What Would Happen If USA Stopped Paying Its Debt?

The United States has more than $21 trillion
in national debt. Let’s try and get our heads around just how much money that is.
Firstly, what’s a trillion? A trillion is 1 thousand billion, or 1 followed by 12 zeros.
That’s a big number, so let’s break it down. If we assume you are a millionaire and
you have all your money in $1,000 bills, that’s 1,000 of them to make up your million…and
if you stacked the bills on top of each other, that stack would be just over 4 inches high.
You’d be pretty happy! Now let’s say you had 1,000 of those stacks making you a billionaire.
The cash would now be 358 feet tall, which is roughly the height of a 35-story building.
And what if you had a thousand of those stacks, making you a trillionaire? Well then your
cash stack would be 67.9 miles high, which is more than 9 times the height that a commercial
airline flies. Now that’s just 1 trillion dollars and the US debt is a cool 21 trillion.
In today’s episode of The Infographics Show, we’re going to be looking at: What Would
Happen If The Us Defaulted On Its Debt? You don’t just wake up one day and find
yourself owing a stack of money that would stretch to the moon. It takes a lot of spending.
50 years ago, the US national debt was around $350 billion and the 1 trillion mile-stone
was not reached until the early 1980’s. But that’s still a big jump to arrive at
today’s 21 trillion. With big tax cuts, spending on things such as war, and then with
economic stimulus packages, it all adds up. The debt rises because if the US government
spends more money than it collects in taxes, then it needs to make up the shortfall by
selling US Treasury bonds to investors. These investors are typically other countries. So what’s defaulting all about? When a country
defaults on its debt, it’s called a sovereign default. If the US were to default, it would
essentially stop paying the money it owed to the investors of the US Treasury bonds.
There‘s a lot of speculation online about what would happen if the US stopped making
these payments, and though many of the major media outlets have run features exploring
this question, no one really knows exactly what would take place. The general consensus
is that world markets would plunge and global interest rates would be considerably hitched
up. And of course the impact would be felt by the US’s creditors…those other countries,
who are owed the money. Let’s take a look at 5 potential knock on effects, that would
occur as a result of the US defaulting on its debt. Depression and unemployment – The Treasury
and Federal Reserve, would make their way through banks and eventually blow a hole through
the Main Street economy. The unemployment rate would rise and huge amounts of uncertainty
would take center stage. The stock market would suffer, with stock prices falling, as
investors fled to other countries for safer stock or gold investments. Recession would
be on the economic horizon. Public service disruption – There would
be no money to pay salaries or benefits for federal or military personnel and retirees,
social security recipients, Medicare bills, student loans, tax refunds, and payments to
keep government facilities open. The result would create a great deal of disruption and
unrest across the American public. Affect on Business – A U.S. debt default would
significantly raise the cost of doing business. Companies would have to pay higher interest
rates on loans and bonds to compete with the higher interest rates of the U.S. Treasury.
There would be price increases on goods and services and rising inflation. Business would
suffer and as a result there would be higher unemployment. US Dollar Impact – There would be mass selling
of the U.S. dollar, an event that would threaten the greenback’s status as the world’s reserve
currency. Prices for everyday commodities would go up, our groceries, clothes, and fuel,
all would rise. And we’d be saying goodbye to low mortgage rates. All of this would affect
buying patterns, which again would further impact the economy. Global Markets Impacted – The US economy
has far reaching impact so it would not only be the homeland where the effects would be
felt. According to CNN Money, who referenced treasury numbers in a 2016 feature, foreign
nations hold just over 32% of the US debt. The list is long but China and Japan stand
out with over 50% of the 32%. As an example, Japan owns about $1.14 trillion. This is equivalent
to 20% of its annual economic output and would shake the Japanese economy for sure. This speculation is all fascinating, we hear
you say, but do we have anything to base the assumptions on? Let’s look at a real example
in another country. The most recent debt crisis was in Greece in 2015. The country formally
defaulted on a $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund in Athens. Nowhere
near a trillion, but it was still hugely disruptive to this Balkan tourist destination. The Guardian
ran an article last year, looking at the effects of the Greek default. They referenced a study
by the DiaNeosis thinktank, which found that in 2015, 15% of the population, or 1.6 million
people, earned below the extreme poverty threshold, when 6 years previously, in 2009, that number
did not exceed 2.2%. And according to the Bank of Greece, the net wealth of Greek households
fell by a staggering 40% in the same period. Though unemployment did drop, it is still
the highest in the European Union at 22%. What did this mean to an everyday Greek person?
One example is Chryssa Christodoulaki, a French-trained hairdresser had paid into a pension fund for
almost 45 years. Her pension started out at €1,750 a month. Then it was cut to €1,430
a month, and then cut again to €960 a month. It’s not a pretty picture, but then how
realistic is the prospect of the US defaulting on its debt? From everything we researched,
it certainly seems highly unlikely. One reason is that all U.S. government debt is denominated
in U.S. dollar assets, but a more intriguing reason the US would apparently never default,
in the words of Alan Greenspan, an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal
Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006, is that “The United States can pay any
debt it has because it can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of
default.” We’re not entirely sure how true that is, but it’s certainly an interesting
idea to consider. So, what do you think would happen if the
US defaulted on its debt? War? Famine? The Apocalypse? Let us know your thoughts in the
comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called How is Life Different for Billionaires?!
Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See
you next time!

