The Beginning Of The End
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One Economic Chart That You Should Permanently Burn Into Your Memory

Today most Americans are completely obsessed with the silliest of things.  They wonder how Lindsay Lohan is going to fare in jail and they agonize over who LeBron James is going to play basketball for.  But when it comes to the things that really matter, most Americans are completely clueless.  For example, while most Americans would agree that we are experiencing difficult economic times right now, most of them would also argue that our economic system is in fundamentally good shape and that things will get back to “normal” at some point.  Those of us who are trying to warn America of the impending economic nightmare are dismissed as “doom and gloomers” and “conspiracy theorists”.  But of course, as with so many things, the passage of time will tell who was right and who was wrong.  Below there is a chart that I want all of you to burn into your memory.  It is a chart of total U.S. debt as a percentage of GDP from 1870 until 2009.  This chart clearly and succinctly communicates the horror of the debt bubble that we are currently dealing with.  When this debt bubble pops, it is going to make the Great Depression look like a Sunday picnic.

As you can see from the chart below, the total of all debt (government, business and consumer) is now somewhere in the neighborhood of 360 percent of GDP.  Never before has the United States faced a debt bubble of this magnitude…. 

Most of us were not alive during the Great Depression, but those who were remember how incredibly painful it was for America to deleverage and bring the economic system back into some type of balance.

So if our current debt bubble is far worse, what kind of economic horror is ahead for us?

But the truth is that we are facing some circumstances that even the folks back during the Great Depression did not have to deal with….

1 – Back in the 1930s, tens of millions of Americans lived on farms or knew how to grow their own food.  Today the vast majority of Americans are totally dependent on the system for even their most basic needs.

2 – A vast horde of Baby Boomers is expecting to retire, and the “Social Security trust fund” has nothing but 2.5 trillion dollars of government IOUs in it.  According to an official U.S. government report, rapidly growing interest costs on the U.S. national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019.  This is a financial tsunami the likes of which Americans back in the 1930s could never have even dreamed of.

3 – American workers never had to compete for jobs with workers on the other side of the world back in the 1930s.  But today, millions upon millions of our jobs have been “outsourced” to China, India and a vast array of third world nations where desperate workers are more than happy to slave away for big global corporations for less than a dollar an hour.  How in the world are American workers supposed to compete with that?

4 – Back in the 1930s, there was nothing like the gigantic derivatives bubble that hangs over us today.  The total value of all derivatives worldwide is estimated to be somewhere between 600 trillion and 1.5 quadrillion dollars.  The danger that we face from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet has called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”.  When this bubble pops there won’t be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

5 – During the Great Depression, the United States economy was relatively self-contained.  But today we truly do live in a global economy.  Unfortunately that means that a severe economic crisis in one part of the world is going to affect us as well.  Right now, the United States is far from alone in dealing with a massive debt crisis.  Greece, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Portugal and a number of other European nations are in real danger of actually defaulting on their debts.  Japan (the third biggest economy in the world) is on the verge of complete and total economic collapse.  So what happens to the U.S. economy when the dominoes start to fall? 

The truth is that by almost any measure, we are in worse economic condition than we were right before the beginning of the Great Depression.  We have been living way beyond our means and the debts we have been piling up are clearly not anywhere close to sustainable. 

Did you think that we could just continue to run deficits equal to 10 percent of GDP forever?

Of course not.

The U.S. economy is being driven off a cliff, but America’s “ruling class” has insisted all along that they know better than we do

But the truth is that in the final analysis it is not us that they care about.

What they do actually care about is getting more money and more power for themselves and for other members of the ruling class.  Today, 10,000 people make 30% of the total income in the United States each year.

That leaves 70% of the pie for the remaining 99.99% of us to divide up.

The reality is that however you want to slice it, the U.S. economic system is broken.  However, considering the fact that America’s ruling class has a stranglehold on both major political parties, we are not likely to see any fundamental changes any time soon.

That is very unfortunate, because time is running out on the U.S. economy.

  • Michelle

    Well, everyone, we are going to find out…I suspect it’s going to be sooner than many realize.

    Get your “depression” gardens planted (or call it a crisis garden, which seems a better description) store some food for the coming shortages (go to http://www.halfpasthuman.com and purchase (for a paltry $10) the latest Shape of Things to Come report, and read it) stockpile basic supplies, put your money in silver (it’s going to increase to a greater degree than gold).

    We’re in for a rough ride. Try to save enough food to help out your friends and family who have failed to heed your warnings…

    And try not to say “I told you so” (that will be impossible since they will come crawling to you saying “I should have listened to you”…)

  • Owen

    I agree, our current economic model does not work and I think it was designed that way. It’s the old trick of creating a crisis in order to impose a predetermined solution that the vast majority of us will not like. The end result will be global tyranny and unfortunately we will not “hang together” so the elites will therefore easily pick us off one by one. The solution as I see it, is to fire the Democrats and Republicans, nationalize the Federal Reserve, negotiate a foreign debt settlement with each nation we owe, or use greenbacks to pay off foreign debt to those who do not cooperate and we ought to count previous foreign aid toward that settlement. Internally, we ought to forgive all debt and start over by developing a modern version of the 40 acres and a mule program (we have a lot of empty houses right now). It’s time to bring back tariffs and it’s time to place our nation’s welfare above striving to be good global citizens. It’s time to get rid of the seniority system in Congress, to impeach judges nationwide, to break up the private tax sheltering foundations that are bent on fostering social change harmful to the good of the nation. It is time that we hold those who brought this mess upon us fully accountable (companies and individuals). They should be punished and we should remove their wealth so that they will no longer be a destabilizing force for evil. However, I realize that none of this, except the abolish paper money part will ever happen and in the end we all die, separately, individually and without honor in the brave new world of the new world order…

  • Ray

    When we do bounce back,folks like this writer will run, hide and claim they were misquoted.

