Politicians still cast China as US's top banker

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Despite being a favorite target of politicians, China isn't the United States' biggest creditor. In fact, its share has been slowly shrinking.

The United States is its own biggest creditor.

The national debt soon is expected to exceed $17 trillion. But the bulk of that is held by the Federal Reserve, the Social Security system, various pension plans for civil service workers and military personnel, U.S. banks, mutual funds, private pension plans, insurance companies and individual domestic investors.

China is responsible for just a shade over 7 percent of that total debt, after topping out at close to 10 percent a few years ago. Together, all foreign investors account for roughly one third of the federal government debt.

The national debt will be at the center of debate again soon, as a deeply divided Congress wrestles with an expected Obama administration request to increase the government's borrowing authority again.

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