Anyone that thinks that the U.S. economy can keep going along like this is absolutely crazy. We are in the terminal phase of an unprecedented debt spiral which has allowed us to live far, far beyond our means for the last several decades. Unfortunately, all debt spirals eventually end, and they usually do so in a very disorderly manner.So writes Michael Snyder(theeconomiccollapseblog.com) in edited excerpts from his original article* entitled Share This Chart With Anyone That Believes The U.S. Economy Is Not Going To Crash.
Snyder goes on to say in further edited, and in some instances paraphrased, excerpts:
The chart that you are about to see is one of my favorite economic charts. It compares the growth of U.S. GDP to the growth of total debt in the United States. Yes, U.S. GDP has certainly grown at a decent pace over the years, but our total debt has absolutely exploded. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in our system (government debt + corporate debt + consumer debt, etc.) was about 2 trillion dollars. Today it has grown to more than 56 trillion dollars. Our debt has grown at a much, much faster rate than our economy has, and there is no way in the world that we will be able to continue to do that for long.
Growth of U.S. GDP to the Growth of Total Debt
Posted below is the chart that I was talking about. The blue line is our total debt, and the red line is our GDP. As you can see, this chart kind of speaks for itself.
Growth of National Debt as a % of GDP
So how did we get here? Well, of course the federal government has been the biggest offender. It would be a tremendous understatement to say that the politicians in Washington D.C. have been reckless. Since the year 2000, the size of the U.S. national debt has grown by more than 11 trillion dollars. Posted below is a chart that demonstrates the dramatic growth of the national debt as a percentage of GDP. In particular, our debt has absolutely exploded as a percentage of GDP since the financial crisis of 2008.
Does that look sustainable to you? Of course it isn’t. Right now, the mainstream media is very excited that the federal budget deficit for this year might be less than a trillion dollars, but they are really missing the point. The debt of the U.S. government is still growing much, much faster than the economy is, and the United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.
What we are doing to future generations is absolutely criminal. We are piling up mountains of debt that will haunt them for the rest of their lives just so that we can make the present a little bit more pleasant for ourselves…
Extent of Unfunded Liabilities
We are entering a time period when demographic forces are going to put a tremendous amount of pressure on the finances of the federal government.
The Baby Boomers have started to retire, and they are going to want to start collecting on all of the financial promises that we have made to them:
the number of Americans on Medicare is projected to grow from a little bit more than 50 million today to 73.2 million in 2025.
the number of Americans collecting Social Security benefits is projected to grow from about 56 million today to 91 million in 2035.
Where are we going to get the money to pay for all of that?
Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff has calculated that the U.S. government is facing unfunded liabilities of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead. There is no simply no way that the U.S. government is going to be able to meet those obligations without wildly printing up money.
Growth of State & Local Government Debt
The federal government is not the only one with massive debt problems. The city of Detroit has just gone bankrupt, and there are lots of other communities all over the nation that could soon follow.
Posted below is a chart that shows the growth of state and local government debt over the years. In particular, please take note that the total amount of state and local government debt has grown from about 1.2 trillion dollars in the year 2000 to about 3 trillion dollars today…
[It should be noted that] the chart posted above does not even take into account the massive unfunded pension obligations that state and local governments are facing. According to the Detroit Free Press, state governments are facing unfunded pension obligations of 1.4 trillion dollars [as of 2010].
Detroit was the first [city] to go down but other cities (Chicago & Los Angeles come to mind) could well eventually be forced to declare bankruptcy too. According to a Pew Center report that was released earlier this year, 61 of the largest U.S. cities (the survey was limited to the largest city in each state and all other cities with more than 500,000 people) are facing a gap of more than $217 billion dollars in unfunded pension and health care liabilities at this point…
Where will all of that money come from? That is a good question, and nobody has an easy answer at this point.
Growth in Consumer Debt
Meanwhile, U.S. consumers have been racking up staggering amounts of debt over the past several decades. Just consider the following numbers:
Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.
Car loans just keep getting longer and longer, and approximately 70 percent of all car purchases in the United States now involve an auto loan.
The total amount of student loan debt in America recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark
41% of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt and, according to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60% of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.
Consumer debt in the United States has risen by a whopping 1700% since 1971, and
46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month. Sadly, most people don’t realize how damaging credit card debt can be…
If you are an average American household, and you carry an average balance of $15,956 in credit card debt, and
if you pay an average current rate of 12.83%, and
if you carry this average balance for 40 years, between ages 25 and 65,
guess how much your credit card company will make off of you and your extreme averageness? Answer: $2,629,618.64!! Incredibly, a large percentage of the population does not seem to understand these things.
An astounding 43% of all American families spend more than they earn each year.
The above is why approximately 50% of all Americans die broke.
We are a nation that is completely addicted to debt. If you do not believe that it will ever catch up with us then you are being delusional. We have piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the planet, and a day of reckoning is fast approaching.
