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Too Much Debt: Our Biggest Economic Problem

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What is the biggest economic problem that the United States is facing?  Very simply, our biggest problem is that we have way too much debt.  Over the past 30 years, household debt, corporate debt and government debt have all grown much faster than our GDP has.  But no nation on earth has ever been able to expand debt much faster than national output indefinitely.  All debt bubbles eventually burst.  Right now, we are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world.  All of this debt has fueled a “false prosperity” which has enabled many Americans to live like kings and queens.  But no nation (or household) can pile on more debt forever.  At some point the weight of the debt becomes just too great.  It is amazing that the United States has been able to pile up as much debt as it has.  Over the years, many authors have predicted that U.S. government finances would collapse long before the U.S. national debt ever got to this level.  So the mountain of debt that we have accumulated is quite an “achievement” if you want to look at it that way.  But the clock is ticking on this debt bubble and when it collapses we will say “bye bye” to our vastly inflated standard of living and we will discover that we have destroyed the economy for all future generations of Americans.

Household Debt

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  When most Americans think of the “debt problem” in this country, they think of the debt of the federal government.

But that is not the only debt bubble that we are facing.

Thirty years ago, household debt in the United States was approaching the 2 trillion dollar mark.  Today, it is sitting at about 13 trillion dollars….

We have been trained to pay for everything with debt.

We pay for our homes with debt, and mortgage debt as a percentage of GDP has more than tripled since 1955.

We pay for our cars with debt, and at this point about 70 percent of all auto purchases in the United States involve an auto loan.

We pay for higher education with debt, and the total amount of student loan debt in America recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.

Wherever we go we pay with plastic.

If you want a heated cat bed and a cute little cat sweater for your little kitty just put it on your Visa or Mastercard.

Amazingly, consumer debt in America has risen by a whopping 1700% since 1971, and if you can believe it, 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

We are absolutely addicted to debt and we do not know how to stop.

State And Local Government Debt

Our state and local governments are also addicted to debt.

30 years ago, state and local government debt was approaching the 400 million dollar mark.  Today, state and local government debt is hovering around the 3 trillion dollar mark….

In the United States today, we don’t just have one “government debt problem” – the truth is that we have hundreds of them.  All over the country, state and local governments are facing bankruptcy because of too much debt.

For example, according to Fox News the city of Stockton, California is right on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.  In fact, an announcement could come as early as this week….

Stockton, Calif., is set to declare bankruptcy as early as this week, according to local officials, a move that would make it one of the largest U.S. cities ever to file for reorganization. 

On Monday, a state-required mediation with creditors to find a fiscal solution is scheduled to expire. Stockton’s City Council is then slated to meet Tuesday to decide whether to adopt a budget for operating in bankruptcy, a move widely considered the last step before the city formally submits a Chapter 9 petition to federal bankruptcy court. 

Federal Government Debt

Of course the biggest offender of all is the federal government.  30 years ago, Ronald Reagan was running around proclaiming what a nightmare it was that the U.S. national debt was reaching the one trillion dollar mark.

Well, now we are about to blast through the 16 trillion dollar mark with no end in sight….

Running up debt at a much faster rate than our GDP is rising is a recipe for national financial suicide.  Our politicians continue to steal about 150 million dollars an hour from future generations and everybody just acts like this is perfectly normal.

We are going down the same path that Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain have gone.

In fact, we already have more government debt per capita than all of those nations do.

Both political parties have been doing this to us, and it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Incredibly, the national debt has grown more under Obama in less than 4 years than it did under George W. Bush during his entire 8 year term.

Since Barack Obama entered the White House, we have accumulated more than five trillion dollars of additional debt.

We are on the road to national financial oblivion, and most Americans don’t seem to care.

Debt From Sea To Shining Sea

Now let’s add up all the debt in the country.  When you total up all household debt, business debt and government debt, it comes to more than 300% of our GDP….

In fact, if current trends continue we will hit 400% of GDP before too long.

As you can see from the chart, there was a little “hiccup” during the last recession, but now the debt bubble is growing again.

So how high can it go before the entire system collapses?

Total credit market debt owed is roughly 10 times larger than it was about 30 years ago.

How in the world did we accumulate 10 times more debt in just 30 years?

If we do that again in the next 30 years, our total debt will be more than 500 trillion dollars in the 2040s.

Unfortunately, that is the way that debt spirals work.  They either have to keep expanding or they collapse.

So will the U.S. debt spiral continue to expand?

Or will we soon see a collapse?

Sadly, this exact same thing is happening all over the world.  The government debt to GDP ratio in Japan (the third largest economy in the world) blew past the 200% mark quite a while ago, and almost every country in the EU is absolutely drowning in debt.

The world has never faced anything quite like this.  There is way, way too much debt in the world, but the only way we can continue to enjoy this level of prosperity under the current system is to pile up a lot more debt.

The western world is like a debt addict in a deep state of denial.  Some debt addicts end up with dozens of credit card accounts.  They will keep opening more accounts as long as someone will let them.  Most debt addicts actually believe that they will be able to get out of the hole at some point, but most never do.

Most Americans still believe that we are experiencing “temporary” economic problems that will eventually go away.  Most Americans still believe that even greater prosperity is still ahead.

Sadly, what the mainstream media and the two major political parties are telling them is a bunch of lies.

We have enjoyed the greatest prosperity that we will ever see in the United States, and when the debt bubble bursts there is going to be an immense amount of pain.

That is a very painful truth, but it is better to come to grips with it now than be blindsided by it later.

  • Gary2

    Again–no one cares about the debt. Your guy cheney deficits don’t matter. Where were all you hypocrite right wing nuts then???

    Interest rates are low–we should borrow and spend like no tomorrow. We are saying no to austerity and yes to tax the rich

    All we need to do is tax the rich if you are so concerned with the deficit. Need to read Joseph Stigletz new book on inequality.

    • Roadster

      Nice try. Your boy Obummer has racked up more debt than anyone else while in office. Your way, the liberal/socialist way just inevitably crashes the system which is why Europe is such a mess. So congrats for being such a genius, not.

      That’s why the entire worldwide economic system needs to collapse because we have too many of your types who can’t understand basic economics 101.

      • sharonsj

        Your numbers are completely incorrect, but then no right-winger cares about facts anyway. Don’t you remember that Bush inherited a surplus? He then proceeded to cut taxes at the same time he started two wars and passed a drug program–and so he had to borrow all the money to do it.

        The worldwide financial system will collapse, but you can thank the banks and hedge funds for that–and because Repubs block any legislation that would rein them in.

        • Gay Veteran

          Bush inherited a surplus? no, Clinton used the excess in Social Security taxes to disguise the true size of the Federal deficit (btw, EVERY president has done this)

      • jox

        You certainly doesn’t understand basic economics 101. It was the US financial system, under Bush, what caused all this mess. By blaming Europe and socialism you only try to divert the attention from the real problem. And I remind you that the socialists countries of the north of Europe are the most prosperous and wealthy of the world. How can you explain that?

        • Rodster

          Here’s basic economics 101. “You – Spend – Less – Than – You – Make”. See how easy economics 101. But since you are a lefty/socialist Gary2 wannabe you can’t understand the little things.

          Now name a prosperous socialist country in the EU other than Germany? Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greece? Which one? Germany is more capitalist than the other socialist countries who are collapsing from their social spending.

          And for the record since you guys hate conservatives, here’s a clue. Bush was not a conservative. He was the epitome of a R.I.N.O. There was little conservative about Bush and I did not agree with his careless spending. So I was not a supporter of Bush, never was. 😉

          • Gary2

            Scandinavian countries d-bag

          • Gary2

            the government finances can not be compared to family finances. DUH

        • TheRandyGuy

          The nature of the problem is certainly not with George Bush. It lies in two areas: First, for decades voters elected politicians who spent more than the government collected in taxes (and, no, taxes weren’t too low – the spending was too high); Second, the population adopted the entitlement mentality where benefits and programs that were obscenely expensive were not paid for at the time they were consumed, but the costs were allowed to accumulate to be paid for by future generations. Politicians did this because it kept them in office, the promise of more goodies for the voters. We were stupid and selfish as a nation (still are) to allow this to happen, but it did, it continues to this day. The only thing that has changed is the day of reckoning is upon us. Can our nation endure the strict measures needed (if it is still possible) to avert the crisis? Frankly, I doubt it. Elimination of massive numbers of government programs is the only answer, in addition to higher taxes for everybody. Stop blaming Bush and the Republicans – It’s EVERYBODY’S fault.

        • TimeHasCome

          Under the failing Europe model , the Europeans never have to fund their own defense. Yes they throw a few bucks into NATO , but all the heavy lifting on the defense side in Europe is done with American tax dollars . I have a French WW II rifle , never fired dropped once and it came with a white flag.

    • Granite Prepper

      I was saying the same thing under Bush/Cheney as I am now. Too much spending is simply too much spending. I say go ahead and borrow all you can and spend like there is no tomorrow. When tomorrow comes…….good luck paying it off.

    • Ahhh so now its about promoting inequality – so much for the constitution or the rights of citizens. What IF you were suddenly classified as rich & the govt started taking money from you?

