At this point, the dollar crash is unavoidable… far from an exaggeration this is a mathematical certainty. As repelling as that sounds, it’s in your own best interest to learn just how bad the situation is.
According to the talking heads of mainstream press the economy is slowly recovering and the financial crisis is all but behind us, but we need a reality check.
It’s time to stop being naive and start being more discerning. Instead of more false hope, we need the truth as bitter as it might sound… and the truth is, from our local municipalities, to our states to our federal government, we are broke… the truth is we can’t payback our debt without getting into even more debt… the truth is the housing crash of 2008 was just a small preview of what’s to come.
America is drowning in debt. The government’s liabilities are now growing at an exponential rate. Our national debt is on a vicious downward spiral.
To our detriment our government continues to pretend that we can borrow our way out of debt and only handful of our politicians are willing to admit that our nation is now bankrupt.
Contrary to rhetoric coming out of Washington, no tax hike or budget cut will get us out of this mess. The kind of measures that would actually bring about meaningful change to curb the financial collapse are deemed too severe to be even considered.
Examine the evidence outlined below, connect the dots and think for yourself.
“All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer
What does the “national debt” even mean?
Let’s cover the basics first… When the government can not cover its spending using the collected revenue from corporate and income taxes and other fees it imposes, it goes into debt. The U.S. national debt is the sum of all outstanding debt owed by the federal government. It includes the money government borrowed, plus the interest it must pay on this debt.
Let’s also clear up the difference between debt and deficit. The deficit is the shortfall we have in any one year. If you take in $100 billion and spend $130 billion, you get a deficit of $30 billion. Now at the end of that year, you’ve got to do something with that $30 billion you owe, so you move it over to your long-term shortfall – which is the national debt.
Obviously, like any other debt, the national debt must be paid back to the holders. Of course, having a little debt is just fine as long as it’s manageable. On the other hand, if a country borrows too much it can drown in its debt, like Greece did.
So how bad is our situation? Numbers don’t lie, so let’s compare our debt and deficit to 1974 just to get a feel for our path and pace (later on we’ll look at national debt chart spanning 1940-2011).
In 1974 the deficit (annual shortfall) was $4 billion and the total debt was $484 billion. It had taken us 200 years from the start of the republic until 1974 to create that debt of $484 billion.
However, since 1974, our deficit went from $4 billion to a shocking $1.33 trillion… stop and think about that for a second… this means that our current annual budget shortfall is roughly triple the size of the total U.S. debt in 1974. Our national debt in 1974 was $484 billion… it is now approaching an unprecedented $16 trillion!
How is that possible? How do you go through World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War – and have only $484 billion debt, then skyrocket to 16 trillion in such a short time?! The answer to this question has to do with a key event in 1971 that we’ll go over in a moment… for now, let’s stick with the national debt, so we can understand why it is no longer sustainable.
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1787
“All of the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arises, not from the defects of the Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.”
– John Adams, Founding Father
Sixteen trillion dollars, so what?
Sixteen trillion dollars is certainly a lot of money, but most people usually don’t deal with that many zeros in their life. It’s hard to really appreciate this almost unfathomable sum and the dire consequences it represents for us. But to understand how deep of a hole the government is in, we need to grasp the enormity of this dollar amount.
So, how big is one trillion? Here are a few helpful illustrations.
Imagine you decided to count to one million out loud. How long do you think it would take you at a pace of one number per second?. If you do it non stop, it would take about 12 DAYS. Now, how long would it take you to count to one trillion?… The answer?… 32,000 YEARS!!!
Here’s another illustration.
If you were alive when Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
Last one… If you had a trillion $10 bills and you taped them all end to end. Your money ribbon will become so long that you would actually be able to wrap it around planet Earth more than 380 times!!!… But, that amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.
Are you getting the picture yet?
On the right is an illustration of our federal debt that might help you get a better idea visually. You can click on that image to see a larger size.
Keep in mind that what you are looking at are pallets of $100 bills stacked on top of each other. To give you an idea of the size and height of these pallets, in the center is standing the Statue of Liberty in proper scale relative to the money towers. The cash surrounding and dwarfing the Stature of Liberty taken together constitute 16.394 trillion. This represents our current debt ceiling that we’re scheduled to hit in September of 2012.
It’s interesting to note that when we hit this debt ceiling this year, our government will once again move the ceiling up to allow for the debt to grow. Now ask yourself, what is the point of a movable ceiling? A movable ceiling is an oxymoron. If you can move your debt limit on demand, why bother pretending that you have a debt limit in the first place?
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic destroyed.”
– Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
Statistics the government would rather you didn’t know
Now that you have somewhat of an idea of how big a trillion is, consider the chart on the right (U.S. national debt from 1940 to 2011 in trillions of dollars) and look at the mind-boggling statistics below:
- The U.S. government spent over 454 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2011.
