It is relatively easy to calculate what the monetary burden of government debt is. Credit inheritance and debt inheritance are not distributed uniformly. The credit inheritance is assumed strictly by bondholders, and the debt inheritance is assumed strictly by taxpayers. Each individual has a different burden, equalling their tax outlays, minus their income from government spending (the net tax position).
For an entire nation, everyone’s individual position is summed together. In a closed economy where the only lenders are domestic, the intergenerational monetary burden is zero. But that is by no means the entire story.
First, debts to foreign lenders are a real monetary burden, because the interest payments constitute a real transfer of money out of the nation.
Second, while there may be little or no debt burden for the nation as a whole, interest constitutes a transfer of wealth between citizens of the nation, specifically as a transfer payment from future taxpayers to creditors. This adds up, at current levels, to nearly half a trillion of transfer payments per year from taxpayers to creditors. So while the intergenerational burden may technically add up to zero for the nation, it will not for individuals. The real burden is huge transfers from those who pay the tax to those who receive the spending, and those who receive the interest. So who loses out?Azizonomics
The Burden Of Government Debt
(h/t Zero Hedge)