      I imagine you would not be saying “no problem, I support inequality – take whatever you want…”

      The problem is that if we allow the govt to take from one group, then they will take it from another group and another and another… till there is nothing left of anyone.

      If your so in support of inequality then why not lead by example for the rich? Give as much of your $$$ to the uncle sugar who’s pockets are ever hungry & never satisfied.


    • Big Kahoona

      I got tickets to moon for you and all your friends who feel this way. How I wish we could just put all the Left leaning liberals in one place and let them live life the way they want to force it down everybody else’s throat and then sit back and watch all you fools kill yourselves.

      It’s sad, but that’s just what would happen!!

      • sharonsj

        Gee, and I was just thinking how happy I would be if the East and West Coasts could secede from the rest of you crazy conservatives. Talk about forcing a way of life on someone is ironic, considering all the Republicans have done in every state is pass voter ID laws to restrict voting, pass laws controlling women’s reproductive rights, fired teachers, police and firefighters, and took science out of the classroom so they could promote the Bible instead. For that last one, what happened to all you folks screaming about upholding the constitution, which says the government can’t promote religion?

        • Me

          A woman’s right to commit infanticide?

          Call it what it is and be honest instead of papering it over like it’s some inalienable right about a decision you’re making. You could have made that decision with 11 forms of birth control. Too late after the fact. And 9 months isn’t a hardship, it’s equivalent to a “crunch season” at work. Aka a joke.

          • Gay Veteran

            oic, you want 9 months of involuntary servitude! if you can’t control your body then you are not free (h/t to Karl Denninger, one of the founders of the Tea Party)

          • GaryToo

            sharon sj???????????????????????? repro rights, 3 involved, father mother and child. not just woman.

        • knightowl77

          Koolaid drinker…..
          You have to have an ID to buy cigarettes, or alcohol, or get on an airplane or even get into a Michele Obama book signing, but you think having to have an ID to vote is voter suppression…Plain Silly…
          BTW the Constitution says that the government cannot promote or hinder my exercise of religion…so if a local school district wants to teach the Bible, it is none of the Feds business…

          • Gay Veteran

            yeah, require IDs to vote and then close all the ID offices near the poor, Blacks, Hispanics, etc. And are the IDs free or is this another poll tax?

        • MisterC

          Speaking of hipocracy or irony…
          According to you liberal/progressives a person should be allowed to walk down the street naked then have sex with a donkey in public then marry their dog. Yet, folks like you want to micromanage peoples lives. Hmmmmmm…..

          • Gay Veteran

            Mister C, I see your picture is accurate, you have the intellect of an ape

          • Gay Veteran

            and my what a strawman you knocked over

          • GaryToo

            gay veteran, that is not an argument. are gays as emotional and irrational as…? adress the question. if you can.

      • mondobeyondo

        Don’t know if you’ve noticed – but the U.S. government can’t afford to go to the moon these days.

    • bobbobbob1

      god bless — mike is wrong again. what a rt wing fool!!!u idiot (mike) the debt is in dollars not euros or gold or yen!! and therefore we can print more u idiot. the problem is jobs and medical ins. the romneys of the world have exported all the good union jobs. got dental ins mike? how about your cousins? hate to make it personal but 55% of you have none–what jerks you are!!everyone in italy has good dental— you ideas are ameobic

      • colorado knightowl

        Seriously…”and therefore we can print more u idiot.” ….The interest on the debt today is north of $400 Billion yearly and that is with interest rates near ZERO…Borrow more, the yearly interest bill rises..If the interest rate rises, we pay more. If interest rates rose to normal levels there would be NO money available for Defense, Social Security and Medicare…Today we borrow $0.40 of every dollar we spend….

        Italy is broke, Spain is broke, Greece is broke, France is broke, the UK is broke, and the EU is on the point of collapse and you want us to be like them?????

        There is no such thing as “FREE”, somewhere, someone pays the bill….Don’t you get that?????????????????????
        When you have to borrow 40cents on every dollar you spend, your options rapidly diminish.

        Keep voting for more government, the same idiots that can’t run the Post Office, Amtrak or anything else for that matter….

        Enjoy your fantasy

        • Mad-Max

          Your words “There is no such thing as “FREE””. Tell that to the banks. Our debt based system is coming to an end. It’s insane to think we can bail it out with more debt. The problem is, the people don’t have a clue. Protesting and talk are not solutions.

          “Be Smart!” –

          U.S. Citizens
          Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )

          Non U.S. Citizens
          Read “Common Sense 3.2” at ( )

      • Kathy Smith

        God not god & no Mike is not an idiot

      • Reality

        Are you mentally ill?

    • ScoutMotto

      Gary, why do you continue to make this a partisan issue? The central bank is the problem. If you want to “tax the rich,” then let’s specify those rich: the stockholders of the Federal Reserve system. This unspecified class called “rich” is helping to keep you in the dark on the true cause of our economic woes: the Fed.

    • 007

      Gary this tax the rich argument is so intellectually dishonest.It is like firing a bee bee gun at a freight train. Exactly who do you want to tax and how much to stop this economic crisis? I wish you would tell us. To make it easier I have linked to the “SOAK THE RICH” calculator so you can give us your plan.

      I suspect you know this solution is a bunch of crap. But if you are serious you should give us a legitimate plan. If not I think you should not pitch this argument as it can mislead some people and infuriate everyone else.

      So let’s play Soak the Rich.

      • Jodi

        Thanks for this great link!

      • sharonsj

        And one more comment for you people who do not understand what’s really going on. It’s not “soak the rich” but make the rich pay up instead of going to the rest of us for more money. When have you complained about the giant corporations not paying “their fair share”? I bet you don’t even know that ExxonMobil made $5 billion and not only paid no tax but got a $4 million refund!

      • Gary2

        new cap gemini wealth report–the top 1% have over 11 trillion in wealth. They can afford to pay.

        Stop d-bagging and defending the 1%.

        • 007

          Who are these supposed rich trillionares? Show us Gary, don’t make up BS rich statistics. Show us who you would tax and how you would soak the rich and solve this debt crisis. Play Soak the rich!

        • GaryToo

          so the “rich can hand over everything, including YOUR job, and pay off only half your national debt/ eh gary??? and that does notr adress the deficit growing each and every year on top of the 6 trillion the rich couldnt cover. envy is irrational.

    • Cheney is a NWOer military industrial wh*re,hiding behind Republican.Check out his love for CFR and all the associated scum.
      You make the mistake that most do….
      DEMS AND REPUBS (except for a very few) are EXACTLY THE SAME THING.
      Debt has grown for 40 or so years under either.
      Clinton NEVER had a balanced budget.
      Soak the rich sounds nice, but since they run it all they will figure a way around it or leave the country.
      Make me king and ALL people and businesses pay 10% on sales or income ,that’s it , no nothing else. and the govt lives with this amount.

    • mike

      You are an idiot. Borrow and spend like there is no tomorrow? SO people can buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have, and you think that is going to improve the economy? LOL. The economy would get better if people were frugal buying things they mostly need. Who gives a crap if interest rates are low. Lending only supports growth, it doesn’t create growth dummy.

    • Jerald

      Gary 2 has it right. Tax the job creators out of existence, give all that wealth to the government to redistribute to the poor, and we can all live in Nancy Pelosi’s and the Golfer-in-Chief’s la la land paradise!

  • JustanOguy

    My opinion is that once the debt bubble blows, there will be incredible opportunities for those that are prepared…

    …and disastrous consequences for those that have been enjoying the inflated standard of living with credit and living paycheck to paycheck.

  • Roadster

    I remember growing as a kid in the 60’s and how it was the norm and honorable thing to pay with cash. In fact it was frowned upon to pay with a Diner’s or Visa Card. You were viwed as irresponsible.

    Today it’s just the opposite, you are encouraged to pay with plastic. And those who pay with cash are the ones who are viewed as irresponsible and not trustworthy because no one will give them a credit card card.

    It’s worse than it appears because the whole system is rigged to encourage you to pile on credit which you may or may not need or want. Auto Insurance policies are no longer tied to the all important statistics, i.e. how many tickets and accidents have you had.

    Nope, instead it’s tied to your credit score. Why? Because there’s a greater likelihood you’ll have bad credit as opposed to tickets or accidents. I can’t get better rates not because I haven’t had a speeding ticket in 25 years or an accident in 35 years. Nope my credit score is not where it needs to be. 😛

    • Roadster, that’s a crock of crap that your auto insurance rate is tied to your credit score. This was another scam by the insurance companies to extract more money out of us. In the state of Texas, people ordering through Amazon will now have to pay TX sales tax. Here in Ft. Worth it is a whopping 8.25%. But right outside my apartment they are building an I-820 expansion, and it is going to be a toll road forever. And it seems like there are more cops all the time that are paid 60K to 70K base salary to make sure we all stay in line. The penality for not having auto liability insurance now is a $269 fine for 3 years, and you have to pay it every year. Illegal Mexicans probably don’t have to pay anything. We live in a bizzare world here in the United States now.

    • 1lostokie

      “Today it’s just the opposite, you are encouraged to pay with plastic.”