- In 2011, the government borrowed $41,000 every second.
- Currently, the government’s burden is growing by $10 million per each passing minute
- Just during the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.
- Currently the U.S. monetary base is sitting somewhere around 2.7 trillion dollars. So if you went out and gathered all of that paper money up it would only make a small dent in our national debt. But afterwards there would be no currency for anyone to use.
- The United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt on the entire planet.
- Mandatory federal spending surpassed total federal revenue for the first time ever in fiscal 2011. That was not supposed to happen until 50 years from now.
- If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion each and every year.
- The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.
Hopefully at this point you’re starting to realize how big our debt is and how fast it’s growing. Shockingly, our government’s biggest liabilities are not even shown here, so this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Another 54 trillion excluded from the national debt figures
The short video on the left was broadcast by CNN in 2007 featuring the head government accountant David Walker.
According to David Walker who served as United States Comptroller General in the Government Accountability Office from 1998 to 2008, U.S. government’s real financial burden is close to 70 trillion dollars.
This is because the national debt of 16 trillion does not account for obligations like Social Security, Medicare, Public Employee Pensions and other liabilities which the government is already committed to.
These liabilities are ticking time bombs, primed to explode with each new wave of retiring baby boomers. On top of this, medical costs continue to rise across the board driving medicare expenses through the roof.
Keep in mind that at the time this video was broadcast our national debt was “only” around 9 trillion dollars and it is now close to 16 trillion. The catastrophic economic problems predicted by our government’s head accountant are playing themselves out right now.
What’s most disheartening is that David Walker was forced to accept that admonishing Washington of unsustainable debt was a waste of effort. His warnings of the impending financial collapse fell on deaf ears as both administrations simply ignored him. In desperation, Mr. Walker quit his job as the federal government’s chief auditor to travel around the country to find ways to deliver his message directly to the public.
Father of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, James Madison is quoted saying:
“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.”
– James Madison, Founding Father and 4th President of the United States
How did we get in so much debt?
To outline all the events that lead us to this mess would take a separate article, but here’s a quick summary.
In 1913 Congress passed the “Federal Reserve Act,” relinquishing the power to create and control money to the Federal Reserve Corporation, a private company owned and controlled by bankers. Over time, more and more legislation was passed to expand Federal Reserve’s functions. The Fed (short for Federal Reserve) was granted two extremely critical powers: the ability to purchase U.S. treasury securities and to manipulate the interest rates. Interest rate manipulation and quantitative easing (pumping money into the economy) by the Fed, are the two driving forces behind the boom/bust cycles and economic bubbles.
The Fed was suppose to be the guardian of U.S. currency, in reality it turned out to be a debt and bubble machine, ran for profit by greedy bankers.
Our founding fathers understood the danger of putting the power to control the currency of a nation in the hands of a few individuals in the form of a monopolistic central bank and were vehemently opposed to such a system.
In 1944, as World War II was drawing closer to the end, representatives of 44 allied nations met in Brenton Woods, New Hampshire where the dollar (backed by gold at $35 per ounce) was accepted as the world reserve currency.
America was granted unprecedented benefits as the issuer of the dollar. However, the gold standard restricted Federal Reserve from printing money unless it had the gold to backup new currency. Even though this ensured the stability of the dollar and a strong economy, such restrictions would not be tolerated by the Fed for very long.
In 1971, under president Nixon, U.S. moved away from a gold-backed monetary system to a fiat paper debt-based monetary system which allowed Federal Reserve to print dollars out of thin air.
This opened the door for unrestricted spending and borrowing. Once we moved away from a “gold standard” to a “debt-currency system” it was only a matter of time before America transformed from the world’s biggest creditor to the world’s biggest debtor.
If you look at the national debt chart by scrolling up, you can see a direct parallel between the explosion of debt and U.S. switching to fiat currency in 1971. Once the Fed could create dollars out of nothing, it took only a few years for the government debt to gain an exponential climb rate.
Now on the surface, Federal Reserve’s ability to print money with no restrictions might sound great since you can just create new currency on demand… but it carries with it two very grave consequences. Consequences that we’re paying for now.
The first consequence is inflation. Each time the Fed issues new dollars, it increases the money supply, which in turn diminishes the value of the rest of the dollars already in circulation. Basically, that means the more dollars are printed, the less they are worth. As the inflation rises, so do the prices and cost of living. Inflation also encourages spending and debt, and discourages saving and capital formation. In the long run, currency inflation wipes out the wealth of the middle class and wrecks the economy. By the way, the dollar has lost 95% of its value since Federal Reserve took over in 1913.
