UNSUSTAINABLE

When it comes to explaining the problems with our economy, one of the hardest things to do is to get people to understand that we are living in an economic fantasy world that is completely and totally unsustainable.  As a nation we consume far more than we produce, we spend far more than we bring in, our debt is growing much faster than our GDP is, our entitlement programs are growing at an exponential rate, our retirement system is a Ponzi scheme and the Federal Reserve is printing money as if there is no tomorrow in a desperate attempt to paper over all of our problems.  But we have all grown so accustomed to the debt-fueled prosperity that we have been enjoying for so many decades that it actually feels “real” to most of us.  Unfortunately, history has shown us that it is simply not possible to grow your debt faster than your economy indefinitely.  At some point your consumption will drop back to a level more equal to your production.    Sometimes that adjustment can be gradual, but other times it can be extremely painful.  In our case, we have been living way above our means for so long that it would take a major economic miracle just to keep our adjustment to an “exceedingly painful” level.  We are living in the largest debt-fueled prosperity bubble in the history of the world, and our unsustainable economy is going to crash and burn at some point.  Hopefully it will be later rather than sooner, but a crash is most definitely coming.

The following are some of the reasons why the bubble economy that we are living in right now is unsustainable….

The Trade Deficit

Most Americans do not really understand what a “trade deficit” is, but it is at the very core of our economic problems.

Basically, we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  We send them huge piles of our money, and they send us oil that we burn in our cars and cheap plastic products that we end up throwing away.  We keep doing this month after month after month, and this is systematically making us poorer as a nation.

In 2012, it is being projected that our trade deficit will fall somewhere between 500 billion and 600 billion dollars.

At this point, the United States has a trade imbalance that is more than 7 times larger than any other nation on earth has.

Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.

Instead of going out of the country, those 8 trillion dollars could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.  In turn, taxes would have been paid on those 8 trillion dollars and our debt problems would not be nearly as dramatic today.

But we didn’t do that.

We chose to allow tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth to leave the country.

Stupid move, eh?

But both political parties have been endlessly pushing the “free trade” agenda.  They have both promised that it would bring us tremendous prosperity.

Well, just take a look at our formerly great manufacturing cities today.  Do they look prosperous to you?

It turns out that Ross Perot was right when he warned about the “giant sucking sound” that would happen if NAFTA was implemented.

When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.  By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.

That didn’t work out so well, did it?

What about opening up trade with China?

Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year.

In 2011, our trade deficit with China was 295.4 billion dollars.  That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

Our trade with China is tremendously unbalanced.  Today, U.S. consumers spend approximately 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that Chinese consumers spend on goods and services from the United States.

This is a huge reason why shiny new factories are going up all over China, and our blue collar cities are turning into rotting war zones filled with unemployed people.

If you can believe it, the United States has actually lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

Until we fix the trade deficit we are going to continue bleeding factories, jobs and national wealth at an astounding pace.

The National Debt

It is being projected that U.S. GDP will grow at a rate of about 2.2 percent this year.

The problem is that our federal budget deficit will be somewhere around 7 percent of GDP this year.

With each passing day we are losing ground.  No other nation on earth has been able to run up debt like this indefinitely, and neither will we.

Does this chart look like a healthy situation to you?….

Sadly, all of this government debt is just about the only thing holding up our economy at this point.  Since Barack Obama has been in the White House, the U.S. national debt has increased by about 5.5 trillion dollars.  Of course the Obama administration has spent a lot of that money on incredibly stupid stuff, but it still gets into the pockets of average Americans that in turn spend it on food, gas, mortgage payments, etc.

If we could go back in time and suck that 5.5 trillion dollars of extra spending out of the economy we would be in a horrible economic depression right now.

But that does not mean that borrowing and spending all of that money was the right thing to do.  We have stolen it from our children and our grandchildren and we are going to stick them with the bill.

That is highly immoral and it is a national disgrace.

