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We Might As Well Face It – America Is Addicted To Debt

Debt Tree - Public DomainCorporations, individuals and the federal government continue to rack up debt at a rate that is far faster than the overall rate of economic growth.  We are literally drowning in red ink from sea to shining sea, and yet we just can’t help ourselves.  Consumer credit has doubled since the year 2000.  Student loan debt has doubled over the course of the past decade.  Business debt has doubled since 2006.  And of course the debt of the federal government has doubled since 2007.  Anyone that believes that this is “sustainable” in any way, shape or form is crazy.  We have accumulated the greatest mountain of debt that the world has ever seen, and yet despite all of the warnings we just continue to race forward into financial oblivion.  There is no possible way that this is going to end well.

Just the other day, a financial story that USA Today posted really got my attention.  It contained charts and graphs that showed that business debt in the U.S. had doubled since 2006.  I knew that things were bad, but I didn’t know that they were this bad.  Back in 2006, just prior to the last major economic downturn, U.S. nonfinancial companies had a total of about 2.6 trillion dollars of debt.  Now, that total has skyrocketed to 5.8 trillion

Companies are sitting on a record $1.82 trillion in cash. That might sound impressive until you hear companies owe three times more – $5.8 trillion, according to a new report from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

Debt levels are soaring at U.S. non-financial companies so quickly – total debt outstanding rose $650 billion in 2014, which is six times faster than the $100 billion in added cash.

So are we in better condition to handle an economic crisis than we were the last time, or are we in worse shape?

Let’s look at another category of debt.  According to new data that just came out, the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. is up to a staggering 1.2 trillion dollars.  That total has more than doubled over the past decade…

New data released by The Associated Press shows student loan debt is over $1.2 trillion, which is more than double the amount of a decade ago.

Students are facing an average of $35,000 in debt, that’s the highest of any graduating class in U.S. history. A senior at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Jon Cheek, knows the struggle first hand.

“It’s been a pretty big concern, I work while I go to school. I applied for a bunch of scholarships and done everything I can to try and keep it low,” said Cheek.

And of course it isn’t just student loan debt.  American consumers have had a love affair with debt that stretches back for decades.  As the chart below demonstrates, overall consumer credit has more than doubled since the year 2000…

consumer credit outstanding

If our paychecks were increasing at this same pace, that would be one thing.  But they aren’t.  In fact, real median household income is actually lower today than it was just prior to the last economic crisis.

So American households should actually be cutting back on debt.  But instead, they are just piling on more debt, and the financial predators are becoming even more creative.  In a previous article,  I discussed how many auto loans are now being stretched out for seven years.  At this point, the number of auto loans that exceed 72 months is at an all-time high

The average new car loan has reached a record 67 months, reports Experian, the Ireland-based information-services company. The percentage of loans with terms of 73 to 84 months also reached a new high of 29.5% in the first quarter of 2015, up from 24.9% a year earlier.

Long-term used-vehicle loans also broke records with loan terms of 73 to 84 months reaching 16% in the first quarter 2015, up from 12.94% — also the highest on record.

When will we learn?

The crash of 2008 should have been a wake up call.

We should have acknowledged our mistakes and we should have started doing things very differently.

But instead, we just kept on making the exact same mistakes.  In fact, our long-term financial problems have continued to accelerate since the last recession.  Just look at what has happened to our national debt.  Just prior to the last recession, the U.S. national debt was sitting at approximately 9 trillion dollars.  Today, it is over 18 trillion dollars…

National Debt

Our debt has grown so large that we will never be able to get out from under it.  This is something that I covered in my recent article entitled “It Is Mathematically Impossible To Pay Off All Of Our Debt“.  Because of our recklessness, our children, our grandchildren and all future generations of Americans are consigned to a lifetime of debt slavery.  What we have done to them is beyond criminal.  If we lived in a just society, a whole bunch of people would be going to prison for the rest of their lives over this.

During fiscal year 2014, the debt of the federal government increased by more than a trillion dollars.  But in addition to that, the federal government has more than seven trillion dollars of debt that must be “rolled over” every year.  In other words, the government must issue more than seven trillion dollars of new debt just to pay off old debts that are coming due.

As long as the rest of the world continues to lend us enormous mountains of money at ridiculously low interest rates, we can continue to keep our heads above the water.  But this can change at any time.  And once it does, interest rates will rise.  If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was to return to the long-term average, we would very quickly find ourselves spending more than a trillion dollars a year just on interest on the national debt.