  • Peter

    So what happens to the U.S. economy when the dominoes start to fall?

    You mention this question, I have the exact same question. So what happens next. Assuming we continue on this road how does this all play out?

  • fred

    Today’s “ruling class” know exactly what they’re doing. This economic crisis was manufactured by them and has been in the works for decades. They want our future to be just like George Orwell’s novel “1984”. Read the book or rent the movie.

  • chon

    Hey, good you put a chart !!!, what if you put a chart for the cross of death ? you wrote about it few days ago but i guess many people was wondering about 200 days average, etc.

  • http://none Benny

    Hello,

    I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that I have been following your blog for about a month now and I find it incredibly helpful and informative. It is unfortunate that so many out there are in denial and refuse to accept the reality and the truth of what you are trying to tell us, but don’t concern yourself with them. They are foolish and ignorant and will pay the price in time. For myself and all the rest of your loyal, intelligent readers, keep those articles and columns coming! :)

    Best Regards,
    Benny

  • de Malfosse

    Just close your eyes … click the heels of the Ruby Slippers together … and chant “USA! USA!! USA!!!” … and all will be well.

  • http://guymcpherson.com Guy McPherson

    What cannot be paid off will not be paid off. Default is on the way. Think Soviet-style collapse, but so much worse for Americans because of cultural differences, our profound inability and unwillingness for self-reliance, and the absence of cheap energy with which to make a comeback.

    The living planet, on the other hand, is about to make a huge comeback in the wake of oppression from the industrial age. Better days lie ahead for non-human species and people in non-industrial cultures.

  • freddybobs68k

    The graph sure is scary. Whats it source (is there a link to the graph at the original source)?

  • brittany

    When the system hits the fan do you think it could be fixed again? Or will we live in poverty forever? Once again is there a country I can move to to escape this?

  • rich

    Michelle you know how many years I have been hearing comments like yours????? It isn’t gonna happen

  • wake up

    Ray, you are in complete denial. There is no “bouncing back” from this. The changes coming will be drastic and it’s folks like you who will be the first to perish.

  • Michael A R

    The chart doesn’t tell it all. The GDP in ’30’s was mostly legitimate GDP, not almost entirely debt fueled as it is today. Take away the easy credit and GDP collapses to near zero but the debt is still there. What would this chart look like then? The 2010 level would be off the chart, off the top of you computer monitor, and through the roof of your house.

  • http://survivaljoe.net/blog/ Survival Joe

    I personally believe the ruling elite have engineered the collapse to consolidate power. They hope to get a few steps closer to a one world government.

    In the end, I don’t think their plans will succeed — but it certainly looks like we’ll all be experiencing some economic pain in the near future.

    -SJ

  • sharonsj

    There is nothing wrong with expecting gloom and doom and being prepared. If it doesn’t happen, great! But if it does, then we will be able to cope.

    I am worried, though, that the debt will stop the government from doing what is necessary to help people. The stimulus is too small and is spread out over too much time. But they already spent most of the money on the TARP bailout as well as the two wars (which just added to the debt).

    I didn’t see Republicans objecting to the debt for 8 years or insisting on pay-as-you -go back then. But suddenly that’s all you hear from them, so I don’t expect they give a crap if the average American goes broke. The Dems used to care, but now they are almost as corrupt. Because we can’t count on the government anymore, that’s even more reason to stock up. And forget about moving elsewhere except maybe Canada.

  • Duh Goaly

    That’s a very pretty chart. However, I’m curious to know what was the objective of the Great Depression, and what is the objective of this coming one?

    What laws were passed, what mergers, consolidations, what quantity of land, houses were picked-up for pennies on the dollar, what tangible assets left the hands of Joe Sixpack, and ended up in the hands of JPMorgan?

    Inquiring minds want to know, where to keep our eyes ..where’s the ball..

  • Pangea

    brittany, probably not. For instance, you could tax the richest 1% tomorrow, to pay the nations debts today, and although they threaten to leave the country… they would stay an pay. Because even in total collapse, the U.S. is still be best place to be. Plus, foreigners don’t like American’s. They may say they do, but you might end-up “what’s for dinner” if the shtf.

  • http://guymcpherson.com Guy McPherson

    For those of you looking for a map showing where we’re headed, please drop by my blog (guymcpherson.com) or read the sage words of Michael Ruppert, James Howard Kunstler, and Dimitry Orlov. Better hurry, though: The new Dark Age lies right around the corner, and will be followed soon enough by the post-industrial Stone Age.

  • http://www.sovereignmoney.com RobertM

    You said: “…most Americans are completely clueless”.

    Sad but true and what makes it worse is that a new study shows that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts. I run a site called sovereignmoney.com and after talking to people about the coming disaster, I find it is usually useless. The masses are either too apathetic or misinformed to understand the causes (much less the solution) or simply too greedy. Too much wishful thinking (i.e. not wanting to rock the boat) will probably be our downfall.

    I still remain optimistic that *someone* at a high level will do the right thing when the SHTF but I’m not counting on it.

  • francis marion

    Brittany, Don’t be afraid. The things you hear being discussed here are not events that we have not control over. People pull together in a crisis, they always do, it’s human nature. Get into a community of good people. Be useful to them. Find a skill or knowledge that is needed like farming or carpentry and show a willingness to share it. Get out of debt and start stocking up on necessities like food. Don’t let the fear of others get the best of you. Turn to God in prayer. He hears your inmost thoughts and feelings and understands. If we will humble ourselves, admit our sins and seek his face, He will hear us, forgive us and restore our land. Brittany, if you prepare your heart and use common sense, there is nothing to fear.