Yet we continue to do it because we can’t help ourselves.  We are ruining the future of this nation in order to make the present more pleasant for ourselves.

As I noted yesterday, the U.S. national debt jumped more on the very first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined.

We are completely addicted to debt and we can’t stop.  We know that we are destroying the future of the United States but we have absolutely no self-discipline.

By the end of Barack Obama’s first term, the U.S. government will have accumulated more debt during those four years than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.

But most Americans seem fine with that.

Most Americans don’t even really know why this is happening, and most don’t really seem too concerned about finding out.  They just want the good times to continue to roll.

Sadly, the truth is that our financial system is designed to create government debt.  It is one of the primary purposes of the Federal Reserve system.

At this point, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.

So I guess you could say that the Federal Reserve is doing a good job of what it was designed to do.

And until we change the system things are going to continue to get worse until the entire system collapses.

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff is warning that we are basically facing financial armageddon if something is not done.  Kotlikoff speaks of a “fiscal gap” which he defines as “the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue”.  His calculations have led him to the conclusion that the United States is facing a fiscal gap of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.

Where in the world are we going to get an extra 222 trillion dollars?

Entitlements

Every society needs a safety net, but we are rapidly getting to the point where there are going to be more Americans on the safety net than there are Americans supporting it.

Back in 1983, less than 30 percent of all Americans lived in a home where at least one person received financial assistance from the federal government.

Today, that number is up to an all-time record of 49 percent.

Many people don’t believe me when I tell them that more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government right now, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.

But it is actually true.

Overall, there are nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.

But of course the biggest financial burdens are Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.  All three are on course to become completely and totally unsustainable.

For example, the number of Americans on Medicaid soared from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

Ouch.

Well, what about Medicare?

Sadly, Medicare is even more frightening.

As I wrote recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

How in the world can we afford that?

At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

Are you ready to contribute your share?

Social Security is in really bad shape as well.

At the moment, approximately 56 million Americans are collecting Social Security benefits.

By 2035, that number is projected to soar to a whopping 91 million.

Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.

Where are we going to get that money?

Total Debt

Of course the national debt is not out only debt problem.  All over the country there are state and local governments that are on the verge of insolvency.  Corporations and financial institutions are leveraged like crazy.  And of course consumers have absolutely gorged on debt over the past several decades.

As a result, we are drowning in debt from sea to shining sea.

The good news is that our GDP is more than 12 times larger than it was 40 years ago.

The bad news is that the total amount of debt in our country is more than 30 times larger than it was 40 years ago….

Obviously this is something that cannot go on forever.

We simply cannot keep accumulating debt much faster than our economy is growing.

Nobody knows exactly when the “adjustment” is coming, but it most definitely will arrive at some point.

Money Printing

The Federal Reserve has attempted to monetize many of our economic problems by printing gigantic mountains of money in recent years.

The Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems, but most Americans don’t realize this.  It was the Federal Reserve that created the conditions for the housing bubble, and it was the Federal Reserve that badly mismanaged the response when that bubble burst.  The Federal Reserve decides how much money will be printed and what our interest rates will be.  The Federal Reserve lends out trillions of dollars to the banks that they like, and other banks they let die.  The Federal Reserve picks winners and losers in our economy, and most of the time that means good things for the big Wall Street banks and bad things for the rest of us.

In a desperate attempt to keep our unsustainable financial system from collapsing, the Federal Reserve has decided to start printing unprecedented amounts of money.  Just look at what this has done to the monetary base….

And QE3 really hasn’t even started to kick in yet.

So how bad will that chart look after QE3 has been adding another 40 billion dollars a month to the financial system for a while?

You know, the Weimar Republic was absolutely convinced that they were doing the right thing by printing lots of money too.

But in the end that didn’t work out very well for them at all….

So should we really be celebrating the fact that the Federal Reserve is going down the same path that the Weimar Republic did?

