$83,046 For A 3 Hour Hospital Visit – Why Are Hospital Bills So Outrageous?

The fastest way to go broke in America is to go to the hospital.  These days it seems like almost everyone has an outrageous hospital bill story to share.  It is getting to the point where most people are deathly afraid to go to the hospital.  All the financial progress that you have made in recent years can literally be wiped out in just a matter of hours.  For example, you are about to read about an Arizona woman that was recently charged $83,046 for a 3 hour hospital visit.  How in the world is anyone supposed to pay a bill like that?  I have a really hard time understanding why a visit to the doctor should ever be more than a couple hundred bucks or why a hospital stay should ever be more than a couple thousand dollars.  Outrageous hospital bills are a real pet peeve of mine and I have not even been to the hospital in ages.  What makes all of this even more infuriating is that Medicare, Medicaid and the big insurance companies are often charged less than 10 percent of what the rest of us are billed for the same procedures.  There is a reason why 41 percent of all working age Americans are struggling with medical debt right now.  It is because our health care system has become a giant money making scam.  Millions of desperate Americans go into hospitals each year assuming that they will be treated fairly, but in the end they get stuck with incredibly outrageous bills and in many cases cruel debt collection techniques are employed against them if they don’t pay.

So why do we have to pay so much for medical care?  Back in 1980, less than 10 percent of U.S. GDP went to health care.  Today, about 18 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward health care.

And considering the fact that over the next 20 years the number of Americans 65 years of age or older is projected to double that number is going to go even higher.

On a per capita basis we spend about twice as much on health care as anyone else in the world.

In fact, if the U.S. health care system was a nation it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

America spent 2.47 trillion dollars on health care in 2009, and it is now being projected that we will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.

Our system is completely and totally broken, and Obamacare is going to make things far worse.  We need to throw the entire system out and start over.

A perfect example of why this is true is what happened when 52-year-old Marcie Edmonds went in to a hospital in Arizona recently to get treated for a scorpion sting….

With the help of a friend, she called Poison Control and was advised to go to the nearest hospital that had scorpion antivenom, Chandler Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her about the antivenom, called Anascorp, that could quickly relieve her symptoms. Edmonds said the physician never talked with her about the cost of the drug or treatment alternatives.

Her symptoms subsided after she received two doses of the drug Anascorp through an IV, and she was discharged from the hospital in about three hours.

Weeks later, she received a bill for $83,046 from Chandler Regional Medical Center. The hospital, owned by Dignity Health, charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp.

What makes this even more shocking is that hospitals in Mexico only charge $100 per dose of Anascorp.

These days many hospitals will do whatever they can get away with on hospital bills.

One NBC News reporter was absolutely stunned at the bill that she received after she went in for neck surgery for degenerative disc disease recently….

Once I got my itemized bill, the grand total was a little over $66,013.40!   That was for a one night stay and a four level vertebrae fusion surgery.  The charges included $22 for one sleeping pill, $427 for one dissecting tool, and $32,000 for four titanium plates and ten screws.

I brought it to Todd Hill, a fee based patient advocate who helps people decipher their medical bills. “The screws in your procedure were billed at $605 a piece for a total of $6050 dollars. We’ve seen those in our past research for $25 or $30,” he said. “In this case, the markup is tremendous,” he added.

Considering the fact that 77 percent of American families are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time, a single hospital bill like this can be a financial death blow.

If you have time, read this tragic story where one man was charged $11,000 and all he had was a case of bad indigestion.  Nothing was even wrong with him and now his family is going to have to declare bankruptcy.

Often medical bills are so complex and so confusing that nobody can really understand them.  A lot of the times this is probably done on purpose to keep people from understanding how badly they are being overcharged.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

Hospital care tends to be the most confounding, and experts say the charges you see on your bill are usually completely unrelated to the cost of providing the services (at hospitals, these list prices are called the “charge master file”). “The charges have no rhyme or reason at all,” Gerard Anderson, director of the Center for Hospital Finance and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Why is 30 minutes in the operating room $2,000 and not $1,500? There is absolutely no basis for setting that charge. It is not based upon the cost, and it’s not based upon the market forces, other than the whim of the C.F.O. of the hospital.”

