The National Debt: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
The national debt has long been portrayed as a burden we’re placing on future generations. John Oliver discusses how national debt works, why people are so concerned about it, and why it might be more helpful that you think.
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  • Jeb!

    Twenty-two and half minutes about the debt without addressing any bona fide concerns over massive spending, and a significant chunk devoted to how the GOP are hypocrites (which they are, but so are Dems on their own issues). How do you make a video this length about the debt without mentioning the Fed printing trillions of new dollars? About where the spent money goes? Oliver says as long as the money is spent wisely, debt is fine, but how can you seriously say it's spent wisely when it really comes down to what interests a congressman can make earmarks for in 1000+ page bills? Government spending is so obviously rife with corruption. And how can you ponder about interest rates being low when the Fed has kept them artificially low? Stop defending these thieves in government, and I mean both Democrats and Republicans. They spend only to enrich themselves and those they favor at the expense of the common person.

  • Lisa LePome
    Lisa LePome

    Comedy news shows are national treasures.

  • Susan Mike
    Susan Mike

    I think the pandemic has taught people a big lesson, having one stream of income is not really a good idea cause your job doesn't secure your financial needs. The pandemic has really set out business-minded people from the rest that is why I'm so lucky to be among the investors trading with Mrs. Patricia Westbrook as her student it's been success and happiness since the beginning of my trades

  • De Vries
    De Vries

    I love John and his show but he loses credibility when he does biased things like just skipping over how much Obama added to the National Debt along with the presidents he mentioned.

  • Mal A
    Mal A


  • richard bello
    richard bello

    Jeff Bezos can pay it off and still be the richest person in the world

  • spark

    I have a rebuttle stop using children to make political points period.

  • Jahanzaib Raja
    Jahanzaib Raja

    There's a reason why US has still managed so far with so much debt and that is primacy of dollar in world trade. US issues debt, other countries but it immediately, same goes for Japan, but take out the effect of currency play and then debt greater than GDP could become quite a problem. But again , US will strongly disagree and anybody question primacy of dollar would end up like Gaddafi or Dominique Strauss-Kahn lol..

  • 3-Swords Cosplay
    3-Swords Cosplay

    10:28 Forgot how stupid Palin is.

  • 3-Swords Cosplay
    3-Swords Cosplay

    6:50 I hope Cage got royalties for that pillow.

  • Paul McGrievy
    Paul McGrievy

    Money does not matter. The funnel has closed there will be an overspill.

  • Jojo Burger1215
    Jojo Burger1215

    Tax the rich!!!!

  • Danielle O
    Danielle O

    We are holding to Chain now, Thank you ass hole biden.

  • charli'd amelio
    charli'd amelio

    Debt is not an issue. Who do we owe this debt to!? The federal reserve doesn’t need the money it’s all a game like monopoly. Print fake money call it a lone just to keep the wheel turning. The wheel needs to break the system is a scam we need a restart and a whole new system

  • ButteredToast000

    18:48 I like you john but not showing President Obamas picture there for signing to continue the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy that were due to expire while criticizing republicans for doing similar things shows your bias and makes for easy arguments against the left . Don't be a menace to left central society while being moderate in the hood.

  • 司此雷

    Of course the country is in huge debt..... When you give great tax cut to big corporations that benefits being in US but fail to contribute.

  • Alissa Boyce
    Alissa Boyce

    But... you really don’t have a favorite graphing calculator ?

  • Rebel Braainz
    Rebel Braainz

    I really do not think the debt is meant to be fixed, I think its meant to lead to the end. That however is a totally different discussion... but if they wanted to take out the debt instead of paying taxes why not just teach investing in schools and the tax money from income taxes is what Americans use to invest in whatever they want, be it stocks or crypto currencies or whatever and the profits gained from that go to paying the "taxes" and they get to keep the percentage of the profits that was taken out of their paychecks? Seems like a nice way to educate and earn your retirement... I am sure there is a major flaw in this but that's what I have in a nutshell, some kind of idea to be tweaked.

  • audichunes

    What about stock market derivatives? Also, there are a fuckload of riots in America right now. Other than that... good video, I guess?

  • Jami Weaver
    Jami Weaver

    "If he's willing to dig a big hole, he's willing to dig a small hole," Thanks for that!!!

  • dustysoodak

    1. Lobby to give your industry government contracts, subsidies, and tax breaks. 2. Use the extra cash to buy that debt so that people like you receive an increasing percentage of tax dollars as interest. 3. Dump savings into real-estate and other tangible assets when the system starts looking unstable.