  • http://businesslawspot.blogspot.com Knute Rife

    Here’s the really scary thing about the chart. The 1933 spike happened because GDP collapsed. Thereafter the ratio fell, even though the New Deal was increasing debt, because GDP was increasing faster.

    Now look at the line on either side of 2003, the year we shot through the 1933 peak. We would expect it to rise post-9/11 because GDP fell, but it rose through the 90s and it kept rising from 03 on, throughout the post-9/11 “recovery.” That means that during our last two “growth” periods, debt was increasing faster than GDP. Any questions on how much real growth was going on?

  • lostinmissouri

    Free Americans, who have never sucked the tit of dependence from the government (in other words, productive, hard working, tax paying citizens, who have been bled dry, to keep this system floating) will be the ones who rebuild their standard of living.
    These Americans are the ones, all you Grasshoppers always scoffed at as “goldbugs” and “doomsayers”. We will rebuild our world, because you will not be invited to participate, unless you can bring in more, than you require.
    The gold and silver, “real money”, that You could not see, for the paper in your eyes, will be the capital investment needed, to return the standard of living, the few, who prepared, deserve…..just saying.

  • Not so Mad Max

    There was a guy named Harold Figgie Junior, he was on the first Debt Commission back around Bush one. He came out with a book named Bankruptcy 1995 (OK you can laugh now). He just about maps this out just 15 years off (And he was way wrong about Europe and Japan) in his book he talks about the hockey stick it’s a graph projecting Government debt it mirrors this one.
    I don’t think this is going to turn into Mad Max. I believe there will be a lot of medium term pain, a spike in crime, shortages, but like minded people will band together simply because they will half to. P.W Botha once said adapt or die, people will adapt because they simply will not have the options they used to. I think in a long term well come out stronger, less dependent, and much if not all of the consumerism, and left wing madness that got us here will slid into the dust bin of history.
    Do your preps worry about your own patch of Earth and keep an eye on the big picture.

  • brittany

    Thanks Pangea and Francis!

  • Kenny

    Rich, you said “Michelle you know how many years I have been hearing comments like yours????? It isn’t gonna happen”

    Well, a man who prepares is worth for two! This time is different, dude! Look around the globe, it’s all getting well screwed up, to a point of no return! Something is about to give, unfortunately. Being prepared is better than not to, at least will give you peace of mind.

  • tyler

    I’m really getting sick and tired of hearing people say all America cares about is lebron james and lindsey lohan. I spend a lot of my time listening to alex jones, researching on the internet about the oil spill and economic news. But come on people need a break from this non stop depressing news all the time. Yes I watched lebrons decision, and I love reality tv its not healthy to be completely consumed by this hiddeous news. Its also not healthy to be completely and only consumed by sports and lindsey lohan which I think was your point and I would tend to agree most people don’t have a clue how dire the situation is. My point is not all sports fans are clueless.

  • tyler

    Good points. I think we are in worse shape than the great depression. It just doesn’t seem like it to most people because they have cable, some have the internet and they got food stamps and those are probably the unemployed ones. Eventually the system will cave in on itself, when who knows. But we know helicopter ben has no problem printing money like he said today he is going to ramp up again. The social security system is terrifying and extemely frustrating because at one point there was 2.5 trillion in its reserve funds. I’m not sure what year they started spending that money but its been going on for a while and now there left with junk bonds and i.o.u’s.

  • Sasha FD in Los Angeles

    I like sucking the tit of dependency. It’s HOT, like Paris says.I think that AMERICANS could learn so much from Lindsey Lohan.Now that’s a girl with fire! She is an a designer, actress, singer, and businesswoman. She’s also hot, that’s very important. Most Americans are fat. Very bad for economic competivness!They like food better than lovers. They aren’t very smart, think that the rest of the world is jealous of them. Why I don’t know.Must be the floridated water.
    Americans are also very up-tight about sex. Too uptight !This cause them to obsess on conspiracies and spooky things or they get overly religious and think the aborted babies are going to come back and haunt them. They also get bunched panties about gays! But the gays have style and class…FIERCE!
    Most important thing in the New World ORDER is too enjoy yourself!

  • Russell

    See Bill Still’s DVD, “The Secret of Oz.” People need to declare war on the big banks and reclaim their sovereign right to print their own currency debt-free and control its quantity. I hope we can do this before we get steamrolled by crushing interest payments on our national debt that we need not pay.

  • Kenny

    Sasha, non offense, just trying to be honest…you are simply ridiculous, do you look the way you sound? Get yourself together, will ya?

  • http://www.whatwouldwarrendo.com Uncle Sam

    EVERYONE seems to chant: Store food, grow crops, get guns, buy gold….you gotta do something else first…

    The number one thing to get you through is to get out of the city!

    Gardens are great, but if you can’t GUARANTEE your water source, it is for nothing.

    Guns are fine, but you can’t stand alone against five men coming to take your stash; and they will take it.

    You need to leave now. Land is cheap, for now. If you can’t afford land, find a spot in the National Forests near a river where you can go and protect yourself. Lay a claim on it. It is EASY to do.

    The capitalists that designed this system did so knowing that there is no end game that doesn’t result in collapse.

    Kaynes knew it.
    Laffer knew it.
    I know it.
    Now you do too.

    They aren’t stupid, don’t be stupid yourself.

    If you need help, let me know.

    Do this, and I promise your Dow will never Jones!

  • jc

    My understanding is that gov’t spending is added into GDP. If this is the case, this makes your chart – as bad as it is – not as bad as it could be. I’d really love to see debt measured against ‘organic’ GDP. That is, real economic activity without gov’t spending thrown in. I bet that would be truly scary.

  • http://www.lizmichael.com Liz Michael

    The truth is, it is an absolute miracle that the collapse has not already happened. Some elites are busy trying to prop it up, and keep the ball floating in the air, but none of the roadsigns have changed, and it is all pointing toward the loo.