      Your comment reminds me of a Garfield strip I saw several years ago. Jon threw away his credit cards and then tried to go shopping at the mall. When he tried to pay with cash the cashier called Mall Security. The last frame Jon was being interrogated by the security guards, they wanted to know why he was trying to pay with cash and not a credit card.

      The mindset you’re describing has been around for some time.

  • Cinderella Man

    Oh yes I am slammed with debt too. Turns out if you miss a payment when you default on student loans they garnish your wages. But you dont see me crying and whining or occupying somewhere over it! Its very stressful and I dont know how much more the american people can take. When your wages remain stagnant cant afford food and gas anymore you will see people losing it. I hate to say it im cheering for the collapse. If our govt. can run up these deficits why cant we all default. Just say screw the Fed Reserve, screw the banksters, screw our creditors. All they do is profit from our suffering. There is no reason it should cost $5000 for a broken wrist, there is no reason that gas is this high when oil is below $80 there is no reason that everything in the store costs $5! Im sick and tired. RESET

    • DaytoDay

      “But you dont see me crying and whining or occupying somewhere over it! Its very stressful and I dont know how much more the american people can take. When your wages remain stagnant cant afford food and gas anymore you will see people losing it.”

      Cinderella Man, that’s EXACTLY why they are occupying. Because, they understand that WE have no future and that their kids have no future…

      I may not agree with all of the ideology of the occupy movement, but at least they’re out their doing something about it and there may come time when we all wished we had done something more…

    • I agree with you Cinderella Man. The elites (people making more than 75K/year) and the politicians want the system to stay the way it is. They don’t want default. They want the interest payments and the excess charges and taxes to be funneled to them.

  • Jon Q. Public Menace

    Barry the clown, in the oval office is the biggest disgrace this country has ever had to endure. This clown has added more to the debt than every other President combined, and the libtards still make exscuses for him. Make no mistake, November will be a reckoning and Barry will be sent packing, tried for treason and given 6 consecutive life sentences.

  • Antonio Gonzalez

    The printing money is a tentation, where is the Obama era five trillion dollars debt?

  • Dave in TN

    “30 years ago, Ronald Reagan was running around proclaiming what a nightmare it was that the U.S. national debt was reaching the one trillion dollar mark.”

    PUHLEEZE !!! Reagan quadrupled the national debt during his eight years in office. And the Congress during those eight years did not authorize spending at levels much higher than what was in the budgets submitted by the President.

  • You don’t solve the problem of debt with more debt. You can take an asset like home for instance and refi, pay off all debt and never take out another credit card or get a loan. Learn to live within your means and it does not matter if you are a household or a government. Math is just the same it’s just a matter of scale.

  • unfortunately most American’s now live paycheck-to-paycheck.
    So a crash will definitely hurt them, especially people on fixed incomes those on disability, retirement, SSI etc.
    The people that can least afford it will be hurt the most.
    But that’s what happins in an economic crash. Everything crashes down. I have no idea where this will lead or where it will end but I am affraid it will NOT BE PRETTY. Like in Greece there will be a lot of suicides a lot a murders and rapes, no electricity, no running water (that’s safe to drink) no running sewer, no one answers when you call 911, no gas, no wal-mart, nothing open as money is worthless. Talk about despair and pain…

  • Horhey

    There will be a fire sale of American assets sometime soon, I hope I can buy Big Sur. Just gatta exchange dollars for yuans now. Lol
    What really will be the tipping point? I know, when the fed runs out of inkjet cartridges and when 0’s and 1′ can’t transfer from bank to bank. Maybe Gary the Robbin the hood mindset could work. Steal from the rich, give to the poor. Except the poor will still be in debt…..and you’ll be wanted. If you ever do that, start with monsanto, they steal from farmers just about daily. Good luck with that!!!

  • Navy91


    Oh, nevermind. Talking to you is like talking to a brick wall, I’d just be wasting my breath.

    • MisterC

      As the saying goes “You can’t fix stupid”

  • SidDavis

    From where does all this debt come?

    If we used gold and silver coins as our money, which is what the Constitution authorizes, and if banks were not allowed to create credit out of thin air with fractional reserve banking, then the only source of borrowing would be what gold and silver money that people were willing to save and loan out either directly or through savings and loan type institutions. If we had free markets, then that pool of savings would be rationed out by the interest rate balancing supply and demand. The economy would work quite well without massive debt.

    But we don’t follow the Constitution. Instead the federal government in the Federal Reserve Act allows banks to create money out of thin air and loan it into circulation. In 1932 to M2 money supply was $50 billion and today it is about $10,000 billion. This increase was created out of thin air and loaned out at interest, and these loans are the massive debts we now face.

    The purpose of this system is to indenture individuals, businesses and governments to the banks. The result has been a massive transfer of wealth from the many to the few. Most of us are now debt slaves, brought to you by the political system wherein politicians sell out to the lobbies in return for what can only be clearly called bribes.

    The unfortunate consequence of this system is that boom is created when the newly created money is loaned and spent, but the spending results in price increases which then thwarts economic activity. And when the debts come due, and are repaid with interest to the banks, the money supply decreased from the repayment, just the opposite of when it was created, and this reduction in money in circulation causes economic contraction. What a horrible consequence the public bears in the form of unemployment and bankruptcy, just so the politicians and banks can have a system that plunders us.

    And as usual, the Republican and Democrat politicians support this plunder and control system. Obama and Romney are in the hip pockets of the banks as are 99% of those who occupy the seats of power, so until there is a massive collapse of this fractional reserve, debt money system, debt slavery will continue. Elections are not going to be the solution.

  • TimeHasCome

    The world will change in such a dramatic fashion . The problem of the debt bubble is that it is so big nobody can see it . The financial sector will return to sound lending and will shrink in size . Those that produce real goods will prosper , such as farmers ,miners ,loggers. Those that just move money such as bankers, stock brokers , insurance company’s will perish .
    Insurance is one industry that should go away . Over 20% of every dollar an American makes goes to insurance . What a waste , the reason of course is we have 2/3s of the worlds lawyers.

    • Gay Veteran

      right, not like the insurance companies, Big Pharma, etc. aren’t gouging us

  • David G.

    hey Gary2,

    Most people were oblivious to the problems of debt. Economists developed a maze of multisyllabic words to describe debt in so many different ways that the average person couldn’t stay awake. And don’t blame the sleepers. Putting them to sleep has been the plan all along.

    You can divide debt into personal, corporate, and soverign if you like, but to the creditor, its all the same. And when you add it all together, the total amount of debt never goes down. Personal debt may go down, but politicians, if they can’t convince Americans to go shopping, they will spend it themselves. And the reason debt keeps going up is that if total debt begins to go down, all the central bankers of the world are out of business. The whole system implodes. The one imperative in central banking, the one thing that keeps the balls in the air, the one thing that chills central bankers to the core, is if total debt begins to contract. And it isn’t because they’re concerned about the common man’s income, or standard of living. Those are all ideas conjured up by central bankers. They are only concerned about increasing debt. Currency supplies must always increase. Fractional reserves must increase. Loans must increase. Putting debt into reverse is the beginning of the end of modern central banking. And they will never let it happen. Never. They would prefer a war in order to change the currency, confiscate lands across borders, and change the demographics, before they would ever allow total debt to contract.

    • GaryToo

      “they would prefer a w, a , r in order to change the currency”, thats right its the tried and trusted solution. they havbe no intention of repaying the debt, its impossible and they know it.

  • DaytoDay

    Good article Michael.

    This is a subject that I don’t touch on a lot only because, like you said, Ronny Reagan was screaming about the national debt at 1 trillion, and now it’s 16… So to answer your other question, the national debt may very well go above 500 trillion… I mean, what’s stopping it? I remember when 10 trillion was supposed to be the max limit, so much for that…

    And what’s even going to happen when it does collapse? Are we just going to hit reset and wipe out all outstanding debt and start over? Are we going to adopt a new currency? Are we going to go into economic turmoil/ societal breakdown?

    I mean, if the whole world is indebted to one another, then how does anybody get paid back? It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul, except Peter doesn’t have any money…

    In short, as Bender from Futurama would say, “We’re boned!”

    • GaryToo

      whats stopping it is as always eventually servicing just the interest becomes impossible and a default occurs. then you are no longer “good for it”, and currency collapses.

  • Gary: The government debt alone is more money than physically exists in the world. There are only $10 trillion in circulation in the entire world. With a total of $32 trillion in public and private debt, it is mathematically impossible to pay it back. The US government borrowed $1.327 trillion in FY2012. The aggregate gross income of the richest 1% of Americans is $1.5 trillion. So even if you confiscated every last cent that they made, you would only reduce the national debt by $27 billion, or less than 0.5% percent.

    There is no fixing this, because people who do not understand math continue to think that there is a way out of this. The US economic system is doomed. This opinion is not a matter of democrat versus republican, it is an inescapable fact of mathematics. Half of the money spent in this country is credit. That means that every citizen in this country would have to cut their spending in half, including government. Can you imagine what will happen to the first politician who suggests cutting social security payments in half? The AARP would see to it that he was voted out of office within a month.

    No, this country is doomed to economic failure. It is a mathematical certainty.

