Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Monday, July 25, 2011

America can now only defer its debt crisis: US needs 2.5 trillion dollars simply to make it to next election

The heat is on in Washington and it’s more than just temperatures in the nineties and summer rain making congressmen sweat. Without a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, the US will default on August 2.

It has come to this: the world’s biggest economy, head of the triple-A club and home of the financial system’s reserve currency, can pay its bills only if it borrows more money. America needs to increase its credit limit by $2.5 trillion simply to get through to next year’s presidential election.

Billions, trillions, schmillions, chill out, why fret over a few more zeros? Well, for context, America’s 2011 GDP (annual output) will be the same as its “official” debt, $14 trillion to $15 trillion.

This doesn’t tell the whole story. The good news is that $4.6 trillion of America’s debt is accounted for by intra-government loans, money the US owes itself. The bad news is that on top of the $9.7 trillion Washington must repay to outside investors ($1.1 trillion to China), it has $60 trillion of unfunded social security and Medicare obligations, ie, welfare pledges to its own citizens for which there is no pot of savings, only the taxes of future generations.

As Dolly Parton nearly said, it cost a lot of money to sink this deep. America’s commercial and military hegemony came at a terrifyingly high price. (more)