And those charges don’t really have any connection to what a hospital or medical provider will accept for payment, either. “If you line up five patients in their beds and they all have gall bladders removed and they get the same exact medication and services, if they have insurance or if they don’t have insurance, the hospital will get five different reimbursements, and none of it is based on cost,” said Holly Wallack, a medical billing advocate in Miami Beach. “The insurers negotiate a different rate, and if you are uninsured, underinsured or out of network, you are asked to pay full fare.”

It has been estimated that hospitals in the United States overcharge their patients by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

Medical bills are the number one reason why Americans file for bankruptcy.  As I mentioned earlier, approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans are struggling with medical debt.

And health insurance is not as much protection as you might think.  According to a report published in the American Journal of Medicine, of all bankruptcies caused by medical debt, approximately 75 percent of the time the people actually did have health insurance.

And if you can’t pay your bills, many hospitals will come after you ruthlessly.

In fact, collection agencies sought to collect unpaid medical bills from approximately 30 million Americans during 2010 alone.

If you don’t cough up the cash they are demanding you can even end up in prison.  The following example comes from CBS News….

How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn’t pay a medical bill — one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn’t owe. “She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn’t have to pay it,” The Associated Press reports. “But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs.”

Although the U.S. abolished debtors’ prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don’t pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans.

But why do these bills have to be so high?  It is not like many doctors are getting rich these days.  In fact, many of them are going broke.

So what is the deal?

Well, as a recent article by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts explained, there are a whole lot of people pulling profit out of the system other than just doctors these days….

There are two main reasons that US medicine is so expensive. One is that profits are piled upon profits. In addition to wages and salaries for doctors, nurses, and medical personnel, the American health care system has to provide profits for private hospitals, diagnostic centers, insurance companies, and for the accountants, attorneys and management consultants made necessary by the enormous litigation and regulatory compliance cost. American medicine is the most regulated in the world and the most criminalized.

And another big factor is that the rest of us have to make up the difference for the patients that are not profitable.

It has gotten to the point where some doctors in certain kinds of practices barely make any profit on Medicare and Medicaid patients.  In fact, in many cases doctors actually lose money treating them.

An article posted on medicalcostadvocate.com has some outrageous examples of the difference between what you and I are billed and what Medicare pays out for the exact same procedures….

A patient in Illinois was charged $12,712 for cataract surgery. Medicare pays $675 for the same procedure. In California, a patient was charged $20,120 for a knee operation for which Medicare pays $584. And a New Jersey patient was charged $72,000 for a spinal fusion procedure that Medicare covers for $1,629.

So not only do we pay very high taxes to support Medicaid and Medicare, we also have to pay higher medical bills in order to make up the difference for the money that doctors and hospitals are not seeing from those patients.

Unfortunately, Medicaid and Medicare are expected to grow dramatically in the years ahead.

For example, it is now being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to Medicaid.

And enrollment in Medicare is projected to grow from 50.7 million today to 73.2 million in 2025.

How in the world can our current system possibly handle this?

And please don’t tell me that Obamacare is the answer.

The truth is that Obamacare is going to take everything that is wrong with our health care system and make it even worse.

For a good summary on this, please see this article.

In the years ahead it is going to get even harder for those that are not dependent on the government for health care….

-Approximately 10 percent of all employers plan to drop health insurance coverage entirely because of Obamacare.

-According to one recent poll, 83 percent of all doctors in the United States have considered quitting the profession because of Obamacare, and we were already projected to have a severe doctor shortage in the years ahead even before Obamacare came along.

We are heading into the greatest health care crisis the United States has ever seen, and none of our leaders seem to have any answers.

In a recent article entitled “11 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is Heading Straight Down The Toilet“, I detailed a lot more reasons why our health care system is a national disgrace.  If you can handle some more ranting I encourage you to go check that article out.

I am just absolutely disgusted with the condition of our health care system.  It is dominated by government bureaucrats, pharmaceutical corporations and the big health insurance companies.  It is a giant money making scam that seeks to drain as much money from the rest of us as possible.

So do you have a hospital bill horror story to share?  Please feel free to share your thoughts below….

