$16 Trillion!

Fox News says we just rolled over $16 Trillion Debt for the USA, though this Dept Clock says said it’s just a bit more to go:

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

While this one is already over $16 Trillion:

http://usadebtclock.com/

This interesting site gives it as a percent of GDP for many countries:

http://www.usdebtclock.org/world-debt-clock.html

Just crazy… So crazy, in fact, that I don’t have a lot more to say about it.

I’m going to paste in here a comment I made in another thread. I’d intended to wait until I polished it a bit more, but it is appropriate to this moment of Max Debt with No Headroom:

Fiscal Cliff

A Fiscal Cliff is not made better by building the debt higher before you leap off…

Well, I’ve been watching the news out of Europe and Asia and “it’s not good”… so it isn’t just the USA lining up for a SHTF moment. Been trying to find a way to grab a handful of that Jello to make a decent posting out of it. So far, no joy.

Short form? China is having an economic slowdown. Why? Lack of sales into Europe. Even Germany has had a rollover in auto sales as China has slowed down buying BMWs and Mercedes. So the German Miracle is no longer ‘net flush cash’ to bail out the PIIGS, who are auguring in at great speed… The USA is trying to decide “Socialism or Revolution, decisions decisions” and is just doing ‘kick the can’ at ever higher frequency, and expecting China to loan us $1 Trillion a year more indefinitely. China has slowed / stopped the net buying of Treasuries (see above note about economic slowdown and lack of sales…) so isn’t available to be that spark plug just right now… which means that the European Central Bank and The Fed are both buying all the debt they can. Which is fine, except that it isn’t actually real productivity backed money that is handed over to the PIIGS and US CongRats. Given the basic mantra of Economics: “Who, makes What, for Whom”, that means it is only ‘redistribution’ and not going to create new wealth. Redistribution from the taxpayers and anyone with wages / cash income, into the pockets of the Government Employees (who as we all know have been just SO stellar about creating new net wealth… /sarcoff;> ) So the proposed “solution”? Print more money to hand to the government in exchange for more IOUs… while chasing real productivity out of the country and driving it out of existence with more heavy handed Government Mandates. Repeat until dead.

But it is just so damned slow that folks get mesmerized by it and think they are doing something else. So we’ve got a ‘Race Condition’ between the Socialist Tortoises running for the cliff. Who will get there first? Euro Zone? UK (better than many, but with a recession starting again)? Australia (who have shown some limited signs of sanity, perhaps too late)? Japan? Aging into a stagnation of mutual dependency and self absorption). Communist China (exuberant but discovering that it’s a bad parasite that kills the host)? South America (where Chavez and Friends are trying to make a New Socialist Union of South America, fed by massive influx of Euro and US Oil Money – see above about printing paper…) that’s dependent on China, EU, and USA that are all ‘having issues’? Or the USA which used to have a vibrant and flexible economy but now is mostly just “customer of China, Saudi, and OPEC” and wants to consume a few $Trillion more than it makes every year for the next few decades? Where the BEST that looks achievable is a Japanese Style “Lost Decades” that lasts for 30 years.

I have little hope that even the best possible outcome, a Romney win, can turn around the momentum of the US Economy toward that cliff. He ‘worked well’ in Taxssachusetts and that sets your habits as “compromise and die more slowly”. But it’s the best shot we’ve got. The EU is 100% dedicated to the phantasy solution method (money shuffle and fiat games) and not to reality based POV. (Things like actual production of goods). China is not interested in changing and is happy to be the parasite sucking all possible resources out of the ROW. South America has never got it right and only decides it was a Bad Idea to once again play with the Socialism Shiny Think after it blows up and kills many, burning most. So it looks to me like we are mostly in a “beggar thy neighbor” race to consume all the seed corn (and net productivity) before the other guy. Everyone is just sort of hoping that China will somehow transition to an internal consumption model and become a new ‘engine of the economy’. It won’t. It’s a sweat shop run to enrich the Politburo. They don’t want more internal consumption for all. Basically, The West wants to retire and consume for the next 30 years to excess, but has no money. The East wants to ‘invest’ in the west and provide those goods for the next 30 years, but expects some real value for them. So we’re printing pictures of Dead Presidents and they are starting to say “What? More of that junk?” While the EU is trying to find a legal way to Bugger The Euro too…

