As the Obama administration continues to alienate almost everyone else around the entire planet, an increasing number of prominent international voices are starting to question why the U.S. dollar should be so overwhelmingly dominant in global trade. In previous articles, I have discussed Russia’s “de-dollarization strategy” and the fact that Gazprom is now asking their large customers to start paying in currencies other than the dollar. But this is not just a story about Russia any longer. As you will read about below, China and South Korea have just signed a major agreement to facilitate trade with one another using their own national currencies, and even prominent French officials are now talking about the need to use the dollar less and the euro more. John Williams of shadowstats.com recently said that things have never “been more negative” for the U.S. dollar, and he was right on the mark. The power of the almighty dollar has allowed all of us living in the United States to enjoy an extremely high standard of living for decades, but as that power now fades it is going to have profound implications for the U.S. economy. In future years the value of the dollar will go down substantially, all of the imported goods filling our stores will become much more expensive, and it is going to cost the federal government a lot more to borrow money. Unfortunately, with the stock market hitting all-time record highs and with the mainstream media endlessly touting an “economic recovery”, most Americans are not paying any attention to these things.
French oil giant Total is one of the largest energy companies in the entire world. On Saturday, Total’s CEO made an absolutely stunning statement. According to Reuters, he told reporters that there “is no reason to pay for oil in dollars”…
“Doing without the (U.S.) dollar, that wouldn’t be realistic, but it would be good if the euro was used more,” he told reporters.
“There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars,” he said. He said the fact that oil prices are quoted in dollars per barrel did not mean that payments actually had to be made in that currency.
If Gazprom’s CEO had made such a statement, it would not have really surprised anyone. But this came from a high profile French CEO. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for him to say such a thing. Wars have been started over less. Virtually all oil and natural gas around the planet has been bought and sold for U.S. dollars since the 1970s, and this is an arrangement that the U.S. government has traditionally guarded very zealously. But now that Russia has broken the petrodollar monopoly, the fear of questioning the almighty dollar appears to be dissipating.
And at this point even French government officials are not afraid to publicly discuss moving away from the U.S. dollar. Just check out what French finance minister Michel Sapin said to the press this weekend…
French finance minister Michel Sapin says “now is the right time to bolster the use of the euro” adding, more ominously for the dollar, “we sell ourselves aircraft in dollars. Is that really necessary? I don’t think so.” Careful to avoid upsetting his ‘allies’ across the pond, Sapin followed up with the slam-dunk diplomacy, “This is not a fight against dollar imperialism,” except, of course – that’s exactly what it is… just as it was over 40 years ago when the French challenged Nixon.
So why are the French suddenly so upset?
Could it be the fact that we just slapped the largest bank in France with a nearly 9 billion dollar fine?…
The remarks come a week after Paris-based bank BNP Paribas (BNP) SA was slapped with a $8.97 billion fine by U.S. authorities for transactions carried out in dollars in countries facing American sanctions. The fine spurred debate in France about the right of the U.S. in extending its regulatory reach beyond its borders.
This is yet another example of how the Obama administration is alienating friends all over the globe.
In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anyone that the Obama administration is afraid of crossing. Just a couple of days ago, the German press exploded in outrage when Germany arrested a U.S. spy. Why we feel the need to spy on our friends is something that I will never figure out.
And of course our relations with Russia are probably the worst that they have been since the end of the Cold War at this point. And as the Russians now rapidly move away from the U.S. dollar, they seem intent on bringing the rest of “the BRICS” with them. The following is a short excerpt from a recent Voice of Russia article entitled “BRICS morphing into anti-dollar alliance“…
However, in her discussion with Vladimir Putin, the head of the Russian central bank unveiled an elegant technical solution for this problem and left a clear hint regarding the members of the anti-dollar alliance that is being created by the efforts of Moscow and Beijing:
“We’ve done a lot of work on the ruble-yuan swap deal in order to facilitate trade financing. I have a meeting next week in Beijing,” she said casually and then dropped the bomb: “We are discussing with China and our BRICS parters the establishment of a system of multilateral swaps that will allow to transfer resources to one or another country, if needed. A part of the currency reserves can be directed to [the new system].” (source of the quote: Prime news agency)
It seems that the Kremlin chose the all-in-one approach for establishing its anti-dollar alliance. Currency swaps between the BRICS central banks will facilitate trade financing while completely bypassing the dollar. At the same time, the new system will also act as a de facto replacement of the IMF, because it will allow the members of the alliance to direct resources to finance the weaker countries. As an important bonus, derived from this “quasi-IMF” system, the BRICS will use a part (most likely the “dollar part”) of their currency reserves to support it, thus drastically reducing the amount of dollar-based instruments bought by some of the biggest foreign creditors of the US.
