Sunday, September 19, 2010

Snapshot of the US economy

You are invited to review a snapshot of the US economy, as it stood on Saturday, October 10th, 2009, almost a year go, at approximately 3:15 PM PDT. The figures were as they appeared on the “Debt Clock”, and in the instant the numbers were recorded, greater numbers replaced them with terrifying rapidity. A glance at the Debt Clock a day or even an hour after you last looked at it would make the data look quite dated.

Take a look at this:

GDP per person $34, 764
Debt per person $38,802
GDP per worker $ 76,792
Debt per taxpayer $118,000 (changing too quickly to record)
Private debt per person $54,247
Personal savings per adult $ 1, 996
Liabilities per citizen $349,180
Assets per citizen $237,178

In round numbers, these were the expenditures in 2008-9:

Military $618 billion
Social Security $499 billion
Subsidies $ 51 billion
Medicare/Medicaid $643 billion
Interest on the debt $369 billion

Sub-total appox. $ 2.5 trillion

Government bailouts $11.5 trillion

Little more than 11 months later, the Debt Clock has climbed about $2 trillion to $13.39 trillion at the end of August, and about $5 trillion more than it was five years ago. At this pace, the federal government will require $2 trillion in 2020 just to pay the interest. Since September 28, 2007 the national debt has grown by an average of $4.11 billion per day, and the per capita share of this debt has risen by $5330 from October 10th of 2009 to $43,332.28 as of August 31st, 2010. To this add $8100 of consumer debt per person, exclusive of debt secured by falling real estate assets, while credit card charges average $11,300 per cardholder. Some 13% of disposable income in America is now being spent on servicing mortgage obligations and consumer debt. No wonder one in four children rely on food stamps to survive.


SHOOT: I have arguments with people about why the stock markets don't really reflect the true nature [bankruptcy] of markets. These statistics quoted above should give you pause.

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