    • McKinley Morganfield

      “There is no fixing this, because people who do not understand math continue to think that there is a way out of this.”

      Unfortunately, 90+% of the voters do not understand the math although the math is elementary. Few politicians understand the math and those few who do are ineffectual because the DC system is utterly venal and corrupt. So, yes there is no way out beyond a deep depression and a slow (decade or more) recovery based on sound principles.

    • HecatesMoon

      The government debt is more than what money actually even exists?….
      How could that happen? I mean, why would anyone loan us money once we were exceeding what even exists? Why would anyone loan money that wasn’t even possible to be paid back?

      • HecatesMoon (June 26th, 2012 at 2:27 pm):

        Perhaps they’re counting on receiving interest payments… money which they can lend out again… and so on. That way maybe the risk of losing the sum loaned doesn’t matter that much.

  • Gary2,
    You are not very bright about the inequality, capitalism works! Though the current administration wants to make capitalism look like it is evil, it is greed in form of economy is evil. What do you think taxing the rich is going to do with our debt? Nothing! It increases $6B a day, and taxing the rich is not going to make an impact, other than maybe make you feel good. However, the problem is lack of government restraint in spending and it is purposeful to drive our country into economic oblivion, and both parties are to blame! Let us not forget the corrupt private bankers that work for the non-Federal Reserve who truly control/manipulate and fleece America and the world economies for their goal of creating their one world order.

  • Gary2, You really are in for a surprise!!!

  • mark

    We are past the point of being able to pay off this debt. Sooner or later we will have to default. The wealthy and pension funds that own much of the debt will have to lose out. We either will have to start over or the powerful will have many of us and our children as debt serfs. I have chosen to not carry any debt. During the good years in the last twenty we decided to live below our means and pay off our mortgage and we only buy nice used cars with cash. I do not want any loans in my name, period. I would rather spend my cash getting prepared for what is coming instead of paying interest to a bank and living a higher lifestyle.

    • McKinley Morganfield

      I’m very happy for you Mark! We’ve been debt free for quit a while too. Its amazing what frugal living and avoidance of credit can achieve, even on a modest income stream.

  • Lennie Pike


    “It’s the paper stupid” – all planned more than 100 years ago by the PTB to achieve total control of YOU! upon planned collapse.

    Sure it seemed to you to work well for a while – that does not mean it was designed for “good”, and you were totally fooled – still are – still hoping.

    Wake up and smell the reality -“Gold and silver is money, and nothing else is”.

    Nothing else can be.

    See ya, Pike.

  • Chief

    Note TO Gary2, according to the US Internal Revenue service the total income during tax year 2009 of the top 1% was $1,324,572,000,000.00 or $1.3 Trillion which was the Deficit not the debt, just the claimed Deficit in the budget for that year. So if you confiscated all their income it would only pay the deficit for one year, the next year there would be $0.00 total income from the top 1%. To generate that amount of income it was probably about 1/3 of the GDP. What happens with 1-2% change in GDP, right now that would be Recession, 33% would be WAY BEYOND DEPRESSION TO COLLAPSE!

  • Pawncracker

    The utmost fundamental problem this article doesn’t address is how banks lend governments money they don’t have to govts. See a twelve year old’s accurate description of the hopeless situation we find ourselves in:

  • horace dowell

    Sounds bleak. No one is going to buy all this vacant real estate. The job market wont recover for 25 years. The educational bubble is about to burst. We may see violence between the dems and repubs, poor and rich. Many people will need to live off the land and eat wild animals and forage for roots.

    We are in big trouble!

  • Michael I’m Sending you $2 billion dollars to your account. . You sell them as US Treasury bonds. Then I will buy them back! Or better yet let’s have JP Morgan Chase lose that $2 billion dollars to my other bank. Sincerely. The Federal Reserve

    • GaryToo

      its madness, no other way to describe it. But then you look at the euro merry go round and its just unbelievable. forget robbing peter to pay paul, peter paul and mary playing financial twister.

  • Colin

    Debt comes because people are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and are dependent on credit cards to bridge the gap. I think two graphs, that I have seen, that are equally important is (a.) the increase in corporate profits and (b.) the decrease in wages, both over a time span of thirty years.

    The decision by the Supreme Court today, when they overturn the Montana law prohibiting corporate influence in campaign finances, I think will exacerbate the debt crisis. Corporations are not good faith citizens, and are constantly seeking any opportunity to advance their cause at the expense of other citizens. Who would thought that we as a nation would be speaking of corporations as citizens, and not as business entities?,0,1924829.story

  • steve awesome

    (Gary2)Democrate the party for the stupid. Your such fools that you’ll destroy the contry just to prove your stupid. So Gary dumb ass what should we do with you and your kind once it all comes tumbling down…

  • Old Man

    Interviewing Greenspan:

    OM: When you became Chairman of the Fed, you said the stock market was exhibiting ‘irrational exuberance’.

    Greenspan: Yes. I was a young rational economist at that time. But it was pointed out to me that American power is so great, so pervasive, so essential, so destined by God, that everything this country wants to do is automatically sound and rational. So I shut up about irrational exuberance and did nothing about it.

    OM: Well, you did. You made irrational exuberance a national policy.

    Greenspan: Well, not exactly. Congress has pursued IE for a long time and just couldn’t stop. So, since Congress has to approve my job, I had to support it.

    OM: OK, so you the Fed and Congress are in bed loaded with IE. What about Wall Street?

    Greenspan: Wall Street job is to push debt – that’s how they make a living. My job is to create debt – I create $1 and the banks turns it into up to $40 of debt. If you can sell this debt you would make a nice living.

    OM: So Wall Street job is to sell debt, and they did a mighty job. But is there a limit?

    Greenspan: No. That’s the whole point of creating a Reserve bank with unlimited power to crate an infinite amount of debt. To make sure there is no limit.

    OM: I don’t quite understand. In the real world, there is a limit to everything. There is even a limit to the number of fools and suckers born.

    Greenspan: Ah, but the money system is made by man without physical, or even mathematical limit. See, as soon as there is too much debt in the economy, I will expand the economy artificially to absorb it – this is called inflation. It can just go on and on. In fact it has gone on since day one, when the Fed was created back in the 1910’s.

    OM: But this sound too good to be true! Economic expansion, good times, and IE to infinity?

    Greenspan: Yes, and that is what my new book is all about. In an economy, it’s the money, that is credit and debt, that controls everything. The Fed creates money to infinity. It is the only thing that matters. Other things like people, resources, energy, and so on does not matter.

  • markthetruth

    Deuteronomy 28:12:

    “The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.”

    “Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need most.”

    The end…………

  • nowwthen

    Sometimes you might really need something but you just don’t have the cash to pay for it. . . that fish on the wall plaque over there singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for example.

  • K

    Yes, this level of debt will lead to a crash. But not like the great depression. There is so much anger in society right know. I fear something more like the French Revolution. So those who think all the suffering, and hunger will supply them with great opportunities. You better reread your history book.

  • Bad dawg Bobby
  • Deklan

    During the Bush years, there were many of us, who spoke out against the federal government’s spending, much like we’re doing now…

    Interest rates may be low now, but the rates have no place to go, but up.

    It’s been estimated Obama’s Buffet rule, would raise $47 billion over the next decade. It wouldn’t put a dent in the yearly federal deficit.

    The federal government is insolvent, and the government living within its means isn’t austerity – its fiscal sense.

  • Gary2

    Could some of you conservatives please tell us thinking humans why it is your knee-jerk reaction to defend billionaires when they do absolutely nothing for you? They are not here to make your lives better (nor do they), they enjoy incredible advantages mostly through the lucky sperm sweepstakes (see: Mitt Romney), and they manipulate the system to your disadvantage. Yet, somehow you find the energy to come to their defense as if your currying favor with them will somehow bring you riches. You’re idiots.

    • bobbobbob1

      god bless you — google “walmart peasant insurance” to cee what mit&co thinks of you

    • Rodster

      The answer is simple Gary. We conservatives don’t think it’s right to STEAL someones money regardless of how they acquired it, “insert George Soros”.

      Conservatives are not hateful, envious or jealous as to why someone became rich and not us. Instead conservatives find ways to become rich themselves. Most who have become rich have done it the honest way., unlike George Soros who’s created his wealth by destroying countries and currencies. Why do I keep up bring up George Soros? Because he’s the one directly and indirectly funding some of the OWS. So YOU GUYS are the ones being used.

      As a conservative, last year I grossed under 32K and I almost broke even and I don’t make enough to buy health care insurance. I made enough just to pay my bills. I drive a 94 Buick Park Avenue and for my business I own a 2000 Ford so I can earn a living.

      Why did I divulge the following? Because unlike you i’m not hateful, envious, jealous and have NO DESIRE to steal from someone who has more money than I do.

      I was brought up not to take from others but to earn your way to prosperity. If it happens one day, illegitimately, then great. But i’m not going to live my life hating someone and wishing them their demise because they are rich and not me.

      That sir, is the difference between lefties/socialist like you and conservatives.

