T Nation

$200 Trillion in Debt?


One of the best articles I've ever read:

"To rely on government to clean up the mess that has been made is a little like relying on an out-of-control bully to bring harmony and discipline to the classroom. It's not likely to happen. America's financial house is in disarray. Its unconstitutional progressive tax structure has been crying out for reform since World War II. Even the nation's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is a tax cheat. Meanwhile, thanks to the Federal Reserve, the dollar has lost between 95 and 99 percent of its value in the past 100 years. So much for the idea that the Fed is an "inflation fighter." Inflation "maker" is more to the point.

Various states (large ones like California) are starting to "formally" go broke. Other states and municipalities, facing tremendous budgetary problems, are beginning to cut what have been considered vital public services such as public education and police and firefighting services. Even the most sacred of cows â?? the municipal pension â?? may be in danger. What happens if municipalities simply cannot pay? If the till is empty, promises cannot be kept.

Here's a number to startle you: America's debt may not be US$13 trillion (the normally quoted figure) or even US$50 or US$100 trillion â?? figures that emerge when some unfunded liabilities are added in. According to U.S. economist, Laurence Kotlikoff, America's national debt is $200 trillion, when Baby Boomer demographic demands are calculated â?? including Social Security, public union, pension and health-care demands on the public purse. That's a mighty big figure. America, in fact, is destitute.

It's no surprise to us."


Hard to argue with numbers and literal facts.


Its pretty bad that Im not suprised by these statistics.


I beg to differ. That's complete bullshit.

You can find numbers / stats to support any semi-reasonable claim, but linking the 13T Federal Debt to 200T overall takes a high level of financial manipulation.


similar to all the manipulation used for reporting financial data from the government now.


Phony numbers. That is like claiming that you are in debt for money you haven't spent yet. Still kind of scary but phony.

Trouble is coming, we don't have to fake the numbers.


nope when you add in all the unfunded liabilities it is pretty high and scary, but I am not sure how they get to 200 trillion.

I can however see something in the area of 130 trillion which is pretty oppressing . . .

never mind i see how they get to 200 tril. ehhhh not so good

heres another link that compares the US to several other countries


They have created a legal obligation to pay that money.

As far as I am concerned that counts as debt.


Liked this article from the other day about our debt problems.

Grand Compromise or Great Conspiracy?



I understand your view but disagree. It aint owed until its owed.


I do not get that.

Most of it might not be due yet, but is already owed.


US just crossed the $14 trillion debt mark. When the debt limit is reached shit is going to hit the fan.

Edit: I meant to say when the limit is reached, we'll just raise the limit some more. I'm sure the next administration will address the issue.


We can sit here all day and night, and debate whether HH's numbers are accurate or not. But why don't we argue the ideology behind it? The bottom line is, government does not create jobs or wealth. You cannot spend your way back from debt. The private sector is what causes job growth, tax revenue, and money recycled back into an economy.

I am glad HH mentions California, because we as well as NJ, NY, and Illinois have the same fucking problem. Ridiculous taxation, radically increased state government workers, reckless pensions, horrible business climate, which has led to businesses leaving for more friendly states. No one will get serious as to the real culprits at work here. Washington can and will have similar problems.


Dude, it's owed. We here in California have to officially declare a state of bankruptcy to undo those unfunded pension liabilities. Oh, the unions will fight it, take it to court, where a pathetically liberal judge will most likely rule against the state and force it to pay those pensions. Ever wonder why the capital is surrounded by Left wing, tree hugging, union workers?


We borrow money at interest how do you pay that back?


We have reached the point where we either do a dramatic scale back of the government or we turn on the printing press. One will lead to a 1920 style depression, one will end up with a Weimar Republic style depression. Washington seems to want the Weimar style, because too many people are addicted to entitlements.

And if you take a look at the m3 history after 1971 you will see that our currency is based on debt.

Here is a video that describes our current system, this is from Mike Maloney, on the Finacial team of Rich Dad.

(note this video was before QE2 was done, this really explains why QE2 was done also).


Im familiar with it i think having a federal reserve was a bad idea. "I believe that banking institutions (federal reserve) are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson."


Thanks John, that was a great video.
What's 'm3 history after 1971'?

People that are put in charge of the finances of any country should face the death penalty over misconduct.


M3 money supply began to start becoming less then the debt. Meaning the Debt was worth more then the entire money supply. The Fiat currency we use is really just backed by the debt, the video really explains how it works. You should see the second part he really nails it.

This is the video where my this is before QE2 quote should have went.


QE2 = Quantitative easing, right?

I checked out part 2 right after part 1, I guess time will tell about his predictions....shoulder, head, shoulder, some nice layman terms.


John could you summarise (or expand if you would be so kind) the points raised in that video of Mr. Maloney for those of us who aren't well versed in this stuff.

Very interesting.