Too Much Debt: Our Biggest Economic Problem

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.

Everything Is Going To Be Alright?

Is the U.S. economy going to be okay?  Well, if the only source you listened to was the mainstream media, you would be left with the distinct impression that the U.S. economy is heading toward a full recovery and that everything is going to be alright.  Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.  The United States is rapidly becoming poorer as a nation and less competitive in the global marketplace.  At the same time, consumer debt levels are rising, corporate debt levels are rising, state and local government debt levels are rising and the U.S. government is indulging in a debt binge unlike anything the world has ever seen.  Considering the insane amount of money the U.S. government has been pumping into the economy, we should have seen a much more robust recovery by now.  Instead, the employment statistics have barely moved and government dependence is at an all-time high.  That is really sad, because this is as good as “the recovery” is going to get.  The next major economic downturn is just around the bend, and in future years millions of us will desperately yearn for the “good old days” of 2012.

Below, I have compiled a list of things that I have entitled “Everything Is Going To Be Alright?”

It is composed in the form of a song, but it really isn’t meant to be sung.  It is probably actually more of an economic horror poem than it is a song.  What I have tried to do is to point out the absurdity of what we are all being told by our politicians and by the media.  Hopefully you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it….

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Yahoo is going to be laying off thousands of workers starting next work.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

Best Buy has just announced plans to close 50 stores.

Don’t worry about a thing – JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says everything is going to be alright.

The mayor of Los Angeles has announced that the city will be laying off “a large number of employees“.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

Baltimore is so broke that it has decided to look into selling off some of the most famous historical landmarks in the city.

Don’t worry about a thing – the mainstream media says everything is going to be alright.

The city of Costa Mesa, California is so broke that is has decided to sell off its police helicopters.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

The city of Trenton, New Jersey is so broke that it has decided to indefinitely postpone buying more toilet paper for city buildings.

Don’t worry about a thing – Joe Biden says everything is going to be alright.

The capital city of Pennsylvania is so broke that it has decided to start skipping debt payments.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

The state of Nevada has a 12.3 percent unemployment rate.

Don’t worry about a thing – the pretty people on television say everything is going to be alright.

Total student loan debt in America has now passed the 1 trillion dollar mark, and about 270 billion dollars of those loans are at least 30 days delinquent.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

The savings rate in the United States has fallen back to pre-financial crisis levels.

Don’t worry about a thing – Harry Reid says everything is going to be alright.

Home prices in the United States hit a 10 year low in the month of January.  They are now down 34.4 percent from the peak in 2006.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is rapidly approaching the $4.00 mark.

Don’t worry about a thing – Anderson Cooper says everything is going to be alright.

Median household income in the United States is down 7.8 percent since December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

When Barack Obama first took office, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million.  Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

Don’t worry about a thing – Nancy Pelosi says everything is going to be alright.

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are publicly declaring that it is time to move away from the U.S. dollar as the primary reserve currency of the world.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

One out of every five Americans will be 65 or older by 2030 and nobody has any idea where all the money is going to come from to pay them the benefits that they have been promised.

Don’t worry about a thing – Rachel Maddow says everything is going to be alright.

More Americans are dependent on the government right now than at any other time in all of U.S. history.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

The number of Americans on food stamps has increased by 14 million since Barack Obama became president and is sitting at an all-time record high.

Don’t worry about a thing – Hillary Clinton says everything is going to be alright.

The U.S. government will add more to the national debt in 2012 than it did from the time that George Washington became president to the time that Ronald Reagan became president.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

The U.S. national debt is currently increasing by about 150 million dollars every single hour.

Don’t worry about a thing – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says everything is going to be alright.

The Federal Reserve bought approximately 61 percent of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2011.  This is a Ponzi scheme that will completely collapse at some point.

Don’t worry about a thing – Barack Obama says everything is going to be alright.

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So what is your opinion?

Do you believe that everything is going to be alright?

Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

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