      • Rodster

        I meant to say LEGITIMATELY. Sorry I had a Gary2 spelling moment. 🙂

      • Gay Veteran

        “Conservatives are not hateful, envious or jealous as to why someone became rich and not us.”

        which is why the Wall Street banksters are bending you over

      • Gary2

        you may not be hateful or jealous but you are stupid. Let me say it again. You are stupid. You are very typical of the stupid low information poor voter who votes against their self interest due to some pie in the sky belief that you too will be rich. Ain’t gonna happen.

        • GaryToo

          gary drop the rubbish that everyone who i s not screaming the same “rich man give me your money” believes they are going to be rich. Not begrudging someone elses success is not the same as thinking they will have that same success. And exactly who should the poor voter vote for? and what will they get for their vote? Of course you will not answer you never have any answer.

    • HecatesMoon

      Gary, you and I don’t think alike which is fine by me. We can still get along though…if you want to. That’s up to you. 😀
      I tend to side more with republicans. This is why…
      To me, it makes sense that you would avoid taxing businesses or wealthy too much, because…well…they’re cheap. LOL They hold onto money, they invest money, so in order to keep them using money to create new businesses and jobs, they have to feel good about doing so. I do NOT agree with their being allowed to just rape people, pay ZERO taxes, and run the government behind closed doors like they do, but that’s on a different rant.
      Poor people, like myself, we spend money so when Obama goes and cuts everyone a check- the stimulus- once it’s spent it’s spent and it has ultimately done no good at all.
      I know, right? I’m poor, and I’m siding with NOT giving me money…
      I think the original, nobler ideology behind republicanism is ultimately that YOU are responsible for YOU. I think that’s really how it should be. You make your own choices, you take care of yourself, make your own mistakes, fix your own problems, and make your own path. Some people get lucky, and they are born into a better life, but that’s life. It isn’t always perfectly fair.
      As far as welfare and all that goes, I think if we didn’t have such a problem with people leeching off the system, if the majority of those on welfare were really there because they needed help, because they were somehow incapable, or even because a young girl and young man made a rash judgement in the heat of the moment and now needed help while they worked to become capable of caring for a new baby, I don’t think ANYone, democrat or republican, would ever want to see the welfare system removed.
      I am poor, I’m part of the system, yet I still say these things because I see what other people in the system are really like aaaaall the time. You have a handful of genuine people…and then you have….well…all the rest.
      All out socialism is a noble idea. It really is, but impossible to put into practice successfully, because people are ultimately not noble. They are imperfect, corruptible.
      To me, it seems like democrats are trying to creep toward all out socialism…or something worse.
      Here is where I really stand in opposition where republicans are concerned. I DO believe in global warming. I believe some balance has to be reached between making money and protecting the environment. They are both important.
      I also don’t believe that holding a bible in hand and saying God a lot makes someone a good person. Pulling out the god badge means little to nothing to me.
      Anyway, that’s why I side more republican. Going into how I THINK things should be fixed would take days. 😛

      • Gay Veteran

        anyone still siding with either the Democrats or the Republicans are utterly clueless since both parties are totally OWNED by the elites who rule this country

        • HecatesMoon

          Gay, when it comes down to it, you’re right. We aren’t voting anyone into office- republican or democrat. We are voting in which COMPANIES the people of these parties hold positions in or own stocks in.
          Siding with one political party or another is really just siding with whichever statements they make that people want to hear anymore. It doesn’t mean they mean it, that they will follow through on anything.
          That’s really all that’s left to it. All you can do is basically hope that ONE will actually mean what they say. :\

  • Luke

    Hate to point this out but your very currency is an IOU. Even when backed by gold, currency is still an IOU redeemable in gold. In the 1970’s you swapped gold for faith in the government all because the French decided to call the USA’s bluff and redeem a pile of notes for gold (yes they had been printing more notes then they had gold in reserve). But I agree that debt itself through fraction reserve lending and the fed have run rampant.

  • Randy

    Two unfunded wars and spending like there was no tomorrow by the right wing nuts in the last decade. Throw on top of that tax cuts for the rich in the same decade. Now they are all screaming austerity and lets get the fiscal house in order. Oh and by the way no new taxes. Also, according to them it is all Obama’s fault that the economy is sputtering. Despite the fact they have blocked every effort that has been attempted for more economic stimulus. The bottom line is, businesses do not create jobs, consumers create jobs. No consumers = no business will hire workers. Oh, lets cut everything we possibly can and throw thousands of government workers on the street. Less taxes and more people on the dole for foodstamps and unemployment benefits. Budget deficiates are not the problem. Lack of consumers is the problem. More consumers = more tax revenue, budget deficiate solved.

    • Old Man

      About right. I knew that when Bush 2 got elected in 2000 and immediately adopted the full neo-con agenda and repealed his campaign policies. He revealed to be an idiot loaded with dreams of grandeur by war and finance. Maximum deregulation, maximum privatization, maximum profit, maximum globalization, maximum money, maximum military power, maximum national debt, maximum global plunder, and maximum manifest destiny. Riding on 9/11, he accomplished his real missions. And the people cheered!

    • steve awesome

      Democrates don’t elevate anyone economically they only tear down the achievers to make themselves feel better. Like Cuba there use to be a upper, middle and lower class until Castro decided to make it fair, now there all poor and living at the bottom. According to you socalisim works great all of the time because when your at the bottom there’s no way to go but up and if that happens tax the crap out of that greedy soul.

    • GaryToo

      there are 300 million consumers, buying IMPORTS.

  • Randy

    Capitalism works great as long as it is growth mode. Throw in a recession and it tends to come apart at the seams. Unchecked greed is also a big problem in the capitalist system. And that is how we got ourselves into the wonderful recession we are now in. So we have some huge problems right now that go way beyond the spiraling debt issue. For instance the fact that our government is totally broken. Due to the wonderful ruling by our supreme court, a small number of individuals with huge sums of money can now pretty much buy any election they want. This is no longer a Democracy but a plutocracy run by a few rich people. So, they really don’t want the government to quit spending money on wonderful programs such as military spending that they line their pockets with. No, they are going to go ahead and gut social programs such as foodstamps, social security etc. Basically according to the current right wing and a lot of regular folks in this country who the right wing feeds off of, most people who are down and out are just lazy and need to get a job. That would be great if there actually were jobs to be had. Needless to say, the whole thing is going to come apart at the seams. When enough people have been kicked off the dole and are starving to death revolution will start. Martial law and a military state will be enacted to keep the unwashed masses in check and out of the compounds of the rich. I fear for the future.

    • Old Man

      In France, they call this phenomenon you described “Let them eat cakes.” You know, the French, with their thousand year history in a very complicated region, who experienced the full measure of national ups and downs, knows a lot more about life. They have the grandeur of Paris and the cemeteries all over the land to prove it. So next time you see France’s people marching on the streets on seemingly trivial issues, don’t laugh.

    • Quiver


      Capitalism is basicaly how nature works. The relationship between preaditor and prey, cattle and grass is a supply and demand curve. Government can only serve to disrort this curve not eliminate it. Greed is a problem only when it seeks special help from government (corpratisim, industry tax breaks etc). In fact US Steel was seriously considering asking the government to nationlize them during the Wilson admn. as they were being out competed by all the smaller mills. The small guys would have been destroyed by this. Apparently all you really need is too much regulation to prevent new startups. Our system is not capitalistic. It is socalistic.

      Remove the excessive regulation and see those people out of work start their own businesses. Machinists with a product idea would start their own job shops. The Internet makes it so they can sell to the world easily. Some would need to learn new skills, and yes some would be left behind. No system can eliminate poverty. That would take infinate resources and that is the perview of heaven. Socalism and Communisim require the rejection of God and heaven. So it requires them to make heaven on earth. This is impossible, but since rejection of God removes the need to follow His commandments upon which all good government is based on the elite steal from everyone else to make heaven on earth for themselves.

      • Gay Veteran

        capitalism naturally ends up with monopolies and cartels, thus the need for regulations and unions

        • Quiver

          I did not say remove all regulation. Capitalism it self is neither moral or amoral. Moral governers are needed if not by restraint of a persons faith then by restraint of law. I object at how regulation is created by unelected beuracrats, but have no problem with sensible regulation that is not screaming in your face all the time. Monoplolies can not last in a capitalist system. Just as animals can be out competed in nature so can a bussiness. Just ask the wooly mamoth and sabertooth tiger!

          Monoplies and cartels can only exist with the help of government.

          • Gay Veteran

            capitalism was created by man, thus it is inherently immoral

            we had small government in the late 1800s and monopolies, so monopolies can indeed exist without assistance from government

    • Gary2

      good post—we need to tax the greedy to help the needy

    • The problem is that money allows people to buy influence. That is, and always will be, true. Money is speech, and some talk much louder than others.

  • Ghulam

    Usura rusteth the chisel
    It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
    It gnaweth the thread in the loom
    None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
    Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
    Emerald findeth no Memling
    Usura slayeth the child in the womb
    It stayeth the young man’s courting
    It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
    between the young bride and her bridegroom
    They have brought whores for Eleusis
    Corpses are set to banquet
    at behest of usura.