Barack Obama’s Budget For 2012: A Complete And Total Joke

Is Barack Obama trying to play a joke on all of us?  The budget that the Obama administration has submitted for fiscal 2012 is so out of touch with reality that it may as well be a budget for “Narnia”, “Fantasy Island”, “Atlantis” or some other mythical land.  You can view the hard numbers for Barack Obama’s 2012 budget right here.  Obama’s budget assumes that the U.S. will experience economic growth of over 5 percent for most of the coming decade.  That is so far-fetched that “optimistic” is not the right word for it.  It also assumes that U.S. government income (primarily made up of taxes on all of us) will more than double over the next ten years.  For 2011, the budget projects that the U.S. government will take in a total of 2.1 trillion dollars, and for 2021 the budget projects that the U.S. government will take in a total of 4.9 trillion dollars.  For the Obama administration to assume that the federal government will be able to drain an extra 2.8 trillion dollars per year out of the American people by the year 2021 is ridicul0us beyond belief.  In his new budget Barack Obama does propose some very, very modest spending cuts that he knows have no chance of getting through Congress.  Barack Obama’s budget for 2012 also does not even attempt to make any cuts to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.  In essence, you can sum up Barack Obama’s budget proposal for 2012 by saying that it is a complete and total joke.  This budget is so delusional and so out of touch with reality that it is hard to imagine anyone taking it seriously.

Oh, but Obama is really trying to sell it hard.  When Obama unveiled this new  $3.7 trillion budget for 2012 at a middle school in Baltimore, he insisted that his plan will make it “so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker anywhere in the world.

Well, that is a nice sound bite, but as I have written about previously, unless Barack Obama suddenly finds a way to stop multinational corporations from paying slave labor wages to their workers on the other side of the globe the job losses in America are going to continue.

But that is a topic for another day.  Getting back to the 2012 budget, Obama is proposing to cut more than a trillion dollars from federal budget deficits over the next ten years.

That sounds really good until you figure out that means that the cuts only amount to about $100 billion a year.  Considering the fact that Obama’s budget is projecting that we will have a $1.6 trillion budget deficit this year alone, that really is not a whole heck of a lot to be cutting.

The truth is that Barack Obama should be proposing spending cuts that are at least ten times as large if he was actually serious about addressing our budget woes.

But at least Obama is not proposing an increase in spending.

Oh wait, he actually is.

In fact, under Obama’s budget, U.S. government spending will soar from 3.8 trillion dollars this year to 5.6 trillion dollars in 2021.

But the mainstream media is solely focusing on the budget cuts that Obama is proposing.

Apparently they are trying to cast him as some sort of “fiscal conservative”.

Try not to laugh.

But the modest cuts that Obama is proposing are at least some place to start.

Under Obama’s budget, approximately half of all government agencies will have their funding decreased from 2010 levels.

In fact, approximately 33 billion dollars would be saved by scaling back or shutting down 200 federal programs.

Of course Obama’s fellow Democrats in Congress will never go along with many of these cuts, but at least it is something.

However, this is where most in the mainstream media stop their analysis.

They don’t take a closer look at the numbers in Obama’s budget.

They don’t question the wacky economic growth assumptions.

They don’t question the bizarre government income projections.

But even with the Obama administration’s crooked numbers, the federal deficit still never drops below 600 billion dollars over the next decade and a total of 7.2 trillion dollars is still added to the national debt over the next decade.

If economic growth ends up being much lower, or if the U.S. government is not able to get twice as much money out of the American people by the end of the decade then the projections would look much, much different.

So where does the Obama administration assume all of that extra money for the government is going to come from?

Oh, from raising taxes of course.

The Obama budget assumes that there will be significant tax increases starting in the year 2013.

A recent article on CNBC summarized some of the tax increases that the Obama budget calls for….

The plan unveiled Monday includes tax increases for oil, gas and coal producers, investment managers and U.S.-based multinational corporations. The plan would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000.

Wealthy taxpayers would have their itemized deductions limited, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes.

There are many liberals (such as my friend Gary) that would love to see these tax increases go into effect, but Obama knows that there is no chance that they will ever see the light of day unless the Democrats retake the House of Representatives.

But most of Obama’s budget for 2012 is based on things that simply never even have a chance of happening.

The reality is that Obama’s budget for 2012 is a great work of fiction.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to accumulate staggering amounts of debt.

In fact, Obama’s budget admits that we will witness the biggest one year debt increase in history this year.