It’s all just such a mess and I can’t help thinking that these folks actually believe they have the ‘answer’ when it is really ‘exactly wrong’… Focused on printing paper and “debt as wealth” instead of looking at real net wealth creation as the only way to increase total aggregate wealth. “If we only had a BIGGER credit card then we’d be wealthy! This time for sure!!!” … /sarcoff;)

To which Simon said:

Simon Derricutt says:
4 September 2012 at 8:25 pm (Edit)

EM – that should maybe have been a new post. There’s enough meat in that for a good feast. There’s a lot of the current money-shuffling that to me seems plain dishonest. After a few times of someone you know borrowing money again without paying back, you tend to just say No but it seems that the politicians think that people won’t remember last year’s promises, let alone ones made before the last election.

There comes a time when the people actually working and paying the bills go galt and the whole house of cards tumbles. Unless there’s a miracle, looks to be soon.

Prompting me to post another idea that’s been rattling around in my head too, that is appropriate to this moment:

Once I get it more neatly organized, and with some appropriate links, it will be a posting. For now it’s just an off the cuff rant ;-)

FWIW, I have a nascent / forming thesis that whole national economies can ‘go Galt’ despite few individual actors doing so.

So the USA has a very high corporate tax rate and a hideous regulatory burden. The various companies make reasonable rational investment decisions; the net result of which is to not invest. (ROI projections under hurdle rate. Raise costs, you must have a higher hurdle rate to cover them while your ROI is lower from more input costs too, so fewer things ‘make it’.) In some cases, disinvestment sets in. (Closing coal fired power plants before expected End Of Life. Closing coal mines in Spain. Net net less electricity at higher costs, leading to lower wages and incomes, fewer employed, MORE companies large and small having ROI not exceed hurdle rate.. wash and repeat…)

So, in effect, the Productive Economy writ large can ‘go Galt’ and just stop working as the costs get too high and the return too low. Look at Spain as a stellar example. Youth unemployment over 50%. People in their prime productive years, that ought to be making goods, services, and wealth and moving up the productivity ladder faster than at any other time of their lives; instead ‘on the dole’ and effectively “Gone Galt”. Similar things in Italy and Greece, if a bit less intense. USA not adding jobs net due to no idea what the hurdle rate needs to be (as the cost basis is ill defined and constantly changing) nor what the regulatory burden will be nor the energy costs. So Small Business stopped hiring to ‘wait and see’.

GM was “saved” by handing it to the employees (and buggering the Bond Holders who ought to be at the top of the capital structure). Now no one will want to buy bonds from a highly union industry in decline, knowing that the Government will take their wealth and redistribute it. Higher costs to borrow mean a higher hurdle rate means less investment means less jobs… ( I know I’ll never buy an automaker bond nor an airline bond while this is the law of the land… nor bonds in any newly socialized medical facility… nor…)

In short: I think that whole industries and national economies can “Go Galt” as a natural consequence of the way Hurdle Rate drives decisions and the way UNcertainty drives hurdle rate requirements. Add in lower costs in China and, well, manufacturing moves out of town… you end up with 20% general unemployment (headed to 40) and 50% youth unemployment (headed for 100%). Begin national tax spiral and entitlement leach driven spiral decent into collapse… See Stockton California as an example… or San Bernardino… or Valejo… or California overall…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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26 Responses to $16 Trillion!

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like The Fed is another $16 Trillion (h/t BobN):

    http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=9e2a4ea8-6e73-4be2-a753-62060dcbb3c3

    July 21, 2011
    The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

    Sooo….. We The People are in debt $16 Trillion while a matching $16 Trillion was handed out to Friends Of The Fed to keep them afloat…. Gee… what a coincidence…

  2. Richard Hill says:

    EM. Another time you mentioned California paying with IOUs for a short time. Why cannot it be done for longer? Japan gets away with enormous debt because it is local within Japan. If govt employees are paid in IOUs other countries can keep their debt local. The IOUs would be interest bearing long term bonds. It overcomes the pride problem, the govt employee is notionally getting the the same salary.

  3. cdquarles says:

    Ugh. I have lived through the 60s-70s great inflation. Am I going to have to do it again, now old and sick?

