The US isn’t the only country in significant debt. While it may be in the most debt, there are a handful of countries around the world that have their books off balance too. The following twelve countries lead the world in external debt. The amount of their debts has been figured as the total private and public debt owed to nonresidents payable in foreign currency, goods, or services:
- The United States, which has a debt of $13,450 billion; but, as has been noted, “The US is such a rich country that the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has scarcely touched its spend-as-usual assumptions.”
- The United Kingdom, which follows, has a debt of $9,088 billion as of 2009;
- Germany has a debt of $5,208 billion as of 2009;
- France has a debt of $5,021 billion as of 2009;
- Netherlands has a debt of $3,733 billion as of 2009;
- Spain has a debt of $2,410 billion as of 2009;
- Ireland has a debt of $2,287 billion as of 2009;
- Japan has a debt of $2,132 billion as of 2009;
- Luxembourg has a debt of $1,994 billion as of 2009;
- Switzerland has a debt of $1,339 billion as of 2009;
- Canada has a debt of $833 billion as of 2009;
- Austria has a debt of $808 billion as of 2009.
At the end of the year 2009, the real GDP per person in the United States stood at $42, 189, a 4 percent decline from the historic high ($43,926) in 2007–but still 5 percent higher than at year’s end in 2000 ($39,750). At the end of 2009, the average American’s disposable income stood at $32,599, a mere $80 from the historic high ($32,679) in 2007. In 2009, average American net wealth (per household) stood at $455,420, down 10 percent from the bubble-boosted historic high ($500,019) in 2000, but still high by any international standard. Also in 2009, the US Poverty Rate had increased only marginally, from 12.5% of families to 13.2 percent.
If you look at the US economy just in terms of the national debt as a percentage of the GDP, then the highest peak was during the presidency of Harry Truman, with a peak of 100% during the year 1950. It then began a sharp descent during the Eisenhower years, reaching a low of around 50% in 1960. A steady decline in the debt as a percentage of the GDP characterized the Kennedy, Johnson, and even part of the Nixon era, hovering below 45% in 1970. The percentage declined even further during the Ford and Carter administrations, reaching a record low of around 40% in 1979. The percentage of the GDP then began a steady ascent during the Reagan era, capping of the 1980s at around 50%, and continued to climb through the George Bush Sr. administration, hovering around 55%-60%. The percentage of the GDP remained fairly steady during the Clinton administration, remaining around the 55%-60% rate. The percentage of the national debt as a GDP then began to rise during the George W. Bush administration, capping off at around 65% in 2004.
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