100 comments on “What Would Happen If USA Stopped Paying Its Debt?”

  1. The Infographics Show says:

    Also watch our video "What If The US Paid Off Its Debt?

  2. Andres G. Pangilinan says:

    Who knows when governments lie to the their people. They manipulate the media and they pay "experts" what to say ??

  3. rkb100100 says:

    The US has abused it's position as the world reserve currency since 1971.

  4. takeitindballs says:

    It would be worse than that, and no, printing more money would not solve it. In fact, it would make it even worse.

  5. whousay Iam says:

    The Real number of The US National Debt is closer to 100 to 200 Trillion if you count all unfunded Pension Benefits, Medicare, Social Security and Educational Funds Promised..

  6. Shah Alam Chowdhury says:

    Forget about us will pay it debt. Who is gonna asked for repay. Us will drop bomb on those country. No one will be there raise this question.

  7. Captain Obvious says:

    Anything that would expedite the apocalypse works for me

  8. Steven Welk says:

    All of this doesn't make sense to me. The part of where national debt comes in yes it's sold to the ones who bought the bonds. The government we just not pay what is owed to the purchaser of the bonds. Why would that have to affect the dollar that I have. Why does that change the stock market. Unless people took and started selling their bonds but still they would be giving other money for that. It's the person that invested in the bonds that is going to lose why should that change all these other markets. Yes the country maybe that bought the bonds may start changing the way they dealt with us. But I don't see how that is going to do all the damage that is mentioned. They may sue us in the world Court.

  9. Steven Welk says:

    In Greece that just sounds like a big governmental rip off. If they defaulted on their debt. And then they took other people's pensions away from them that's a rip-off. They're not paying the debt why not continue to pay the people that work in the country. Unless they just want it all the money

  10. Michael Murphy says:

    Just stop all social programs that have not been paid for in other words social security has been paid for by the workers past work. No more national welfare.

  11. scott mckenzie says:

    try again

  12. 600 selly says:

    How many trillionaires do we have in the United States of America

  13. Phong Nguyen says:

    If the US government gave each of it citizen 1 mil, I think it wouldn’t even amount to 1 trillion.

  14. Mike Kline says:

    Its fraud our central banking system is a fraud

  15. turan bagatur says:

    50 years ago …350 billion Dept ..Then the Zionist bankers come in and fixed Americans banking system..Blow up buildings .To attack middle east countries .. to steal there resources..!

  16. Richard Gummelt says:

    Let all the countries pay back the US for monies spent for WW1 and WW2 with interest. Then we be tax free .

  17. robert smith says:

    Money is in my veins just waiting to be released so some dog can come and lick it up.

  18. Mario Dixon says:

    No pasaría nada pues nunca la an pagado si ellos son los dueños de la imprenta

  19. Papa Moss says:

    Cut real spending 10% and hold for 5 years of so until economy catches up before any increase. Put a cap on Medicare and Medicaid per individual. Increase contributions to social security and delay bennifits. Redesign social welfare. No new programs we can't afford.

  20. glycosaminoglycan says:

    2 Words..Currency Crisis!

  21. zygi22 says:

    Just print more money. That'll solve the debt!

  22. Psyber Playlist says:

    The issue with the Federal Reserve is, it’s a debt based fractional fiat currency, meaning, if all debts were paid off, there would be no money in circulation. So the debt can’t be paid off.

    What more realistically happens is a currency reset like the Turkish Lyra. When it was 1,200,000 Lyra’s to 1 US Dollar.

    So what they do is issue the new currency that absorbs the zeros to reset it back to 1 Lyra to 1 Dollar. So that is like when they introduced the Euro, where you would trade in 100+ of your current money for 1 of the new money. Debt would be adjusted (Subtracting a bunch of zero’s off the end), and then we continue to roll forward as usual.