[Editor’s Note: The author’s views and conclusions in the above article are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original post. Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor.]
The madmen who are responsible for the coming economic disaster continue to behave as if they can manage to avoid it. Violating Einstein’s definition of insanity, they continue to apply the same poison that caused the problem. These fools believe they can manage complexities they do not understand. We are bigger fools for providing them the authority to indulge their hubris and wreak such damage. Read More »
The U.S. government is in what is known as a “debt death spiral”. They must borrow money to repay prior debts. It is as if they are using their Visa Card to make an American Express payment. The rate of new debt additions dwarf any rate of growth the economy can possibly achieve. The end is certain, only its timing is unknown, and, once interest rates begin to rise, and they will, it’s game over. Read More »
Whether you are an investor, concerned citizen or merely someone trying to understand the current economic situation, you should be worried. Watch this video to get an outstanding overview of what is occurring. It is probably the best short explanation as to why the end of this economic death spiral is so hard to call. Read More »
The U.S. debt situation when broken down to one of family statistics really seems absurd. Yet it’s true. It’s a slow motion train wreck that can be seen coming miles away but which, like deer paralyzed in the headlights, everyone is unwilling to face up to and to take any meaningful corrective action – and it will be the downfall of them all. Words: 550 Read More »
16 point 7 trillion dollars. That is our current national debt. 12 point 8 trillion dollars. That is the amount households carry in mortgage and consumer debt. We are now addicted to debt to lubricate the wheels of our financial system. There is nothing wrong with debt per se, but it is safe to say that too much debt relative to how much revenue is being produced is a sign of economic problems. At the core of our current financial mess is how we use debt as a parachute for any problem. [Unfortunately,] addictions are never easily cured and we have yet to come to terms with our insatiable appetite for debt. Words: 850 Read More »
Many articles are being written these days that more or less scope the dire financial circumstances the U.S. is in. That being said, I had not been able to find one “analyst” – even one – who had the guts to outline the probable outcome and general hopelessness of the situation and to offer any meaningful prescription for investors to survive this coming catastrophe – until now. Words: 710
If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the result will be no different than the Jones family deciding that they have maxed out their credit cards and that, if they continue borrowing and spending over their means, there will be significant pain to the family at best and bankruptcy at worst. Any attempt to prove otherwise is futile because it’s just not true! [To further make his point the author provides below 7 other examples of why the economics of government are no different than those of the typical American household.] Words: 585
There has been a lot of media coverage about the United States’ debt issue these days. Why should we care? Because as U.S. citizens, we all own stock in this “company” called the United States of America (let’s say the ticker symbol is USA). We purchased this stock through the various taxes we pay every year (income tax, payroll tax, corporate tax) and we receive dividends through the various benefits we receive every year (security provided by defense budget, Medicare/Medicaid benefits, Social Security benefits, etc.). This article attempts to explain the U.S. national debt in simple layman’s terms by analyzing the United States and its debt issue as if it were a stock investment. Words: 1929; Charts: 5; Tables: 1
People riding a runaway train can party and remain oblivious to the fact that the train is about to crash into a huge obstacle. Our runaway financial train is about to destroy the status quo as it crashes into the obstacle of mathematical consequences – the inevitable financial train wreck. “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” [Let me explain.] Words: 974
This short video – on the sustainability of government spending – should be watched by everyone, including those not yet old enough to vote. It should be shown in every high school and college classroom.