    Ezra Pound

  • Ghulam

    Have you ever studied with any vigour the history of Europe? If you have, ask yourself: what is going to happen now, according to established tradition? Who do Western peoples traditionally blame when a massive recession overtakes their economic system and the bubbles of the money changers collapse? Is there any precedent here that we are not examining? Come on now, in the private of your own mind you can get away with admitting what is has become impossible to verbalize in public. Who is the traditional fall-guy for such a collapse? Is this traditional fall-guy in any position to be blamed now? Is he in large part to blame? OK. Once you admit that we have a problem, again is it better to talk about it now in public or better just to wait for the the collapse and the inevitable?

    • Ghulam (June 25th, 2012 at 11:31 pm):

      It sounds like you’re (not) talking about those with 7-armed candelabres. Those who can’t be named, let alone critisised. I think that noone (but themselves) are really fond of them, and that they’re in for a heck of a ride.

  • Michael,
    You have once again done a superb job of articulating the debt challenge we face. So much so, we re-posted the article to our site with a little editorial support. You are a great American.
    Geoff & John

    • Michael


      Excellent. I am always honored when others consider my articles to be valuable enough to post on their own sites.


  • mondobeyondo

    How did we get here?? Greed and irresponsibility.

    On a personal level: Credit cards = free money! Woo-hoooo! Free money!
    But read the fine print on that credit card application that the mailman or mail babe just handed you. Eventually, you’ll have to pay the piper. At 29 percent interest. Ha, didn’t read that, did ya?

    But wait, there’s more! Student loan debt! Ever want to go back to school and earn that valuable B.S. degree in Archaeological Studies and T.Rex Behavior? It’ll set ya back $100,000 at least. That will give you a heart attack (which brings us to…Medical Debt!!) If you don’t have medical insurance, like many of us, you’re out at least another $100,000.

    But don’t feel bad, Mr. and Mrs. U.S. Consumer. Your own government is in the same trap. Almost $16 trillion in debt (that they’ll admit to), and growing. What’s a country to do? Ladies and gentlemen, I present the IRS! (Internal Robbing-Hood Service) – even these guys aren’t enough to get the job done. Tax every American 100 percent of their income to pay off the national debt, and it still won’t be enough. Once you’ve squeezed the last drops of blood from the turnip citizen masses, where will you turn to next? The military? Private business? Bill Gates?

    Oh, but wait, there’s more! Many countries in the Eurozone made the same mistakes the U.S. made. These countries (hint: PIIGS) were rockin’ and rollin’ with the good times in the early 2000’s. Greece was so confident, it blew away a great deal of its finances to host the 2004 Summer Olympics. Look at Greece’s financial situation today.

    Yes, we’ve got Trouble, right here in River City.
    With a capital T, and that rhymes with G,
    and that stands for “Goooooolllll-lllllleeeeee”!! – as Jim Nabors would say.

    (“Gomer Pyle”, if I’m not mistaken)

  • mondobeyondo

    You can not get out of a hole by digging an even deeper hole.

    • HecatesMoon

      …..well…technically….if you could dig a deep enough hole you would come out on the other side…
      ….but you WOULD be in China so….

      • mondobeyondo

        Um, yeah… keep digging and eventually you’ll end up in Beijing.
        Hope you have your passport…


      Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

  • Georgiaboy61

    The emminent economic historian Dr. Niall Ferguson has done much research on the fate of empires (including that of his native Great Britain) and nations which accrue vast sums of debt. Ferguson found three outcomes reoccur again and again in history. First, a nation can grow its way out of debt; Ferguson notes that this approach is unrealistic given the vast hole the country is in. Second, a nation can declare insolvency and bankrupcy and start over; many nations have gone bust, come out the other side, and started over, hopefully wiser for their experience. Third, a nation can monetize its debt via inflation; the central bank or treasury turns on the printing presses and runs ’em til they overheat and fail. This is what the USA is doing now – printing money like it is going out of style. Ferguson does not mention a fourth option, at least not in the talk I heard – but anyone familiar with the history of the 20th century will immediately recognize it. The Great Depression was followed by the largest and most-destructive war in human history, WWII, which reset the economies of the nations affected. Perhaps a fifth scenario will occur – the government will sell off all of the physical assets of the United States to its credators such as the Chinese, before going bust. If you live in San Francisco, you’d better learn to say “Golden Gate Bridge” in Chinese….

  • blueridgeviews

    What was the population 30 years ago? GDP? An increase in population/GDP would naturally go along with an increase in debt.

  • Lazy Ike

    Future generations will pay nothing toward this debt. Through the process of hyperinflation, the debt bomb will milk all the money out of the pensions, annuities and social security. Like in 1923 Weimar, when the debt is wiped out, the young will be the ones in a position to rebuild their balance sheets through innovation. The sooner the better.

  • shypuffadder

    Jon Q: You see no problem with lying to America to get us into a war that would be funded “off the books.” Exactly how is something funded “off the books?” How do I fund my utility bills “off the books?” Do you not realize that people die in war? Or do you consider death-by-war an unintended consequence? If a war can be funded “off the books,” then why aren’t you putting forth your great ideas for economic recovery “off the books?” You see no problem when Chaney says “deficits don’t matter.” And now you are cheering for a treason trial for Obama? What’s your REAL reason? Don’t be a coward, find the courage to face your demons.

  • grandpa

    The real world does not turn on money, only the incapable slavemasters need it.the time has come to reap what you sow and keep it.. if my boss went on a crack binge ,drained his account and failed to pay me , i would gather the crew and we’d beat him into a boneless jellyfish. in a way part of this concept makes me feel good if foreign troops are asked to come here cause they too know where the solid assets come from. and i doubt all the money printed has any nutritional value for their families abroad.

  • “If we do that again in the next 30 years, our total debt will be more than 500 trillion dollars in the 2040s.”

    It is 200 trillion now , with no increases.
    Interview Prof. L. Kotlikoff or attempt to debunk him.

  • Rodster
  • don rap

    Yes Randy, that sums up the current state. I see it as all about ‘man’s nature’, after ‘the fall’. Thank God for His plan.
    Think macro.

  • Pawncracker

    The author does not address the central banking system which are private corporations who lend money they don’t have to govts and charge interest! It is the biggest fraud of all time. A twelve year old will explain it to you:

    • Michael

      I have written many, many articles about the Federal Reserve, but it looks like it is time to do another one. 🙂


      • Pawncracker

        Thanks Michael! It looks like I spoke to soon.

    • HecatesMoon

      Wow…just watched the video of the little girl. I think I have a better understanding of things for hearing them explained by a child. Lol

  • Eva

    This is the fire fueling the Tea Party movement. Stop the excessive spending and debt and balance the budget and even more importantly, return America to baseline budgeting. Since the 1974 Budget Reform Act the federal budgets have increased automatically each year by 10%, regardless of revenue, necessity, or reason. Is is any wonder that the D.C. housing bubble hasn’t burst when government continues to grow at the taxpayer’s expense?

    • Gay Veteran

      you mean the old white people in the Tea Party who still demand their Social Security and Medicare? you do realize that the elderly get back an incredible amount of Medicare in comparison to what they paid in!

      Karl Denninger calculated that since 1980 Medicare is increasing at over 9% per year. That alone would bankrupt this country.

  • Come on Gary2>>>Us billionaires invest in multi global companies that bring jobs that raise the quality of Life .Please dont make a generalization statement like///billionaires do absolutely nothing for you, Its not who has the Money ,Its who CONTROLS the Money! The IMF and World Bank controls your Money and Mine.

  • patriot alice

    I won’t vote for Pres. Obama, because we already know that he’ll continue the borrow and spend, even though he promised 4 years ago that he’d cut it in half..I don’t want to read cutting from projected increases, I want to read real cuts from present levels…Mr. Romney hasn’t elaborated about any real cuts he would make…Will he continue to borrow and spend too? My guess is that our politicians won’t make any meaningful cuts, just more of the same….So, our country is Greeced, and every politician is responsible for it…

  • Alvin

    Is Gary2 really Michael under a different name and his goal is getting everybody worked up so that there are lots of comments ? If not my bet is that Gary2 is maxing out on welfare, food stamps, student loans, etc and hasn’t worked a day in his life, ( expect when he was selling “PRODUCTS OF MODERN CHEMISTRY”, ( and not paying taxes on it), hell, the way he talks it sounds like he overused “PRODUCTS OF MODERN CHEMISTRY”.

    • Michael


      I get asked about that all the time, but Gary2 is actually a very real person. He lives up in Wisconsin, and if you swing by OWS protests there I am sure you will meet him at some point. He even posted a picture of himself attending one of those protests at one point.

      I appreciate Gary2 and all of the other regular commenters (such as Mondobeyondo, Rodster and Cinderella Man) on this site. It is good to have people with different views. I believe a free exchange of ideas helps to illuminate the truth.

      Obviously Gary2 disagrees with me about a lot of things. But that is okay. I hope that all of us can learn from each other and that as we discuss these things that we will all get closer to the truth.


      • mondobeyondo

        Be thankful that you live in a country where you can agree to disagree. In some other places, they MAKE you agree – at gunpoint.

      • Gary2

        Michael–you do know that the posters accusing you of being me are giving you a HUGE compliment 🙂

        • GaryToo

          so how did michael predict your reformation immediately before it happened, was he driving your taxi on the road to damascus?