    Remember folks, the Federal Reserve Act put a private corporation (Federal Reserve) in charge of the US money supply thus over-riding the constitution where only the government can coin money. So a private Corp is in control of our currency, not the government. They have no interest in helping the government or people in being debt free. It’s about profit for the private Corporation.

  23. ron cuthrell says:

    First only the UN educated listen to the Fiat debt slavery scare tactics ,all Americans born in the USA are actually very rich.
    Presonaly I am worth 200million USD

  24. ron cuthrell says:

    Just propaganda,we debt is fictional

  25. Sonny12681 says:

    If America stops paying the debt then a second revolutionary war will happen.

  26. Febha Mathew says:

    What would ahppen if America stopped trading with all outside companies? I wanna know what favorite brands would leave america

  27. Christian Davis says:


  28. Social Relativity says:

    just print more Ram

  29. Boby Berry says:

    "what would happen if the USA stopped paying its debt………. to itself………."
    you forgot to finish the sentence 🙄

  30. Boby Berry says:

    US didn't take loans from "other countries" or investors, the loan/s came from the worlds central bank, "the federal reserve" which happens to own all the worlds largest financial institutions.

  31. Boby Berry says:

    The Federal Reserve doesn't need to print more dollars to pay off it's "debt" because there is no US debt.

  32. KIliManoor JONaGaparambil UnnikuttaN says:

    Federal Reserve System is the biggest scam on the face of earth….

  33. COMBAT DOC says:

    U.S. Government has created a false economy. We are addicted to zero percent interest rates. The NYSE will plunge if rates rise. MOST MIDDLE CLASS AMERICANS LIVE ABOVE THEIR INCOME LEVELS.

  34. MLG_YourMom says:

    i don't think anything would happen if USA just went and said
    "we now owe 0 dollars. if you don't like this, start a war. however we will pay our new debt."
    the very next day people would still line themselves up to lend money to the USA.
    people are just that greedy.

  35. Justin M.B. says:

    What would happen if they stop paying? … they have🤣😂😆😒

  36. Tony Duffy says:

    It is exactly because the US$ can be printed in unlimited quantities ( and has been recently under QE) that other Countries are seeking to "De – Dollarise" their own Economies and Financial Assets . This is now well underway and will continue thereby reaching a point where the US$ will be only one of a small number of currencies , the others being gold or bullion backed , that constitute a reserve currency . The days of the US$ being , effectively the only or dominant reserve currency are numbered . In the past and at present , vast quantities of "new" dollars simply seeped out of the USA into other markets thereby avoiding inflation . The appetite to absorb or accept such unlimited quantities of US$ in the future is fast diminishing . A time of reckoning is approaching .Major debt default can be a major cause of War where the Creditor Nations seek to seize assets in recompense for defaulted upon debt .

  37. hoplite centurion says:

    It wouldn't affect us much actually, one of the things they are forgetting is that the more stagnant a situation is the closest is to it's natural reset, we would rebuild our economy in months.

  38. Michael Dunbar says:

    The powers that be do not care about the USA, they care only about themselves. I suspect they want to basically change this country at its core and establish a one world government headquartered in Europe.

  39. Facts Land says:

    Unlimited printing of US dollars will definitely be the cause of hyperinflation and you don't have to be an economist to understand what the consequensies will be. Just take a look at Venezuela.

  40. IonisingCarbon X says:

    The us “debt” is the amount of money that the us has put into the private sector and hasn’t taxed back. National Debt” can’t be paid back buy money it needs to be paid back by selling things to the private sector. Every functioning government is in “debt” because governments have to spend some money into the private sector otherwise there is no currency. Issuers of currency can’t go into “crippling debt” just like how a calculator can’t run out of numbers but the currency is only worth what it can buy therefore printing more money won’t change the total value.

  41. George Montoya says:

    Go back on the Gold Standard. 💱💲💰💵💵

  42. LouistheHedgehog says:

    Could the US pay off the debt by mining crypto-currency?

  43. Van Wong says:

    Its the only country in the world that can print as much money as it want, without causing runaway inflation. Why? Commodites being priced in USD and the USD being the reserve currency.

  44. Markus Patients says:

    In order to Rap ones head around a Trillion Dollars one would need a very big head that's also flexible.
    "Debt doesn't matter" Ron Reagan.. He was never wrong, as the US can just print more paper with ink faces and call it "Money" and there's a F 22 Raptor and a M-1 Abrams tank if anyone has a problem with that…

  45. California Dreaming says:

    Correction: over 22 trillion. But what’s a trillion amongst friends?