  4. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    Given that most likely during the coming storm season on the west coast, a whole lot of the floatine debris from the tsunami in Japan will be washiing ashore, with no way to get rid of it, that there is a greater drought in midwestern states (vast failure of crops this last summer) and the east coast being torn up by thundrstorms and tornadoes, and hurricanes (more yet to come), huge numbers of people who can not get decent paying jobs, there is not a single thing I can see which would change any of this “getting worse” economy from even slowing down. The Fed is considering making our now worthless dollar even more worthless (could that even happen), by further increaseing out national debt, so this nation is “going down the tubes” without any doubt on my part. (76 year oldtimer).

  5. Julian Jones says:

    Yup – looks like a debt-fuelled economy is not really a wealth creating one. With China, India and the other BRICS all trying to build on a similar, flawed model to our own—competing with cheaper labour for business, resources and capital, and turning the tables on us in the process—has only brought into sharper focus what has long been a fundamental structural problem.
    It is painfully obvious that Quantitative Easing (US$Trillions worldwide) has failed to jumpstart this economic monster, because even if misdirected in many ways it is still liquidity for the system—like a car driver flooring the accelerator pedal, the car isn’t going anywhere. No matter how much we rev it up, we’ll now most likely only blow-up its engine.
    Free markets, just like central state planning before, are exposed for their deficiencies. Perhaps we need to declare a Perestroika in the West, as Gorbachev tried to reform the Soviet system. But where to start? We need dig very deep into the foundations to succeed here.

  6. The thing that surprises me is the $140k per taxpayer, but only $51k per citizen as stated on the debtclock. Only around 36% of citizens pay tax in the USA.

  7. BobN says:

    @ Simon – The number I keep hearing is 49% for the people that don’t pay taxes. At what point do the 51% just quit?

  8. Bob – that debt clock is really surprising. Assets per citizen $295k, liabilities per taxpayer $1.05M. I’m presuming the retirees are included in the taxpayers (mostly, at least). Your quote should be 63% who don’t pay taxes, and when do the 36% just quit? It’s a lot worse than I thought.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Richard Hill:

    The problem with ‘paying with IOUs’ (warrants) is that you can’t buy groceries with them… Some banks, for a little while, accepted the California Warrants, but only as they knew it was a short budget wrangle affair. Long term Aw Shits and the warrants have no trade value to speak of…

    Essentially, the folks who want to take on State Debt want to be paid for it and have the legal protections of a Bond. Those are not present in the warrant, so folks want them even less than the bonds. If bonds are not selling, the warrants can only be issued “against folks will”…

    @Laurence:

    Other than that, no problem! ;-)

    (You left out AIDS, West Nile Virus, tax hikes, …)

    @Julian Jones:

    Free markets? Where! ( I must have missed them…)

    Seriously, though, none of these “issues” is a Free Market issue. This simply is not a free market. It is a highly regulated Mixed Economy Managed Market (at most) and a Lange Type Socialist Market for many segments ( The Fed, Banks, US Autos, Medicine, …)

    In a “Free Market” GM would have gone to the Bond Holders in bankruptcy (and despite what our V.P. Biden says, it would still exist, just as a private company run buy the bond holders as they legally shed debt and obligations in court). In a “Free Market” various banks would have gone out of business (cleaning the clock of their bond holders, stock holders, AND managers in the process; avoiding “Moral Hazard” creation for the future) rather than being ‘bailed out’ by the Tax Payer / The Fed. In a “Free Market” I could not have my money taken from me by force and given to Union Labor for featherbedding. In a “Free Market” the Congress would not be voting a $1 Trillion “stimulus bill”. In a “Free Market” I could still buy a light bulb that works and a toilet that flushes on the first try and faucet that fills a sink in under glacial time. In a “Free Market”, coal would still be King and we would not have Solindra getting buckets of money for crap. etc. etc. etc.

    THE failing of Free Markets is that of Monopoly Practices. Someone gets really rich, and hikes up prices (often while running down quality). That has not been our problem in this round on the wheel…

    The Fed is, by definition, anything BUT a “Free Market” actor. It is a creation of the government, specifically to regulate and remove banks from being a Free Market. All the government debt is anything BUT a Free Market. It is public sector, not private sector.

    The Fed is, by definition, Central Planning for Money Center Banks and money supply.