  • jk

    Unfortunately there is a consequence of this graph which even the most oblivious of us will not be able to deny once it begins to hit north america…Can you say DIE OFF?

  • Kenny

    Sasha, never mind me, after reading other comments I got the reason why you said what you said. Now you make sense. My appologies.
    lostinmissouri sucks!

  • http://wildcardbooks.com/ larrym

    If information can be misunderstood or ignored it will be . . . Larry’s Law
    BTW, in addition to the other items mentioned above I can remember that there were basically no guns and no drugs available to people during the 30’s. Personally I never saw a gun until I was drafted, and I never knew anything about drugs until I went to work in one of the three companies licensed to manufacture narcotics.

  • Gary

    I hate to say it, but the upcoming depression will make the 1930’s seem like the good ole days.

  • Josh

    Japan is NOT the third biggest economy in the world but the second biggest economy in the world.

  • modern sanity

    I say we enact the IRS to go after all trusts from FIJI Island and collect back taxes retroactively. If that one family alone paid its fair share things would be better.

  • Fer Shizzle

    The collapse of the US will not be like the Soviet collapse. In the USSR, the government owned the housing so as the collapse unfolded people were not becoming homeless, etc. Often local folks took over the state owned means of production to scratch out a living. The US collapse will look like the wild west once people are awakened to their true condition and future prospects.

    Most people I talk to about this stuff look at me like I am nuts. I think the human mind is wired to discount thoughts that are too painful or outside one’s common experience. Couple that with the garbage that passes for news, and you have a condition where very few are prepared or willing to contemplate what it is that must be prepared for.

    Set all this against the backdrop that is the post 9/11 country we live in and you find that the Patriot Act, domestic spying, suspension of posse comitatus, etc all can be turned easily on the citizens of this country as a means of creating “order.” In our zeal to catch terrorists (which is a joke and for another discussion) very few have batted an eye as the stage has been set for the US to devolve into a police state. The terrorist label will soon be applied to those protesting the actions taken in a post-collapse environment. It is sad that so few cared to pay attention to the liberties that were given away over the past decade in order to keep us “safe.” Its as if America will deserve what she gets.

  • http://thevrnusproject.com Ryan Reeves

    We can build a new society that keeps the carrying capacity of our planet in mind by using a Resource Based Economy. We have outgrown the monetary system that promotes corruption to protect the self interest of establishments at any cost, including people and our planet. Please look up The Venus Project to find out how a systems based society can truly benefit us all.

  • Beth Owens

    Right on, Francis! I’ve been wondering how long the can could be kicked down the road. I saw the explosion of credit in the 90’s give a false sense of prosperity, and I’ve seen that fall apart too. There’s no way we can keep living as we do. I took a series of classes that had to do w/ self sufficiency, and I’ll never forget one of the instructors saying: Find Your People. Find Your Tribe. Britnay, I hope you find your tribe…people who care for you and will always have your back–no matter what we have to go through!
    Thoughts on colsolidating power and people in third world countries scrambling for jobs that are -$1 an hour: recently read The Grapes of Wrath. Its amazing how much things change, the more they stay the same. A highly recommended read!!!!!

  • Trader

    This is graph of the fallacy of pumping up the economy by cutting taxes. You can hand the bill to your children, but the bill will still come due. By putting off paying the bill by cutting taxes, we have added the interest to the bill, now really out of control. The only way out is to print money. Cutting taxes is a clever way of intensifying the concentration of wealth.

  • http://yahoo peter rawlins

    During the great debate,when the truth came out about the catastrophic debt problem,there was much talk of the money hoarded in tax havens .With such vast debts around the world probably some one is in credit,but secretely so. The Obamaa administration along with other governments promised to open up these secrete accounts. Have they done so ? or will the tax havens survive ? Why was this story allowed to die ?. Perhaps the writer of this blog could say something about it ?

  • http://www.sherrypicks.info Sherry Francis

    thank you for the information, sad how people just don’t care, you are right about all the attention in the news on Lohan and such, stupid.

  • xorx

    The board game MONOPLY is based on Capitalism. And, when one player, or group of players, acquires all the wealth, the game is over. After all, that’s the objective, to “win” the game. Though Capitalism isn’t bad . . . Greed IS bad. Welcome to the end of the game. No one is above guilt here. We, collectively, made this problem and we, collectively, will suffer the result. “Heal thyself, Doctor.”

  • biddles

    Man, what the **** happened in 1980? Oh yeah! RONALD WILSON REAGAN. Each of his names has six letters, six-six-six. Ronald Reagan is the devil that destroyed America.

  • Sonya Finkey

    It’s no surprise. The stage is being set for the Great Tribulation. The RFID chip will be issued to all, implanted in hand or forehead, and will be hailed as the solution to drug deals, terrorism, and the creation of a new world currency and system to run it. It’s on the way folks, get ready. You know what to do. Come to Jesus.

  • RobertH

    Yes,themodern alchemist have taken nothing, multiplied to infinity, and with it transferred the wealth of the world to themselves. Keep fighting back I say, never never give in!!!

  • zane

    The chart you depict above is misleading. You seem to be suggesting that a sudden rise in the chart signals a coming depression because of the peak at 1933. You seem to have forgotten that the Great Depression began in 1929, before that major rise even began, and ended in the late 30s, where the debt:gdp ratio is in sharp decline. It seems more likely that the peak in the 30s was CAUSED by the Depression than that it caused it.
    Regards.

  • steeerpike

    So how do you stop corporations exporting jobs?

