… there was an article in Bloomberg media (December 30, 2016) – Beware the Foreign Exodus From Treasuries – stirring up fear about the recent sales of foreign-held US government debt. I guess it was a slow news day or something because there is very little in the story that is relevant to assessing whether the US government can run an appropriate fiscal policy stance. The fact is that the foreign sales of US government debt are largely irrelevant for the US government’s capacity to maintain its net spending program.
The sales are in US dollars and only the US government itself issues those dollars. To think that a foreign purchaser of a US Treasury debt liability are ‘providing dollars’ to the US government is to completely misunderstand the nature of the transaction. This blog considers the current data and explains how to think correctly about these matters. The question that financial commentators really should be asking is why should the US government extend that corporate welfare (risk-free bonds with income flow) to domestic bond-buyers and foreign governments/private investors.
There is no financial reason (in terms of facilitating fiscal policy) for the bond issuance. It is just a form of welfare spending which helps the top-end-of-town....[Introduced paragraphing by topic sentence to improve online readability.]
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Foreign sales of US government debt are largely irrelevant
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia