The Fed Balance Sheet: What is Uncle Sam’s Largest Asset?
The correct answer, as of the latest Flow of Funds report is … Student Loans.
The rapid growth in student debt has been an ongoing topic in the financial press. One stunning chart that continues to haunt me illustrates the rapid growth in federal loans to students since the onset of the great recession. Here is a chart based on data from the Flow of Funds Table L.105, which shows the Federal Government’s assets and liabilities.
As I point out on the chart, the two callouts are for Q4 2007, the quarter in which the Great Recession began (December 2007) the most recent quarter on record, Q1 2013. The loan balance has risen and astonishing 483 percent over that timeframe, most of which dates from after the recession.