  • mizztotal

    "Even if you preface something that isn't racist with 'This isn't racist', it WILL still sound racist." So true! LOL

  • Gregory Abbot
    Gregory Abbot

    How about that dog in the middle of the Greek riot? He was having a GOOD OLD TIME, wasn't he? Beats chasing cars ANY DAY.

  • Tropical Fruit
    Tropical Fruit

    Who signed the last stimulus check? She part of the bankruptcy department? US Corp is in bankruptcy.

  • The Jurassic Chicken
    The Jurassic Chicken

    I’m a conservative but the more I look into liberals the more I realize they aren’t just social justice communist zombies


    Republican bad. Democrat good. Blah blah blah.

    • The Jurassic Chicken
      The Jurassic Chicken

      You didn’t watch the video did you

  • Chris Verr
    Chris Verr

    Nobody knows why the interest rates on the debts have fallen since the 80's...really???!! Just as well as why nobody can explain neither why the interest rates of all our savings account have fallen since the 80's. A savings account that would give me 7% interest in the late 70's nowadays give me 0,5% interest on this exact same account🤔🤔 It somehow feels like the interest rates of the populace have shifted elsewhere.

  • Devon Alec Healy
    Devon Alec Healy

    Sorry John, the US will suffer greatly because of its public, private, and corporate debt in the next decade. The US will face a huge economic crisis in 2023 that will cause a 5-10% contraction in the US economy.

  • Sporting1210

    debt is just a concept based on another concept (money). If we all would stop believing in it, guess what - it would go away for ever \o/

  • Tyg Rahof
    Tyg Rahof

    So America is a deadbeat worthless citizen and the debt should exclude it from EVER borrowing ANY MONEY EVER!! Get out of China and work for us, the people corporate Americans.

  • Shameless_Shaemus

    14:40 dog thinks he is playing fetch with a gas canister😂 he looks happy and scared at the same time

  • Ryan Riddle
    Ryan Riddle

    kinda shocking that Palin had the career that she did. Guess you gotta elect someone in Alaska

  • R Cook
    R Cook

    Since the end of the gold standard, and the fact that the US issues its own currency, the national debt is just a historic record. Japan's debt-to-gdp has well been over 200%. The problem with Greece was/is that it's in a monetary union without a federal fiscal union, it had to borrow Euros. US "borrows" the money it literally controls. Our problem is that this money is being spent very badly; money is given to banks on the hopes that the banks will invest... they aren't because they are pessimistic about demand... so they lend the money to corporations who also do not invest but use this money to buy back stock (works for them because directors' jobs and bonuses are tied to stock price) instead of investing in productive activity. We need to cut out these two middlemen.

  • Bear in a foxhole
    Bear in a foxhole

    Is he really trying to convince us 28 trillion in national debt is a, “good investment”?

  • Electro Stalin
    Electro Stalin

    The reason that interest rates on debt have been decreasing since the 80s despite the debt going up is because the effects of globalization and the fall of the Soviet Union led to the United States becoming the world's dominant economic superpower. American multinational corporations have a huge presence in nearly every country in the world, the dollar is the world's reserve currency, and other countries depend on access to America's financial institutions in order to participate in the global economy. Those factors keep demand for dollars high (which keeps inflation down) while reassuring investors that we'll be able to keep making steady payments on our debt without a risk of defaulting.

  • Liver Success
    Liver Success

    The debt is only a problem when it's not your party doing the spending.

  • mahe D
    mahe D

    Modern Monetary Theory entered the chat

  • Vince Tagliano
    Vince Tagliano

    race race race - that's all John Oliver has these days.

    • Number Nine
      Number Nine

      I'm going to Mars. You "race-obsessed people" need to get it together, so we can go look for a backup planet, in case we really did mess this one up too badly for everyone to live comfortably. We don't have time for this crap. ALL of you. (That goes double for you, religionists! Just go work it out on your own, in the desert, or maybe on the moon, and let us know "who won" after, okay?)

    • Number Nine
      Number Nine


  • Joel Applegate
    Joel Applegate

    Oliver never fails to nail it.

  • Black182heart

    USA has 250 trillions in assets. A mere 25 trillions debt is not a thing to worry about.

  • Ramzi Kahil
    Ramzi Kahil

    Finally good stuff. Not just the T*** shit and Covid stuff.

  • VacatedFox

    so wich is it, debt is good or, republicans put us there.

  • Soren Kazaren
    Soren Kazaren

    Don’t worry the Republicans are just worried about the future generations. Which is why they want to make tons of money so our future children can afford to pay someone else to solve climate change. 🙃

  • merle stewart
    merle stewart

    Debt for growth is what Trump has based his entire life on.....