Of course the key economic player in the BRICS alliance is China.
So will China actually go along with a “de-dollarization” strategy?
Well, the truth is that China has been making moves to become more independent of the dollar for a long time, and it has just been announced that China and South Korea have signed an agreement which will mean more direct trade between the two nations using their own national currencies…
China’s central bank has authorized the Bank of Communications, the country’s fifth largest lender, to undertake yuan clearing business in the South Korean capital, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement.
The announcement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a state visit to South Korea on Friday. China is seeking to make the yuan – also known as the renminbi – used more internationally in keeping with the country’s status as the world’s second biggest economy behind the United States.
Unfortunately, most Americans don’t care about any of this at all.
They don’t understand that more U.S. dollars are actually used outside the United States than are used inside the United States. Because most of the rest of the world uses U.S. dollars to trade with one another, this has created a tremendous amount of artificial demand for our currency. In other words, the value of the U.S. dollar is much higher than it otherwise would be, and this has enabled us to import trillions of dollars of products at ridiculously low prices. The standard of living that we enjoy today is highly dependent on this arrangement continuing.
And our ability to fund the federal government and our state and local governments is heavily dependent on the rest of the planet loaning our dollars back to us for next to nothing. If we actually had to pay realistic market rates to borrow money, the finances of the federal government would have already collapsed long ago.
So it is absolutely imperative for our own economic well-being that this “de-dollarization” trend not accelerate any further. The rest of the world could actually severely hurt us by deciding to stop using the almighty dollar, and the more that the Obama administration antagonizes both our friends and our foes around the globe the more likely that is to happen.
We live in very perilous times, and the almighty dollar is more vulnerable now than it has been in decades.
If it starts collapsing, it will take down the entire U.S. financial system with it.
Let us hope that we still have a bit more time before that happens, because once the U.S. dollar collapses it will be exceedingly painful for all of us.
How long can America continue to burn up wealth? How long can this nation continue to consume far more wealth than it produces? The trade deficit is one of the biggest reasons for the steady decline of the U.S. economy, but many Americans don’t even understand what it is. Basically, we are buying far more stuff from the rest of the world than they are buying from us. That means that far more money is constantly leaving the country than is coming into the country. In order to keep the game going, we have to go to the people that we bought all of that stuff from and ask them to lend our money back to us. Or lately, we just have the Federal Reserve create new money out of thin air. This is called “quantitative easing”. Our current debt-fueled lifestyle is dependent on this cycle continuing. In order to live like we do, we must consume far more wealth than we produce. If someday we are forced to only live on the wealth that we create, it will require a massive adjustment in our standard of living. We have become great at consuming wealth but not so great at creating it. But as a result of running gigantic trade deficits year after year, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses, millions upon millions of jobs, and America is being deindustrialized at a staggering pace.
Most Americans won’t even notice, but the latest monthly trade deficit increased to 42.3 billion dollars…
The U.S. trade deficit climbed to the highest level in five months in February as demand for American exports fell while imports increased slightly.
The deficit increased to $42.3 billion, which was 7.7% above the January imbalance of $39.3 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
When the trade deficit increases, it means that even more wealth, even more jobs and even more businesses have left the United States.
In essence, we have gotten poorer as a nation.
Have you ever wondered how China has gotten so wealthy?
Just a few decades ago, they were basically a joke economically.
So how in the world did they get so powerful?
Well, one of the primary ways that they did it was by selling us far more stuff than we sold to them. If we had refused to do business with communist China, they never would have become what they have become today. It was our decisions that allowed China to become an economic powerhouse.
Last year, we sold 122 billion dollars of stuff to China.
That sounds like a lot until you learn that China sold 440 billion dollars of stuff to us.
We fill up our shopping carts with lots of cheap plastic trinkets that are “made in China”, and they pile up gigantic mountains of our money which we beg them to lend back to us so that we can pay our bills.
Who is winning that game and who is losing that game?
