I'm often asked about the "problem" our debt represents. Below is a largely good video explaining who holds the debt and the "problem" it presents. One VERY important caveat. While the author gets the idea correct that what matters is publicly outstanding debt, since inter-government debt is merely a wash, he does not accurately address this same issue when talking about bonds as financial assets. Remember that a US government bond is an asset to the holder, but a liability to the tax payer. We care about our net position as tax payers. Also, from an economic perspective, bond holders and tax payers are not the same people, so there are distributional consequences to changes in the level of the debt. But with that said this might help somewhat.