Tag Archives: debt as percentage of GDP

How Washington, DC lives high on the hog

. . . while our (official) national debt is now $17 TRILLION — which is over 106% of America’s GDP — and each taxpayer’s share of that debt is more than $148,000.

corrupt politician

Just the other day Nancy Pelosi insisted that there were “no more cuts to make” to the federal budget.

Filthy rotten liar!

Here are  ways the politicos in Congress, the White House, and the federal government bureaucracy are living like fatted pigs, at the expense of long-suffering taxpayers.

1. In one recent year, taxpayers spent more than $1.4 billion on the Obamas.  Meanwhile, British taxpayers only spent about $58 million dollars on the entire royal family. Just one trip that the Obamas took — to Africa — cost U.S. taxpayers about $100 million.

2. The POS has only have one dog named “Bo”, but the White House “dog handler” reportedly makes $102,000 per year and sometimes he is even flown to where the POS and FLPOS are vacationing so that he can take care of Bo.

3. There is always at least one projectionist at the White House 24 hours a day just in case someone wants to watch a movie.  Apparently turning on a DVD player is too much to ask.

4. During 2012, the salaries of Obama’s three climate change advisers combined came to a grand total of more than $370,000. Overall, 139 different White House staffers made at least $100,000 during 2012, 20 of whom made the maximum of $172,200.

5. Taxpayers also shell out beaucoup bucks for the VPOS. When Joe Biden and his staff took a recent trip to London, the hotel bill cost U.S. taxpayers $459,388.65. The VPOS stopped over in Paris, where the hotel bill for just one night was $585,000.50. When VPOS visited Moscow for two days in 2011, the total hotel bill came to $665,445.

6. Taxpayers spend an annual average of $4,005,900 per person on the “personal” and “office” expenses of U.S. senators. Those expenses include:

  • Hair care: the Senate Hair Care Services cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years, including more than $40,000 for each of 6 barbers ($80,000 for the head barber) last fiscal year.
  • Shoe shine: The shoeshine attendant at the U.S. Senate was paid more than $40,000 last year.

7. Congressional pensions: Once they leave Washington, former members of Congress continue to collect huge checks for the rest of their lives:

  • In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who averaged around 20 years of service and retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.
  • Some former lawmakers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. They include Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner will bring home a yearly pension of close to $85,000 if he left Congress when his current term ends in 2014.

Note that Congress is full of millionaires:

8. Taxpayers also spend approximately $3.6 million a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush the elder, Bill Clinton, and George Bush the younger, who are all multimillionaires.

9. Nearly 500,000 federal employees make at least $100,000 a year. During one recent year, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000. During one recent year, compensation for federal employees came to a grand total of approximately $447 billion. 77,000 federal workers make more than the governors of their own states do.

10. Lastly, but not the least, the denizens of both Congress and the White House exempt themselves from Obamacare!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Source: Economic Collapse Blog

~Eowyn

Why do they not see?

3 monkeys

A recent essay by a blogger who calls himself Monty Pelerin struck a chord in me. Monty Pelerin is the pseudonym of a former CFO in the corporate finance field, with a Ph.D. in economics.

Pelerin’s essay “Why Don’t People See?” asks a question I and many of us also have asked: Why is it that so many seem blind to the problems that we see so clearly?

Here’s Pelerin’s essay of Feb. 18, 2013:

I meet people that still believe that the world is fine. They believe things like:

  • The US government has plenty of money.
  • Government cares for its citizens.
  • The economy cannot crash.
  • We are not in a recession (Depression).
  • The lives of their children will be better than their own.
  • The government can continue to print money to fund promises they cannot afford.

Despite these untenable beliefs, these are not stupid people. Many are professionals who do quite well — doctors, lawyers, dentists, college professors, etc. They are not  zombies, our walking dead, who have no idea about what is happening around them no less  the way things work in an economy, society or the world. It is our educated who should care yet seem to be oblivious to what lies ahead.

The ignorance and/or lack of concern of this group is perplexing and maddening. They are certainly capable of understanding. It is also in their interests to comprehend, as they are the ones who will lose the most. How doe one open their eyes? What can they be shown to arouse them from their ignorance?

Sadly, I don’t have answers to these frustrating questions. It is not that others have not presented the information as much as these people refuse to acknowledge the implications. Are they all too busy? Are they idiot savants who are geniuses in their fields but not very smart away from it? Warnings come from many sources and from many different perspectives, yet they do not seem to penetrate the minds of those most capable of effecting change.

From a self-interest standpoint, this productive group should be the most concerned. After all, they are ground zero for the Socialist schemes that are destroying society. They are the ones that will be crushed in the redistribution dreams of our political class. Will they awaken too late? Or, will many of them just withdraw their productivity by retiring early, emigrating, etc.?