    Take the iPad. assembled in China. You could decide to assemble it here in the US. Putting iPads together is not high tech work but will add to the cost since presumably US workers will be better paid,

    The components are probably overseas sourced – but with more Federal laws and tariffs, you could have a ‘US made’ iPad. But what would it cost? A hell of a lot more which is why Apple make them in China in the first place.

    Plus iPads sell everywhere. Why does someone in Tokyo want to pay more to keep US jobs? That means a US made iPad plus a China made one. Or are you going to force US manufacturers to make export market goods in the US too? Since the US is a decreasing share of the world market, both lower wages and economies of scale are against you.

    Sure you can close yourself off and pay more for your goods. Problem is it just won’t be the consumer who pays more, so will your exporting industries. That is a vicious circle so exports fall.

  • http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com Carrie581

    Our economy is in even worse shape then they are pretending in the media. No one takes into consideration all the small businesses that have closed and are behind in their taxes, soon to close due to the economy. With everyone out of work and on Prozac, they will easily turn us into a nation of slaves that will be expected to “just be glad we have a job.” Luckily I am not stupid enough to fall for that and everyone better wake up and smell the carnage before it is too late.

  • Answers1

    See you in Barack Hussein’s gulag.

  • http://www.tamcausa.com/joomla/ TAMCA

    My fellow Americans of the Middle Class. You are all so right! this is why some of us formed TAMCA = The American Middle Class Association. Please visit our website in its final stages http://www.tamcausa.com/joomla/ so you can see our TAMCA “BUYAMERICAN” Initiative, challenging President Obama to compete with our initiative, which will truly put Americans back to work. Tell your senators and congressmen to support the TAMCA “BUYAMERICAN” Initiative. It is an effective way for us to jumpstart employment for our people and a healthy start to restore our economy. Membership in TAMCA is free! please join us! let’s unite our votes and make a difference.
    TAMCA’s vision is also to Start the
    ” BUYAMERICAN Superstores ” to educate our American brothers and sisters to not buy anything that is made in China and other countries If they can find a USA made product.

    We must work together to restore our middle class and our national power and dignity.

    Please remember WE THE PEOPLE United we Stand and United We Win!

    God Bless America!

  • http://www.tamcausa.com/joomla/ TAMCA

    Thank you for posting TAMCA’s commentary. It is important not to alter or eliminate its content, which is respectful and appropriate.
    We all agree that our once great country is in danger. We must support each other and do everyhting we can to restore a healthy and great American ZMiddle Class.

    God Bless you! and
    God Bless America!

  • ThomasG

    Look at how it takes off when Reagan came into office and flattens out for Clinton and takes off again for Bush. What happened to trickle down?Why can’t people see it’s the Republicans who have sunk us with their wars and taxcuts for the rich.

  • http://ec.collapse Satish J

    The world today has changed. Taiwan & S. Korea are one of the major chip manufacturers – probably they make them for the iPod as well.
    Globalisation is an acknowledgement that people around the world are getting smarter and hence it makes sense to out source – it is an irriversible phenomenon.

  • Joe

    Dear fellow Americans,

    Unfortunately, and inevitably, capitalism has failed.Yes, of course foreign labor will continue to capture even white-collar jobs as the motivation for profits continues to devastate the sell-being of the majority of workers in the U.S. We are all complicit in supporting a social organization that rewards wealth and serves the interests of the ruling class: capitalists! Who lives in the tony suburbs? Capitalists! Who is suffering economically? Workers!

    Soon we will realize that while communism of the 20th Century failed it also contained kernels of truth, and life on Earth will either continue to get much worse for centuries to come or there will be a global reorganization not only of the means of production but also the means of capitalization. And don’t expect the rich, ruling class to go down without an epic fight!

  • http://www.tamcausa.com/joomla/ TAMCA

    steeerpike raises very good questions. This is precisely the main foundation of the globalization. However, is globalization to the interest of 300,000,000+ Americans?
    I do not see it and all we see is rampant unepmployment, poverty, missery of millions and millions of Americans. Please make no mistake, thinking that the remaining Americans who still have a job they will hold on to it for ever? I do not think so. Yesterday, was my neighbor’s job that was lost; tomorrow will be mine!yours! your children’s and your grandchildren’s;

    Look at the 30,000people town in California, which due to lack of money fired all civil servants including the police. Can you imagine N.Y City, Chicago, Detroit,etc. without a dedicated police force? or a Fire Department?

    What is coming next, is outsourcing federal government jobs. Buying the Chinese-built Ipad is like pulling the trigger of the gun aiming at our head.

    Before I sum up my thoughts, I also want to stress the catastrophic effects of “rampant automation”. I am told by people much closer to the state of the art on automation and its effects that today automation has reached a point where only 20%-30% of the work force is needed to produce all the goods and services our society needs in total. THE LARGE QUESTION TO ALL OF US IS ” WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE REMAINING 70%-80% OF THE WORKERS???”.

    This is why TAMCA was formed; so we can put our grassroots thoughts together and brainstorm the best course of action for WE THE PEOPLE to truly unite and make a difference.

    Visit our website
    and join TAMCA for free. We welcome volunteers to work with us to help our country and our people.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA

  • Michael

    This article is squarely on the mark. America will turn into a feudal society very soon, if it hasn’t already. Leagues of unemployed and hungry will grow.

    What is shocking, is the stupidity of some of these responses. Anyone clinging to the far right or the far left political positions, is missing the point. Corruption is not rooted in one political party. It is in both.

  • Tanyamat

    This article clearly is one-sided, but it is much needed. What we had before as an economy was something extraordinary and driven by a few innovations. So what we need now is not to bring back what we had, but to continue forward with new innovations. I believe in American creativity, ingenuity. Forcing people to “buy American” is counterproductive. An outdated and desperate idea, and hopefully most of us are against it.