Below, I have posted our yearly trade deficits with China since 1990. Let’s see if you can spot the trend…
1990: 10 billion dollars
1991: 12 billion dollars
1992: 18 billion dollars
1993: 22 billion dollars
1994: 29 billion dollars
1995: 33 billion dollars
1996: 39 billion dollars
1997: 49 billion dollars
1998: 56 billion dollars
1999: 68 billion dollars
2000: 83 billion dollars
2001: 83 billion dollars
2002: 103 billion dollars
2003: 124 billion dollars
2004: 162 billion dollars
2005: 202 billion dollars
2006: 234 billion dollars
2007: 258 billion dollars
2008: 268 billion dollars
2009: 226 billion dollars
2010: 273 billion dollars
2011: 295 billion dollars
2012: 315 billion dollars
2013: 318 billion dollars
It has been estimated that the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas, and according to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing about half a million jobs to China every single year.
Considering the high level of unemployment that we now have in this country, can we really afford to be doing that?
Overall, the United States has accumulated a total trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than 8 trillion dollars since 1975.
As a result, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and our economic infrastructure has been absolutely gutted.
Just look at what has happened to manufacturing jobs in America. Back in the 1980s, more than 20 percent of the jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only about 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.
And we have fewer Americans working in manufacturing today than we did in 1950 even though our population has more than doubled since then…
Many people find this statistic hard to believe, but the United States has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
Millions of good paying jobs have been lost.
As a result, the middle class is shriveling up, and at this point 9 out of the top 10 occupations in America pay less than $35,000 a year.
For a long time, U.S. consumers attempted to keep up their middle class lifestyles by going into constantly increasing amounts of debt, but now it is becoming increasingly apparent that middle class consumers are tapped out.
In response, major retailers are closing thousands of stores in poor and middle class neighborhoods all over the country. You can see some amazing photos of America’s abandoned shopping malls right here.
If we could start reducing the size of our trade deficit, that would go a long way toward getting the United States back on the right economic path.
Unfortunately, Barack Obama has been negotiating a treaty in secret which is going to send the deindustrialization of America into overdrive. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being called the “NAFTA of the Pacific”, and it is going to result in millions more good jobs being sent to the other side of the planet where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.
According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.
So what will this country look like when we lose tens of millions more jobs than we already have?
U.S. workers are being merged into a giant global labor pool where they must compete directly for jobs with people making less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.
Obama tells us that globalization is good for us and that Americans need to be ready to adjust to a “level playing field”.
The quality of our jobs has already been declining for decades, and if we continue down this path the quality of our jobs is going to get a whole lot worse and our economic infrastructure will continue to be absolutely gutted.
At one time, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city on the entire planet and it had the highest per capita income in the United States. But today, it is a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the world laughs at.
In the end, the rest of the nation is going to suffer the same fate as Detroit unless Americans are willing to stand up and fight for their economy while they still can.
The death of the dollar is coming, and it will probably be China that pulls the trigger. What you are about to read is understood by only a very small fraction of all Americans. Right now, the U.S. dollar is the de facto reserve currency of the planet. Most global trade is conducted in U.S. dollars, and almost all oil is sold for U.S. dollars. More than 60 percent of all global foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars, and far more U.S. dollars are actually used outside of the United States than inside of it. As will be described below, this has given the United States some tremendous economic advantages, and most Americans have no idea how much their current standard of living depends on the dollar remaining the reserve currency of the world. Unfortunately, thanks to reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve and the reckless accumulation of debt by the federal government, the status of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world is now in great jeopardy.
As I mentioned above, nations all over the globe use U.S. dollars to trade with one another. This has created tremendous demand for U.S. dollars and has kept the value of the dollar up. It also means that Americans can import things that they need much more inexpensively than they otherwise would be able to.
The largest exporting nations such as Saudi Arabia (oil) and China (cheap plastic trinkets at Wal-Mart) end up with massive piles of U.S. dollars…
Instead of just sitting on all of that cash, these exporting nations often reinvest much of that cash into low risk securities that can be rapidly turned back into dollars if necessary. For a very long time, U.S. Treasury bonds have been considered to be the perfect way to do this. This has created tremendous demand for U.S. government debt and has helped keep interest rates super low. So every year, massive amounts of money that gets sent out of the country ends up being loaned back to the U.S. Treasury at super low interest rates…
And it has been a very good thing for the U.S. economy that the federal government has been able to borrow money so cheaply, because the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries affects thousands upon thousands of other interest rates throughout our financial system. For example, as the rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has risen in recent months, so have the rates on U.S. home mortgages.
Our entire way of life in the United States depends upon this game continuing. We must have the rest of the world use our currency and loan it back to us at ultra low interest rates. At this point we have painted ourselves into a corner by accumulating so much debt. We simply cannot afford to have rates rise significantly.
