Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Next Financial Crisis Is Already Here! John Lewis 99% Profits CRASH - Retail Sector Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Why Is Apple Giving This Tiny Stock A $900 Million Opportunity? - James Burgess
3.Gold Price Trend Analysis - - Nadeem_Walayatt
4.The Beginning of the End of the Dollar - Richard_Mills
5.Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Hindenburg Omen & Consumer Confidence: More Signs of Stock Market Trouble in 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
7.Precious Metals Sector: It’s 2013 All Over Again - P_Radomski_CFA
8.Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk - Ellen_Brown
9.Gold Stocks Forced Capitulation - Zeal_LLC
10.The Post Bubble Market Contraction Thesis Receives Validation - Plunger
Last 7 days
BrExit War - Tory Party About to Replace Theresa May for NO DEAL BrExit - 16th Nov 18
Aspire Global Makes Significant Financial Strides - 16th Nov 18
Gold Oil and Commodities …Back to the Future ? - 16th Nov 18
Will Oil Price Crash Lead to “Contagion” for the U.S. Stock Market? - 15th Nov 18
How NOT to Be Among the MANY Stock Investors Fooled by This Market Myth - 15th Nov 18
Tory BrExit Chaos Cripples UK Economy, Wrecks Housing Market Confidence - 15th Nov 18
Stocks Could End 2018 With A Dramatic Rally - 15th Nov 18
What Could Be the Last Nail in This Stock Bull Markets Coffin - 15th Nov 18
Defensive Stock Sectors Outperforming, Just Like During the Dot-com Bubble - 15th Nov 18
Buying Your First Home? Here’s How to Save Money - 15th Nov 18
US Economy Ten Points or Ten Miles to ‘Bridge Out’? - 14th Nov 18
US Stocks: Whither from Here? - 14th Nov 18
Know exactly when to Enter&Exit trades using this... - 14th Nov 18
Understanding the Benefits of Keeping a Trading Journal - 14th Nov 18
S&P 500 Below 2,800 Again, New Downtrend or Just Correction? - 13th Nov 18
Warning: Precious Metals’ Gold and Silver Prices are about to Collapse! - 13th Nov 18
Why the End of the Longest Crude Oil Bull Market Since 2008? - 13th Nov 18
Stock Market Counter-trend Rally Reaches .618 Retracement - 13th Nov 18
How to Create the Best Website Content and Generate Organic Traffic - 13th Nov 18
Why the Stock Market Will Pullback, Rally, and Roll Into a Bear Market - 13th Nov 18
Stock Markets Around the World are Crashing. What Not to Worry About? - 12th Nov 18
Cyclical Commodities Continue to Weaken, Gold Moves in Relation - 12th Nov 18
Olympus Tough TG-5 Camera Stuck or Dead Pixels, Rubbish Video Auto Focus - 12th Nov 18
5 Things That Precede Gold Price Major Bottoms - 12th Nov 18
Big US Stocks Q3 Fundamentals - 12th Nov 18
How "Free Money" Helped Create Sizzling Housing Market & REIT Gains - 12th Nov 18
One Direction More Likely for Bitcoin Price - 12th Nov 18
The Place of HSE Software in Today's Business - 12th Nov 18
Gold Asks: Are US Bonds Overvalued? - 11th Nov 18
Why the Stock Market Will Pullback Before Heading Higher - 11th Nov 18
GDX - Will you Buy This Hated Stock with Me? - 11th Nov 18
Christmas and Halloween LED Dynamic Projector Light Review - 11th Nov 18
Wall Street Veteran: Why I Don’t Lend to Family and Friends - 10th Nov 18
Stocks Breaking Higher, but Resistance Ahead - 10th Nov 18
Stock Market Was Supposed to “Crash Like 1987” - 10th Nov 18
SPX : The Incredibull Stock Market Plays On - 9th Nov 18
USD/CAD – The Moment of Truth Is Coming - 9th Nov 18
Is the Stock Market’s Rally “All Good To Go”? - 8th Nov 18
End in Sight for 'Unloved' Silver - 8th Nov 18
Outlook for Gold & Silver Precious Metals Sector is 'Positive' - 8th Nov 18
A Great Day for Metals as Platinum Price Breaks Out - 8th Nov 18
Future US Interest Rates, Financial Markets, and the FED - 8th Nov 18
Buying an Approved Used Land Rover From a Dealer - What You Need to Know! - 8th Nov 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Free Online Trading Session

The USA is Driving towards National Bankruptcy

Economics / Analysis & Strategy Feb 03, 2007 - 12:49 AM GMT

By: Dr_Martenson

Economics

I have a question for you. Let's say you're driving down the road, at night, along a busy highway, 10 miles from the next exit, and the oil warning light suddenly blinks on. What do you do? Are you the sort that pulls over or keeps on driving? If you're the sort that keeps on driving, upset mainly because you don't have any black tape to put over that pesky red light, then you might as well stop reading right now because we're about to pull over.

First a set of definitions; when liabilities exceed assets by an amount that cannot be serviced by any conceivable future revenue stream, then one is said to be ‘insolvent'. When current cash flow cannot service current debt payments, then we say an entity is technically bankrupt. And finally, when a debt payment is missed, then a default has occurred, the entity is actually bankrupt and all sorts of legal machinery kicks into high gear.