I don’t have answers to these questions, but I do know that this professional class is about to become prey for our predatory State. And, when that happens, they will hurt be but not nearly as much as the rest of us.

Indeed, why are so many oblivious to and in denial about America’s stark economic realities? — those of:

The only difference between Pelerin and me is his question is narrower in scope than mine. Pelerin’s concerns are mainly about America’s economic problems, whereas in my view, our country’s problems transcend the economic to include the political and especially the cultural.

Politically, the federal government under Obama has become one where, instead of a division of powers among three branches, the Executive is dominant, with Obama ruling by executive orders, like kings and emperors once ruled through edicts.

Congress, the legislative branch, seems unable to address our economic problems but only exacerbates them with the passage of Obamacare (that leads to higher insurance premiums, fewer doctors, death panels, and a greater burden for small businesses) and the reprehensible National Defense Authorization Act (that authorizes the arrest without charge and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens).

The Supreme Court is also adrift, too timid to even hear cases that concern Obama’s eligibility and his strange Connecticut-issued Social Security number. That is, assuming the Supreme Court justices even saw the documents concerning those cases to begin with.

Did you know that clerks of the Supreme Court never forwarded to the justices the pleadings and documents submitted by plaintiffs and attorneys? The faceless clerks also removed cases from the electronic docket, as well as reported conferences of justices which never took place.

French philosopher and statesman Count Joseph Marie Maistre (1763-1821) once said, “Every nation has the government it deserves.” Subtending the economy and government is America’s culture, now thoroughly corrupted from decades of moral relativism do-as-you-will narcissistic amorality. Patriotism has become a dirty word: As many as 33% in a 2010 poll said they wanted the American flag banned.

John Adams wrote that “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families.” By that yardstick, the American family is in trouble.

Although every evidence we have points to marriage being good for not just the married, but for children and society as well, the percentage of married Americans is at a lowest recorded level. Between 2000 and 2009, the share of young adults ages 25 to 34 who are married dropped 10 percentage points, from 55% to 45%.

There is an epidemic of fatherless children — 30% of U.S. children live apart from their fathers. That 30% will account for 63% of teen suicides, 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71% of high-school dropouts, 75% of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80% of rapists, 85% of youths in prison, 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders, and 90% of homeless and runaway children.

So, how do we account for the blindness of so many? Why do they not see what you and I so clearly see?

Is it willful ignorance? Have they been brainwashed by the Establishment Media? (but how do we account for the media’s blindness?) Is it stupidity? Is it a narrow and short-sighted selfishness? Or is it the terrible darkness of spiritual blindness?

“…you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.” -Ezekiel 12:2

“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” -2 Thessalonians 2:10b-11

~Eowyn

Global Debt – Cancer That’s Metastasized

Metastasis [mətas′təsis] pl. metastases:

An active process by which tumor cells move from the primary location of a cancer by severing connections from the original cell group and establishing remote colonies. Because malignant tumors have no enclosing capsule, cells may escape, become emboli, and be transported by the lymphatic circulation or the bloodstream to implant in lymph nodes and other organs far from the primary tumor.

From “When Debt Levels Turn Cancerous,” an op-ed in the UK’s Telegraph, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, August 31, 2011.

Now we know where the tipping point lies. Debt becomes poisonous once it reaches 80% to 100% of GDP for governments, 90% of GDP for companies, and 85% of GDP for households. From then on, extra debt chokes growth.

Stephen Cecchetti and his team at the Bank for International Settlements [BIS] have written the definitive paper rebutting the pied pipers of ever-escalating credit. “The debt problems facing advanced economies are even worse than we thought.”

The basic facts are that combined debt in the rich club has risen from 165% of GDP thirty years ago to 310% today, led by Japan at 456% and Portugal at 363%.

“Debt is rising to points that are above anything we have seen, except during major wars. Public debt ratios are currently on an explosive path in a number of countries. These countries will need to implement drastic policy changes. Stabilization might not be enough.”

Demographic atrophy and aging costs will make this even nastier. “Rising dependency ratios put further downward pressure on trend growth, over and above the negative effects of debt.” [...]

Below is a downright frightening table of debt-as-%-of-GDP of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development) countries:

While the United States has one of the lower combined debts at 268% of GDP, our debt level still exceeds the 80-100% level when debt becomes a metastasized cancer, choking off economic growth. The latest Labor Dept statistics for the month of August are evidence of the metastasis: Employers added no net jobs and the jobless rate remains stuck at an official 9.1% (the unofficial unemployment rate is much higher, in double digits).

Evans-Pritchard concludes that not all debt should be demonized: “Used wisely and in moderation, it clearly improves welfare. But, when it is used imprudently and in excess, the result can be disaster. And disaster we have. We must prepare for a long hard slog, for the rest of my life and yours.”

Read the full op-ed, here.

Read the BIS report on the global debt problem, here.

~Eowyn