For example, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rose to just 6 percent (and it has been much higher than that at various times in the past), we would be paying more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
But it wouldn’t be just the federal government that would suffer. Just consider what higher rates would do to the real estate market.
About a year ago, the rate on 30 year mortgages was sitting at 3.31 percent. The monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate is $1315.52.
If the 30 year rate rises to 8 percent, the monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage would be $2201.29.
Does 8 percent sound crazy to you?
It shouldn’t. 8 percent was considered to be normal back in the year 2000.
Are you starting to get the picture?
We need other countries to use our dollars and buy our debt so that we can have super low interest rates and so that we can afford to buy lots of cheap stuff from them.
Unfortunately, the truly bizarre behavior of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government over the past several years is causing the rest of the world to lose faith in our currency. In particular, China is leading the call for a “de-Americanized” world. The following is from a recent article posted on the website of France 24…
For decades the US has benefited to the tune of trillions of dollars-worth of free credit from the greenback’s role as the default global reserve unit.
But as the global economy trembled before the prospect of a US default last month, only averted when Washington reached a deal to raise its debt ceiling, China’s official Xinhua news agency called for a “de-Americanised” world.
It also urged the creation of a “new international reserve currency… to replace the dominant US dollar”.
So why should the rest of the planet listen to China?
Well, China now accounts for more global trade than anyone else does, including the United States.
China is also now the number one importer of oil in the world.
At this point, China is even importing more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States is.
China now has an enormous amount of economic power globally, and the Chinese want the rest of the planet to start using less U.S. dollars and to start using more of their own currency. The following is from a recent article in the Vancouver Sun…
Three years after China allowed the yuan to start trading in Hong Kong’s offshore market, banks and investors around the world are positioning themselves to get involved in what Nomura Holdings Inc. calls the biggest revolution in the $5.3 trillion currency market since the creation of the euro in 1999.
And over the past few years we have seen the global use of the yuan rise dramatically…
International use of the yuan is increasing as the world’s second-largest economy opens up its capital markets. In the first nine months of this year, about 17 percent of China’s global trade was settled in the currency, compared with less than one percent in 2009, according to Deutsche Bank AG.
Of course the U.S. dollar is still king for now, but thanks to a whole host of recent international currency agreements this status is slipping. For example, China just recently signed a major currency agreement with the European Central Bank…
The swap deal will allow more trade and investment between the regions to be conducted in euros and yuan, without having to convert into another currency such as the U.S. dollar first, said Kathleen Brooks, a research director at FOREX.com.
“It’s a way of promoting European and Chinese trade, but not doing it with the U.S. dollar,” said Brooks. “It’s a bit like cutting out the middleman, all of a sudden there’s potentially no U.S. dollar risk.”
And as I have written about previously, we have seen a bunch of other similar agreements being signed all over the planet in recent years…
1. China and Germany (See Here)
2. China and Russia (See Here)
3. China and Brazil (See Here)
4. China and Australia (See Here)
5. China and Japan (See Here)
6. India and Japan (See Here)
7. Iran and Russia (See Here)
8. China and Chile (See Here)
9. China and the United Arab Emirates (See Here)
10. China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (See Here)
But do you hear about any of this on the mainstream news?
Of course not.
They would rather focus on the latest celebrity scandal.
Right now, the global move away from the U.S. dollar is slow but steady.
At some point, some trigger event will likely cause it to become a stampede.
When that happens, demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt will disintegrate and interest rates will absolutely skyrocket.
And if interest rates skyrocket that will throw the entire U.S. financial system into chaos. At the moment, there are about 441 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there. It is a financial time bomb unlike anything the world has ever seen before.
There are four “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have more than 40 trillion dollars worth of total exposure to derivatives. The largest chunk of those derivatives is made up of interest rate derivatives. In case you were wondering , those four banks are JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.
A huge upward surge in interest rates would absolutely devastate those banks and cause a financial crisis that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
Right now, the leader in global trade seems content to use U.S. dollars for most of their international transactions. China also seems content to hold more than a trillion dollars of U.S. government debt.
If that suddenly changes someday, the consequences for the U.S. economy will be absolutely catastrophic and every single American will feel the pain.
The standard of living that all of us are enjoying today depends largely upon China. They can bring down the hammer at any moment and they know it.