  • Jenny Shull
    Jenny Shull

    Spoilers The Futurama Space Garbage ball of Earth Destroying Doom is the future’s problem. Barney From How Met Your Mother explains the circle of yelling

  • J. Lovett
    J. Lovett

    "OMG we're going to be like the Greeks!" ...except that we print our own currency, sure. Everyone worried about the national debt should fight to cut the DOD budget.

  • LiL Bruh
    LiL Bruh

    Imagine having debt

  • Chris Buchheit
    Chris Buchheit

    I may be in the minority, but I wish John would have talked about this a bit more deeply. One big thing is that the U.S. does owe money... mostly to itself. Greece owed money to the EU.

  • Lutho Efese
    Lutho Efese

    John looking good with the haircut

  • Vinay Naik
    Vinay Naik

    20:44 The irony of the jab at Elon's flame throwers when those profits were used to get capital for the Boring Company that is trying to improve road infrastructure...

  • ad minoliti
    ad minoliti

    wait, the murder is living freely??

  • RichLifeBali

    Put 2 economists in a room and you’ll get 3 opinions.

  • Kevin O'Keefe
    Kevin O'Keefe

    Defense spending didn't cause the national debt to rise, when Regan was president, it was inflation and a depression, a worldwide depression most severe since World War II, which started in January 1980, before he took office.

  • David Scribner
    David Scribner

    The reason we don’t know what could happen is because all of it is artificial, self-imposing, and meaningless

  • Dr. Stefan Crunk
    Dr. Stefan Crunk

    You gotta be a real asshole to bring your dog to the frontline of a riot

  • Oni Pan da
    Oni Pan da

    Honestly, this story is pretty incomplete. It's not going into the depth it really needs to on some parts of this issue, so it probably should have been a multi-parter. Probably the biggest thing it glossed over and shouldn't have is how the nation budget is not like a home budget. Republicans really love to spin the national budget like someone managing credit cards, but that's so laughably wrong. Really should have talked about what makes sovereign debt different, negative interest rates, and the fact that the dollar is the world's reserve currency. Also should have gone harder on republican hypocrisy in more detail. That part is pretty much preaching to the choir, but it really can't be said enough how full of shit they are.

  • v rencan
    v rencan

    That little ditty about Ted Cruz was so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye.

  • Beefy Beings
    Beefy Beings

    Just say that you want MMT

  • Cody Charpentier
    Cody Charpentier

    The lack of explanation by economists for our debt to GDP ratio reminds me about this old idiom. If you owe the bank $10,000, it's your problem. If you owe the bank $10B, it's the bank's problem. Greece had problems because it wasn't the world's benchmark currency and largest economy in the world. Our debt to GDP isn't a problem because the world, literally every nation on the planet including our agitator states like China and Russia, cannot afford it to be a problem.

  • Johny Cricket
    Johny Cricket

    0:49 That´s what she said Sorry people

  • Fine Highning
    Fine Highning

    "Uh, yeah, no." John you are so informative and crack me up dude

  • Madeline Hutton
    Madeline Hutton

    Tax the Rich & train local entrepreneurs ♡

  • Arthur Thommen
    Arthur Thommen

    21:06 RIP 🪦 John Oliver 03.30.2021

  • Jose Rojas
    Jose Rojas

    Debt to GDP is going up all over the world so it really isn't a big deal if every major economy in the world is doing the same.

  • Josh Hamilton
    Josh Hamilton

    Is indentured servitude not a form of slavery? Not chattel slavery, but technically it is slavery until your debt is repaid. It was the most widespread form of slavery along with enslaving your enemies after you conquer them. Chattel slavery, or owning the descendants of slaves in perpetuity is a very unique thing within all of slaveries history.

  • 4by108

    Wait did he really just start to attack a family and try to discredit a money counting clock to show how irresponsible our spending is based on what one person in the family did? I mean I don’t know the family’s history but he’ll drain the debt out because who has to pay for this ? Us.

  • Chris Griffin
    Chris Griffin

    First time I’ve ever been completely disappointed by Last Week Tonight. The fact that the Republican party has abandoned all pretense of backing fiscal responsibility does nothing to change the discussion of whether a perpetually growing debt is a good thing or not.

  • TheHadesShade

    Funny, when solving the debt I first thought of taxing the top 20% earners a lot more, reduce the defense budget, and spend more on useful things like public transport (remember Houston after that hurricane?), social services, education, nuclear and renewable energy and more. Just like John did.

  • Waylon O'Conner
    Waylon O'Conner

    We did have riots last year.....