The second consequence is that, we (the people) go into debt every time new money is created. When the government needs extra money, beyond what it collects in taxes, it issues U.S. treasury bonds, which are interest-bearing IOUs guaranteed by the government. These bonds are exchanged with the Federal Reserve for currency. This process is called “monetizing the debt”, hence “debt-currency” system. Federal Reserve collects the interest and the tax payers collect the debt. The bankers prosper and people get enslaved.
Besides debasing the dollar and binding America into debt, the Fed manipulates the interest rates overriding market self regulation. These manipulations create bubbles resulting in devastating consequences for the economy and the average American.
President Andrew Jackson refused to renew the charter (a grant of monopoly) of the Second Bank of the United States. In 1836 Jackson said to the bankers trying to persuade him to renew their charter (so they could continue their harmful monopoly):
“You are a den of vipers. I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out. If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before morning.”
-– Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States
How is the U.S. government going to finance 70 trillion in liabilities?
If you have been paying attention so far, you should be able to guess correctly… by borrowing. The U.S. government is planning to finance 70 trillion in obligations by selling treasury securities (interest bearing IOU’s) putting America into even more debt.
Since our national debt is exploding and our annual deficit keeps growing every year, we’re forced to admit an obvious fact: our government can not pay its debt without taking on more debt.
This is by definition, a Ponzi scheme. To keep the Ponzi scheme going you must have a constant and ever expanding flow of investors. If the flow stops or even slows down, the whole thing starts to collapse. This is why the government must continuously raise the official debt ceiling.
All Ponzi schemes eventually collapse and our debt-currency system has the same fatal flaw by design.
The video on the left was broadcast on CNBC, May 24, 2012:
Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, who not only famously predicted the 2008 housing bubble, but also predicted the specific banks that would go under, as well as the government’s exact response to the 2008 crisis, makes the following statements about U.S. treasuries (short for U.S. treasury securities… again these are interest bearing IOU’s the government must sell to pay for obligations):
“There’s no safety in U.S. treasuries. When interests rates go up, we’ve got to default on those treasuries. We can’t pay a market rate of interest, let alone retire the principal. Most of the treasuries that are being bought have very short maturities. We have 5 or 6 trillions coming due in the next year, we can’t pay that back. We’re counting on our creditors to loan us back the money to repay the debt. This is a Ponzi scheme.
It’s the same situation as I said Greece was in. They had no problem selling their bonds when the rates were low. But the minute people figured out that the Greeks couldn’t repay the debt, they didn’t want to buy them anymore. The same thing is going to happen. You have a false perception of safety in the Treasury market. It’s not safe at all. It’s a trap. And it’s being set by Central Banks, the Fed is the biggest buyer, they’re buying like 90% of long term treasuries… ”
How long can we keep borrowing?
Some economists like to imagine that we can just grow our debt endlessly, because we have the ability to print dollars out of thin air. These “experts” allege that the treasuries market is strong as ever and we can just keep borrowing endlessly. These are the same “experts” that insisted that the real estate prices will continue to rise perpetually, right up to the 2008 crash. They argue, just raise the debt ceiling and keep growing that debt evermore.
But even though we can raise our debt ceiling time after time, there is still a natural debt limit we can not cross. The notion that our government can keep growing our debt without end is preposterous.
First, it’s based on a foolish assumption that the rest of the world is willing to to lend us money that they know we can’t pay back. Second, it ignores a mathematical consequence: exponential growth due to interest alone.
We’ve been able to get away with borrowing so much up until now because the dollar is the world reserve currency, but this privilege has its limits. It’s also a privilege we’re going to lose because we have been shamelessly abusing it.
The Federal Reserve has been keeping the interest artificially low, to help the government keep borrowing. Of course this is no favor on Fed’s part, because the end result is debt enslavement. Since whatever the government owes is inherited by the people, it’s the people who get screwed at the end. If the interest was allowed to return to market rates, it would help prevent the government from borrowing beyond its means.
However, at this point our lenders are realizing that our debt has long passed a sustainable level. If you have ever applied for a loan, you should be familiar with this universal rule: when the borrower is in too much debt, the loan becomes high-risk and so the lender demands a higher interest to make the reward worthy of the risk. With every passing day U.S. plunges into a deeper debt pit and this makes lending to U.S. (by buying treasury securities) a more and more riskier investment.
To make things worse, the Fed is devaluing the dollar at an increasing pace by issuing bailouts, stimulus packages, quantitative easing, etc… and our lenders are realizing this too. This means that the dollars that our creditors are loaning to us now, are worth less when they get them back.
For these two reasons, the U.S. treasury securities (government IOU’s) are now high-risk, low-return investments. What was once considered the safest investment is now a Ponzi scheme at the point of collapse.
Who will bail out America when it runs out of lenders?