The fiscal cliff is coming! Run for the hills! There have been endless stories in the mainstream media about the “fiscal cliff” that our country is facing if the Democrats and the Republicans can’t come to some sort of an agreement. If there is no agreement, taxes will go up and government spending will be reduced by a very small amount. And yes, that would likely push the U.S. economy into another recession, although there are many that would argue that we are already in a recession right now. In any event, there is a tremendous amount of distress out there about the fact that something might interrupt the debt-fueled prosperity that we have all been enjoying. You can almost hear them now: “No! Please don’t cut government spending! Please don’t raise taxes! Please keep stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day so that we can continue this economic illusion that feels so very good.” The American people want the government to give everything to everybody, but they definitely do not want to pay for it. They want a big government that showers them with government checks and government benefits, but they don’t want to cough up the ridiculous amount of money that it would take to fund such a government. So we just keep ripping off our kids and our grandkids. What we are doing to future generations is not just immoral, it is criminal. If they get the chance, someday they will look back and curse us for destroying their futures and destroying their country. So why do we continue to do this to them? Because we are greedy and selfish and we are absolutely desperate to maintain the massively overinflated standard of living that we have been enjoying. We have lived way above our means for so long that we don’t even know what “normal” is supposed to be anymore.
But nobody can spend far more money than they bring in forever. At some point an adjustment comes, and our adjustment is going to be exceedingly painful.
Right now, the overwhelming consensus in the United States seems to be that we should put off any economic pain for as long as possible. The American people don’t want significant cuts to government spending and they don’t want taxes to be raised to pay for the spending that we are already doing.
But if the Republicans and the Democrats don’t agree to a deal soon, we are going to see taxes raised substantially and government spending cut by a little bit. A recent CBS News article did a good job of describing exactly what this “fiscal cliff” that we are facing actually is…
There are two parts to the so-called fiscal cliff. The first is the scheduled expiration of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush, the payroll tax holiday enacted under President Obama, and a host of other tax breaks. The second is $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that are looming due to a 2011 deal that resulted from House Republicans’ reluctance to raise the debt limit.
Now, it’s true that if lawmakers fail to work out any sort of deal, there will be severe long-term consequences for the economy: According to the Tax Policy Center, going off the “cliff” would affect 88 percent of U.S. taxpayers, with their taxes rising by an average of $3,500 a year. Many economists, as well as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, say the combination of spending cuts and tax hikes that are set to take effect would tip the economy into a new recession.
Please keep in mind that the “$1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts” is not for a single year. When you break it down, the cuts to spending would be somewhere around 100 billion dollars a year. And a lot of those “cuts” are actually spending increases that would be cancelled. So those spending cuts would not really put much of a dent in our yearly budget deficits at all.
The tax increases would be more significant. Middle class families would be paying thousands of dollars more per year in taxes. These tax increases would raise some more revenue for the federal government, but they would also do significant damage to the economy in the short-term.
Do you know what they call a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases over in Europe?
They call it “austerity”.
Nations like Greece and Spain have tried this. They cut spending and raised taxes in an attempt to reduce government budget deficits. What happens is that the spending cuts and the tax increases cause a significant economic slowdown and this causes tax revenues to come in much lower than projected. So then more spending cuts and tax hikes are necessary in order to try to get closer to balancing the budget. But then tax revenues fall even more.
In the end, both Greece and Spain still have large budget deficits and yet the economies of both nations are suffering through depression-like conditions. The unemployment rate in both nations is now over 25 percent. Just check out this chart right here to see how nightmarish austerity has been for the economies of both Greece and Spain.
So that is why everybody is freaking out about the fiscal cliff. They don’t want to go down the same road of austerity. They want to keep living in an economic fantasy land where we can borrow our way to “prosperity”.
But it is all a lie. The lines at the Apple stores, the crazed consumers on Black Friday, the restaurants teeming full with people and the government that thinks that it can take care of everyone from the cradle to the grave and yet keep taxes low. It is all a giant lie.
And no, please do not think that I am in favor of raising taxes. I most definitely am not. I believe that the government brings in more than enough money already.
Personally, I believe that we could have a system that completely eliminates income taxes and that funds the government through tariffs and various other forms of taxation. It was good enough for the Founding Fathers and it should be good enough for us. But that is a subject for another article.
Our current system has allowed us to live way beyond our means for an extended period of time, but it is only a matter of time until it all comes crashing down.
In fact, the game is already over. We have already destroyed the future. At this point it is only a matter of how long we can keep kicking the can down the road and putting off the pain.
Sadly, what we have done on a national level is simply a reflection of our “buy now, pay later” society. We have become a nation that is constantly willing to sacrifice the future in order to make the present more pleasant.
Just check out this video. We have become addicted to a prosperity that we cannot possibly pay for. But as long as someone will keep lending us the money we will continue to enjoy it.