Demonocracy has released a great new graphic that does a wonderful job of illustrating just how huge the amounts of money involved in QE3 are going to be.  If you have not seen it yet, you can view the graphic right here.

The rest of the world is watching the games that we are playing with our currency.  Right now we think that we are getting away with it, but what we are doing is not sustainable.  At some point the rest of the world will totally lose confidence in the U.S. dollar, and when that happens the U.S. dollar could easily lose its status as the primary reserve currency of the world.

If that were to happen the coming shift in our standard of living would happen much more rapidly.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  We need to wake people up and get them to understand how incredibly vulnerable our financial system really is.  We are on a path that is unsustainable any way that you want to look at it, and if something dramatic is not done our economy is going to experience an unprecedented collapse.

So what happens if nothing is done and everything crashes all around us?

Well, I hope that you are prepared because it isn’t going to be pretty.

10 Signs That Economic Riots And Civil Unrest Inside The United States Are Now More Likely Than Ever

You should let the video footage of the wild violence that just took place in London burn into your memory because the same things are going to be happening all over the United States as the economy continues to crumble.  We have raised an entire generation of young people with an “entitlement mentality”, but now the economy is producing very few good jobs that will actually enable our young people to work for what they feel they are entitled to.  If you are under 30 in America today, things look really bleak.  The vast majority of the good jobs are held by people that are older, and they aren’t about to give them up if they can help it.  It is easy for the rest of us to tell young Americans to “take whatever they can”, but the reality is that there is intense competition for even the most basic jobs.  For instance, McDonald’s recently held a “National Hiring Day” during which a million Americans applied for jobs.  Only 6.2% of the applicants were hired.  In the old days you could walk down to McDonald’s and get a job whenever you wanted to, but now any job is precious.  The frustration among our young people is palpable.  Most of them feel entitled to “the American Dream” and they feel like the system has failed them.  Unfortunately, many of them are already turning to violence.  But the economic riots and the civil unrest that we have already seen are nothing compared to what is coming.  Americans are angry, and as the economy continues to collapse that anger is going to reach unprecedented heights.

In recent days, even many in the mainstream media have been openly wondering if the riots that happened in London could happen here too.  There is a growing acknowledgement that this country is headed down a very dark path.

The sad thing is that these riots accomplish absolutely nothing.  The recent London riots did not create any jobs and they certainly did not solve any economic problems.  Instead, they actually hurt the economy even more because a huge am0unt of property was destroyed and people are even more afraid to continue with business as usual.

But when people get to the end of their ropes, most of the time they are not thinking rationally.  When frustration erupts, the results can be very, very messy.

All over the United States we are already seeing some very troubling signs of the violence that is coming.  The following are 10 signs that economic riots and civil unrest inside United States are now more likely then ever….

#1 Going to the state fair used to be such a fun thing for American families to do.  But now no place is safe.  The following is how one local ABC News affiliate described the “flash mob” attacks that took place at the Wisconsin state fair recently….

Milwaukee police said that around 11:10 p.m., squads were sent to the area for reports of battery, fighting and property damage being caused by an unruly crowd of “hundreds” of people. One officer described it as a “mob beating.”

Police said the group of young people attacked fair goers who were leaving the fair grounds. Police said that some victims were attacked while walking. They said others were pulled out of cars and off of motorcycles before being beaten.

One eyewitness said that the flash mob attacks at the Wisconsin state fair absolutely overwhelmed the limited police presence that was there….

When I saw the amount of kids coming down the road, all I kept thinking was, ‘There’s not enough cops to handle this.’  There’s no way.  It would have taken the National Guard to control the number of kids that were coming off the road.  They were knocking people off their motorcycles.

#2 According to a new Rasmussen survey, 48% of Americans believe that reductions in government spending are “at least somewhat likely” to result in civil unrest inside the United States.  Unfortunately, perception often greatly influences reality.

#3 U.S. consumer confidence is now at its lowest level in 30 years.