    We live in what is called a “Mixed Economy”. Some central planning, some markets (none really ‘free’ any more as all are to some degree regulated and all are taxed). It has been that way since about the onset of the New Deal. What you have fallen into is the trap of thinking that what we have is a Free Market when it isn’t, and has not been for a very long time.

    I don’t fault you for that, it is a very common ‘untidy thinking’ that most folks in the USA and Europe embrace. It’s still not correct, though.

    The rest of your ‘problem admiration’ is substantially correct. Just don’t ascribe any of this mess to Free Markets. It is a “managed market” or a “mixed economy regulated market” at MOST…

    @Simon & BobN:

    It’s worse than that. Many of those taxpayers are ‘at the margin’; like the kid with a new job paying $500 for the first time. The bulk of all TAX is payed by something like under 5% of people. Many of them have large incentive to move income to other entities (companies) in other countries… rather like described above… What amazes me is the number who don’t bother.

    At any rate, the present “progressive” tax system is such that many small companies are now actively managed to not grow too big lest they hit various penalty points. I held the line at 12, another breakpoint comes at 50 (where one company I was at actively froze hiring at 49 as they were not able to ‘make the leap’ on compliance.) Part of the reason why “Small companies are the engine of job growth” is because it now costs too much to grow big… (Not a “free market” there, either…)

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    On the debtclock.org site, the other numbers I find interesting are the $739 Trillion of “Currency and Credit Derivatives” and the $120 Trillion of “Unfunded Liabilities”. In theory, that currency is a kind of debt ( I can present it to the government in payment of bills as a kind of redemption) and that Unfunded Liability is what is hanging in the wind as a giant IOU via contracts, but not as a bond per se. It, alone, is $28 Trillion larger than our Total National Assets.

    Basically, we’re about $60 Trillion (give or take a few) “underwater” on our balance sheet….

    $15,999,997,000,000 National Debt or so at the moment. “Rollover” imminent. (About 8 seconds per $100,000)

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    It seems that a special kind of “Goats-Bankers-Politicians” have been eating the grass roots of your country.

  12. BobN says:

    Here is a link to how the stimulus funds were spent. I get upset every time I look through what was sent. Double click on the state and you will see a breakdown of spending

    http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/default.aspx

  13. KevinM says:

    Going Galt sounds easy, but coming back from Galt sounds difficult. The issue with Midas Mulligans Mountain valley is it had no old, no sick, and assumed the children would equal their parents. In a SHTF moment the old, the sick and the slower children get flushed. But instantaneously they begin to accumulate. Some allowance for socialism will be part of the new order, because it has to be.
    Humans will not accept “there’s enough food for everyone, but people in my neighborhood are starving” as a long term system.

  14. agimarc says:

    You know if you simply roll back the 3 stimulus bills passed in 2007, 2008 & 2009 respectively by the Reid-Pelosi congresses along with their 6%/year automatic increase in spending (due to 1974 Congressional Budget Act baseline increase yearly), you end up very close to being balanced. Cheers -

  15. pyromancer76 says:

    I will keep trying to deliver some optimism. Doesn’t mean I haven’t read every word of this post, and the commenters’, too, and shuddered as I did. However, we are at the end of an era, and it IS ending badly. That era is/was one of scarcity (since the 1970s) with so many lives built on fantasies that abundance (wealth production) was forever. The “narcissists” (including myself) believed we could go on forever without paying enough attention to how and from what sources actual wealth (abundance) is generated.

    We have begun anew, with the U.S. in the leadership position. The Great Awakening wave started in 2010 and I believe it will not stop because of natural resource abundance — in so many places, not just the US. Imagination, inventiveness, fortitude, entrepreneurship, the old fashioned American know-how will prevail as it did in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. “It” cannot prevail without energy abundance. The elites who have parasitized the scarcity era (academic, political, media, crony corporations) are fighting for their lives and to continue their amazing “prosperity”. They have used every dirty trick in the book, as many marxist-totalitarian methods as they could sneak in. It will not work. This current disgusting, ridiculous empty chair of a President is “their” last gasp. This will be a wave election. Americans are not stupid. But it will take everyone of us to clean out the stinking mess.

    I hope I am right! My faith in Americans and my knowledge of American history tells me there is truth in my beliefs (formed from serious study). Great Awakenings are amazing phenomena in this country.

