholders, and assigned special rights to the OPDA for collecting various tax and customs revenues within the Ottoman Empire.Panagiotis Pikrammenos
Panagiotis Pikrammenos (Greek: Παναγιώτης Πικραμμένος, pronounced [panaˈʝotis pikraˈmenos]; born 1945) is a Greek judge who served as caretaker Prime Minister of Greece in May–June 2012 after the legislative election in May 2012 resulted in an absence of majority.Post-2008 Irish economic downturn
The post-2008 Irish economic downturn in the Republic of Ireland, coincided with a series of banking scandals, followed the 1990s and 2000s Celtic Tiger period of rapid real economic growth fuelled by foreign direct investment, a subsequent property bubble which rendered the real economy uncompetitive, and an expansion in bank lending in the early 2000s. An initial slowdown in economic growth amid the international financial crisis of 2007–08 greatly intensified in late 2008 and the country fell into recession for the first time since the 1980s. Emigration, as did unemployment (particularly in the construction sector), escalated to levels not seen since that decade.
The Irish Stock Exchange (ISEQ) general index, which reached a peak of 10,000 points briefly in April 2007, fell to 1,987 points—a 14-year low—on 24 February 2009 (the last time it was under 2,000 being mid-1995). In September 2008, the Irish government—a Fianna Fáil-Green coalition—officially acknowledged the country's descent into recession; a massive jump in unemployment occurred in the following months. Ireland was the first state in the eurozone to enter recession, as declared by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). By January 2009, the number of people living on unemployment benefits had risen to 326,000—the highest monthly level since records began in 1967—and the unemployment rate rose from 6.5% in July 2008 to 14.8% in July 2012. The slumping economy drew 100,000 demonstrators onto the streets of Dublin on 21 February 2009, amid further talk of protests and industrial action.With the banks "guaranteed", and the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) established on the evening of 21 November 2010, then Taoiseach Brian Cowen confirmed on live television that the EU/ECB/IMF troika would be involving itself in Ireland's financial affairs. Support for the Fianna Fáil party, dominant for much of the previous century, then crumbled; in an unprecedented event in the nation's history, it fell to third place in an opinion poll conducted by The Irish Times—placing behind Fine Gael and the Labour Party, the latter rising above Fianna Fáil for the first time. On 22 November, the Greens called for an election the following year. The 2011 general election replaced the ruling coalition with another one, between Fine Gael and Labour. This coalition continued with the same austerity policies of the previous coalition, as the country's larger parties all favour a similar agenda, but subsequently lost power in the 2016 General Election.
Official statistics showed a drop in most crimes coinciding with the economic downturn. Burglaries, however, rose by approximately 10% and recorded prostitution offences more than doubled from 2009 to 2010. In late 2014 the unemployment rate was 11.0% on the seasonally adjusted measure, still over double the lows of the mid-2000s but down from a peak of 15.1% in early 2012. By May 2016, this figure had fallen to 7.8%.Puerto Rican government-debt crisis
The Puerto Rican government-debt crisis is a financial crisis affecting the government of Puerto Rico. The crisis traces back its history to 1973 when the government began to spend more than what it collected. To cover that imbalance, the government issued bonds rather than adjust its budget. That practice continued for four decades until 2014 when three major credit agencies downgraded several bonds issues by Puerto Rico to "junk status" after the government was unable to demonstrate that it would be able to pay its debt. The downgrading, in turn, prevented the government from selling more bonds in the open market. Unable to obtain the funding to cover its budget imbalance, the government began using its savings to pay its debt while warning that those savings would eventually exhaust and that it would thus eventually be unable to pay its debt. To prevent such scenario, the United States Congress enacted a law known as PROMESA, which appointed an oversight board with ultimate control over the commonwealth's budget. As the PROMESA board began to exert that control, the government sought to increase revenues and reduce its expenses by increasing taxes while curtailing public services and reducing worker's benefits. Those measures further compounded the crisis by provoking social distrust and unpleasantness in the general population.In August 2018, the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico reported the Commonwealth had $74 billion in bond debt and $49 billion in unfunded pension liabilities as of May 2017, according to a debt investigation report.Taxpayer groups
Taxpayer groups, also known as taxpayers unions, are formal nonprofit or informal advocacy groups that promote lower taxation, reductions in government spending, and limits to government debt.
Many United States cities and counties have taxpayer groups. Members of these groups try to make their presence felt by attending government budget hearings, working with elected officials, and distributing their information on their views on taxing and spending. They can even initiate legislation at the state level to keep taxes and spending in check.United States Treasury security
A United States Treasury security is a government debt instrument issued by the United States Department of the Treasury to finance government spending as an alternative to taxation. Treasury securities are often referred to simply as Treasurys. Since 2012 the management of government debt has been arranged by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, succeeding the Bureau of the Public Debt.
There are four types of marketable treasury securities: Treasury bills, Treasury notes, Treasury bonds, and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). The government sells these securities in auctions conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and they trade heavily in secondary markets. Non-marketable securities include Savings Bonds, issued to the public and transferable only as gifts; the State and Local Government Series (SLGS), purchaseable only with the proceeds of state and municipal bond sales; and the Government Account Series, purchased by units of the federal government.
Treasury securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, meaning that the government has promised to raise money from any available source to repay them. Although the United States is a sovereign power and may default on its debt, its strong record of repayment has given Treasury securities a reputation as one of the world's lowest-risk investments.
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