Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Piles of debt . . .

IN STACKED $100 DOLLAR BILLS, that's what 1 trillion dollars looks like. KLEPTOCRACY has other interesting examples of the problem.

THE DAILY RECKONING is a thoughtful site devoted to finance. Its founder, Bill Bonner, is somewhat disturbed about the current state of affairs, in his piece, "The Great Correction…5 years On, Part III":

Of course, it should be obvious to everyone by now that the real problem in Europe as well as America is debt. In Europe, government debt is a problem. In America there is government debt plus household debt. Both are problems. America has about as much government debt as France – about 5 times GDP when you include unfunded pensions and health care costs. But America also has huge household debts.

From a low of 31% of GDP after WWII, private debt rose to about 300% at the top of the credit bubble. You know all about that, so I won't bore you with the details. But at the present rate – about 5% per year – it will take another 32 years of de-leveraging before debt is down to a more comfortable level.

• • • •

Since 2000 do you realize how much the US private sector has grown? Hardly at all. Zero.

And how many new jobs have been created? I’ll give you a hint. Think of a number with a hole in the middle of it.

And how many more automobiles do we sell in America? In fact, we sell nearly a third less than we did 10 years ago.

And how much more are our stocks worth? Adjusted for inflation…not a penny more.

How about houses? Again, adjust for inflation and the average house is worth less than it was in 2001.What kind of decade was this? It was a lost decade. And it looks like another 3 decades will be lost – unless something happens to speed up the process. How? When?

Like Omar says, hard times in the land of plenty.

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