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.
Connect with Last Week Tonight online...
Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight NOlocal channel for more almost news as it almost happens:
Find Last Week Tonight on Facebook like your mom would: lastweektonight
Follow us on Twitter for news about jokes and jokes about news: lastweektonight
Visit our official site for all that other stuff at once:


  • James
    James5 timer siden

    Great video, but please dust your desk before shooting these. That little speck of dust drove me crazy because I thought it was on my screen!

  • Cyber Net
    Cyber Net5 timer siden

    Republicans: It's OK when we do it

  • Tia Aprile
    Tia Aprile6 timer siden

    tax the rich

  • Silver
    Silver6 timer siden

    Does anyone else feel like money is a human construct that could easily be changed or replaced if not for greed.

  • angelo senlob
    angelo senlob6 timer siden


  • snipewa4
    snipewa46 timer siden

    I absolutely hate modern tv shows/sitcoms that have a laugh track. That said, this show without an audience/or supplemental laugh track does not deliver in the same way. Something eerie and cold about the Covid version of the show...but hey that’s just my two cents. Great content as always and here’s to hoping it goes back to what it once was soon.

  • Ben W
    Ben W7 timer siden

    This commentary is the biggest load of horseshit that exists. The problem with the debt is the servicing of the debt. Servicing of the debt currently requires $300 billion a year, due to the artificially low interest rates. If these rates were normalized within a few years it would exceed the cost of social security. Pretty quickly 1/3 the national budget would be debt servicing, the largest single item on the national budget and we would be in deep shit. So instead, we are dependent on 0% interest rates to not destroy the country. This expands the money supply, makes financing cheaper and allows you to go further in debt with less consequence, or so you think. Pretty quickly, as is happening in Texas, the higher supply of cheap credit results in hot markets, housing where I live has nearly doubled in price in 5 years. Costs for fuel, food and basic necessities are going up. The excess supply of cash causes inflation (as the value of a dollar is basically a relationship between what there is to buy and how much money you have) and this destroys wages and savings. Pretty soon, only those who invested in stocks and other physical assets have anything worth keeping as those big businesses get propped up by your tax dollars. While you and I are left holding a big bag of this assholes bullshit.

  • KennyRuns _
    KennyRuns _7 timer siden

    '... Time to apply for that Interstellar national debt. I know it was a long long time ago, that's what they Say... The STARS STILL WAR!!! ...' -Gribble, D-3rs

    vINDIGOWARRIORv7 timer siden

    Simply a cabal of ppl called the "bis" sets these rates they are manipulating the world toward their vision of perfection essentially

  • Dirty Pagan
    Dirty Pagan7 timer siden

    If republicans are so anxious to pay off the debt, maybe they should, you know ,collect the taxes from the rich...

  • Mike Broughton
    Mike Broughton7 timer siden

    Gotta love how the debt clock has an added section to shame families for a debt they have no control over

  • Hainero2001
    Hainero20018 timer siden

    Everything about this is bullshit.

  • sam
    sam8 timer siden

    I liked the TI-89 helps with high level equations and simulations.

  • A P
    A P8 timer siden

    Economic moron wrote this segment.

  • Keith Karnage
    Keith Karnage9 timer siden

    When you need one, you'll have two!

  • The Angry Finger
    The Angry Finger9 timer siden

    Oh Sarah Palin I forgot about you. Let's keep that trend going okay?

  • Don Robertson
    Don Robertson9 timer siden

    Running a deficit? Tax cuts! Running a surplus? Tax cuts!

  • Tyler Durden
    Tyler Durden9 timer siden

    someone tell me where i can adopt this man. lol

  • Shepard
    Shepard9 timer siden

    Poor dog

  • Shepard
    Shepard9 timer siden

    ...ummm remember Greece?

  • rebelyell1983x
    rebelyell1983x9 timer siden

    Oliver misses some points here: 1) Interest on the debt that is ever increasing will become a bigger and bigger expenditure for the gov. Let's say the interest rate goes from 1% to 2%....well you just doubled your interest payments! Interest payments will become a bigger expenditure than medicare/military/social programs etc. That's is what is concerning. Meanwhile the debt and the interest you have to pay on the debt is EVER growing. 2) Sure those kids are happy with investments that worked for them....but what if they want to make different decisions for their country when they come of age? Maybe they don't want that highway? or want something different? Do they then in turn saddled their kids with debt?