  • http://www.mindofgod.info/ acudoc

    Michael, you wrote (and I agree whole-heartedly)—“This article is squarely on the mark. America will turn into a feudal society very soon, if it hasn’t already. Leagues of unemployed and hungry will grow.

    What is shocking, is the stupidity of some of these responses. Anyone clinging to the far right or the far left political positions, is missing the point. Corruption is not rooted in one political party. It is in both.”

    I refer you to an extremely clear analysis by Hugo Salinas Price detailing the reasons for the de-industrialization of the West and the emerging neo-feudalism spawned by fractional-reserve banking of a paper currency. It has nothing to do with the cluelessness of the Right or Left, which is truly immense, but with the abandonment of the gold standard clearing function, leading to trade imbalances, and leveraged paper currencies ruling finance today.

    http://www.plata.com.mx/mplata/articulos/articlesFilt.asp?fiidarticulo=161

  • Vai

    I am in agreement with the article and would add that the inevitable American Great Depression would also be for the rest of the world. No continent or nation will be spared, only the severity of deleveraging and the degree of loss of standard of living relative to what each has now.
    Some of my thoughts are:
    Would an economic collapse end Capitalism as we know it? What would that do or mean to the human race?
    Are we, together as a society (globally) setting and getting our priorities in the right order? The world’s resources are not unlimited and nor is time. The later, a hugely borrowed one, we are living in.
    How much more folly can our economic system stretch and extend itself till the inevitable? So would it best if every man/woman is for him/her only? Or every nation is for itself only? Then, for how long before the next shoe fall?
    Is the “Reset” button (to bring about the complete deleveraging required) via a World War or a global pandemic or a naturally occurring catastrophe?
    Or do we live the Moment now and accept that an economic collapse is as “death follows life”?

  • reply 2 zane

    Reply 2 zane,
    the chart is NOT misleading. Your post is misleading.
    EVERYONE knows the great depression began on Black Tuesday in 1929.

    Please read the article (again).

    1)Debt of all kinds has broken historical records.
    2)Compound interest on excessive debt means hard choices will need to be made on Soc. Sec. (Et Al)
    3)The debt will crash our consumerist economic system. The article doesn’t predict when?
    4)The elites don’t care about you. (They’ve got theirs and it’s safe.)

    The theme of the article is depressing, but neither the article nor the picture are misleading.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • bob

    One reason America is in decline is the vast number of illegals, which drain resources, this is discussed at http://WWW.AMERICANPATROL.COM

  • Dan

    I disagree with the sentiment that this administration and its minions in Congress are oblivious to the probabilities of a total collapse of the dollar, and possibly its abandonement, already being talked about in financial circles, which will amount to a final, total confiscation of middle-class wealth in this country, first through deflation of hard asset prices and then through runaway inflation. As Mark Skousen pointed out, the articles in the Washington Post about our vast intelligence network, directly employing something like 845,000 people in and out of government, is tantamount to a Gestapo, but with ultra-high-tech means of surveillance and control. Recent articles have identified high-tech and absolutely horrific weapons of crowd control being developed by DHS under the malevolent eye of Janet Napolitano, the blank, soulless face of an apparatchik ready to mow down her fellow citizens with glee. The very idea that the DHS is there to protect us from offshore terrorist threats is laughable. No one knows this graph better than Administration apparatchiks and Congressional staffers, and this group rightly fears an inevitable backlash for bringing us to ruin. Of course this vast intelligence network is being developed to enslave us.

  • Bogart

    The best thing to happen to the USA and the Western World has been the inclusion of BILLIONS of people into the Division of Labor. This has driven down prices and made Westerners HUNDREDS of times wealthier. Milton Friedman in the 1990s estimated that world trade had made the USA 20 times wealthier than it would have been otherwise.

    Corporations are shedding debt and unfortunately employees as they adjust. It is federal, state and local government along with their educational, law enforcement and military complexes that have not shed anything. Well their time is coming and coming fast. These giant tax increases have yet to hit but will hit and really anger lots of Americans.

  • John Galt

    This is the email I sent out to friends/family many months back (some data is dated):

    As I am the one recently harping on being “prepared”,
    I thought I would explicitly state why I consider this so critical at this time:

    The following is what I predict will soon befall our nation.
    But this is just my humble opinion, and I’m hardly an expert on such things !
    So if you find fault in my facts or logic, then please let me know.

    1) The federal debt now exceeds $10 trillion.
    Adding unfunded Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, veteran’s pensions, and similar obligations,
    the total is $59 trillion, or $516,000 per household (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt).

    2) The USG will continue to spend on wars, empire, “stimulus packages”, “new deals”,
    and industry bailouts without limit (thus adding even MORE to the debt).

    3) As our foreign creditors come to realize that such a debt can never be paid, they will cease lending to the U.S.:
    http://www.speroforum.com/a/17305/US-debt-approaches-insolvency,
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/KA09Dj02.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/09/AR2009010902325.html

    4) Unable to obtain funds by any other means, the USG will drastically increase the money
    supply to finance it’s debts and spending (thus triggering hyperinflation).

    5) Imports are greatly curtailed, as few are willing to accept payment in a teetering currency which loses value daily.

    6) The people will rush to purchase hard assets before the dollar is rendered completely worthless,
    first emptying/closing the banks, and then the stores.

    7) Without access to banks, most businesses will be unable to make payroll and be forced to close
    (including food distributors and trucking companies).

    8) Food distribution will break down.
    The people will seek food from local sources, but will find that very few such sources still exist today.
    This will lead to a massive disaster far worse than the last Great Depression:

    In the 1930’s, there were family farms everywhere (many of which were near self-sufficiency).
    Today, the few farms that do exist are extremely dependent on technology and supplies from outside sources.
    If a critical part breaks that can no longer be replaced (see below), or fuel and/or grain supplies are disrupted, the
    farm shuts down.