As I have mentioned previously, the government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in while Barack Obama has been president.
We print, borrow and spend without giving any thought to what we are doing to the future of this country. We are shredding confidence in our currency and we are wrecking the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.
And all of our politicians and all of our “leaders” prance about as if they are the smartest generation of Americans ever, and they think that they are an “example” for the rest of the world, but if our Founding Fathers were around today they would be absolutely horrified about what they have done to the country that they built.
If you think that the economy is bad now, you just wait.
We are still in the “economic fantasy land” phase where we are enjoying a massively inflated standard of living constructed on a mountain of borrowed fiat currency. Our economy is being held up by trillions of borrowed dollars, and all of that money makes the U.S. economy appear to be far more prosperous than it actually should be.
When we have to start living closer to what our real standard of living should be things are going to get really bad.
Most Americans simply don’t understand that if the federal government went to a balanced budget tomorrow it would instantly plunge the U.S. economy into a depression.
Just look at Greece and Spain. The same thing is going to happen to us one way or another.
So enjoy this false prosperity while you still can. This is about as good as things are going to get, and from here on out it is downhill for America.
The U.S. government has stolen $15,876,457,645,132.66 from future generations of Americans, and we continue to add well over a hundred million dollars to that total every single day day. The 15 trillion dollar binge that we have been on over the past 30 years has fueled the greatest standard of living the world has ever seen, but this wonderful prosperity that we have been enjoying has been a lie. It isn’t real. We have been living way above our means for so long that we do not have any idea of what “normal” actually is anymore. But every debt addict hits “the wall” eventually, and the same thing is going to happen to us as a nation. At some point the weight of our national debt is going to cause our financial system to implode, and every American will feel the pain of that collapse. Under our current system, there is no mathematical way that this debt can ever be paid back. The road that we are on will either lead to default or to hyperinflation. We have piled up the biggest debt in the history of the world, and if there are future generations of Americans they will look back and curse us for what we did to them. We like to think of ourselves as much wiser than previous generations of Americans, but the truth is that we have been so foolish that it is hard to put it into words.
Whenever I do an article about the national debt, Democrats leave comments blaming the Republicans and Republicans leave comments blaming the Democrats.
Well you know what?
Both parties are to blame. Both of them get a failing grade.
If the Republicans really wanted to stop the federal government from running up all this debt they could have done it.
If the Democrats really wanted to stop the federal government from running up all this debt they could have done it.
So let’s not pretend that one of the political parties is “the hero” in this little drama.
The damage has been done, and both parties will go down in history as being grossly negligent on fiscal issues during this period of American history.
Sadly, neither party is showing any signs of changing their ways.
Neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney is promising to eliminate the federal budget deficit in 2013. They both talk about how the budget will be balanced “someday”, but as we have seen so many times in the past, “someday” never comes.
I didn’t mean to get all political in this article, but the truth is that the national debt threatens to destroy everything that previous generations have built, and our politicians continue to give us nothing but excuses.
The following are 27 things that every American should know about the national debt….
#1 It took more than 200 years for the U.S. national debt to reach 1 trillion dollars. In 1986, the U.S. national debt reached 2 trillion dollars. In 1992, the U.S. national debt reached 4 trillion dollars. In 2005, the U.S. national debt doubled again and reached 8 trillion dollars. Now the U.S. national debt is about to cross the 16 trillion dollar mark. How long can this kind of exponential growth go on?
#2 If the average interest rate on U.S. government debt rises to just 7 percent, the U.S. government will find itself spending more than a trillion dollars per year just on interest on the national debt.
#3 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.
#4 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. national debt has increased by an average of more than $64,000 per taxpayer.
#5 Barack Obama will become the first president to run deficits of more than a trillion dollars during each of his first four years in office.
#6 If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
#7 The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 1.6 trillion dollars since the Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives. So far, this Congress has added more to the national debt than the first 97 Congresses combined.
#8 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more new debt than it did from the time that George Washington became president to the time that Bill Clinton became president.
#9 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
#10 As Bill Whittle has shown, you could take every single penny that every American earns above $250,000 and it would only fund about 38 percent of the federal budget.
#11 Today, the government debt to GDP ratio in the United States is well over 100 percent.
#12 A recently revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.
#13 The United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain does.
#14 At this point, the United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.
#15 The amount of U.S. government debt held by foreigners is about 5 times larger than it was just a decade ago.
#16 The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.
#17 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will surpass 23 trillion dollars in 2015.