  • Catfactory


    5 timer siden

    The cost of servicing the debt grows, but so does the economy. The rate of GDP growth is higher than the interest rates on a lot of government debt, especially the debt from bonds sold in the past ten years. As a result, the so-called 'snowball' of public debt is more likely to melt than balloon. If kids grow up and want to change the country then that's their democratic prerogative.

  • Shepard
    Shepard10 timer siden

    Ya but , just print some more money...wait, and hit the reset button.

  • mena88
    mena8810 timer siden

    I guess we should ignore the correlation between the dramatic increase in monetary inflation (which is debt) since the gold standard was dropped and the increasing disparity between the rich and poor, exploding tuition costs, unaffordable housing prices and yes the impact this will and is having on future generations.

  • D Bone
    D Bone10 timer siden

    R.I.P John Oliver, who died a week before this episode was published to NOlocal.

  • e mills
    e mills10 timer siden

    Get out of the dollar. Get into cryptocurrency before it's too late. Oliver is just pushing state sponsored propaganda.

  • Joshua Marshall
    Joshua Marshall10 timer siden

    John you're letting political views stand in the way of actual facts. Your dollar is loosing value against major currencies, coupled with your interest rates about to be reevaluated this month, your debt window to be reached by July. Also your inflation just doubled over the course of a month. I'm a liberal ball bag but the facts are here Trump and Biden spending will cripple the American economy. I'm Canadian and up here we see it and are either buying property or gold to maximize our capital personally because the American economy is looking like Schroeders Cat however one outcome has higher probability than the other. So stop with the political nonsense and actually do research on the economy instead of cherrypicked information to keep your viewers comfortable.

  • Barry William Teske
    Barry William Teske10 timer siden

    John Oliver has huge hands.

  • WalyB01
    WalyB0111 timer siden

    Tax the rich, feed the poor, thill there into no rich no more.

  • Karim Kerachni
    Karim Kerachni11 timer siden

    For the first time ever, I disagree with you my dear John Oliver - nice piece, wrong conclusion

  • spook
    spook12 timer siden

    We know everything exactly how it works yet with each financial crisis we are left with our mouths and eyes wide open.

  • Elle Russell
    Elle Russell12 timer siden

    For me, the worst part of this whole thing was the poor dog at the riots.

  • Brazylilionare Woods brazyl
    Brazylilionare Woods brazyl13 timer siden

    Love it, love everything about it, the ending was spectacular, you nailed it once again John, great job 👍⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Axis Galaxis
    Axis Galaxis13 timer siden

    So who got d money cuz we sure didn’t get it?

  • Stefan Zzz
    Stefan Zzz13 timer siden

    John, the issue of debt will come to roost when inflation pays you a visit. High debt with low interest is fine and dandy... but...

  • uberx24
    uberx2413 timer siden

    As someone who plays city skylines: building an industrial zone (factory in this analogy) off of a loan is the best investment to pay off the negative money you've accumulated from city growth.

  • Albert Camus
    Albert Camus13 timer siden

    hmmm u should run analytics on the rario of likes/dislikes,,,could actually be some contingent indicator or something

  • Albert Camus
    Albert Camus13 timer siden

    hahaha i love how just be starting any given video by looking at the dislikes i can somewhat guage the degree of "idiocracy" out there haha...sooo this one had 8.7 thousand morons?? WOWW

  • mgwilt
    mgwilt13 timer siden

    The way debt works in the macroeconomy is not the same as how it works for, say, a mortgage. That seems to be the case, anyway.

  • David Acero
    David Acero14 timer siden

    I really hope the 5 million people who watched this now understand the debt better,

  • troglodyte01
    troglodyte0114 timer siden

    21:05 Notice the dates on the urn?

  • Beck Cetera
    Beck Cetera14 timer siden

    People think that lower tax rates are a good thing...they don't actually get how tax rates apply to income bracket and personal vs. business tax. The USA doesn't seem to get how tax works haha.