    In the 1930’s, technology was relatively simple.
    Most machines were composed of basic parts of limited number (the great majority of which were manufactured in the US).
    Today’s machines are very complex and are composed of a huge number of parts from all over the world.
    Thus, the failure of one part manufacturer (or the cutoff of their imports) can easily trigger the failure of all who depend on that part
    (example: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/12/26/financial/f113411S39.DTL&feed=rss.business).
    And this problem extends to power plants (which is why I stress the importance of a water filter).

    In the 1930’s, the US population was around 125 million.
    Today, it is 300 million.
    So even if we all knew how to live off the land, it is questionable as to whether the land could
    sustain so many without the super-efficiency of today’s modern/highly-technological farms.

    In the 1930’s, we had a strong manufacturing base (and thus were not dependent on imports for our very survival).
    Today, we make virtually nothing (and have largely forgotten how to do so).
    Hence, it will be extremely difficult to “boot-strap” our way back to prosperity.

    In the 1930’s, people possessed incredible know-how:
    They knew how to build and repair things.
    They knew how to farm.
    They knew how to hunt and dress game.
    They knew how to preserve food.
    How many of us posses such skills today ?

    In the 1930’s, we were generally a moral people.
    Few resorted to violence or theft to get food.
    How will today’s Americans (many of whom feel “entitled” to everything) will respond when hungry ?

  • stinky

    Our money used to be based on gold and silver. Now it is based on ignorance. And we have plenty of that to go around. An unstable dollar is great for speculators. Volatility. the more prices move around, the more they can trade. Sell corn when it’s up and buy oil cause it’s down. If our money was stable, prices would be stable too! No more boom and bust. We need a sound currency. Audit the FED.

  • Dave Webb

    Two things about foreign manufactured goods. What is the price of shipping? Can it be done cheaper here with automated robots? When the currency devalues(not if) these two questions become important. Japan is already finding it cheaper to assemble cars in the USA.
    Every product produced overseas has to double or triple in price if the currency devalues. That makes local manufacturing cheaper than overseas manufacturing. We get the jobs back. They starve. I recently observed this in action. A locally produced bubble bath was at 3.50 a 24 ounce bottle. An imported one was also at that level. The dollar went down in value. The imported product went to 5.60 a bottle. The local product went off the shelf as demand increased. This will happen for all overseas products if our dollar devalues.

  • marxbitesall

    The solution is very SIMPLE!

    These Int’l shylocks that have taken over every major nations banking and money issue one by one have been bleeding us thru the stealth tax of inflation (the more money units created from thin air – the less each one will buy), and as well, the compounding annual interest expense on the total debt.

    100yrs these banksters have been fleecing the world’s peoples, controlling their economies and corrupting their politicians with “credit card” fiat payable by who knows ho wmany generations now yet to be born.

    Thay have MADE (stolen) ENOUGH already, and have amassed powers over and through our govt never contemplated as representing anything but debt slavery to our founding fathers who put the specie (gold/silver) clause in the Const for what they already witnessed the MO of the shylocks to be.

    SOLUTION? Stiff ALL the banksters their sovereign debts and let them piss up a rope for a change.

    Reconfiscate our nation’s stolen gold, let gold and silver trade alongside the FRN until the FRNs are all gone, then try and hang the shylock traitors for what they are and always were – robbers with unconst’l govt sanction.

  • Matt

    The people at Moodys are probably scared to lower the debt rating too much on the US since they are headquartered in New York…LOL. Seems like a conflict of interest. They should be on another planet. That way they can provide honest ratings and not feel the consequences. LOL

  • Bobby D

    I agree with the author overall that our debt is unsustainable. Our pool of real savings bequeathed to us by the Industrial Revolution–the single greatest leap of material prosperity in human history–may very well be fully depleted by now.

    But to blame the “exporting” of jobs to other countries as a cause of delaying recovery is just plain bad economic analysis. This assumes that the quantity of jobs is somehow fixed, so they can either stay in a country or be “shipped” to other countries, like wood, steel or any other commodity. The reality is that jobs are services performed in exchange for income; they are not commodities.

    As another commenter noted, forcing companies to keep the jobs they offer here in the US will only impose additional costs on everyone, and we’ll all then be even worse off than we already are. If anything, the relatively cheaper labor being hired abroad is most likely softening some of the harsher edges of the current recession by giving us relatively lower prices on certain goods.

    Instead, people should ask themselves: How is it even possible that the government can wrack up this much debt in the first place?

    The answer is that they have this nifty little custom-made central bank, the Federal Reserve System, which can buy up any U.S. gov’t debt not sold to other central banks or private investors by simply printing new money–money that is not backed by any scarce commodity, such as gold, which was historically the voluntarily chosen money for centuries prior to our modern age of centralized banking and fiat money systems.

    It is this constant inflation of the money supply for the past century or so that has gradually driven up prices and thus has driven U.S. companies to hire cheaper labor abroad and has prevented other companies from hiring more labor here. (Additionally there’s gov’t favoritism of unions, which also contributes to unemployment, though unionism is most likely a reaction to inflationary pressures as workers see the real value of their wages decline over time.)

    Fiat, debt-based money issued by a central bank enables government to wastefully deplete scarce resources over time and eventually burn through real savings. THAT is the ROOT of the problem. Only a return to 100% commodity-backed money–which naturally disallows monetary inflation–will enable scarce resources to be used for purposes actually valued by the people and thus result in a long term and sustainable economic recovery.

  • bookbabe

    One of the problems is that self-sufficiency has been bred out of the last couple of generations of people. At one time, people could learn how to read, write and do basic math and move on to apprenticing in some trade in which they could one day ply their own wares.