  • tappedops

    Mommy…Billy said collateralized debt obligation again…

  • dg

    sobering indeed… incredible to me that the significant majority of this country have absolutely no idea what is even happening in front of their eyes….they are too worried about reality tv, what kind of coffee drink they’re having that day, and getting a nice tan in the summer….this is going to end in real tears i fear….

  • Deklan

    The majority of Democrats in the Senate have chosen not to pass a budget in three years; they only want the free rein in borrowing and spending.

    Americans aren’t to remember the country has seen the weakest growth since the Great Depression, and to forget the fact, of Obama’s panacea of the largest monetary and fiscal stimuli in the country’s history.

    Individuals are to believe that Obama’s policies saved the nation from another depression, and ignore, the fact, that the recession officially ended June 2009.

    The Democrat’s talking points of Bush’s tax cuts are to be believed, but it’s to be forgotten how Obama signed legislation to extend the Bush/Obama tax cuts.

    The nation is to forget when Obama was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos that he agreed with Stephanopoulos, when he was asked if he wanted Americans to know that “everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good.”

    “Everybody is going to have to give. Everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game,”

    Obama didn’t elaborate on how much skin everybody should have in the game, but if Obama is reelected, expect to put some skin in the game.

  • Steveo

    The system is doing what it is designed to do from the start. Look in your math books at an exponential curve. The curve tells the story. The financial system based on money being loaned at interest will follow an exponential curve. the curve is now near vertical and can not be sustained in a finite natural world. So it will crash completely at some point. We need a complete crash and jubilee and start over without debt based money. the govt must do what it was tasked to by the constitution and print and regulate money without charging interest. The bankers will go nuts.


    Just a heads up to Michael,
    they (government) are watching all of us very closely and monitoring our blogs, and all the other economic blog writers. While it seems that everyone is talking about the economy these days, there is only a handful of us who are actually posting responses and writing about such. Even main stream media is hiding its face in the sand for fear of retaliation.
    When you think about it, The Economic crises blog writers (we) are not a very large group of people to monitor.

    As your readers we all benefit from the information that your stories of the present economic conditions can bring, but too many personal predictions can land any one of us in deep %$#! (trouble) here’s a good look as to why.

    By the way, I am not fear mongering or trespassing on anyone’s right to freedom of speech.
    But as you see from the story below, it can open a can of worms of trouble from the government, who doesn’t like its image being tarnished, especially before an election.

    Michael Burry bet against the United States of America before the financial crisis. And he doesn’t like it, but he won.

    Recently, he talked about that experience while giving the Commencement speech for UCLA’s economics program (h/t marketfolly). He dove into it by first sharing what happened to him after he wrote his famous New York Times Op-Ed, ‘I Saw The Crisis Coming, Why Didn’t The Fed?’ 2 years ago.

    It’s a good question. What he got in return was not an invitation to go chat in Washington. Instead he found himself (and his 6 defunct funds) under investigation. The FBI went to his house, and he was forced to spend $1 million in legal and accounting fees.

    Read more:

    • Michael

      Yes indeed. In this environment it is important to be as wise as serpents but innocent as doves.


  • Ned Rierson

    I’m mystified as to why any of you would even respond to anything Gary2 says, or let alone even read it. The guy is just a troll trying to stir the pot. It feeds on attention so ignore it and eventually it will go away.

    • True American

      I just ignore him. Trolls eventually go away when they know they have been exposed.

  • Radicle

    Sorry folks, debt isn’t the end all. Debt is power. Debt is what keeps us working. Debt keeps us worrying. Debt keeps us under control. Why on earth would any government want to eliminate debt? They wouldn’t. It is one hell of alot easier to keep your people in line when they are constantly in debt than it is when they have independance….financial or otherwise. So, if you want your government to last, make sure it’s citizens have limited power to change it. In our society, no money equals no power. Owing money is even worse than having none. Owing money is equal to owing servitude. It is that simple. You work x amount of hours for x amount of money that is worth x amount of goods. It is servitude. Servitude sucks but has been going on since the dawn of cizilization. The problem with all of us right now, right and left is that we have to high an opinion of our selves. We are not that smart, not that educated, not that important and definately not that special to those running the democratic facade we are living under. We “ain’t all that” no matter what you think politically. We are the serfs, we are slaves to the grind. Get over it cause it aint gonna change any time soon.

    • mondobeyondo

      1. Money makes the world go around, the world go around… (Liza Minelli, “Cabaret”)

      2. Money is debt. Every country’s currency is fiat. It’s backed by nothing.

      3. Money is debt. MONEY IS DEBT!! Keep that in mind.

      3 1/2. It didn’t use to be that way. Money used to be a tangible asset, like gold and silver. It still is. But 99 percent of the public thinks that those green Federal Reserve Notes are money.

      4. Much of the world is in horrendous debt right now.

      5. Forgive the bad English – but… this ain’t good, folks.

      • Jumbo “my eyes are open”

        Love your comments Mondo

  • Timmy

    If Japan is over 200% of GDP and still surviving then the US has a long way to go.

    • Zedge Hero

      The problem there is that Japans debt is being one of a nationalistic pride to purchase and hold. They buy their own debt. Not the case here anymore. Plus Japan accumalated most of that while the rest of the world prospered on. They also experienced a lost generation and have thrown every type of finicial assistance to no avail. Japan is in deeper crap than you realize, especially since their worst earthquake ever and an on going on slaught from Fukishima that is not over, nor even close to it.

  • McKinley Morganfield

    Debt, from all sectors, is indeed at a crisis level and the bubble will eventually burst. The global economy is going to crash and a deep depression awaits us all. There is no way for the USA or the EU to grow out of this situation as a large part of GDP for 30 years has been the ever increasing debt load. Monetary policy can only kick the can down the road which makes the inevitable crash all the more painful. The only choice is crash and start over. It will be harsh and painful, but that is the only real solution.

    As individuals the most productive thing we can to is to stop using credit, purchase only what we need, and pay down debt as rapidly as possible before the bubble pops. What is not productive is trading insults, indulging in the endlessly futile republican vs democrat debate, and believing there is a magical solution such as tax the rich or cut off the welfare queens. Yes, politicians and banksters are the a big part of our current crisis;, but the voters over the last 30 years are the root of the problem. If you are not debt free and expect politicians to come to your rescue you need to look in the mirror to find out who will ‘rescue’ you from your dilemma.

  • Michael

    By the way, an hour long audio interview with me and Ray Gano is being featured on TruNews today. If you are interested in checking it out, you can find it here….

    • Alasha

      Thank you, Michael. To hear your voice for the first time was a real treat!

  • Grekko

    Unfortunately, every dollar issued is debt. If everyone paid back all their debt, two things would happen: 1. There would no longer be any money in the economy, and 2. Not everyone would have the money to pay it back due to others paying what they owe plus interest (which subtracts from the total). This is the fallacy (or lie) to this system. Either the money supply (debt) keeps expanding, or everything comes crashing down. Mathematics does not provide for a third method. This is exactly what Henry Ford meant when he said “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before morning.”!!!

  • Know_Knot

    Can somebody give me an example of how debt has fueled “false prosperity” which has, in turn, enabled many Americans to live like kings and queens?

    It’s not that I’m disputing the article. I just need someone to explain it to me like I’m a 6-year old (as the actor said). I’d like some everyday examples that I can really relate to.

    Thank you:)

    • mondobeyondo

      Okay…you walk into a big-box electronics store. You see an iPad. You say “I’ve gotta have this!” Whip out the Visa or Mastercard. You are now about $600 in debt. Of course you couldn’t afford an iPad with cash, so you use the credit card. This happens every single day.

      If you keep up this behavior – buying milk, bird food, dog food, T-bone steaks, underwear, etc. etc. with your credit card – you will soon find yourself with a massive CREDIT CARD DEBT. Again, this happens to many people every day. One day, you get a statement in the mail from the credit card company, saying your interest rate is now 29 percent, and you go “OMG!!! I can’t pay for this!!” That is a major wake-up call. Hey, it happened to me.

      So, you have a cool stereo, 3-D television setup, you saw Van Halen live in concert, you have an iPad, the latest DVD’s, and lots of bird seed (I have a pair of cockatiels, btw), all paid for with your credit card. BUT YOU CAN’T REALLY AFFORD IT! You couldn’t afford it to begin with!! You are in massive debt. This is “false prosperity”. You’re living like a millionaire, living on a $30,000 income.

      Apply the above to the United States government. Now you have a better picture as to why this country is in the financial Mess we’re in. By the way, Europe’s in the same situation… Greece is the most notable example.

      • Know_Knot

        mondobeyondo, thanks for taking a minute:)


      • Alasha


      • Monument

        “Apply the above to the United States government. Now you have a better picture as to why this country is in the financial Mess we’re in. By the way, Europe’s in the same situation… Greece is the most notable example.”

        Except that unlike Greece, and unlike the guy living a millionaire’s life on $30 grand per year, the United States government could, if it wanted to, pay all of its debt at any time it wanted to, simply by moving numbers from one account to another.