  • frozenboot68
    frozenboot6815 timer siden

    14:40 that poor dog.

  • frozenboot68
    frozenboot6815 timer siden

    Stupid right wingers don’t get it.

  • frozenboot68
    frozenboot6815 timer siden

    I remember Reagan as one of the worst US Presidents ever. And there is a library named after him? He who never read books? And an airport? He who caused utter chaos in the skies by single handed lay trying to dismantle the air traffic controllers? Pulease. Stop re-writing history, Americans.

  • BruceNJeffAreMyFlies
    BruceNJeffAreMyFlies15 timer siden

    So china owns 1.1 tril of americas debt, america owns over 2 tril of chinas debt, but they have kids swearing allegiance to the Chinese over debt... American republicans are fucking insane.

  • Moza G Smith
    Moza G Smith15 timer siden

    I have a favourite kind of calculator... but that isn't because I'm good at maths, it's just cuz I grew up in a school where it was cool to be smart and pitiful to be and idiot... Not that idiots got bullied, no it was already assumed that their parents were doing that for them. . . I liked the calculator that looked all smooth and was easy to use and read.

  • dollores
    dollores16 timer siden

    God damn I hate Bush Jr. He's the reason we can't bankrupt our student loans

  • Sauharda Rawat
    Sauharda Rawat16 timer siden

    We need to have serious discussion on this flaky financial system. Don't you think, a system where if you put an input, your output would DEFINITELY be lower, (by 2-10%) is broken. Why have we all adopted such a lousy system. Lower interest rates would lead to more inflation in coming years. It's a trap!

  • Lex Blazer
    Lex Blazer16 timer siden

    Yikes. Disastrous John Oliver piece - maybe the worst I've ever seen from him in 5 years - there's only one part he got right....HE (and his writers) truly do not understand how inflation, interest rates, debt or any of it work. Apparently, as long as it fits the current MSM narrative, we should spend without worrying about any of those.

  • aquavita1
    aquavita116 timer siden

    Debt is not bad by nature, but it makes the borrower more vulnerable. When running a lot of debt, the borrower will rely on additional debt to close the yearly deficit. The actual tipping point accurs when lenders lose confidence in the borrower's ability to repay and stop lending. That is why noone knows when the tipping point will come, as it relies heavily on reputation. I don't see USA losing public trust any time soon, but it is not a safe route to take.

  • Donnie Darko
    Donnie Darko16 timer siden

    What we really need is a separation of State and Money. When the state prints money, however noble the cause, it is diluting the savings of its citizens and redistributing that purchasing power to bureaucrats who then decides how that new money is spent. This puts the bureaucrats in a highly corruptible position. Those closest to the new money (govt contractors, wallstreet etc) benefit from the Cantillon effect - taking advantage of low prices before prices can adjust to the inflation. The new money usually flows into assets - stocks, real estate etc - as unallocated money always finds its way into high return investments, thus causing asset bubbles. The rich who own assets get richer while the poor, who now have diluted dollars have to work harder to afford the same standard of living as before the inflation. The poor then demand entitlements, which leads to more money printing and more inflation, which just exacerbates the problem. Over decades, the middle class disappears and society bifurcates into rich (asset holders) and poor (cash holders). Then revolutions occur.

  • Nick Flaumitsch
    Nick Flaumitsch16 timer siden

    Stephanie Kelton's - "The Deficit Myth" if you want an economist who can explain this shit.

  • Mikihisa Karibe
    Mikihisa Karibe16 timer siden

    Not to be racist, but I like this show

  • Matt
    Matt17 timer siden

    The moment interet rates increase, the debt will become an issue. Spend money on infrastructure in bad times, save money in good times. But don't spend money you don't have all the time

  • Nic Halabicky
    Nic Halabicky17 timer siden

    We have a democrat as president which means it's time for republicans to start pretending they care about the national debt again. Even though historically the deficit skyrockets every time they're in office

  • Cody Eason
    Cody Eason17 timer siden

    You should replace Trump's hands with chicken feet. His hands looked like gross chicken feet.