The level of debt has surpassed the possibilities of being serviced. Mathematically, the debt problem cannot be solved, regardless of economic policies. That, unfortunately, is written. For it to be serviceable would be to violate the laws of mathematics and that cannot happen. [As such, America is quickly approaching a catastrophic economic collapse. As repelling as that sounds, it’s in your own best interest to learn just how bad the situation is. This article is an attempt to do just that.] Words: 310
The corrosive nature of politics and government has destroyed the economy and the moral fiber of citizens. These issues are not insurmountable, but they are very close to being so. Their ramifications are potentially existential in nature: the average length of life, the very time span or cycle of a nation has been proven in history to be approximately 250 years. Since the USA was born in 1776 this says we have about 14 years of life remaining for America. The way things are going we don’t doubt it. [Let me explain.] Words: 768
Timing the U.S. debt implosion in advance is virtually impossible. Thus far, we’ve managed to [avoid such an event], however, this will not always be the case. If the U.S. does not deal with its debt problems now, we’re guaranteed to go the way of the PIIGS, along with an episode of hyperinflation. That is THE issue for the U.S., as this situation would affect every man woman and child living in this country. [Let me explain further.] Words: 495
…The US Government and its catastrophic fiscal morass are now viewed by the world as a ‘safe haven’. This would easily qualify for a comedy shtick if it weren’t so serious….[but] the establishment is thrilled with these developments because it helps maintain the status quo of the dollar standard era. However, there are some serious ramifications that few are paying attention to and are getting almost zero coverage from traditional media. [Let me explain what they are.] Words: 1150
Over the past few years, policy leaders worldwide have grown accustomed to kicking the can down the road with each step in this ongoing financial crisis making incremental moves rather than cultivating viable long term solutions. More recent attempts seem to have evolved into simply just trying to kick the can out of the driveway. Now we fear there may not be enough firepower left to simply kick the can over. [Having done so, we are left between the proverbial rock and a hard place.] If lawmakers do nothing, by all accounts we are likely to see a recession. Should lawmakers extend the Bush-era tax cuts, you make no progress towards long term deficit reduction, potentially raising the risk and magnitude of a future financial crisis. [Let me discuss this predicament further and how best to invest in such precarious times.] Words: 1602
The deficits aren’t going to stop anytime soon. The debt mountain will keep growing…Obviously, the debt can’t keep growing faster than the economy forever, but the people in charge do seem determined to find out just how far they can push things….The only way for the politicians to buy time will be through price inflation, to reduce the real burden of the debt, and whether they admit it or not, inflation is what they will be praying for….[and] the Federal Reserve will hear their prayer. When will the economy reach the wall toward which it is headed? Not soon, I believe, but in the meantime there will be plenty of excitement. [Let me explain what I expect to unfold.] Words: 1833
The problems of the US government are insoluble. They will result in the sovereign default of the federal government and the collapse of the US economy. Monty Pelerin explains why: “The claimed debt of the Federal Government of $16 Trillion is enough to threaten its viability and that of the US economy. The current glide path of spending and revenues ensures that debt will increase. Explicit and implicit Treasury guarantees will be required to bail out failing public and private agencies. The situation becomes hopeless when the unfunded liabilities are taken into account.”
In today’s overleveraged world, greater deficits and government spending, financed by an expansion of public debt and the monetary base (“the printing press”), are not the answer to our economic woes. In fact, these policies have been proven to have a negative impact on growth. [Therefore] as long as we continue down this path, the “solution” will continue to be the problem. There is no miracle cure to our current woes and recent proposals by central planners risk worsening the economic outlook for decades to come. [Let us explain.] Words: 1510
The economy is slowly hobbling back to health but for many Americans the rainy day fund is still looking a little dry, the credit card bill is still looking a little scary [Unfortunately, the liklihood is that,] as the economy strengthens further, many Americans will…spend their new found extra cash rather than save it. Words: 474 Read More »
Rising education and medical costs, on-going credit card interest payments, well used personal lines of credit and large mortgage debt and home equity loans – most a penchant for living beyond their means – is keeping 75% of American households in some degree of debt. Take a look and then pass it on to your friends, neighbors and co-workers.
An AARP survey of over 5,000 American workers aged 50 or older has confirmed…that the Great Recession has radically changed the financial situation for many aspiring retirees and that the outlook for their golden years now looks grim. It seems that counting on their home equity to finance a life of leisure didn’t exactly work out as planned. [Let’s review the survey’s findings.] Words: 400
If you’re among those struggling with debt and just want to be rid of it and move on with your life, it can be helpful to find some information and inspiration from others who are financial experts or people working to pay off substantial amounts of debt. You’ll find all of that, and more, in these inspirational personal finance blogs that can offer you advice, motivation, and guidance in paying down your debts so you can start putting that money to other uses. Words: 1010
More than 25% of American workers (33% of those in their 40s) with 401(k) and other retirement savings accounts use them to pay current expenses, new data show, [which is] undermining already shaky retirement security for millions of Americans. With federal policymakers eyeing cuts to Social Security benefits and Medicare to rein in soaring federal deficits, and traditional pensions in a long decline, retirement savings experts say the drain from the accounts has dire implications for future retirees. Words: 890
Look, if you’re absolutely stuck right now, then you’ve got to do what’s necessary but, in my opinion, you should avoid 401(k) hardship withdrawals at all costs … and think long and hard before you consider borrowing against your future retirement. With so many people nearing retirement already grossly underfunded [such actions are] going to prove catastrophic down the line. Words: 1043
Americans spend more time planning their vacations than their retirement and this is the reason why 1 out 7 baby boomers are going bankrupt. With people living longer and spending as much as 30 years in retirement, if you want to maintain a moderate standard of living, it is essential to plan your retirement well in advance to secure your golden years.This article outlines 6 ways to do just that. Words: 665
What is the best way to reduce debt? The most-efficient means is probably the snowball method. There are two main variations of the snowball method, but you must consider your personality to determine which of the two is right for you. [Let me explain.] Words: 1251
When people talk about getting their personal finances in order, they usually try to find relatively pain-free and low-cost ways to reduce debt and increase savings but this is a long-term approach which some people just cannot “afford”. [For them] …it may be worthwhile to consider taking the hard way out of debt. [Let me explain.] Words: 1370