In 2011, the gross federal debt with surpass 15 trillion dollars.  In fact, it is being projected by some analysts that this will be the year when the debt finally becomes larger than the size of the entire U.S. economy.

Ouch.

But Obama insists that he is taking this debt problem very seriously.

Obama insists that he is committed to making “deep” cuts.

In fact, as he announced this new budget Obama stated that these budget cuts hit “many programs whose mission I care deeply about, but meeting our fiscal targets while investing in our future demands no less.”

Do any of you actually believe him?

Not that the Obama administration is in an easy position.  The truth is that the U.S. government (both Republicans and Democrats) have been horribly irresponsible with our money for decades.

The 14 trillion dollar national debt problem that we have now did not develop overnight.

Neither will it be solved overnight.

But Obama is not even trying to address the tough issues such as Social Security and Medicare.

The truth is that the federal debt problem cannot be solved without addressing our out of control entitlement programs.

So why didn’t Obama address them in his budget?

Well, the reality is that Obama is not stupid.  Social Security and Medicare are political sacred cows.  Obama is not going to do anything at this point that would cost him millions of votes in 2012.

So Barack Obama ignored most of the $4 trillion in budget cuts recommended by the White House-appointed deficit commission.

It kind of makes you wonder why Obama ever appointed a “deficit commission” in the first place.

One area that Obama does attempt to cut in his new budget is military spending.  Obama’s budget for 2012 sets military spending at 5 percent below what the Pentagon requested for 2011.

In fact, Obama’s defense budget would slash military spending by $78 billion over the next five years.

His budget also assumes that we are not going to get involved in any more wars, which is not necessarily a safe assumption.

So will these military spending cuts actually get through Congress?

Not likely.

The Republicans control the House of Representatives, and they are not likely to take too kindly to large cuts to the defense budget.

In fact, the truth is that not too many of Barack Obama’s spending cuts are likely to survive in Congress.

As a recent article on CNN explained, Barack Obama’s budget plan must navigate a vast array of congressional committees in the coming months and by the time it emerges it is likely to be radically changed from its current form….

Before it gets back to Obama’s desk for a signature, the spending blueprint will go through no less than 40 congressional committees, 24 subcommittees, countless hearings and a number of floor votes in the House and Senate.

As our Congress critters have demonstrated over and over and over, they love to spend our money on some of the most wasteful things imaginable.

For example, a total of $3 million has already been granted to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so that they can play video games such as World of Warcraft.

Something seems to happen to people who get elected to Congress.  Almost all of them seem to develop an addiction to spending our hard-earned money.

Let us hope that something changes in that regard, because right now government debt is completely and totally out of control.

In fact, the U.S. national debt is currently increasing by approximately 4 billion dollars every single day.

In the end, if something is not done about all this debt it will destroy the entire U.S. financial system.

But our politicians just keep putting it off and putting it off.

Eventually we will reap what we have sown.  Debt is a very cruel master, and nobody can run from it forever – not even the U.S. government.

The Silent Entitlements Monster: Social Security, Medicare And Interest On The Debt Will Gobble Up Every Single Tax Dollar By 2020

There is a silent monster that looms menacingly over U.S. government finances.  Every politician knows about it, but very few of them ever want to talk about it.  This silent monster grows larger every year, and yet nobody seems to know quite what to do about it.  Those who have closely analyzed this monster all seem to agree that one day it will create a financial tsunami of a magnitude that is absolutely unprecedented, but there is vast disagreement about how to escape this financial tsunami or if it is even possible to escape it.  The name of this monster is “entitlements” – Social Security, Medicare and other social Ponzi schemes that the U.S. government has locked itself into funding.  It would be hard to understate the seriousness of the problem that entitlements present.  In fact, according to an official U.S. government report, rapidly growing interest costs on the national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019.  By 2020, that figure will be up around 100 cents of every dollar of federal revenue.  So that means that interest on the debt and spending on entitlement programs will eat up everything the U.S. government takes in before a penny is spent on anything else.  That is a recipe for national financial suicide.

