Thank you White Mountain Independent for printing the guest column, “Nobody cares about the national debt”!

We recognize the U.S. debt as a huge problem, getting bigger by the day. A couple ob online resources can help people understand the situation, US Debt Clock (see www.usdebtclock.org/ ) and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget's article, "Why we should worry about the national debt," (www.crfb.org) regarding this subject.

We consider this problem to be more important than climate change, the border crisis, terrorism, China, income inequality, who is going to be elected president in 2020, and a host of other issues. It’s a problem which many feel powerless to do anything about, but we can learn more about it and communicate our opinions to our leaders in Washington and to others.

Roger and Sharman Toronto,

Pinetop

(8) comments

ronzim

Thank you Roger and Sharman for those comments. You have expressed an opinion with which I cannot agree. But first, to the facts: Like others, you have confused the debt of the US Federal Government with the U.S. national debt. In fact, there is no national debt. Our national balance sheet as reflected in the 06-06-19, FEDRES Z.1 report shows a net national balance of +$108 trillions(equity, in accounting terms). That amounts to +$322,388 for every person in the U.S. The $22 trillions in government(or federal) debt is a quite large sum; however, it is meaningless unless expressed in terms of percent of GDP. It reached its peak(119%/GDP) in 1946 and declined steadily to about 31% in 1981. After that it climbed to 104.6% in 2018 with only a brief respite from 1996(65%) to 2001(54%). U.S. government debt instruments are believed by investors to be the safest in the world. This attitude(thus far backed by fact) allows for the continuous funding of the chronic federal deficits which exist solely because of the irresponsibility of successive congresses and administrations to appropriate sufficient funds to fully cover expenses. Even though government debt is but 22% of our +$108 trillion balance sheet, it comprises a huge share of the debt upon which investors rely as safe haven for their investment dollars and reserves. As Jim has correctly pointed out, nearly $16 trillions(73%) of this total is public debt. Of that amount, 40% is owned by foreign governments and investors. Nonetheless, our ability to perpetuate this chronic borrowing does have limits. We are able to support this debt only because of a growing(unsustainable GDP) and low(unsustainable) interest rates. That is a growing vortex where GDP growth is increasingly fueled by debt and that growth is used to service that same debt. A true house of cards. Because GDP growth is debt-fueled and interest rates are artificially low, any change--even a small one-- can create havoc(remember that the debt of tiny Greece nearly brought down the global economy). If investors begin to lose confidence in the safety of U.S. treasury bonds, interest on those bonds will have to increase in order to clear the market of them. Because the Bureau of the Public debt has first claim on loaned capital, this will drain dollars from the private sector with attendant calamities in the marketplace and our economy, as well as the world's. As for the disagreement, this debt danger is merely a financial one and can be alleviated by remedial policies. The existential threat of overpopulation and climate change are not nearly as amenable to our action or as easy to fix as is the debt, and they are lethal. Tick, tick, tick.

Johnny D

I looked up the Federal Reserve Z1 report and I don't know how you extrapolated a +108 trillion balance. Have you considered the +200 trillion in unfunded liabilities of the Federal, state and local pension funds? I got that figure from Boston University Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff who seems to be a good authority on this stuff. As for your contention that Climate change and over population are an immediate crisis, exactly what would you do if you had the power to do something? If fossil fuel is the culprit would not Nuclear power be an immediate solution? As for over population, what would be an immediate solution to that?

jim beck

President John F. Kennedy tried to do something about the debt by signing Executive Order 11110 on June 4, 1963. [I went to the Federal Register to be sure there was such an E.O., and it was there). His E.O. directed the Treasury to print U.S. notes. The now defunct $2.00 note was one such example. Kennedy's purpose was to allow the Treasury to print the notes so that the American public would not be burdened with debt owing to the Federal Reserve. Lincoln made a similar move by ordering the Treasury to issue paper notes (known as the Greenback). Both presidents cut the FED out of the picture which would have saved the people greatly and shortly after their daring move they were both assassinated. As long as the Federal Reserve is in control of our monetary system debt will continually rise burying our children's, children's, children with impossible debt.

Johnny D

Kennedy also issued the 5 dollar US note which bypassed the Federal Reserve.

ronzim

"As long as the Federal Reserve is in control of our monetary system debt will continually rise burying our children's, children's, children with impossible debt." Jim, ole bud, I can't quite wrap myself around that. Did you mean that as long as the FED is in charge of our basic interest rate, there will be debt. I ask because the FED cannot create debt. In the public sphere, only the calumny of lawmakers can create debt by their failure to appropriate enough revenue to cover their expenditures. In the private sphere, only borrowing can create debt. In this vein, I agree that the FED either stimulates or depresses debt by manipulation of the interest rate which it purportedly does in order to achieve its inflation goal. The increases or decreases of money in the system, via easy or harsh credit, actually do the job. How say you?

johndoe

Actually Jim the $2 bill is not defunct, There are roughly 1.2 billion $2 bills in circulation right now, and they are still being printed. 75 million came off the press in the last 18 months.