  • TheFreePantheist
    TheFreePantheist17 timer siden

    Gold is money, Dollars are debt

  • JoJoPanda03
    JoJoPanda0317 timer siden

    Lovable human rights violation..... so accurate

  • David A
    David A17 timer siden

    What a bunch of nonsense... The arrogance of these media characters is astonishing: who needs to know about History and Economics to talk about History and Economics?

  • Rebecca Firlotte
    Rebecca Firlotte17 timer siden

    He should get all of his poems put into an anthology. I'd buy it. Just like Marlon Bundo! Screw Ted Cruz

  • ZT1ST
    ZT1ST17 timer siden

    @20:15; HBO Execs: "Really, John? You want to buy *two* Nick Cage in a Banana Pillows? And how do you expect us to get value from that?" John: "That's a good point - you should spend some of that money keeping your children pre-occupied talking about the economy." HBO Execs: "Wait - you have an idea of a Covid-safe way to keep our children busy for a few minutes? Okay, if that's the deal for getting you those two Nick Cage Banana Pillows, that's a bargain - what's the script they have to learn?"

  • Oscar Viaje
    Oscar Viaje18 timer siden

    I love your poem made for Ted Cruz...

  • Renato Corvaro
    Renato Corvaro18 timer siden

    Hearing Republicans complaining about the debt they're largely responsible for is par for the course.

  • Ragnar Ólafsson
    Ragnar Ólafsson18 timer siden

    Nailed it! Thank you 🙏🏻

  • Danny MacDonald
    Danny MacDonald18 timer siden

    You CANT talk debt now republicans,....🤨🤔🙄👎🧐🤢🤮

  • Artsy_Judoka
    Artsy_Judoka18 timer siden

    The fact that even people whose whole job is to understand the economy aren't really sure what's going on is terrifying. Inventing money was a big mistake.

  • Patrick Granahan
    Patrick Granahan18 timer siden

    And the guy who started an insurrection filed for bankruptcy 6 times...he blew daddy’s money and then relied upon the Russian mob and putin..still the orange face of the not so gop...smh

  • SuzukiKid400
    SuzukiKid40018 timer siden

    This was pretty poor journalism. Was hoping for facts on deficits and debt and it was just a video of republican bashing. Why can’t anyone just make factual videos instead of trying to sound righteous. The part about Greece going bankrupt and him making jokes just show how uneducated he his about that situation. Greece was literally bailed out by the European Union. If the US debt condition becomes as bad as Greece, who will bail the US out?

  • Pandaboi


    17 timer siden

    @SuzukiKid400 Fundamentally, giving money to the rich is bad for the economy, giving money to create infrastructure, create jobs, and support the poor is good for the economy. We have more than the US base that assertion on. The Republicans are famous for tax cuts to the rich. Regardless of how you look at it, the Republicans actions are worse for the economy. It's not just cause and effect, it's inductive reasoning.

  • SuzukiKid400


    18 timer siden

    @alexlikesallthegamez yeah, I get it, it’s a simple concept to understand.

  • alexlikesallthegamez


    18 timer siden

    Pretty much, we can loan money as a country to save money in the future or to make money as an investment. If we use the money incorrectly we lose money. The dept could be a good or bad thing. We might be able to fix the dept but we are doing it improperly. There is a possibility that the US turns out like Greece but that hasn't happened. John is usually right and uses comedy to make his videos more interesting to some people.

  • SuzukiKid400


    18 timer siden

    @Pandaboi I think you missed the point of the video. You can’t correlate anything to a particular party. They can’t explain why interest rates are going down, they can’t correlate good debt vs bad debt, they don’t know if the US will end up like Greece or not. The segment was just a bunch of assumptions and assertions making forced conclusions on the basis of party bashing. The cause and effect of what one party does melts into the next. Modern politics are all about buying votes to stay in power, not about making wise investments for our future.

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    Watch the video again, and this time pay attention. The danger of debt surpassing growth is real and concerning, but the republicans have been rapidly racking up debt without increasing growth. The video covered this, hence why it was necessary to bash the hollow shell of what was once the Republican party.