#18 Mandatory federal spending surpassed total federal revenue for the first time ever in fiscal 2011. That was not supposed to happen until 50 years from now.
#19 Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.
#20 The U.S. government has total assets of 2.7 trillion dollars and has total liabilities of 17.5 trillion dollars. The liabilities do not even count 4.7 trillion dollars of intragovernmental debt that is currently outstanding.
#21 U.S. households are now actually receiving more money directly from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
#22 The U.S. government is wasting your money on some of the stupidest things imaginable. For example, in 2011 the National Institutes of Health spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
#23 If the federal government used GAAP accounting standards like publicly traded corporations do, the real federal budget deficit for last year would have been 5 trillion dollars instead of 1.3 trillion dollars.
#24 The Federal Reserve purchased approximately 61 percent of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department during 2011.
#25 At this point, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
#26 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 480,000 years to completely pay off the national debt.
#27 The official government debt figure does not even account for massive unfunded liabilities that the U.S. government will be hit with in the years ahead. According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. government is facing a future “fiscal gap” of more than 200 trillion dollars.
As the U.S. economy continues to crumble, even more Americans are going to become financially dependent on the federal government.
For example, spending on food stamps has doubled since 2008. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and have needed some assistance from the government. Since Obama became president the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 46 million.
But the Obama administration believes that a lot more Americans should be enrolled in the food stamp program. The Obama administration is now spending millions of dollars on ads that urge even more people to sign up for food stamps. In fact, their efforts to get even more Americans to sign up for food stamps have become very creative….
The government has been targeting Spanish speakers with radio “novelas” promoting food stamp usage as part of a stated mission to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
Each novela, comprising a 10-part series called “PARQUE ALEGRIA,” or “HOPE PARK,” presents a semi-dramatic scenario involving characters convincing others to get on food stamps, or explaining how much healthier it is to be on food stamps.
I’m all for helping those that cannot feed themselves, but do we really need to run ads urging more people to become dependent on the government?
Of course Obamacare is going to cause our debt to balloon in size as well. It is being projected that Obamacare will add more than 2.6 trillion dollars to the U.S. national debt over the first decade alone.
So where are we going to get all this money?
We can’t keep spending money that we do not have. We have got to prioritize. Every single category of government spending needs to be cut.
But instead we feel like we can keep ripping off future generations of Americans and that we will always be able to get away with it.
What we have done to our children and our grandchildren is beyond criminal.
The truth is that we should have listened to the warnings of our founding fathers about government debt. For example, Thomas Jefferson once said that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a complete ban on all borrowing by the federal government….
I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.
Where would we be today if we had taken the advice of Thomas Jefferson?
That is something to think about.
Why isn’t the U.S. economy in a depression right now? The number one reason is because the federal government has stolen more than five trillion dollars from future generations since Barack Obama was elected and has used that money to pump up our grossly inflated standard of living. Whether the federal government spends money wisely or foolishly, the truth is that the vast majority of it still ends up in the pockets of the American people who then use it to buy the things they need for their daily lives. If the U.S. government had not borrowed and spent an extra five trillion dollars that we did not have over the past several years, we would be in the middle of a rip-roaring economic depression right now. So any talk that Barack Obama is “improving the economy” is a total farce. It is a five trillion dollar lie. The reality is that Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress have been stealing trillions of dollars from future generations in order to make things tolerable in the present. If the federal government adopted a balanced budget next year, the debt-fueled prosperity that we are currently enjoying would start disappearing very rapidly and all hell would break loose in America.
At this point, the U.S. national debt is over 15.7 trillion dollars.
When Ronald Reagan took office it was less than a trillion dollars.
If you were to divide the national debt up equally, it would come to more than $50,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.
So the share of the national debt for an average family of four would be about $200,000.
When the government borrows and spends money that it does not have, that increases the amount of dollars in circulation and it causes GDP to go up.
That is one of the reasons why our politicians like to borrow and spend money that we do not have. It makes the economic statistics look good. They can point to those economic statistics as a reason to send them back for another term.
This is a major flaw in our system. Most of our politicians do not care about how they are raping future generations financially. Most of them just care about getting elected again.
If you will notice carefully, neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama are promising to balance the budget any time soon. Like so many politicians in the past, they promise to do it “eventually”, but “eventually” never arrives.
According to a recent article in the Washington Times, Mitt Romney declared during a recent campaign appearance that he has no plans to balance the federal budget in his first year….
“My job is to get America back on track to have a balanced budget. Now I’m not going to cut $1 trillion in the first year”
Why would he say that?