ronzim

Johnny D: If you like, I will explain the +$108trnl to you in a separate post. "Have you considered the +200 trillion in unfunded liabilities of the Federal, state and local pension funds?" Yes. What you refer to is an old bogeyman tactic which has nothing to do with Accounting and everything to do with politics. The reason being that federal law and related court cases do not require any future payments of such benefits whatsoever--none! Da nada! Zip! The term "unfunded future pension liabilities" is therefore an oxymoron largely bandied by those who do not like social programs. In the case of Social Security, for example, federal law specifies that the Social Security Trust Fund may not borrow any money in order to pay benefits. It never has. Such a term has meaning only in reference to what someone says will be paid in the future, not what is legally required to be paid. The SSA holds U.S. federal bonds, in which it has always invested its surplus income, by law. Like all other treasury notes, those held by the SSA will be honored as they are presented for redemption, as has long been the case. The trustees of the SSA just released their annual report for 2019 and it reads in part: " * * * income is sufficient to pay full scheduled benefits until 2034 for Social Security’s Old Age and Survivors Insurance program. The costs of SSA equaled 4.9 percent of GDP in 2018 and a rises slowly to 6.0 percent of GDP by 2093." When the fund is depleted of its reserves, it will still pay 83% of current benefits until at least 2093 on its present level of taxation alone. Examining the FEDRES Z.!, Chart S.64.a(Pensions), we find a chart of 110 separate lines of data, at the bottom of which we find "Total Assets-Pension Funds = $22436.7bln; Total Liabilities-Pension Funds = $22561.8bln; Net Worth-Pension funds = -$125.2bln, as of the end of 2017." What is merely said or promised by politicians has no relevance in Accounting, only real world data. Lawmakers change the amounts promised anytime they wish. "As for your contention that Climate change and over population are an immediate crisis, exactly what would you do if you had the power to do something?" To begin with, the existential crisis posed by overpopulation and climate change are not "my contentions". They are long-established facts and are vetted by science and mathematics. OVERPOPULATION: 1. Create a global system of education for girls and women. 2. Establish a global program of free contraceptives for all and free instruction on how best to use them. 3. Set up free clinics, everywhere, such that anyone of reproductive age can receive a free long-term, reversible sterilization procedure. 4. Eliminate tax policies which encourage large families and, instead, reward all persons of reproductive age for permanent undertakings of either zero, one or two biological children. 5. Provide free global family planning clinics abortions during the first trimester. 6. Wipe out STD's in ten years. 7. Eradicate gender bias from law, economic opportunity, health, and culture. 8. Offer age-appropriate sexuality education for all students. 9. Integrate lessons on population, environment, and development into school curricula at multiple levels. 10. Adjust to an aging population instead of boosting childbearing through government incentives and programs. CLIMATE CHANGE: 1. Ban global coal production in three years. 2. Limit all oil production to fill only those few needs which cannot be filled by green energy sources within known technology(aircraft fuel). 4. Eliminate methane in ten years. 5. Build massive new clean energy sources throughout the world in ten years. 6. Begin emergency construction of nuclear power plants at the rate of one commissioning per week. 7. Strip all subsidies from the fossil fuel industry. 8. Reduce livestock herds. 9. Stop methane leaks. 10. End lumbering. Much more, but ten each is enough for now.

che guevara

The central banks print money faster than the plebes can earn it , thereby making death by debt a mathematical certainty , and perpetuating the illusion of what we falsely believe to be wealth when it is in truth a figment of someone's imagination . The two words ; Death and Debt , are in reality one and the same , as the letters " D " and " T " are interchangeable depending upon just slightly lowering your tongue on the roof of the mouth when you speak them , and the dual vowels of " e " and " a " are interchangeable as are all vowels , and can be combined , thus forming sister words from both death and debt . Rounds of Quantitative Easing , inflation and firing - up the printing presses have debased the currency to the point where the more they print , the harder you must work for every dollar that you spend , and every additional human born onto the planet further demands that you work that much harder for everything that you need to survive . This s a man - made death / debt spiral . When Nixon took America off of the gold standard in 1971 a set of wheels was put into motion which must now run it's course . Further exacerbating this crisis is the reality that there exist two separate and distinct sets of rules in society ; one set of rules for the wealthy and powerful , and another set of rules for the plebes . This is why the criminals on Wall Street were bailed - out on the backs of the working class in 2008 , and why not one single banker or politician has spent a day in jail , or why characters like Jeff Bezos , Jared Kushner , or Mark Zuckerberg pay little to no taxes . The wealthy don't work for money , that's your job . Rather they capitalize upon your labor , sweat , austerity and thriftiness , and call your wealth and earnings " their " assets , thereby escaping the yoke of taxation so heinously heaped upon the backs of the working classes , be they blue or white collar . This is why the money you may have in the bank is no longer considered to be your own upon deposit , but is considered to be an asset of the financial institution and a gateway to the fractional reserve banking scam and / or a casino - like array of questionable investments where the bankers will make billions while you get pennies in interest . And , if the bankers risks fail , then the government will bail them out at your expense , like it or not , and stick you and your children , and your children's - children's children with the bill to save these criminals . Thus further increasing the debt load to which every child is born into and making national debt levels rise exponentially . Finance is a gun , and politics is simply knowing when to pull the trigger - this is the ultimate WMD . No indebted nation can go against the agendas of the International Monetary Fund ( IMF ) or the Bank of International Settlements ( BIS ) and survive for very long or avoid being invaded and plundered . This explains why America has fallen without a shot being fired . Parasites never produce anything , but must rely upon maintaining a fairly healthy and plump host to draw off of , and this is where the debt dynamic comes fully into play . In any event , I'll not go much further . Good comments Jim , as the falsely - named Federal Reserve ( an appendage of Goldman Sachs - Rothschild Banking House ) has never been audited , and never will be , and operates outside of the law . The other issues which threaten humanity such as overpopulation , nuclear war and environmental crisis are every bit as potentially devastating , and are at this stage in the game devoid of any sort of panacea whatsoever . These issues , just like national and individual debts , must now complete their full cycles and are unstoppable based simply upon their scope and inertia and the inherent laws of political and social physics . This brings to mind the last lines from the TS Elliot poem titled ; The Hollow Men , whereby he hypothesizes : " This is the way the world ends ; Not with a bang , but with a whimper ."

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