  • Ruslan Kain
    Ruslan Kain18 timer siden

    Basically, modern monetary theorem (MMT) - which is controversial and gives printing jaw-dropping amounts of money sum flair of intellectualism. Also, we do know how interest rates are determined ... they're determined by the federal reserve bank (central bank). Also also, what about the trillions of debt created on stimulus checks that don't lead to increased economic production? wouldn't that lead to inflation?

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    Giving money to the rich and they save it, give money to the poor and they go and buy food. The economy thrives when money circulates, hence giving to the poor is better.

  • Julian Kelly
    Julian Kelly18 timer siden

    Who else can't wait to hear John's thoughts about Liverpool joining the corrupt European Super League?

  • your name
    your name19 timer siden

    If You Are Not a Liberal at 25, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative at 35 You Have No Brain" -Winston Churchil

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    I do not understand how that fits in.

  • DanCanRV2
    DanCanRV219 timer siden

    Where was all this GOP concerns when it came to Defense spending and trumps tax break for the rich ???

  • C.E J
    C.E J19 timer siden

    Why is there such an obsession with China with American politicians? Like why does the US and the West always have to be so antagonistic towards the East?

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    Well China is a totalitarian regime with a population of 1.2 billion that is making efforts to expand their influence. Of course, China is on the cusp of significant internal turmoil due to a few major failings on the part of the government so their influence isn't likely to continue on this upward trend. I'll give my opinion even though you didn't ask it. Despite their self-destruction, we should definitely do something against them, and my first choice would actually be what Biden has done and push to manufacture computer chips domestically. Many experts believe that if World War 3 occurs, it'll be a cyberwar, so to address that possibility the first step would not be military spending but be building redundancy and security into critical infrastructure.

  • TarriPup
    TarriPup19 timer siden

    RIP John, although that probably won't stop him from broadcasting from the afterlife, which coincidentally is also a white void. And if we ever return to a studio setting with an audience, the audience is also dead. John Oliver, now John Odeader, fucking shit up for God and Satan for shits and giggles.

  • John Hofer
    John Hofer19 timer siden

    I know I'm just a ripple in the pond, but keep fighting the good fight, John (and crew!) You are the modern Jon Stewart

  • seneca983
    seneca98319 timer siden

    Japan's debt-to-GDP ratio is almost 250%.

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    Also worth noting, they have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world.

  • SleepingDrag0n
    SleepingDrag0n19 timer siden

    Over 20 minutes of bullshitting and you didn't even mention the real reason behind the debt being a non issue for America. It's the US dollar's global hegemony as the reserve currency, enforced by the US military. The Fed can print pieces of paper, and other countries are forced to give you actually products and goods in exchange for those pieces of paper. Those who don't get accused of human rights violation and get "freedom and democracy" dropped on their cities. How else do you think a country full of twats like you can enjoy your first world standard of living when all of your just sit around yapping instead of actually producing any of the goods you consume? Fuck you, fuck your Democrats, fuck your Republicans, fuck your whole country that holds a gun to the heads of the real workers of the world and says "give me stuff for these green piece of paper or I shoot".

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    It's not so much that it's the global reserve currency by force. Because it's the global reserve currency it's stable, and because it's stable it's the global reserve currency.

  • devilaces
    devilaces19 timer siden

    Republicans: "You're going to leave the children starving and without hope!" Democrats: "Then we can agree on funding for child care and education?" Republicans: "Hell no! Cut social services and education! No one uses that waste!"

  • Dan Riverso
    Dan Riverso19 timer siden

    This will not age well. You conveniently left out some very important points. Further, keep in mind that debt wasn’t seen to be an issue before the ‘08 financial crisis.

  • amanda Marie
    amanda Marie20 timer siden

    Please dont support a charity that supports eugenics. Listen to Autistic people, we do not want this, you are hurting our community!

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden


  • K C
    K C20 timer siden

    Clinton finished over a trillion in debt

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    Bush was 5.8 trillion, and Trump was 6.7 trillion. Reagan was almost 2 trilion. Admittedly, Obama was higher than all three of them, but that was during a recession, a time in which it's accepted by anyone with any understanding of economics that accumulating debt is not only acceptable but advisable.

