This might be in the wrong forum area, but for me, when I see the debt per taxpayer figure, all I can see is more of my money going out the door, hence the personal finance forum...
I also find the actual unemployed number scary... as percentage of the total workforce, it's what? about 18%?
What strikes you about it? Anything encouraging? Discouraging?
Wow - Great find!
Truly staggering figures.
Two things struck me primarily:
Firstly, aside from being so spectacularly high, the national debt of 12.9 trillion dollars is approximately 25% made up of debt to foreign nations. That means 1 out of every 4 dollars is owed to a foreign nation! What are the implications of this for the creditor countries should the dollar go bust? What sort of a security threat does this present to the US? The answer I imagine would be concerning on both counts.
Secondly, the debt figure alone - not even including all of the money that <i>will</i> be printed created through the issuing of further treasury bonds etc - is more than <b>twice the value of all the gold ever mined in the history of the world.</b> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_reserves). Every paper note of US currency (and virtually any other currency in the world for that matter) has no intrinsic value - the value of each note is derived from the notion that it is backed by an equivalent reserve of gold. If that reserve is not sufficient to cover the value of all available notes - then the only real value of those notes is as writing/toilet paper.
The only thing sustaining any semblance of value in the US dollar - indeed in nearly all modern financial systems - is public perception. The second that goes, the only real assets anyone will have will be their health and their family.
We've borrowed from the future, and now tomorrow wants it's money back.
Such a level of spending is the definition of unsustainable. It is impossible to overstate the dire situation that the US - indeed the entire world - is in.
It would be a fantastic time to learn how to live self sufficiently!
The US went off the gold standard in the 1930s. AFAIK there aren't any other countries that use the gold standard either.
And their friends/neighbours, plus any skills or home-grown vegetables they can barter. "Wealth" won't mean bricks and mortar any more (a house is only worth what people can or will pay for it), nor will it mean annual income if said income is rendered worthless by rampant inflation like Zimbabwe's or the Weimar Republic. Scary isn't it?
What I find problematic is that conservatives only pay attention to the national debt when a Democrat is in the White House.
It's a shame that people politicize such issues. We as common sense individuals know that debt has to be repaid and we know if we can't repay it there will be consequences. But what happens when a country can't pay it's debts? We are seeing the results of the broken promises by government in Greece and even though most don't think that could happen in the USA, we simply should not eliminate social unrest as a possibility. Regardless of political persuasion, don't you think the issue needs to be addressed? Or, would you rather wait until the republicans control the government?
It's fairly clear from recent history that Republicans, despite all their blather about fiscal responsibility, have absolutely no intention to reduce the debt when they're in power. Democrats do - look at Clinton's record - although it's constructive to know that talking about debt reduction is badly timed when you're in the middle of a recession, and very well timed when you're in an economic boom.
To be fair, Clinton was forced into fiscal responsibility by a republican congress, but your point is taken. Neither party has had the courage to do what is responsible and necessary to get the nation's fiscal house in order.
Well, not really. The Republicans were pushing for tax cuts; debt reduction as a way to stimulate the stock market and economy came from Clinton's cabinet (Bill Rubin).
I also disagree that neither party can get the fiscal house in order. The Democrats have proven is recent history they can. But, again, during a recession is not the time to talk about paying down debt; that's best a discussion during an economic expansion.
But Clinton did cut taxes! What Congress did was prevent him from spending.
Clinton cut taxes at the Republicans' behest. Spending cuts were mostly a priority of the Clinton administration. Paying down debt has not been a GOP priority for a long time (they're paying lip service to it now only to cause problems for Obama); they've only traditionally cared about taxes.
That's true to a degree and that's why they aren't in power now. Getting the tax burden right is a big part of maximizing revenues and this has been shown to be true time and time again. What government must do is restrain their spending. I think the republicans got the message, unfortunately the democrats seem to have misinterpreted it.
What have the GOP *concretely* suggested in terms of restraining spending? All I tend to hear from them is "cutting back waste" and "eliminating unnecessary entitlements", which means absolutely nothing. I'd love to hear a real-world proposal from them to suggest they actually get it.
The Democrats did no such thing, Clinton was kept in check by a Republican Congress and Senate. However, the Republicans with George W Bush at the helm couldn't find a spending bill they didn't like.
That's because it always seems to get higher in a shorter period of time.
What I find problematic is that NO politician wants to seriously address monetary policy nor do they want to run an effective/efficient government.
Obviously there are people here who are far more sophisticated with this stuff than I am, so my comments are largely of a questioning/learning nature; not adversarial.
One thing I do find encouraging is that the consumer debt figures appear to be shrinking. It's probably bad for the economy overall because consumer spending is such a large part of how improvement is measured?
Do you think people are scared and afraid to spend, or do you think they just don't have money right now?
I think it's both. There are 8 million less workers getting a paycheck so they just don't have the money to spend. Then there are the rest of us, still working, paying down our debt and waiting for the next crisis to take the economy down another peg. We see what's happening in Europe and we're afraid it will come here. We're watching energy prices and the oil spill and waiting to see the devastation of the sea food industry and what will happen to food prices. There's a lot of fear even though there has also been a lot of improvement in the economy. However we're all aware of the risks and we want to prepare for the worst while we continue to hope for the best and that means putting off purchases as long as possible.
Hey Linda, it is the personal credit market that has dried up. More and more people are using just cash to pay for things and if they cannot, then they are going without.
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