Now that the Greek debt crisis has been “fixed” by a gigantic pile of more debt, many are wondering which European nation will be next to experience a massive debt crisis. Increasingly, all eyes are turning to the U.K. and their public debt that is spiralling out of control. The U.K. government’s deficit is projected to be approximately 13 percent of GDP in 2010, which is even worse than Greece’s 12.5 percent figure. Right now the public debt of the U.K. is “only” at 68 percent of GDP, but three years ago it was sitting at about 40 percent, so as you can see the national debt of the U.K. is absolutely exploding in size. In fact, it is now being projected that the public debt of the U.K. will exceed 100 percent of GDP within the next three years. Considering the fact that citizens of the U.K. are some of the most highly taxed people in the world already, there just is not much room for raising more revenue.
So obviously there is a problem.
A massive, unchecked, out of control problem that threatens to blow out the entire U.K. economy.
And considering the fact that it took just about everything that Europe could muster to bail out poor little Greece, how in the world is Europe going to be able to bail out the U.K. when their debt crisis violently erupts?
If Greece almost brought down the euro and the financial system of Europe, then what would a financial implosion in the U.K. do?
Considering the fact that the Greek economy is approximately 16% the size of the U.K. economy, it is very sobering to think what a “Greek style” debt crisis in the U.K. would mean for the entire world.
But if something is not done rapidly it will happen.
Just consider the following charts….
Now how in the world do you go from a deficit that is between 2 and 3 percent of GDP in 2007 to one that is above 11 percent in 2009? That takes some serious financial mismanagement. Not only that, but as we mentioned earlier, this year the deficit is projected to be approximately 13 percent of GDP. That is a level that is catastrophic.
Kornelius Purps, the fixed income director of Europe’s second largest bank is very open about the fact that he believes that the U.K. is likely the next European nation that will face a very serious debt crisis….
“Britain’s AAA-rating is highly at risk. The budget deficit is huge at 13% of GDP and investors are not happy. The outgoing government is inactive due to the election. There will have to be absolute cuts in public salaries or pay, but nobody is talking about that.”
In fact, Morgan Stanley has already warned that there is a very strong probability that some of the rating agencies may remove the U.K.’s AAA status before 2010 is over.
If that happened, it would make the crisis that we just saw in Greece look like a Sunday picnic.
So what must be done?
Well, already world financial authorities are calling for “austerity measures” and deep budget cuts to be implemented in the U.K., but the reality is that those moves will cause deep economic pain.
In fact, Bank of England governor Mervyn King recently warned that public anger over the “austerity measures” that soon must be implemented in the U.K. will be so painful that whichever party is seen as responsible will be out of power for a generation.
The cold, hard reality is that the U.K. is in for economic pain in any event. Either they cut the budget and implement severe “austerity measures” which will hit people really hard economically, or they continue on the current course and risk a much worse version of what just happened in Greece.
Not that the rest of the world should be gloating about what is going on in the U.K. either.
The financial situation in Japan is even worse than what the U.K. is dealing with, and the United States is going to have the biggest economic downfall of them all one of these days.
As we wrote about yesterday, the sad truth is that the governments of the world are rapidly running out of money and are drowning in debt. It is a gigantic mess, and the term “sovereign debt crisis” is going to pop up in the news very regularly from now on.
You see, it is not just the financial systems of the U.S. and the U.K. that are broken. The entire world financial system is fundamentally flawed and is doomed to failure.
Right now the central banks of the world can do their best to try to hold things together with a tsunami of debt and paper money, but they are not going to be able to keep up this balancing act forever.
When it does all start coming apart and the dominoes do start falling, it is going to be a complete and total nightmare. Paper currencies around the globe will lose value at breathtaking speeds as central banks flood economies with cash in an attempt to stop the madness.
But more debt and more paper never solves anything. All it does is make the long-term problems even worse.
When the tipping point comes, things are going to move fast. Let’s just hope that we all have a good bit more time to prepare before that happens.