Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Budgeting 201: An Immediate Debt Crisis


USA vs. Cyprus: Gross Government Debt to GDP

- By: Larry Walker, II -

According to Speaker of the House John Boehner, “We do not have an immediate debt crisis.” No, then what would you call it? Seems to me it was immediate in 1995, and again in 2008, so what is it now? Are we just screwed? And according to Barack Obama, “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.” Yeah, what place is that, Wonderland? Have you people lost your minds?

The chart above is from data published by the International Monetary Fund in its World Economic Outlook Database, October 2012. Based on what's happening in Cyprus, for some reason I don't believe either of them. We had an immediate debt crisis in 1995 when our debt-to-GDP ratio reached 71%, insomuch that the government was shut down. And another in 2008 when it reached 76%, just before all hell broke loose. And now suddenly, as gross U.S. debt has surged beyond 100% of GDP, the problem is no longer immediate. If the debt isn't an immediate problem, when will it become one? Let me answer that for you.

The debt will become an immediate crisis when our economy inevitably dips into recession, a phenomenon which has occurred historically about once every 5 years since World War II. In fact, recession is exactly what's happening in Cyprus right now. But surely recession will never reoccur in the U.S., because government fixed that problem once and for all, right? I mean it cost us around $6.7 trillion over the last four years, but the problem is solved, right? With GDP surging at a robust growth rate of 0.4% (revised) in the 4th Quarter of 2012, how can our government possibly be wrong? Oh give me a break!

I believe part of what exacerbated the crisis of 2008 was an excessive amount of government debt. So what do you think is going to happen with our debt hovering above 100% of GDP, as the next crisis hits? Is the U.S. government prepared for another recession? Is there anything left in the tank? It sure doesn't look like it. Well, we're not going to sit around and let the government continue to tax us to death, and we're definitely not going for the unlawful seizure of our money and property, so I suggest you government guys get your act together and get serious about your spending problem, and that means now.

Instead of loosening standards and letting everyone who wants to – go on disability, welfare and food stamps; granting any illegal alien who desires – a free pass; and subsidizing any and everyone's health insurance bill, while the other half of us and our grandchildren get stuck with the bill, now is the time to tighten standards and cut the slack. The sequester is right! Reducing the size of government is right!

Government needs to learn how to say, “No”. It should be, ‘Sorry, you're going to have to go back to work, and you're going to have to go back to your own country, and you're going to have to chip in on taxes, because we can't have 50% of the populace taking care of everyone else.’ If our government doesn't learn how to say no, it's going to destroy this nation and along with it our freedom. Yes, the debt is an immediate crisis, and it is an imminent threat to the survival of the Republic.

The chart above is from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. I'll ask again. Does this look like it might be an immediate crisis, or just a tiny little problem years and years from now? It sure looks immediate to me, but maybe I'm just a bit more focused on surviving the unknowns, than sitting around fooling myself into thinking everything is going to be rosy ten years from now, if I just fold my hands, play a little more golf, and trust that someone else will handle it for me. Yeah, just like Cyprus, right? It's time to stop playing politics and face reality.

References:

My Data - USA vs. Cyprus: Debt to GDP

IMF: World Economic Outlook Database, October 2012

Related:

Budgeting 101: A Balanced Approach

What Does Sequestration Mean To You?

From AAA to AA- in Four Years

Uncorrelated: GDP and National Debt

#Debt

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