  16. R. Shearer says:

    Unfortunately, all economies stumble from time to time and every bubble eventually bursts. Never has there been a bigger debt bubble.

  17. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “In short: I think that whole industries and national economies can “Go Galt” as a natural consequence of the way Hurdle Rate drives decisions and the way UNcertainty drives hurdle rate requirements.”

    Yes, I think you are correct. In a very real sense what we see is an entire nation “Going Galt.” We need to realize though that under the present conditions, that is a rational response to the regulated market. I am tempted to shout in capital letters, but this is important. The most basic attribute of a free market, the single most important characteristic, the one thing which sets it aside from other economic forms and enables it to produce such amazing abundance is its pricing function. It is the unequaled ability of a free market to pair producers and consumers of any given product with a price which accurately reflects the desires of both parties. Once we have fake “capital” injected into the market (courtesy of fiat currency) the pricing function is damaged. Once we have artificial monopolies (think Doctors, Professors, Plumbers, etc.) created by governmental license, the pricing function is further damaged. Once we have pretend “persons” (non-human “persons”, corporations, which are created by government) with legal rights but limited human responsibility, pricing functions are again damaged. And so on, and so on, with things such as failing infrastructure (taxes collected but maintenance not done), government checks to non-workers, artificially high expenditures on windmills or military or TSA, mind bogglingly complex laws and regulations, etc. Each distortion of the free market lessens the ability of rational producers to predict the likelihood of profitably entering into business. The Hurdle Rate becomes astronomical. At some point the system stops working.

    If I have weak lungs, I can survive. If I have weak kidneys, or atrophied muscles I can survive, and so on. But if I have all those maladies at once, I die. When an entire economic system is so parasitized that masses of businesses “Go Galt”, the system dies. The good news is (and yes, there is good news) is that when the system dies, that does not mean that the world becomes Mad Max and Thunderdome. The system may die, but we people and the things we have are still around. A house is still a house and worth having. A garden, a hammer, a welder, a book – things worth having are still worth having. The thing that changes is that our way of keeping score of wealth is changed, and – at least temporarily – this causes a breakdown in allocation of resources, in accumulation of capital, and in the specialization of labor. It takes time (look at Argentina) but these problems can be fixed and hopefully in such a way that the parasites are cleared out for at least a few generations.

  18. Halfwise says:

    I think the Argentina example noted by Jason Calley is instructive. They crashed, burned and rioted for currency and fiscal reasons. Great natural resources survived all that. But the political system did not come to its senses, and here they are a decade later stealing investments paid for by Spain.
    The laws of economics are like the laws of physics, i.e. consequences are inevitable, but not necessarily immediate. But political power is not subject to natural laws or even rational thought.
    Never underestimate the power of a society to throw itself back into whatever it just escaped.

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Very well said. Yes, the pricing mechanism is central to a properly functioning market.

    During an economic collapse, the “system” usually reverts to “cash and carry” and / or barter. The Fiat Currency devalues to irrelevance and “other stuff” fills in. The “overloading” of normal goods prices with “social costs” reaches a point where the underground economy is “worth the risk” and you end up with all sorts of ‘corruption’ as folks do what it takes to keep things working.

    So if import duties become too high, goods get smuggled. If sales taxes are too high, folks do deals ‘under the table for cash’. Ditto income taxes. The plumber fixes the pipes at the gas station in exchange for a tank of gas or two… And so it goes.

    It is the large corporation that has major problems then, as they are not all that good at working “off the books”. So watch for every higher levels of ‘reporting’ and auditing and intrusion and tracking and… as things ‘go rocky’. Watch for efforts to replace currency with “electronic money” that can ALWAYS be tracked. Watch, in other words, for ever more “complete control”…

    All in attempts to keep in place the price distortion artifacts that come from having 50% of the price of goods being “social costs” unrelated to the products; and a regulatory burden that is highly distorting.

    Why having a paid off mortgage and a big garden are a very good idea ;-)

    @R. Shearer:

    We are definitely in a bubble-mania kind of cycle. Folks so afraid of the bubble bursting they keep blowing it up every harder… The original Housing Bubble came out of congressional mandates to push housing….

    @Pyromancer76:

    Some optimistic notes?