And unfortunately, the problem is only going to get far, far worse when you project things out beyond the year 2020.  Right now, interest on the debt and spending on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare eat up only about 10 percent of GDP.  By 2080, they are projected to eat up approximately 50 percent of GDP.  In fact, things are even more dire than the chart below indicates.  This chart is based on previous government figures that projected that mandatory spending will exceed government revenues at some point between 2030 and 2040, but the latest government figures now project that this will happen right around 2020.  So as mind blowing as this chart is, keep in mind that it actually understates the problem we are facing….

This week, there was news that the Social Security system is in much worse shape than previously projected.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, this year the Social Security system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes.  This was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

Now it is happening in 2010.

It turns out that the “recession” that we have just been through has hit Social Security revenues really hard.

And unfortunately, as waves of Baby Boomers start retiring, these “Social Security deficits” are going to get even worse.

So where will the money come from to pay the benefits that are owed?

For now, the money will come from the $2.5 trillion Social Security Trust Fund that has been accumulated.

But keep in mind that the $2.5 trillion figure is extremely misleading.

There are not $2.5 trillion dollars sitting around in a bank account somewhere to pay these benefits.

The truth is that the Social Security Trust Fund does not contain any actual assets.

The only assets the Social Security Trust Fund has are IOUs from the U.S. government.

So basically the U.S. government owes the Social Security Trust Fund $2.5 trillion dollars, and now it turns out that the Social Security system is going to start needing that money.

So where will the U.S. government get that money?

Well, they will borrow it of course.

The reality is that the Social Security program is simply not sustainable.

Back in 1950 each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.  Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be about two workers for each retiree.

As a society, we simply have not been producing enough new workers to sustain the current system.

Of course the politicians all say the right things to make us think that they are going to do something about this crisis.  For example, Barack Obama recently had the following to say about the massive deficits the U.S. government keeps piling up: “It keeps me awake at night, looking at all that red ink”.

But the truth is that neither political party would dare propose a dramatic restructuring of Social Security or Medicare that would significantly reduce benefits.

Why?

Because it would be political suicide.

Say what you want about old people – the truth is that they vote more than the rest of us do.

Anyone who would dare “take away” their Social Security or Medicare would suddenly find hordes of old people voting against them in the next election.

But something has to be done.

The 2009 Financial Report of the U.S. Government was recently released, and it basically says that the U.S. government is facing financial Armageddon if something drastic is not done….

Absent a change in policy, under this scenario, the interest costs on the growing debt together with spending on major entitlement programs could absorb 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue in 2019.

Keep in mind that this is before anything is spent on defense, health care, education, homeland security, job creation or anything else.

The following chart was pulled right out of the report.  These aren’t the projections of some Internet wacko.  These projections are in an official U.S. government report.  The implications of the chart below are absolutely mind blowing….

Keep in mind that the U.S. government and the U.S. economy are already on the verge of financial oblivion in 2010.  So what is going to happen if these projections are anywhere close to accurate?

In addition, the report also admitted that the present value of projected scheduled benefits exceeds earmarked revenues for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare by about $46 trillion over the next 75 years.

$46 trillion!

Either the U.S. government is going to have to radically slash Social Security and Medicare benefits or they will have to come up with tens of trillions of extra dollars from somewhere.

And remember, the $46 trillion figure is just the “present value” of those future payments.

Because of inflation, the “actual value” of those future payments will be far greater.

In a section about Social Security and Medicare, the authors of the report confessed that “it is apparent that these programs are on a fiscally unsustainable path”.

Obviously something has got to give.

These programs cannot keep on paying the same level of benefits.

It is financially impossible.

But what are we going to do?  Millions upon millions of elderly Americans rely on these programs.

Are we going to reduce payments to a level where they can only afford dog food to eat and a shack to live in?

As a society, we are really between a rock and hard place.

If we continue on the same path, the United States government is going to go bankrupt.

But any politician who tries to cut benefits or raise taxes will likely face the wrath of the voters at the ballot box.

So for now the U.S. government just continues to spend even more money and continues to go into increasing amounts of debt – apparently hoping that somehow everything will just turn out okay.

But things are not going to turn out okay.  We are headed for a financial mess of horrifying proportions.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter how much the U.S. government cuts spending in other areas if it does not get entitlement spending and interest on the national debt under control.  If those expenditures are not addressed, it is absolutely guaranteed that the U.S. government will be swamped in red ink for many years to come.

But until severe financial pain starts happening, a large percentage of the American people are not going to be motivated to do anything about this problem.