  • how many trillions will it take for a collapse to happen i wounder.
    whatever number you say,we will be there,even if they can pay down the debt,they wont they would rather spend the money wastefully instead of paying off the national debt.
    as bad as it sounds i hope for the collapse,so we can restructure the united states and not let this happen ever again

  • Barn cat

    All we need are some other planets to start buying our debt.

    • Matt R in MN

      I love this comment

  • mondobeyondo

    For those of you who are discouraged about the daily gloom and doom, glum and humdrum, etc… remember: we used to be the envy of the world.

    Here’s an excerpt from a speech President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University, Houston, Texas, on September 12th, 1962. (Unlike Abraham Lincoln, JFK was NOT a vampire slayer. Ugh. Heheh.)

    “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

    The full text of Kennedy’s speech can be found here:

    Where is that kind of national resolve and dedication today? What happened?

    btw- I’m trying to make this speech work on a personal level. You can try it yourself if you want. Substitute “I” for “we”, – “my” for “our” and “we” – and “my own personal goals” for “the moon”.

    YES – my life will be better. YES – I will learn French. YES – I will find a good paying job this year. YES – you will work to make your marriage happier and better.

    I hope and pray that this speech will be motivation for someone out there. It’s been nearly 50 years since JFK made that speech. With any luck, some young man or lady may be reading his message from so long ago, taking notes and paying attention…

    • HAGH

      Yes, I understand you are a positive thinking individual. Yet, the riches and the elites are not only targeting to drain our blood, they are also making sure to harvest every drops of blood from our future generations.

  • SidDavis

    One thing you can bet on, and that is the federal government will rape citizens to help the banks and Wall Street bunch profit from a collapse.

    Here are the top contributors to Mitt Romney:

    Goldman Sachs $593,080 (Bank/$1Trillon Bailout)
    JPMorgan Chase & Co$467,0899(Bank/$400Billion Bailout)
    Bank of America $425,100(Bank/$1.34Trillion Bailout)
    Morgan Stanley $399,850(Bank/$2.04Trillion Bailout)
    Credit Suisse Group$390,360(Bank/$262Billion Bailout)
    Citigroup Inc $312,800(Bank/$2.5Trillion Bailout)
    Kirkland & Ellis $264,302(International Law Firm)
    Wells Fargo $237,550(Banks and mortgages)
    Barclays $234,650(Multinational Banking/$868Billion Bailout)
    PricewaterhouseCoopers $227,250(Global professional services)
    Deloitte LLP $222,250(Global professional services)
    HIG Capital $216,995(“Alternative” investment firm)
    UBS AG $207,750(Swiss global financial/$287Billion Bailout)
    Blackstone Group $198,800(Financial services)
    Bain Capital $156,500(“Alternative” asset mgmnt.)
    Elliott Management $146,275(Hedge funds)
    Marriott International $137,827(Hotel franchisor)
    GE $135,450(multinational conglomerat corp./Energy,Financial,Technology infrastructure,Capital Finance)
    Bain & Co $130,550(Global Global consulting)
    EMC Corp $129,450(MultinationalComputing serv.)

    Interesting that the banks and then the accounting firms that certify the banks’ fraudulent financial statements are the top contributors. Big money buys up just about all the politicians, and Obama draws from the same fraudsters. No way this Federal Reserve, fractional reserve bank system will end without revolution; it is just too profitable a swindle.

  • Jack

    There will not be a collapse so long as the world continues to accept the US dollar. For now, no one has the guts to go head to head with Uncle Sam.

  • Alvin

    It’s not a question of how much debt, there is no magic number as to when X amount of debt is hit, everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Paper ( electronic) money is confidence of value. The moment a large segment of the population loses confidence that the $$$ they are handed are quickly losing value, then the velocity starts up and when it hits panic mode, game is over and no matter how much paper / electronic money you have, no one will take it.
    In past times velocity was somewhat slow moving as it took time to print and distribute paper money to banks then people, but with electronic banking when the panic starts it will happen soooo fast, it will be over in a flash. Why do you think that there are no budgets anymore, it would scare the hell out of the general public as to how big the debt REALLY IS and it’s not 15 Trillion. Need money for Food Stamp cards, just order up billions of electronic created dollars and send it over by computer. Don’t even need paper and ink.

  • Mostly Michael

    Coming Soon: The War on Debt

    • MarathonMan

      Well played Michael. Well played.

  • Lefty Mongtard

    The preezy of the steezy is so cool and will save us. The rest of the world loves us now since we elected the messiah.

  • TJ

    There are Constitutional Democratic rational solutions:

    Monetary reform Bill HR 6550 –

    State owned banks like North Dakota’s, 17 states currently have Bills pending to form more –

  • Jimbo

    I get so frustrated that my wife and family don’t understand what is coming. They just tend to ignore it all. They think I am crazy for even talking about it. Anyone else out there frustrated? I’m in my mid forties and the cost of living is killing us. Wages haven’t increased. Just live day to day hoping for “a change”

    • JM

      No, Jimbo, you are not alone. Most people are pig ignorant mindless sheeple taken away. Knowledge is power. People do not want the think, and when they do, it will be way too late.

  • $1,109,049 million dollar bills and coins are in circulation as on June 20, 2012
    There is about $15 trillion dollars worth of credit supplied by banks.
    There is about $55 trillion dollars in total debt, again, supplied by banks.
    What backs the dollar is the faith that the $14 trillion dollars will some day pay the $55 trillion dollars (plus $217 trillion dollars derivatives contracts) off.

  • picomanning

    Not only has debt risen to extreme levels but debt is being created for different reasons. Has any economist examined the motives for debt creation along a timeline of say 40 years? Now debt is being created for bailouts of all kinds. Corporations, nations, states, and counties, and cities. And what about creating debt to buy long term treasuries to keep interest rates down, with the hopes of ‘stimulating’ the economy? ANd that is NOT working. Will America discover that the only ‘solution’ for saving the dollar will be the creation of more money out of think air? The irony is amazing and the efforts pathethic and should be a very serious wake up call for all Americans. Load up on canned goods and blankets and candles. Omama is bent on reducing America to a morally and fiscally bankrupt backwater. The solutions are ready to work. Why is no one aware of them? The smae economists who were too lame to see the housing bubble brewing, are the same who don’t grasp the solutions to bringing America back. Do some Googling and you’ll find compelling answers about how to bring America back. Omama sincerely doesn’t give a damn about bring this nation back. His agenda IS to bring it down. Sound harsh? Do some deeper reading.

  • Dan

    Take a long look at every one of those charts folks. The debt bust has started. The parabola curves are wavey at times, but never interupted until 2008. Now a new sideways or in some charts deleverage path is being drawn. Secular changes….indeed!

  • Stephan Larose

    See “Moneymasters”

    The Debt Crisis is a virtual crisis, as the “money” the debt must be paid in is also, for the most part (above 90%) virtual, backed by nothing, created out of thin air, and inconsequential to the actual productive potential of the economy.

    Pretty much the entirety of these debts are made up of cash that was printed out of thin air by either so-called “national” banks, or printed out of thin air using the miracle of fractional reserve lending (it would be counterfeit if you or I did this) by commercial banks. Thus, since the money is backed by nothing but a bank’s claim to the right to counterfeit money legally, we can write them off as having no value.

    Every country in the world can default on these debts, not a single resource or skill will disappear as a result. Subsequently, all countries should move to reform the monetary system such that the people on whom the value of these currencies are based directly own the “national” banks that issue currency to the commercial banks you and I go to for loans. Thus, the citizenry would profit from loaning the national currency to commercial banks.

    Countries should not issue debt for government spending, only to the private sector, government spending should be debt-free. Inflation can be controlled by curbing, or outright disallowing, fractional reserve lending. This will save the citizenry enormous amounts of debt and interest, thus negating the need for income and other taxes.

  • Diego

    the borrower is servant to the lender!

  • Washington

    It’s July 4th, 2012 – Do YOU KNOW what time it is?
    (It’s time to pass H.R. 459, and AUDIT THE ‘FED’!)

  • Robert Robinson
    as you can see from this website from Jan.1,2009-july 2, 2012 the national debt has increased from 10,699,804,864,612.13 to 15,888,741,858,820.66 an increase of a little over 5 trillion dollars under President Obama.
    The debt increased under President Bush from 5,662,216,013,697.37 to 8,680,224,380,086.18 a little over 3 trillion dollars in 8 years.

  • Silly Wabbit

    I just stumbled upon this blog while I was looking for something else.

    I would use debt as a % of GDP or inflation adjusted numbers. As it stands now your charts are rather misleading and make the situation look far worse than it is.

    This is not to say that national debt is no problem, but presenting unadjusted raw figures on debt is misleading and likely to induce unnecessary panic.


    hi, between lying politicians and crumbling european countries and broadcast news that covers nothing basically @ all i think that most people think they have an idea of whats going on but the reality evades them….
    i go from day to day carrying out my duties and life but i am preparing for the inevitable
    and when it comes it will be a major catastophe…
    im just keeping my eyes and ears open and thinking as much positive thoughts as i can but
    in the back of my mind im ready for action….especially with the way obama has been spending
    and disregarding the situation and placating us with condescending speeches…

Finca Bayano

Panama Relocation Tours



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