  46. California Dreaming says:

    If the USA stopped paying its debt, China would probably declare war against us and invade. And China would have a huge advantage: always fear an enemy who’s not afraid to die.

  47. Alec Stanton says:

    We need to solve the debt.

  48. w41duvernay says:

    Whole world economy monetary system would collapse. Money wouldn't be worth anything.

  49. Astronaut tv says:

    than why is America called big brother

  50. Juzt Jules says:

    That line by Greenspan about not defaulting because we can just print it. Is the dumbest thing I ever heard in my life. There is a thing called Inflation!!! For crying out loud. Dont believe me ask Venezuela or Zimbabwe how that worked out

  51. The Pirate Jack says:

    How interesting

  52. Jacob Samuel says:

    If US default their debt, the price of cow dung in India will go up. Even rich people like M Ambani can not buy petrol or cooking gas. So my suggestion is: "follow moodi's path and keep more cows to make india a superpower in 2050"!!!

  53. Jacob Samuel says:

    I will migrate from US to somalia or pakisthan by 2050!!!

  54. xxpyroxx75 says:

    we rly arnt paying it back since the debt just gos up year after year we are not making any progress. so dont act like we are paying back the debt. the taxes we pay go to paying on the interest on the debt and thats it, we have no real plan to pay back the debt other then letting our kids deal with it when they get older.

  55. Naga Berak says:

    China will bail out the debts and usa will be part of china…lol

  56. TheMotorman says:

    Congratulations USA… enjoy your thought of getting bankrupt in future.

  57. Atomic Reverend Alexander says:

    Alan Greenspan is an idiot, printing more money would make hyperinflation just ask Venezuela.

  58. CLINTON JONES says:

    …nice and misleading, most of the debt is owed to social security as LBJ put everything into the 'general fund'
    …now it acts as a Ponzi game with new money paying old requirements
    …the thing that burns me is the jokers glossing it all over with 'infographics' and failing to point out the R.I.C.O. violation since the beginning
    …if the gov had paid even 1% interest to these 'retained deposits' most retirees would not retire into poverty
    …instead, we get the old 'bait and switch' (carrot and stick) like most of the worlds tyrants (dictators) perpetuate on their Public Trust
    …maybe we deserve it …what do you think?

  59. Observe the Creator's Creation News says:

    The interest paid is already 3+ trillion

    But your way off…😁
    The U.S Total Debt is 74+ trillion in the red and rising.
    The U.S Unfunded Liabilities is 124+ trillion in the red and rising.

    Beside there not enough GDP the pay-off the National Debt anyways.

  60. Greg Poirier says:

    The Question should be: " What would happen if the Fed stopped printing money ?"

  61. Cinder Cinnamon says:

    Inflation is no way to settle debt, down with the US treasury! The federal reserve isnt even federally ran! its privately owned! Banks are public enemy #1!

  62. Vimh Nguyen says:

    The US will go bankrupt soon haha

  63. hank fontaine says:

    Tell me does the world wonder after the Beast do actors & artist sell their souls is there such a thing as mass hypnosis

  64. Edin says:

    US should default..nothing would happen….its worth it..all the debt would be erased…

  65. DJ M.I.A. says:

    I live 20 minutes from Jekyll island…

  66. TheBabylonian EmpireOfAll says:

    printing money? do you want an inflation crisis! you forgot Zimbabwe and Hungary!!!

  67. MasterShredder says:

    What I learned from this video is that everyone from the comment section of YouTube should be head of the Federal Reserve and is smarter than everyone there.

  68. Mic Walsh says:

    They'd put tarrifs on the creditors products, thereby making payment with the creditors own money, only a genius would think of it, and only a madman would try it on, welcome Trump

  69. ALICE KAGINU says:

    Well explained! 🎯

    SUMMARY: CHINA owns the USA!

  70. Chrisinsocal says:

    Check out my silver stacking videos for tools and tips to start getting some real value assets. Thanks in advance!

  71. jon allen says:

    Just print money?? Come on man your smarter than that.

