I have been wondering about this for a while, and I guess I was too embarrassed to ask. What do these enormous negative numbers really mean for people individually and/or a nation?
Destruction and destruction.
Some stupid questions:
There are no stupid questions - only unasked questions.
When do we have to pay it back?
Never. It can never be paid back. That's the point to it. Perpetual debt slavery.
Do we have to pay it back?
Yes. You will never be let off the hook.
When is it too much? If $1.6 trillion dollars equals life as it is today...what is life like with $10 trillion debt?
It was too much a very long time ago. Compare the debt and deficit to GDP, then compare your personal debt to your income, then ask if you could get away with the same kind of shennanigans as the government does if you tried to get a bank loan/debt/deficit like they do.
Welcome to the insanity of Keynsian economics.
Who is it owed to?
Central banks mostly, but a large amount is held by bond holders, etc. etc.
However, trying to track down the specific individuals generally ends in frustration. These people have their money wrapped up in shell corporations, trusts, and all manner of different ways of misdirection. They're rich enough to afford the best lawyers and accountants in the world, and they can hide things better than anyone. People have tried to track down the specific owners of some of these organisations, but have largely failed.
For example, when shares of a bank are owned by some fund... good luck tracking down who the specific investors are. Funds within trusts withing shell corporations within corporations within funds within trusts within...
Can they ask for it back?
Is it because the US has bigger guns?
No. Guns are irrelevant from a national perspective. The debt is globalised and owned by globalist interests, i.e. banksters. Many of the debt holders are American.
If so, when are bigger guns not enough?
They're already not enough. Ever heard the saying, "Welcome to Washington D.C., home of the best government money can buy?" Same thing goes elsewhere as well - D.C. is not unique like that.
i.e. Who are you going to shoot? There are no countries to attack. There are only the super rich, which include Americans as well. (Not all the super rich own parts of that debt.)
If there's such a huge debt, why do the rich get richer?
Who do you think owns the debt?
If the poor who are getting poorer are the ones paying the debt, is it going to the people it's owed to, or the rich, or both?
The people who own the debt are the super rich - banksters. They're getting their pound of flesh no matter what.
Am I missing something here?
Quite a bit, but this is the Living Room, so that's probably more than enough.
It feels like I'm missing something really quite fundamental because none of this really makes any sense to me. And I'm not that bad with math, economics, numbers, logic, etc.
I've written a bit about some of the questions you've asked (probably best to start at the bottom):http://cynic.me/tag/...nal-reserve-banking/
The mathematics of FRB collapse at some point. I've written extensively on exactly how and why.
For the economics questions, basically, Keynesian economics are just, well, people are going to get mad at me if I say much more. Do a search for "keynes vs. austrian economics". Then search for "quantitative easing". Have a visit to some site like http://www.zerohedge.com/
Welcome to the rabbit hole...