Our pool of willing lenders is starting to shrink as our creditors are waking up to the fact that treasuries are now a high-risk, low-return investment. To compensate for this the Fed is forced to buy up all the long term U.S. treasuries in an effort to artificially stimulate demand, to keep up the smokescreen. Of course this only inflates the U.S. bond bubble even more.
When the pool of willing lenders dries up, the scheme will reach its end and the final bubble will explode. Without lenders, the U.S. government has only two appalling choices: default on debt or hyper-inflate the dollar.
Option one is to default on all debt, essentially declaring bankruptcy to renegotiate all obligations. This would create a severe financial shock as the dollar collapses and loses its status as reserve currency. This would lead to a sharp increase in the cost of nearly everything, as more US dollars would be needed to pay for imports, resulting in a catastrophic economic impact for every American. The government will be forced to cut spending dramatically. A broad range of government payments would have to be stopped, including military salaries, Social Security and Medicare payments, unemployment benefits, tax refunds, etc. Companies would be crushed by a US consumer that would no longer have any buying power. In addition, credit would dry up virtually overnight, which would force untold numbers of companies to shut their doors. Unemployment in the country would spike to obscene levels. Interest rates would rise significantly forcing millions of families with adjustable mortgages to go into foreclosures.
Option two is to have the Federal Reserve create trillions upon trillions of dollars out of thin air. This creates an illusion that the debt is being paid back, but in reality the dollars issued to pay the debt would become increasingly worthless, turning rapid inflation into hyperinflation. This would actually create a much worse scenario then the first option as hyperinflation will be even more economically destructive for the average American. Prices would soar to unimaginable levels, unemployment would skyrocket. The average American would be forced to work overtime just to put food on the table, that is if he or she is lucky enough to still have a job.
It’s worth mentioning that it is highly unlikely that U.S. will choose default (option one). Even though hyper-inflation is by far more destructive for the American people in the long term, the government will most likely try to print its way out.
Either way the economy will collapse. Economically, the first option would feel like a heart attack and the second option like a terminal cancer.
The ripple effects of either scenario would be unprecedented. It would not be the end of the world, but you can expect massive social unrest, protests, riots, arson, etc. Supply disruptions on all levels. Basic utility failures and infrastructure decay. Rampant violent crime, specially in metropolitan areas. Eventually followed by a long and very painful readjustment period of living standards for most Americans.
What if we cut spending, raise taxes and balance the budget?
It’s amazing, that even now, you hear the same old catch phrases thrown around by politicians on all the major news shows, like “recovering economy”, “budget cuts” and “responsible spending”. But, anyone out there that insists that this crisis can be fixed under our current system is lying.
The spending cuts and tax increases that Congress is talking about are absolutely meaningless when compared to how rapidly our debt is exploding.
Calling those cuts and taxes “pocket change” would be an insult to pocket change.
No bailout, stimulus package or manipulation by Federal Reserve is going to avoid the massive financial pain that’s coming our way.
So what can our government do to fix the current financial crisis and avoid the dollar crash? What would it take?
It would take the kind of measures that are our government considers too extreme to even discuss and so there’s no chance of them being approved. For starters we would need to abolish the Federal Reserve, go back to the gold standard, shut down overseas military bases, completely reform the tax code, restructure entitlement programs, etc.
Unfortunately, proposing such changes is the fastest way to lose your political funding, become the laughing stock of Washington and be ignored or ridiculed by the mainstream media. Just ask Ron Paul.
Our Congress knows full well that fighting against the system is political suicide. And so no meaningful change that would help lessen the impact of the coming crash will be approved.
As far as the oval office and Congress is concerned, postponing the crash by issuing bailouts and stimulus packages is a more politically favorable approach, even though this ensures an even bigger catastrophe at the end.
The bottom line is this: we’re on a path to an inevitable dollar crash. The ones that run our monetary system and hold the keys to our economy are actually part of the problem instead of the solution. The ones in power that can make the desperately needed changes, dare not.
Rather then risk their careers, they will continue to shamelessly distribute our hard earned money among their friends on Wall Street. The hand full of our honest politicians that are actually brave enough to stand up for the people are shut out by the system.
At this point, we’re on a run away train without brakes, so you better brace yourself. The good news is, there is still time for you to prepare for what’s up ahead. Most people will be completely unprepared when the whole thing comes crashing down.
Don’t be part of that group.
How do I prepare for the coming crisis?
Whether you are broke or wealthy, whether you live in an apartment or a mansion, no matter what your current situation, there are specific things you can do to prepare for the impeding dollar crash.
The next article we publish will focus on step by step action plan that you can follow to minimize the impact of the financial meltdown on you and your family. It will include practical but critical actions you should take to protect your loved one from the ensuing chaos, along with financial advice to safeguard whatever savings you might have.
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