In one of my previous articles I wrote about the fact that United States budgetary and fiscal officials revealed to us that in order for the United States government books to net out to zero there would need to be $53 trillion in the bank, today, earning interest. Of course there isn't any public money of that sort, or any sort, in the bank.

SCREEEECH! <-- That's the sound of this article pulling over to the side of the road

Stop. Why is this not our #1 topic of debate in Washington DC? If we suspect that we are insolvent as the Comptroller and Treasury Secretary have indicated, then it's questionable as to whether it does us any good to debate, say, the finer points of federal education reform or a new flag burning amendment. As noted above, insolvency precedes bankruptcy and bankrupt nations cannot afford to do anything so why talk about anything else? We have a bright red oil light lit up on our national dashboard yet the Democratic and Republican leadership continue to drive on bickering about who should have brought the black tape to put over the warning light.

What would it mean if our nation went bankrupt? A good analogy would be New Orleans. The city is bankrupt; it's a mess, and can only rebuild with federal (outside) assistance. New Orleans completely lacks the ability to rebuild on its own because it doesn't have the funds and its economy is pretty much destroyed. But if the US goes bankrupt, who will help us rebuild? If the answer is ‘nobody', then you might want to take a trip down to The Big Easy to see for yourself what this country is going to look like in a few years.

The good news is that because the problem only grows more intractable with every passing day, our dithering politicians will have fewer options to chose from when the crisis hits thereby making their jobs that much easier. The bad news is that the more time we spend in denial, the less time remains for us to get busy and do something about it. There is even the danger that if we wait too long, we will face a potentially unfixable problem on the scale of what the Soviet Union experienced – catastrophic economic failure.

During my time as a consultant, I had ample opportunity to witness a very clear phenomenon. If the person at the top of an organization was ethical, for the most part so were all the rungs and layers beneath them. Conversely, an unethical leader usually presided over an unethical organization. As a social animal, we tend to take our cues from above.

Our federal government is now several decades into a reckless love affair with unrestrained profligacy. Because we've lacked any clear, moral leadership for so long, it is easy to find reflections of this behavior peering back from every corner of society.

Consider the evidence:

  1. State pension shortfalls running towards a trillion dollars

  2. Municipal pension shortfalls in the hundreds of billions of dollars

  3. Corporate pension and healthcare deficits of one-and-a-half trillion dollars

  4. 401K savings of only $53k per 55 year old worker

  5. A national savings rate that has steadily eroded since the early 1990s falling from 10% to negative 1.5% , a condition last seen at the depths of the great depression in 1933

The Great Bust Ahead: The Greatest Depression in American and UK History is Just Several Short Years Away. This is your Concise Reference Guide to Understanding Why and How Best to Survive It
$9 (50% discount)
The Great Bust Ahead: The Greatest Depression in American and UK History is Just Several Short Years Away. This is your Concise Reference Guide to Understanding Why and How Best to Survive It

In summary, the list above indicates that at the federal, state, municipal, corporate, and personal levels nobody is saving for the future. I could probably tick off a few more but since I'm out of fingers on my non-typing hand let's agree that pretty much covers it. We are not saving for our future, we are all in this together, but it will take leadership to get us out.

It is imperative that we return to our heritage of saving and investing for the future. Somehow we've forgotten that a period of living beyond your means must always be balanced by an equal amount of living below your means. The belief that debts can be compounded forever is dangerously naive as it merely shuffles the bills off to the future as though they could be forever hidden by time.

Leaving aside the obvious moral parallel between this behavior and the fable about The Ant and the Grasshopper , this insolvency issue, large though it appears, is merely a symptom; an effect rather than a cause. At the root of it all is our monetary system, which we need to understand before we can begin to posit solutions.

Let me be clear – I think that while it was operating well, our monetary system was a great system, one that fostered incredible technological innovation and advances in standards of living. But every system has its pros and its cons and our monetary system has a doozy of a flaw.

It is run by humans.

Oh, wait, that's a valid complaint but not the one I was looking for.

Here it is: Our monetary system must continually expand, forever.

Which means it has a math problem in the same way that a beached whale has a breathing problem. In each case we have a massive organism that was optimized for a very different set of conditions than those in which it currently finds itself.

This will be the topic of our next article.

In the meantime, be on the lookout for DC politicians seeking to buy black tape.

All the best,

Chris

By Dr. Chris Martenson
http://theendofmoney.com

Dr Martenson is the creator of The End of Money economic seminar series, has extensive experience analyzing and communicating financial information.  Dr. Martenson combines a scientist's attention to fact and analysis (PhD, Duke University, Pathology and Toxicology) with a solid understanding of finance and economics (MBA, Cornell, Finance) with strategic thinking (4 years as a management consultant) to produce an insightful and powerful lecture. He is currently devoted to researching, writing and presenting economic and financial analyses delivering his message via his website, lecture series and is currently working on a related book & movie.


© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Richard Wicks
12 Feb 09, 23:58
The reason we don't discuss the debt

The reason why gay marriage, flag burning, school prayer, and other absolutely irrelevant garbage is promoted as important things is because the country is obviously bankrupt.

The bailouts are nothing more than a bunch of politicians looting the taxpayers before the final collapse. The bailouts are going to take all the money of all the savers by causing hyperinflation. Of course gold and silver bugs are going to escape it to some extent, but they are such a minority nobody cares.

The only person in Federal government I can see is competent and/or honest is Ron Paul, the US media as well as the US population shit all over him - so they deserve what they get. Hunker down, and prepare. Our course is set.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules