Monday, August 19, 2013

How Credit Makes the World go Round

Wipe our Debt
Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)
Way back before everyone carried little plastic cards in their wallets instead of cash, the saying was money makes the world go around; not so anymore. You and I are not the only ones who seemed to be enslaved by credit. The biggest user of debt is the US Government itself.

How it Works


Just about everybody is aware that our country is trillions of dollars in debt, but not everyone knows how our government keeps functioning under that debt load. Creating more money is not the answer. If our government creates too much money inflation runs rampant. Instead of paying four dollars at the market for a gallon of milk you end up paying 24 dollars instead. Our government keeps working because of their ability to borrow from other countries, primarily China and Japan. 

If not for the trillions of dollars borrowed from these two countries our country would indeed come to a complete halt. We borrow money by issuing US Treasury notes and bonds. China, Japan, and other countries buy these debt instruments for the interest we pay them every few months. When the bonds and notes mature they’re either rolled over into new Treasuries or we pay the principle amount back in cash. Most Treasury Securities mature every 5, 10, 20, or 30 years. In most cases our government strives to roll the debt over into new long term debt so they don’t have to come up with the cash to pay out.


The Cost of Bad Credit


Most people now days are familiar with their credit score and how it impacts your ability to borrow and the interest rate they receive. If you have poor credit the amount you are able to borrow suffers, and the interest rate you can borrow at rises. The same goes for our country. For many decades our countries credit rating has been the very best; AAA. That makes the US just about the safest country in the world to borrow from. Due to our current economic problems our country’s credit rating has suffered. 

Standard and Poor’s, one of the primary credit rating agencies in the world downgraded the United States debt from AAA to AA with a poor outlook. They have since changed the outlook to stable but have kept their rating at AA. So what does that mean for our government? In order to attract enough investors (like China and Japan) our government has to be willing to pay a higher interest rate due to the increased risk of borrowing from a country in financial and economic turmoil.


Just like the average citizen, as their credit score improves or disproves, the interest rate they are able to borrow at rises or falls. The amount of money you can borrow will also go up or down depending on your credit score.

What if You Can’t Borrow


If your credit score falls too low you lose the ability to borrow money at any rate because the risk is considered to be too great. If you can’t borrow what do you do when there is a financial emergency? Fortunately for most people there are finance companies that give payday loans, personal loans, and car title loans, to name a few. Those are all high interest rate ways to borrow money no matter how bad your credit may be. 

Unfortunately for our government it’s not so easy. It is vital to our country’s economy that our government is able to borrow what it needs to keep functioning and hopefully one day someone will come up with a way to significantly reduce our country’s debt.

Smith is a professional blogger that provides financial information on savings and loans. He writes for InstaLoan.com, a leading title loan lender.



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