  • Peter Xian
    Peter Xian20 timer siden

    Let's Go!!! take on more margins and swim ...

  • Peter Xian
    Peter Xian20 timer siden

    Interest rates normally correlates with risks. when they are low across the developed world, this should mean we are in a much safer environment than in the 80s... cold war, remember?

  • agentchuck2
    agentchuck220 timer siden

    Yeah everyone, grow up! Ballooning debt under the democrats is clearly going to be a good thing for you and the future! I mean, it was awful under the other party, but this is clearly 'good' debt.

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    The point was that the Republicans accumulated debt with tax cuts for the rich, something which actively hurts the economy, while the Democrats accumulated debt through public spending, which benefits the economy. Not to mention Republicans accumulate way more debt.

  • Calie-Anne Caz
    Calie-Anne Caz20 timer siden

    I’ll never understand how governments always give tax cuts to the richest ppl and over tax the lowest earners? Wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to tax the top 10% of earners 2% of their earnings then to tax the lowest earners 20% (just estimating pls don’t fact check just making a point)I’m sure the 2% from rich ppls pockets would likely be a lot less noticeable by the tax payer and the government would be making way more then they would taxing the lowest earners 20% and they (the lowest earners) will feel it a lot harder then the top 10% will. Can someone in economics do the math cuz I do t see how no one sees this the only reason i can think of is they (the government) don’t want to Piss off their friends 🤯🤬

  • Pandaboi


    18 timer siden

    There's no economic sense behind it, the Republicans are just trash human beings.

  • jello hunter7
    jello hunter720 timer siden

    This argument makes the point that debt is an investment in schools/infrastructure, while completely ignoring that a large part of government spending is entitlements and the military.

  • Peter Ilisituk
    Peter Ilisituk20 timer siden

    It amazes me that John Oliver didn't talk about the South Seas bubble debt.

  • Jeremy Armstrong
    Jeremy Armstrong20 timer siden

    Texas Instruments 84 plus is obviously the best graphing calculator

  • Guzwar
    Guzwar20 timer siden

    That poor polar bear.

  • alexiane250
    alexiane25020 timer siden

    "we are worried about the children's future" says the party that is AGGRESSIVELY against anything to stop / reverse climate change

  • despairedboy
    despairedboy20 timer siden

    Now we know where 45 learnt how to pronounce Chyena, as always, it all comes back to Sarah Palin.

  • Shelly Justice
    Shelly Justice21 time siden

    Republicans have memory loss of Bush's useless and extremely expensive wars... the only place that FBI said was where the planned 9/11 attacks came from was Saudi Arabia.... but the Bush's love Saudi so much, they attacked other nations that had never hurt anyone... because people wanted justice immediately.... they trained soldiers to just kill kill kill... they killed fucking civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan for no fucking reason!! Why would Bush punish bin Laden??? He was his business partner!! After 9/11 , Bush immediately chartered all Bin Laden living in the USA and flew them all back to Saudi Arabia for their protection??? -- on taxpayers money to boot.

  • NB_Knight
    NB_Knight21 time siden

    "that sounds like something that's gonna take about 3 pages of your notes app" thats GOLD

  • bitsizecrayons
    bitsizecrayons21 time siden

    Havent watched this fuck in four years. Still same whiny little bitch he was before

  • Nathan Carmichael
    Nathan Carmichael21 time siden

    That suit is a beautiful shade of mediocre

  • K3VYK3V1
    K3VYK3V121 time siden

    .."going into debt can actually be a good investment in the country", and how much of the u.s. national debt has been a good investment?

  • D Topa
    D Topa21 time siden

    Finally in Canada

  • GiarkReleos
    GiarkReleos21 time siden

    17:08 the answer is greed. . . don't forget once you got more borrower's you can always increase the interest rate. AND remember that interest is not a capitalist tool, but a Fascist one !!

  • 2HelpfulGuys
    2HelpfulGuys21 time siden

    How do you talk about debt and not address central banks...

  • Custo
    Custo21 time siden

    Amusing that they made fun of Elon Musk, insinuating that government subsidies of EVs is bad?