    • Waylon O'Conner
      Waylon O'Conner

      Yes a broad generalization mostly unrelated to the debt

  • Mr. Pavone
    Mr. Pavone

    Huh. Imagine if the GOP would tax the billionaires in this country. Maybe we could fix all that?

  • J-Man Wilson
    J-Man Wilson

    I smell piss......

  • isoldaDoesStuff


  • Filbo Rake
    Filbo Rake

    The left is going off the deep end. Oliver used to have decent points but this is sad.

  • Bernard Heathaway
    Bernard Heathaway

    I am Greek and I am watching this being high. I almost died when I recognised the footage of the riot in my city, Athens 😂 Didn't expect that, instead, I thought it's some country in South America 😅 It's not wrong they call us the Colombia of Europe...

  • kamtihu guqurteh
    kamtihu guqurteh

    The loving priest intradurally spare because sleet postmeiotically rhyme via a momentous yoke. deafening, magnificent family

  • Kenneth James
    Kenneth James

    Our national debt is huge because our fucking economy is huge. No one can make money like America so no one can borrow like America. Not to mention most of our debt is purchased by corporations and even investors such as myself. Fuck the national debt. Much Ado about nothing

  • darcey52

    I love John Oliver but he actually has got this one wrong and didn’t go far enough. It is very easy to explain why interest rates are low and government debt increasing ....because it’s not really debt. The US government has the power to spend whatever money it wants - they are not borrowing money when they issue treasury bonds...inflation is the only restriction to how much it spends. The government can create the money to pay redeem its ‘debt’ anytime it wants... He needs to check out MMT .

  • Ditkazbearz2

    Liberal debt lol

  • Julien Yu
    Julien Yu

    The labored postage intialy skip because search medicinally pinch apropos a languid clarinet. satisfying, understood salary

  • doublepinger

    Remember, literally everything the Republicans do is good, and even the sight of someone who *makes* things better for everyone means you burn it all down.

  • rmichaels

    Tax cheat John Oliver.

  • Tom Graham
    Tom Graham

    It is impossible to be in debt to yourself. It is all Banking Lies

  • npage133

    I just hate Sarah Palin so much.

  • Viktor Velev
    Viktor Velev

    Misleading as fuck. How the hell do you think the rich get richer? Because of genius mindset. Nope. Money printing and debt. There's no risk if the bank bails you out every time.

  • R Men
    R Men

    John blew by how much interest we current pay on the national debt and how it could explode to well over $1T annually. If course, short term debt is beneficial. $30T with interest is a disaster.

  • Jennifer Watson
    Jennifer Watson

    The various study consistently cure because bus resultantly visit minus a unkempt slash. five, husky lunchroom

  • Captain Smith
    Captain Smith

    _bang faces in Hawaii_

  • Thomas Palazzolo
    Thomas Palazzolo

    This isn't an insult but it's going to sound like an insult: Sarah Palin is what Peggy Hill would hallucinate while dying of a brain-rot.

  • isoldaDoesStuff


  • Ricardo

    Lol it's not slavery? Right, it's modern slavery. Read about what China is doing in Venezuela and Africa. Oliver is nice, but it's like Q-Anon all the shit gone to just ONE side of the political compass.

  • Cornholio

    i swear this is the most retarded video i have ever seen

  • John P
    John P

    Hey John! You like doing deep dives. Audit the Fed! You'll be shocked where all the money is going. I dare you John, Audit the Fed!

  • John Orosz
    John Orosz

    The ILLUSION of an economy in Crooked Amerika! How can you create millionaires in an army of the rich? Not difficult. You take one BILLIONAIRE who hires politicians and makes them rich, they support Wall Street and things like Dick Cheney's 9/11. Can you imagine being born a millionaire OVER AND OVER AND OVER!

  • womacks8675309

    I wish that end commercial could exist as its own thing. That was awesome.

  • Thomas Paulson
    Thomas Paulson

    Stfu dude...this guy needs to just stop

  • Oisin Dowling
    Oisin Dowling

    There's no nominal tipping point, it will come whenever the powers that be decide that lending to the US no longer becomes a safe bet. Get some good investments in now America, you'll need it when (If?) the shit hits the fan

  • IFCGaming

    So larger and larger dependance on banks is not an issue at all?

  • R Smith
    R Smith

    "expert economists don't know either " is not comforting .

  • Daniel Mirkin
    Daniel Mirkin

    Of all the businessmen to chose from, you pick the guy bringing us to a sustainable environmental future? Elon has my vote!

  • Laura Marschmallow
    Laura Marschmallow

    All the time I hear people say "a government should be run like a company" I think: then the government should increase their income by raising taxes. But for some reason raising taxes leads to communism.