I’m going to write today about a very somber subject. It will be, as it usually is here in one form or another, about math.
First, some background. If you believe that we have “escaped” from the mess that gripped this nation in 2008 and 2009, or that said mess “suddenly appeared” and “nobody saw it coming”, stop reading now and have your Thorazine dosage checked. It’s way off.
Assuming you accept the truth – that this mess was 20 year or more in the making, that it involved creating credit (that is, debt) which the debtor could never pay, and that it still exists because our government policy has been to extend, pretend and allow lies that should be considered accounting fraud and result in prison sentences, then you’re on the right page to understand the rest of this missive. Again, if not, go check your Thorazine dosage.
Yes, I know all about the stock market rally from last March. I know all about the claimed GDP “improvement.” But I also know that we got both by adding more than $2 trillion in debt to the United States – or roughly 14% of GDP – over the space of the last 18 months. That’s about 10% of GDP annualized, and incidentally, a 10% GDP contraction is the common economist’s definition of an Economic Depression.
So let’s cut the crap – we are in a Depression right now. We are pretending we are not, just like you can pretend you didn’t really lose your job so long as your credit card does not reach its limit. We have been in that depression for about 18 months and there is no evidence that we will exit it, as we have yet to find a way to pull back the deficit spending without an instantaneous collapse in the economy.
Yet at some point we must and will stop. We will either do so of our own volition, or we will do so when the cost of borrowing skyrockets, as others get tired of funding our profligacy. If we attempt to “print” our way out of it the cost of petroleum products will shoot the moon and destroy our economy anyway.
You haven’t seen the half of what happened though – not yet. It appears that AIG – the company we have bailed out (thus far) to the tune of some $100 billion plus, in fact isn’t done. It appears they may have written credit protection on Greece. If this allegation by the German equivalent to The New York Times is true Americans are going to be asked to pay billions of dollars – or more likely, hundreds of billions (since Greece is almost certainly not the only place – try Spain, Portugal, Ireland, etc) to bail out a bunch of FOREIGN NATIONS.