    Today, everything about our social and educational system renders people dependent to the point of being infantile. School prepares your for…more school. More school prepares you for more of the same. Along the way, you’re led to believe that “experts” or others in authority know better than you do. That, I believe is how it’s possible for people to buy things of which they have no understanding (e.g., derivatives) from people who know only a little about them but who were “assured” by some number-cruncher that the risk was minimal.

  • http://1776solution.blogspot.com Republicae

    ZANE…

    Actually, only the Crash happened in 1929, it didn’t even make headline news, it took three years for that even to filter through the economy. The Great Depression was not a single event, but a number of missteps, particularly by the government’s own interventions.

  • Yo’ Mama

    All you commenting dip-shits need a crash course in economics. Yes, the collapse is coming, but many of you have no idea why or how to fix it. For your own good, please visit mises.org and end your ignorance.

    TY

  • http://trueliberty.us icecycle66

    The essay at the link below describes very well how no one will lose anymore than they owe. You cannot lose more than what exists without arbitrarily giving it away. Regardless of inflation or deflation, the amount owed between any two individuals remains constant. No amount of government economic fluctuation can change factual debt of resources.

    http://www.trueliberty.us/Money.html

  • http://www.divineeconomyconsulting.com/index.html Bruce Koerber

    It is time for everyone to educate themselves about ethical economics. A good place to start is the series of books: MORE THAN LAISSEZ FAIRE, The Human Essence of Economics, and ETHICAL ECONOMICS For Today And Tomorrow . . .

  • shawn

    I thinks it’s funny all the buy American bs and why do companies ship jobs overseas. Why do you think? It’s too many taxes, rules, regulations and no rule of law. Companies go where they can make the most money and not get shaken down for the profits they make. USA used to be the free market now other places are much more business friendly. So stop blaming companies it is your perverted old Uncle Sam who is to blame.

  • shawn

    Central banks, welfare programs, bailouts for failed companies, interventionist foreign policy and a tax code thousands of pages long. Regulations to fill rooms with all the pages they take up and someone actually has the gall to say that is capitalism? We haven’t tried free markets for a hundred years central government planning is responsible for the global disaster and if you are still a democrat or a republican you are actually a sheep.

  • Xorop

    Zane,

    It was debt expansion during the 1920’s that caused the initial depression. It was the continued resistance to deleveraging through more debt creation during the 1930’s that caused it to last so long.

    Increased borrowing and debt only serve to move future purchases into the present. There is only so much of the future that can be forced into the present. This ultimately gets corrected by a future contraction.

  • englishbob

    @Zane
    Black Tuesday was merely a stock market crash and the symtom of Fed monetary pumping. It was not the cause of the Great Depression. The cause of the Great Depression were the government policies of Hoover and Roosevelt that made what would have been a short sharp recession last for more than a decade. The high debts were a result of these policies.

    In any event, massive debts are never a good thing for any country, individual or company. Too much debt will cause bankruptcy and economic disaster. On this, the article is dead right.

  • ZOO

    A good piece – at least on the overall economic picture. The author has hit the target, Americans stumble through their lives in distraction by meanlingless, brainless, events. They all need to be fitted for drool cups.

    The author is quick to point out what a drain “baby boomers” are on the economy. Most of the parents of boomers did not pay SS taxes their whole life, while their children did. So they have earned their benefits ten times over.

    The quickest “fix” to the economy is to rid the country of illegal squatters from Mexico, who are costly the U.S. BILLIONS every year. California is THE canary in the coal mine. The only taxes the invaders pay are for PURCHASES. Add THESE tax payments and subtract entitlements (EIC tax refunds, food stamps, health care, etc) and you will see a NEGATIVE tax flow of about $40k per year for the AVERAGE Hispanic family with five children.

    Of course of the two “drains”, Obama and his suicidal ilk would rather set up “death panels” than find, arrest, and deport the freeloading invaders.

    The author here should be concentrating his attention on the other “HORDE”.

  • Kurt

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson. The real problem is the public-private partnerships between central banks (such as the Federal Reserve System), and government. Why? “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington Understand principles first, people, then study out the influence of the elite private interests upon our public “servants”. Capitalism has NOT failed, the morality of the nation and our leaders HAS!

  • StokeyBob

    Maybe this will help make the danger of fiat money clear.

    Imagine you and me are setting across from each other. We create enough money to represent all of the world’s wealth. Each one of us has one SUPER Dollar in front of him.

    You own half of everything and so do I.

    I’m the government though. I get bribed into creating a Central Bank.

    You’re not doing what I want you to be doing so I print up myself eight more SUPER Dollars to manipulate you with.

    All of a sudden your SUPER Dollar only represents one tenth of the wealth of the world!

    That isn’t the only thing though. You need to get busy and get to work because YOU’VE BEEN STIFFED with the bill for the money I PRINTED UP to get YOU TO DO what I WANTED.

    That to me represents what has been happening to the economy, and us, and why so many of our occupations just can’t keep up with the fake money presses.

    They have been beating us with our own stick!!!!1

  • Flyer1

    TAMCA, I sympathize with your cause but disagree with you about automation. Automation is the reason we have a high standard of living. What is bad is wealth unbalance.

  • Flyer1

    Maybe this site could offer a suggestion of what we should do. Perhaps suggest a different country to live and how to get there. I hear the Irish are moving to Australia to get work.

    • Lfc88

      Don’t come to oz it is little America.

  • http://www.gothador.com/index.php?ref=225279 mike

    i for one could give a **** less what the state of the american economy is like at the present time, i live my life one day at a time and pay no attention to anything political or economical. i listen to russian and german music more then american and come right down to it as soon as i can i am leaving this rediculous ****ing excuse for a country. if i had to choose where i would move to it would be 1 of 3 places, cananda (for healthcare benefits), russia (for language), or england just because i like it there and i have a few friends tht live there)

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