#4 Joblessness among young Americans is at an epidemic level, and when rioting does break out it is usually young people that are leading the way.  That is why the following statistics from an article in The Atlantic are so troubling….

One in five Americans are between 15 and 29-years old. And one in five of those Americans are unemployed. For minorities and the under-educated, the picture is much worse. Black teenagers have an unemployment rate of 44 percent, twice the rate for white teens.

#5 We are starting to see mindless violence in a lot of areas that used to be considered safe.  In Kansas City on Saturday night, three young people were hit with bullets as they walked the streets of the Country Club Plaza.  Mayor Sly James was about 50 yards away when the gunfire erupted.  Authorities in Kansas City are considering a stricter curfew for that area.

#6 “Flash mobs” have become such a problem in Philadelphia that the mayor has imposed a strict curfew on young people.  Now all teens between the ages of 13 and 18 must be indoors by 9 o’clock at night.  The mayor also says that teens need to start pulling up their pants….

“Pull your pants up and buy a belt ’cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”

#7 All over the United States we are seeing that many struggling Americans will do just about anything for money.  For example, in Detroit recently three masked men crashed a vehicle through the entrance of a gas station and took off with an entire ATM machine.

#8 Desperate people do desperate things.  Many of America’s “forgotten poor” are trying to survive any way that they can.  For instance, a group of vagrants recently set up “a makeshift camp” near Prospect Park lake in Brooklyn.  According to the New York Post, many nearby residents have been disturbed by what these “drifters” are doing to survive….

The drifters have been illegally trapping and cooking up the critters that call the park home, including squirrels, ducks and swan-like cygnets.

They used crude tactics to hunt their prey, including barbed fishing hooks that ripped off the top half of one poor gosling’s beak. They then cooked the meat over illegal fires. Some of the animals were eaten raw.

#9 According to CNN, sales of safes and vaults are absolutely soaring right now.  One store owner told CNN that she believes that she is selling a lot more safes now because people are scared that civil unrest could be coming….

“Folks are worried about the decreasing value of the dollar, burglaries on the rise in their neighborhoods … and even the possibility that the unrest we are seeing in other parts of the world slipping over to our country.”

#10 Over the past 100 years, the American population has moved steadily into our big cities and the surrounding suburbs.  This has created virtual “ghost towns” in our rural areas from coast to coast.  Back in 1910, 72 percent of Americans lived in rural areas.  Today, only 16 percent of Americans live in rural areas.  But when you crowd huge masses of people close together that makes riots and civil unrest much more likely.

Most Americans are already fed up, and the economy is not even that bad yet.  One recent survey found that 73 percent of Americans believe that the nation is “on the wrong track”.  Another recent poll found that only 17 percent of Americans now believe that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed.

Millions of very frustrated young people believe that the economic system has failed them and that the political system no longer holds any answers.

America is rapidly approaching a breaking point.  I have written previously about the collapse of society that we are already witnessing all over the United States.  When the economy totally breaks down, most Americans are not going to be able to handle it.

Sadly, instead of coming together and trying to do something productive, many Americans will resort to rioting, looting and civil unrest.  We have already seen this during local emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina.

But mindless violence accomplishes absolutely nothing positive.  It just always makes things worse.

Unfortunately, logic and reason are not going to be enough to stop the gigantic wave of frustration that is coming.  For most of the rest of us, it will be hard enough to get out of the way and protect our own families from the economic riots and the civil unrest that are coming.

The thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear.  Hatred and anger are growing by the day.  The United States is becoming a very frightening place.

So get ready.  Our politicians certainly don’t have any answers for us.  The debt ceiling deal was a complete and total joke, and corruption is absolutely rampant in Washington right now.  Barack Obama is getting ready to leave for yet another vacation, and most of our politicians are only focused on the next election.

So don’t expect a “miracle” from those that are supposed to be leading us.

They don’t care about you.

You need to take care of yourself and your family and your friends.

A massive economic collapse is coming, and most Americans are going to be totally blindsided by it.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!