The debt-fueled prosperity that we are enjoying now is not real.  It is a false prosperity that has been purchased by selling future generations into debt slavery.  We have mortgaged the future to make our own lives better.

We are addicts.  We are addicted to debt, and no matter how many warnings we receive, we just can’t help ourselves.

Shame on you America.

The United States Of Debt: Total Debt In America Hits A New Record High Of Nearly 60 Trillion Dollars

America Is BrokeWhat would you say if I told you that Americans are nearly 60 TRILLION dollars in debt?  Well, it is true.  When you total up all forms of debt including government debt, business debt, mortgage debt and consumer debt, we are 59.4 trillion dollars in debt.  That is an amount of money so large that it is difficult to describe it with words.  For example, if you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you had spent 80 million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent 59.4 trillion dollars by now.  And most of this debt has been accumulated in recent decades.  If you go back 40 years ago, total debt in America was sitting at about 2.2 trillion dollars.  Somehow over the past four decades we have allowed the total amount of debt in the United States to get approximately 27 times larger.  This is utter insanity, and anyone that thinks this is sustainable is completely deluded.  We are living in the greatest debt bubble of all time, and there is no way that this is going to end well.  Just check out the chart…

Total Debt

When the last recession hit, total debt in America actually started going down for a short period of time.

But then the Federal Reserve and our politicians in Washington worked feverishly to reinflate the bubble and they assured everyone that everything was going to be just fine.  So Americans once again resorted to their free spending ways, and now total debt in the United States is rising at almost the same trajectory as before and has hit a new all-time record high.

We see a similar thing when we look at a chart for consumer debt in America…

Total Consumer Credit

For a while after the recession it was trendy to cut up your credit cards and get out of debt.

But that fad wore off rather quickly, didn’t it?

It is almost as if 2008 never happened.  We are making the same mistakes with debt that we did before.

As I noted recently, total consumer credit in the U.S. has risen by 22 percent over the past three years alone, and at this point 56 percent of all Americans have a subprime credit rating.

And have you noticed that a lot of people are not afraid to extend themselves in order to buy shiny new vehicles these days?

During the first quarter 0f this year, the size of the average vehicle loan soared to a new all-time record high of $27,612.

Five years ago, that number was just $24,174.

And as I noted in one recent article, the size of the average monthly car payment in this country is now up to $474.

That is practically a mortgage payment.

Speaking of mortgage payments, even though home sales have been falling and the rate of homeownership in the United States is the lowest that it has been in 19 years, a very large percentage of those who own homes are still overextended.

In fact, one recent survey discovered that a whopping 52 percent of Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.

At the same time, an increasing number of Americans are acting as if the last financial crisis never happened and are treating their homes like piggy banks.   Home equity loans are soaring again, and when the next great crisis strikes a lot of those people are going to end up getting into a lot of financial trouble.

There has been much written about what is wrong with the housing industry, but the truth is that home prices are still way too high and young adults cannot afford to purchase homes because they are already loaded down by huge amounts of debt even before they get to the point where they are ready to buy.

In fact, a newly released survey found that 47 percent of millennials are spending at least half of their paychecks on paying off debt…

Four in 10 millennials say they are “overwhelmed” by their debt — nearly double the number of baby boomers who feel that way, according to a Wells Fargo survey of more than 1,600 millennials between 22 and 33 years old, and 1,500 baby boomers between 49 and 59 years old.

To try to get out from underneath it, 47% said they spend at least half of their monthly paychecks on paying off their debts.

When I read that I was absolutely astounded.

Of course the biggest debt that many young adults are facing is student loan debt.  According to the Federal Reserve, there is now more than 1.2 trillion dollars of student loan debt in this country, and about 124 billion dollars of that total is more than 90 days delinquent.

What we have done to our young people is shameful.  We have encouraged them to sign up for a lifetime of debt slavery before they even understand what life is all about.  The following is an excerpt from my previous article entitled “Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?“…

In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt, and the average debt level has been steadily rising.  In fact, one study found that “70 percent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards.”

That would be bad enough if most of these students were getting decent jobs that enabled them to service that debt.

But unfortunately, that is often not the case.  It has been estimated that about half of all recent college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.

Considering what you just read, is it a surprise that half of all college graduates in America are still financially dependent on their parents when they are two years out of college?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 36 percent of all Americans under the age of 35 own a home at this point.  That is the lowest level that has ever been recorded.