But by then it will be too late.

The Mystery Of The Shemitah

The 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government Is Out – America’s Economic Goose Is Cooked

The 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government has finally been released, and the news is not good.  It basically confirms much of what we already know – that the United States government is a complete financial mess.  The U.S. government budget deficit for 2009 was a record-setting 1.417 trillion dollars.  The total liabilities of the U.S. government rose from 12.178 trillion dollars at the end of 2008 to 14.123 trillion dollars by the end of 2009.  At their present rates of growth, the interest on the national debt and spending on entitlement programs will gobble up almost every single dollar of federal revenue by the end of the decade.  Throughout the report, the word “unsustainable” is repeatedly used.  The authors of the report understand that the U.S. government simply cannot keep spending and borrowing like it has been recently.  But if the U.S. government slows down this reckless spending even a little bit it could literally plunge the U.S. economy into a deflationary depression.  In fact, even with all of the “bailouts” and “stimulus packages” there are many who would argue that we are already in a depression.  In any event, the authors of the report make it clear that the United States government is facing a financial crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

Just consider the following chart below.  This chart comes straight out of the 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government, and it shows how explosively federal deficits have grown in recent years….

The reality is that deficits of three or four hundred billion dollars per year were catastrophic enough.

But a deficit of 1.4 trillion?

That is national financial suicide.

In fact, the chart below from the White House Office of Management and Budget shows just how dire the financial position of the U.S. government has become.  The government has dramatically increased spending at a time when government revenues are actually falling….

But this was supposed to be a time when the federal government would be running surpluses to prepare for the massive growth in entitlement spending that everyone knew would come when the Baby Boomers retire.

But that is not happening.

Instead we are already running record-setting deficits.

So what is causing these deficits?

Rampant, out of control spending.  Just check out this chart of federal net outlays….

What would happen to your own personal finances if your household spending kept increasing like that?

But things are not going to get any better any time soon.

As interest on the national debt piles up and as spending on Social Security and Medicare explodes it will be extremely difficult to control the U.S. federal budget deficit.

The report projects that the rapidly growing interest costs on the national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by 2019.

That is before anything is spent on defense, education, homeland security, job creation or anything else.

In particular, the growth of interest on the national debt promises to absolutely crush U.S. government finances if something is not done.  Just consider the following chart pulled right out of the report….

Take a moment and let the implications of that chart sink in.

Are you prepared to saddle future generations with interest payments that gobble up 30 percent of GDP?

But wait, there’s more.

According to the report, the present value of projected scheduled benefits exceeds earmarked revenues for social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare by about $46 trillion over the next 75 years.

So either the U.S. government is going to have to radically cut back Social Security and Medicare benefits or they will have to come up with tens of trillions of extra dollars from somewhere.

And remember, the 46 trillion dollar figure is just the “present value” of those future payments.

Because of inflation, the actual value of those future payments will be far, far, far greater.

In a section about Social Security and Medicare, the authors of the report freely admitted that “it is apparent that these programs are on a fiscally unsustainable path”.

Well, can’t we just “grow” our way out of these problems?

Hardly.

The truth is that the U.S. economy is caught in an economic death spiral.

Sometimes words just cannot express how bad things have gotten.

Sometimes it takes charts.

The following chart shows changes in our national income since 1950….

This next chart shows changes in our exports of goods and services since about 1930….

Are you starting to get the picture?

America’s economic goose is cooked.

We are drowning in a sea of debt at the same time our once mighty economic machine is sputtering to a stop.

Meanwhile, the financial powers that be are not about to let a good crisis go to waste.  Just like during the Great Depression, the sharks are using hard times as an excuse to gobble up the smaller, weaker fish.  In fact, there are persistent whispers that the financial elite see this current economic crisis as the perfect opportunity to consolidate the U.S. banking industry.

In any event, it does not look like things are going to get back to “normal” for most of us any time soon.

Lastly, one interesting tidbit in the 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government can be found in footnote 2 on page vii of the report.  In that footnote it tells us why the financial results for the Federal Reserve are not included in the report….

The Federal Reserve is an independent organization and not considered a part of the Federal reporting entity. As such, their financial results are not consolidated into the Government’s financial statements.

Very interesting.

Anyone have any comments?

Austin Coins

 

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