THE SOUTH FLORIDA SUN
February 3, 2011
WE SHOULD KNOW WHOM WE OWE:
Disclose Saudi Loans to US
By Robert Weiner and James Lewis
In his State of the Union, President Obama made U.S. debt reduction a priority. If America wants to pay back her debt, we need to know who our creditors are.
The White House just held meetings with China's Hu Jintao where U.S. debt to them (now $896 billion) and our economic relationship were top issues. The Treasury Department discloses what we owe China, Japan ($877 billion), Britain ($512 billion), Brazil ($184 billion), and most countries but refuses to disclose how much we owe Saudi Arabia and other oil nations.
With gas prices threatening $4 a gallon, this is something Florida's 14 million drivers, especially seniors on fixed income, as well as the tourism industry, care about.
Oil countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, and Venezuela, hold a fifth ($210 billion) of U.S. debt. OPEC, the Saudi-ruled cartel, manipulates oil and gasoline prices. They are taking what we pay at the pump and loaning it back to us.
In response to our inquires about how much we owe the Saudis, Treasury spokespersons and staff would only provide a formal non-statement: "Treasury has been reporting this data in the same way for many years. The Treasury Department General Counsel is reviewing how this information is disclosed to the public." Basically, continuing a policy from Bush-Cheney, you can wait for Godot before we'll tell you.