    We grow so much food it is obscene. We must BURN about 18% of the corn crop in motor fuels just to get rid of it. Cows have a 10 : 1 feed conversion ratio ( 10 lbs of corn make 1 lb of beef) while pigs and chickens are about 3 : 1 so simply by having a “Meatless Monday” we can have about 3 to 10 lbs of grains PER PERSON more. Realize that grain is “dry weight”… Ever try to eat a pound of grain? I have 1/2 CUP of barley (rolled) or oats (Oatmeal) or a mix of 4 grains for breakfast most days. Some days I have bacon and eggs. Both leave me about the same fullness… I don’t know how many cups are in a pound of rolled barley, but it’s a lot!

    Most folks could easily go a year or two without buying much household goods at all. Dishes, blenders, pots, pans, towels, clothes, shoes. We really are wealthy beyond belief. Most folks are tripping over more stuff than they could ever use. Having a shutdown of sales for a while would mostly just put less stuff in the landfills.

    Thanks to fracking, we’ve found so much natural gas and shale oil that the big problem is how to limit production so as not to crash the prices (more than already crashed for natural gas).

    We have a wealth of technology and patent knowledge that is so vast as to be intimidating. We have so many ways to make so many things, known so widely, that it is hard to wrap your head around it. I have 4 spatulas in the kitchen. Made by 3 different techniques with 5 different materials types. And that’s just for spatulas. The biggest problem we have is trying to figure out which of the many options is the easiest one to use. We can, quite literally, make darned near anything in the typical home out of TRASH. ( i.e. maybe not jet turbine blades… but a toaster…)

    Our medical skill has reached the point where for many folks the problem is being kept alive longer than they like. We can replace nearly any joint or bone in the body. Look at Dick Cheney. Kept alive by a vest helping his heart until a transplant could be done. I’ve also seen two different approaches to HIV that look like they might actually cure it… so the future his hopeful.

    So while in the ’30s a depression meant that you risked dying of starvation and cold; today it means you might have to skip that vacation in Europe, wait a year or two more to buy a new car, and ask Granny how to make meatloaf with grain in it to extend the meat (instead of having another steak…) Instead of trying to figure out how to pay the Doctor if you got sick, now we’re deciding how to pay for liposuction for the overweight from being overfed…

    And so much more…

    I hope that helps ;-)

    FWIW, it’s the folks who have a 20 room mansion and a staff that will ‘have issues’ in an economic collapse. Not the guy who’s income comes form fixing cars or the person who does their own laundry. The first one needs a consistent supply of money. The other doesn’t….

    @Agimarc:

    So, where’s that “rolleback” button? ;-)

    Nice idea, though…

    @KevinM:

    It’s easy to go, or come back, if you are not much in debt. Sometimes you have to get creative though… Helps to have friends and understand how to barter. Useful to not be too picky about some things. ( I’m as happy with porridge as ham and eggs for breakfast, for example. One is about 5 cents made at home, the other is $10 out at a restaurant… so you change your choices.)

    Frankly, one of the hardest parts about “coming back” is that when I had to go to work every morning in Florida, I was really not happy about getting up at O-dark:30 in the morning…

    BTW, don’t really need to “flush” anyone in the modern age. I can make a large pot of porridge ;-)

    @BobN:

    Interesting link. Checked a few. I need to calm down now….

    I have some photos for a ‘someday’ posting. Stopped at a National Park in the middle of nowhere. Nice new visitor center. Nice new concrete parking area. One ranger in a (now) air conditioned office. (The old “kiosk” at the entry sat empty). Nice big sign “Your stimulus money at work!”.

    OK, great for the National Park Ranger… Has an ongoing maintenance cost bump. The contractor got some jingle in the pocket and some Mexican Laborers (who do the bulk of the building an paving in California) got to send some money home for a few weeks (much going to Mexico).

    Oh, and one car in the parking lot. Mine.

    This was on a weekend when they were having a ‘special deal’ of free entry, too…

    I’m having trouble seeing how this increases the rate of growth of the national stock of wealth producing assets. If fits more in the “conspicuous consumption” group as far as I can tell. Heck, the tooling used to do the building will have been made in China while many of the materials will be from China or Mexico. (Honorary mention of Canadian Lumber…) since California lumber mills are nearly extinct now. So at most, the owner of the company bought a new truck “made in America”… from parts made where again?…

    Looking at the list, a lot of those things are just flat out consumption, not investments in “tools and equipment” nor wealth creating events. Eating more, faster, does not grow more corn…

    It’s pretty clear they had no thought at all in their head about “investment” vs “consumption” and just figured it made no difference who got money or how it got spent, just flush it out there and it’s all the same, so give it to friends and “good causes”…

    @Halfwise:

    Very well said.