  72. Vue U says:

    Now! I just posted the following comment on the video that I just watched before this one on the fed reserve system scam.>
    >"The problem is, that everyone is too busy trying to work so they can just get by, to be able to even ponder on any of this. I've heard this: "I don't have the time to fight the system when I have so many bills to pay and have to put in a lot of hours, just to get by!" That is also part of the feds scheme. To make us unable to fight because we can't afford to take any of the present time to do it. We have to work too hard, too many hours, too little money going back into our businesses and pockets, bills have to be paid. Hmm. "We The People" CAN, if we all get together.
    #1 Start a currency that's independent of the government that stands now as well as those in control of the fed reserve.
    #2 Move all your money out of their banks, then put them into a banking system or credit union type of system with the new currency.
    #3 Stop paying taxes. Most people don't realize that at least 70% of what they earn goes to all the taxes they pay.
    #4 Create a whole new government outside the box and let the current one collapse.
    #5 In speaking of collapse, when they threaten an economic collapse, "hey", we already would have that ball rolling that would cover American citizens and protect them from it.
    #6 Get full control of the military and police.
    Any better ideas? Any takers? Men or Mice!? Which is it?!

  73. Man Dirigma says:

    A big chunk of those debt is being spent on social security and medicare.

  74. manuel kyriakakis says:

    If the US defaults you'll have Trump as king as he would still control the military.

  75. Ryan Ryan says:

    Why does every one say it is highly unlikely for America to default on its debt I been saying we are going to default on our debt sometime in 2019 5 years ago and know we are in middle 2019 and the United States government is saying we are going to default on our debt which will be very bad and cause a full blown economic collapse with the dollar crashing

  76. Ryan Ryan says:

    Stop playing this off this is a very dire situation

  77. Edward Crane says:

    Would be the largest riots in the history of America!!! China Russia etc r all buying up all the gold in the world!!! We r trying to start a war with Iran over the petro dollar. We have nothing to back up r currency and we r headed for a huge disaster

  78. Crismago Gamer says:

    la gran depresion economica en 2028 :v

  79. Unknown Damn says:

    If you print your money… there will be inflation… isnt it? If not… it would be better if ask my mom to print money

  80. BargSlarg says:

    The US will split up, and Wisconsin will become the strongest former state, now country 🙂

  81. 1957khartung says:

    Really in the end. If the so called debt was not paid, all that would need to be done would be to electronically deposit $ into the account of who ever owned the bonds, to pay off them bond and call it a day. No printing of money, after all most money is nothing more than an electronic computer data entry after all. The debt is not owed because it is fraud, and the dollar has no real value, only a perceived value that 1 dollar can buy you 1 pack of gum, or $35,000 can buy 1 car! As long the belief stands, so does the dollar. END THE FED!

  82. Bobby Roi says:

    nothing will happen…

  83. Bobby Roi says:

    most morons here dont know much how money works…

  84. Email says:

    You offer exactly zero evidence of causality for any of your wild speculations.

  85. Email says:

    Typically, when nations go to war, they repudiate any debt owed to the other. We don't HAVE to default on ALL debt.

  86. Stupid Storm says:

    Pay off the debt and stop spending. They cant do it.

  87. beba 021 says:

    if you print more the curency(dolar) worths less and less but other currencies like yuan,euro,yen etc. will grow more and more making the US dolar worthless .the exemple is the german recession 1921 sow that economyst is a idiot

  88. nelson kiiru says:

    Sure if u can always print genuine money u would never have any money problems!!😂😂😂It would be the perfect excuse in case u defaulted on a loan or had unexpected problems that required money to solve it.

  89. Noah Stainbrook says:

    Uhh, didn't Germany "just print more money" when they were forced to pay reparations? That didn't go so well.

  90. Matthew Alfred says:

    The last time money was printed in order to alleviate a debt, Germany went into a major recession, children literally played in the streets with millions of marks, loaves of bread were at astronomic prices, and the economic troubles propelled a madman to destroy countless lives through arguably the darkest and most evil period in human history. No thanks.

  91. Robert Henderson says:

    Chop down the rothschilds and their FED reserve. America should make their own currency again. End the zionist ZOG jew strangle hold

  92. MsTaly99 says:

    Let it DIE! It's all a crooked Ponzi scheme anyway!

  93. Huck Finn says:

    What if the US can pay it's debt, it just doesn't want to? what if instead of paying it's debt it will just use the money for it's citizens?

  94. ClarksonsinUSA says:

    Slightly over 88% of goods and services are produced in the USA,the rest could be produced in the USA!!!:)

  95. ir10031981 says:

    it is now at $22.5 trillion. as of August 18, 2019.

  96. Adelchi Di Palma says:


  97. D Mar says:

    If I were China or Japan, and USA decided to default, I’d just tell them to sell their national assets to recover the cost they owe me, and then make beneficial trade deals with me in order to pay off the remainder.

  98. esechucote52 says:

    dotard maga trumptard

  99. srats56 says:

    money is an illusion and is only valuable if the majority of people believe it is

  100. Luke Sky says:

    America could pay off their debt in short order if they stopped giving money away to other countries.

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