During an interview on CNBC Squawk Box this morning and in my Wall Street Journal oped of last Friday (June 1), I mentioned that the Federal Reserve purchased 77% of the net increase in the debt by the Federal government in 2011. Several people have asked for references for that amazing percentage. The calculation is due to my colleague John Cogan, and is based on data reported in the Federal Budget, FY2013 Historical Tables, Table 7.1: Federal Debt at the End of Year: 1940–2017.
Here is how it is calculated. Table 7.1 shows that federal debt held by the public increased from $9,018,882 million at the end of fiscal year 2010 to $10,128,206 million at the end of fiscal year 2011 for an increase of $1,109,324 million during fiscal year 2011. The same table shows that Federal Reserve holdings of federal debt increased from $811,669 million to $1,664,660 million during the same period for an increase of $852,991 million, which is 77 percent of $1,109,324 million.