Why wouldn’t he want to balance the budget?
He went on to explain that….
“The reason,” he explained, “is taking a trillion dollars out of a $15 trillion economy would cause our economy to shrink [and] would put a lot of people out of work.”
Romney is right about this. Taking a trillion dollars out of a 15 trillion dollar economy would plunge us into an economic nightmare.
And that would make him look bad.
Of course if Obama wins the election we can just expect more of the same from him as well.
For example, just check out what White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew had to say about balancing the budget recently….
“The time for austerity is not today,” Lew told NBC News “Meet the Press.” “If we were to put in austerity measures right now, it would take the economy in the wrong way.”
Why is the time for austerity not today?
It is because the 2012 election is coming up and Obama wants the economic statistics to look good.
But can you blame our politicians for being cowardly?
Just look at what is happening in Greece. After several years of austerity they are in the midst of a full-blown economic depression and they still have not balanced their budget.
Do we want to end up like Greece?
Most Americans do not realize this, but the U.S. already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.
So why haven’t we collapsed yet?
Well, because we continue to borrow larger and larger amounts of money.
It took from the founding of America until 1995 for the federal government to accumulate 5 trillion dollars of debt.
Under Obama, we have accumulated more than 5 trillion dollars of new debt in just over 3 years.
Amazingly, Obama has added more to the national debt than George W. Bush did during his entire 8 year term.
And let there be no mistake – George W. Bush was a wild spender. A fiscal conservative he most certainly was not.
But Barack Obama does not seem troubled by any of this.
Barack Obama is prancing about the countryside touting his great “economic plan”, but the truth is that the only reason the economy has not totally collapsed is because he is stealing 150 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren.
Sadly, most Americans don’t understand that the current level of prosperity that we are enjoying is a grand illusion. Most Americans still expect things to return to the way that they used to be, and they are increasingly becoming angry that it is taking so long to get back there.
In fact, a whole host of recent surveys have shown that Americans are very dissatisfied with the direction the economy is heading in….
Four recent surveys have found that on average only 28% of Americans are satisfied with the condition of the country, while 70% are dissatisfied. Three recent surveys have found that between 69% and 83% of Americans believe that the country is still in recession (it isn’t), and only half believe that a recovery is under way.
What they don’t realize is that if we were not massively ripping off our kids and our grandkids things would be much, much worse.
Thomas Jefferson understood that government borrowing is essentially the same as theft from future generations.
He once made the following statement….
And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is so immoral that it is hard to put into words.
We are running up trillions upon trillions of dollars of debt in their name just so that our lives can be more comfortable right now.
How could we be so selfish?
The sad thing is that even with all of this reckless spending our economy is still not in great shape.
In fact, the middle class continues to shrink at an alarming rate. The following are just a few statistics from a recent article I did about this phenomenon….
-Today, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
-Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages. In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages. Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages.
-The United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.
-Every year now, we see millions of Americans fall out of the middle class. In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty. That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.
-At this point, approximately 22 percent of all American children are living in poverty.
-When Barack Obama took office, there were 32 million Americans on food stamps. Now, there are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps.
So how much worse would things be if a trillion dollars of federal spending was suddenly removed from the economy?
Are you starting to get the picture?
As bad as things are right now, they are about to get a whole lot worse.
So why can’t we just keep on borrowing and spending forever?
Well, just like Greece found out, debt always catches up with you eventually.
During fiscal 2011, the U.S. government spent over 454 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt.
But just like we are seeing in Europe, if confidence in U.S. government debt starts to disappear the U.S. government could end up facing much higher interest rates to borrow money.
If the average rate on U.S. government debt only rose to 7 percent (in the past it has actually been much higher than that), then the U.S. government would be spending about 1.1 trillion dollars a year just on interest on the national debt.
During fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government spent 3.7 trillion dollars but it only brought in about 2.4 trillion dollars.
So if we were spending 1.1 trillion dollars just on interest, that would be close to half of all the revenue the federal government brings in.
Right now, the Federal Reserve is manipulating the system in a desperate attempt to keep interest rates down. During 2011, the Federal Reserve bought up approximately 61 percent of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department.
But most Americans have no idea how fragile our financial system is.
Most Americans just assume that we will always be the greatest economy on the planet and that there is nothing to be worried about.
Sadly, one way or another this debt bubble is going to burst and then our debt-fueled false prosperity is going to disappear.
Most Americans are not going to understand what is happening and they are going to go absolutely nuts.