And we are passing on to our young people the largest single debt in all of human history.  Weighing in at 17.5 trillion dollars, the U.S. national debt is a colossal behemoth.  And almost all of that debt has been accumulated over the past 40 years.  In fact, 40 years ago the U.S. national debt was less than half a trillion dollars.

But this is just the beginning.  As the Baby Boomer “demographic tsunami” washes through our economy, we are going to be facing a wave of red ink unlike anything we have ever contemplated before.

Meanwhile, the rest of the planet is drowning in debt as well.

As I wrote about the other day, the total amount of debt in the world has risen to a new all-time record high of $223,300,000,000,000.

Our “leaders” keep acting as if these debt levels can keep growing much faster than the overall level of economic growth indefinitely.

But anyone with even a shred of common sense knows that you can’t spend more money that you bring in forever.

At some point, a day of reckoning arrives.

2008 should have been a major wake up call that resulted in massive changes.  But instead, our leaders just patched up the old system and reinflated the old bubbles so that they are now even larger than they were before.

They assure us that they know exactly what they are doing and that everything will be just fine.

Unfortunately, they are dead wrong.

Agenda 21 Is Being Rammed Down The Throats Of Local Communities All Over America

United Nations FlagHave you ever heard of Agenda 21?  If not, don’t feel bad, because most Americans haven’t.  It is essentially a blueprint for a “sustainable world” that was introduced at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.  Since then, it has been adopted by more than 200 counties and it has been modified and updated at other UN environmental summits.  The philosophy behind Agenda 21 is that our environmental problems are the number one problem that we are facing, and that those problems are being caused by human activity.  Therefore, according to Agenda 21 human activity needs to be tightly monitored, regulated and controlled for the greater good.  Individual liberties and freedoms must be sacrificed for the good of the planet.  If you are thinking that this sounds like it is exactly the opposite of what our founding fathers intended when they established this nation, you would be on the right track.  Those that promote the philosophy underlying Agenda 21 believe that human activity must be “managed” and that letting people make their own decisions is “destructive” and “dangerous”.  Sadly, the principles behind Agenda 21 are being rammed down the throats of local communities all over America, and most of the people living in those communities don’t even realize it.

So how is this being done?  Well, after Agenda 21 was adopted, an international organization known as the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives” (ICLEI) was established to help implement the goals of Agenda 21 in local communities.  One thing that they learned very quickly was that the “Agenda 21″ label was a red flag for a lot of people.  It tended to create quite a bit of opposition on the local level.

As they try to implement their goals, they very rarely use the term “Agenda 21″ anymore.  Instead, they use much more harmless sounding labels such as “smart growth”, “comprehensive land use planning” and especially “sustainable development”.

So just because something does not carry the Agenda 21 label does not mean that it is not promoting the goals of Agenda 21.

The goals of Agenda 21 are not only being implemented in the United States.  This is a massive worldwide effort that is being coordinated by the United Nations.  An article that was posted on RedState.com discussed some of the history of Agenda 21…

In simplified terms, Agenda 21 is a master blueprint, or guidelines, for constructing “sustainable” communities. Agenda 21 was put forth by the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development, and was adopted by over 200 countries (signed into “soft law” by George Bush Sr.) at the United Nations Rio Conference in 1992. In 1994 the President’s Council for Sustainable Development was created via Executive Order by Bill Clinton to begin coordinating efforts at the Federal level to make the US Agenda 21 compliant.

The same year that Bill Clinton established the President’s Council for Sustainable Development, the International Code Council was also created.

The International Code Council has developed a large number of “international codes” which are intended to replace existing building codes all over the United States.  The following is a list of these codes from Wikipedia

  • International Building Code
  • International Residential Code
  • International Fire Code
  • International Plumbing Code
  • International Mechanical Code
  • International Fuel Gas Code
  • International Energy Conservation Code
  • ICC Performance Code
  • International Wildland Urban Interface Code
  • International Existing Building Code
  • International Property Maintenance Code
  • International Private Sewage Disposal Code
  • International Zoning Code
  • International Green Construction Code

These codes are very long and exceedingly boring, and those that write them know that hardly anyone will ever read them.

And for the most part, they contain a lot of things that are contained in existing building codes or that are common sense.

But a lot of poison has also been inserted into these codes.  If you read them carefully, the influence of Agenda 21 is painfully obvious.