  20. Pascvaks says:

    I’ve thought of money sometimes as ‘stock’ that I ‘trade’ for things I want or need, and as inflation eats away at the value of my stock/money because the corporate/government leaders make more and more stupid decisions I tend to get mad. I’m not alone and I appreciate your company; we’re in a collective ‘pickle’. I don’t detect anything here that would indicate anyone here will be going beserk, but we are not very reflective of the population. There be danger in chaos! There be more chaos in collapse and much more danger. We be in New Orleans, Katrina be close, and you all be knowing what comes next. Unfortunately, there be no Bush, no FEMA, there only be the old Governor and the old Mayor and the same old NOLA Police Department. Each of us must save ourselves and our own during the storm and the immediate aftermath. Oh yes, there be no Corps Of Engineers, we have to fix the dykes ourselves. (And no body gonna’ care about us but us, everybody everywhere in the same pickle we is. Think “1910 All Over Again!”;-)

  21. omanuel says:

    As explained here: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/ , this is part of the plan to bankrupt our economy and establish a tyrannical one-world government along the lines described by George Orwell in 1948, probably after being contacted by Fred Hoyle in ~1947 , shortly after deceptive information was published on the cores of heavy atoms and stars in 1946:

    http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

    Below are valid reasons 1.) To fear, and 2.) Not to fear these tyrants

    1.

    2. They are totally powerless, frightened bullies who have only a false illusion of control over RTG (Reality, Truth, God). Their understanding of science is definitely inferior to that of astrologers, witch doctors and voo-doo priests ! None of these were so foolish as to deny the Sun’s influence on our lives and on our planet, Earth.

    The President of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, reached the same conclusion in 2007:

    “What is at stake is not environment. It is our freedom.

    http://www.klaus.cz/clanky/195

  22. Judy F. says:

    @BobN

    It is not only the amount of the stimulus spent, it was the requirements needed to spend it. In our small town, we need to do some upgrades to the water/sewer infrastructure. We have been given an ultimatum by the State to do the work, but it is by unfunded mandates. The town council explored getting some stimulus money to do the work. When we read the fine print, we decided not to apply for the money. In order to get the money, we had to pay Bacon-Davis wages on the project, which would have raised our costs by about 30%. Looking at a project, which we couldn’t afford, we HAD to increase the cost by 30% in order to cover the wages. Ours was a relatively small project in the scheme of things, can you imagine the increase in costs of large municipal projects? If the reason for the stimulus was to increase jobs and money, it did the opposite in my opinion. People who already had skilled labor jobs ( heavy equipment operators, welders etc) were paid more. It left no money for less skilled laborers or additional jobs. What a waste.

  23. omanuel says:

    Those holding the reigns of power may start a war to avoid an audit:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/world/middleeast/iran-supplying-syrian-military-via-iraq-airspace.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120905

    Historically, this technique has a good track record of success.

    With deep regrets,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo’
    http://www.omatumr.com
    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

  24. philjourdan says:

    Slight correction on the Fed and the new $16 trillion in debt. It is not debt. It is printed money – i.e. inflation. This does not make the situation any better, but it does change the parameters of the coming crises.

    We do not have to worry about another bank crises. We have to worry about Carter II coming to full bloom with the next president. Stagnant employment and high inflation. if a President Romney does nothing else, he has to get rid of Bernanke. And find another Volcker.

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    With no Baby-Booming there is no market, and if there is no a growing market then there is a shrinking market (I mean REAL markets, those were it is bought and sold real goods for the daily living). So family planning has its consequences…

  26. Gail Combs says:

    pyromancer76 says:
    5 September 2012 at 1:20 am

    I will keep trying to deliver some optimism…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Have you actually talked to the people around you?

    I have and I am amazed at the knowledge of most people. How Obummer got re-elected amazes me, although I keep hearing tales of voter fraud. http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/27/1240681/virginia-attorney-general-suggests-obama-stole-the-election/

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