Unfortunately, even most of the local politicians that are adopting these codes don’t take the time to read them.  Most of them just assume that they are “updating” their existing building codes.

So what often happens is that there will be fights in local communities between citizens that are concerned about the encroachment of Agenda 21 and local politicians who regard such talk as nonsense.  The following is an example of what is happening all over the nation

Summit Hill Borough Council last night unanimously adopted the “2012 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code,” but not before some audience members expressed vehement opposition to it.

An overflow crowd of 34 people attended the meeting, with some there to specifically voice their displeasure.

Sandy Dellicker, a borough resident, said she was against using an “international” maintenance code, arguing that it falls under the plan of Agenda 21 of the United Nations; an agenda for the 21st Century.

She said, “UN Agenda 21/Sustainable Development is the action plan to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all information, all energy, and all human beings in the world.”

“This is not a conspiracy theory,” she told the council. “This is for real.”

She said the International Property Maintenance Code had been adopted in Montgomery County, but the county “has already gotten rid of it” because of its dictatorial direction.

“This is not what Summit Hill and the United States is about,” she said.

Council members pooh-poohed her assessment. “In my opinion, the International Property Maintenance Code is to protect citizens,” said Council President Michael Kokinda.

It would be great if these codes were just about public safety.  But that is simply not the case.  Sadly, these codes are often used to fine or even imprison homeowners that haven’t done anything wrong.  Sometimes “code violations” are even used as justification to legally steal property from law-abiding homeowners.  A post on the Freedom Reigns Radio blog detailed some of the things that are often done in the name of “code enforcement”…

1) The ‘Code Official’ – anybody the jurisdiction calls – a ‘Code Official’ – is the sole interpreter – no due process – Gestapo!

2) Every day an offense occurs is a separate mandatory misdemeanor – $555/day and/or a month in jail in Charleston, W.Va. They can fine you out of your home and jail you at their whim!

3) Anything the ‘Code Official’ says is not in good working condition – sticky window, dented or plugged gutter, torn window screen – whatever he says is not in good working order – hundreds of dollars of fines per day and/or jail time – usually a month – for every day the offense occurs.

4) Any unsanitary condition – whatever the ‘Code Official’ says is an ‘unsanitary condition’ – empty pop cans – puddles – dog droppings on your property – same deal – same fines and/or jail time – every day.

5) Any plant that the ‘Code Official’ says is a ‘noxious weed’ – same deal – same fines and/or jail time – every day. He can steal raw land.

6) He can fine you out of your home and jail you with no due process. Any court proceedings are window dressing as there is no remedy associated with this ‘code.’

7) It can be ‘adopted’ – just by an ‘administrative decree.’
WITHOUT COURT ACTION OR NOTICE THE CODE OFFICIAL CAN:
1) Enter your house whenever he – the sole interpreter – deems reasonable.
2) Prevent you from entering your house.
3) Tear your house down with your stuff in it.
4) Bill you for the demolition.
5) Place a lien on it for fines and/or demolition charges – steal it.
6) And ‘best’ of all, no insurance I know of will cover your losses.

You’re left w/a house and your ‘stuff’ in a landfill – and any remaining unpaid mortgage, any remaining fines, any remaining taxes, and any remaining demolition charges after they steal your property

These codes restrict what homeowners can do with their own properties in thousands of different ways.  If you rebel against one of the codes, the penalties can be extremely harsh.

And there is often “selective enforcement” of these codes.  That means that they will leave most people alone but they will come down really hard on people that they do not like.  You could even end up with a SWAT team on your doorstep.

Just ask some of the people who have been through this kind of thing.

Even if you have your mortgage completely paid off, that doesn’t mean that you really “own” your property.  If you don’t pay your taxes and obey the “codes”, you could lose your property very rapidly.

The philosophy behind all of this is the same philosophy behind Agenda 21.  The elite believe that you cannot be trusted to do the “right thing” with your own property and that your activity must be “managed” for the greater good.  They believe that by controlling you and restricting your liberties that they are “saving the planet”.

Unfortunately, you can probably expect this to get a whole lot worse in the years ahead.  Our society is shifting from one that cherishes individual liberties and freedoms to one that is fully embracing collectivism.  So our politicians will likely be making even more of our decisions for us as the years move forward.

Do any of you out there have any “code violation horror stories” to share?  If so, please share them with us by posting a comment below…

Amerika

 

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