Monday, December 18, 2006

The Scariest Numbers You'll Probably Never See

Fittingly, I can't link to the document I've been reading. It's the Treasury/OMB's "Financial Report of the United States Government". It came out this month and it's a real frightening piece of work.

Turn this document into a screenplay and it would be the biggest horror movie of all time. It's also in an application that precludes copying and pasting, so let me type just one little sentence for you:

"Fiscal year 2006 assets of $1,496.5 billion and total liabilities of $10,412.9 billion combine to derive the Government's current net liability of $8,916.4 billion."

The United States is currently on an unsustainable fiscal path. You don't have to be an accountant to see it. We might look back at these tax cuts for the rich that really just transferred wealth from future generations to the wealthiest current Americans, as the biggest blunder of the Bush years. We also may thank our lucky stars one day that we had the Iraq War to keep our minds off of how bad things were getting. America cannot honor its financial commitments. The best analogy I've heard is that we have spent like a drunken sailor, and the problem is that you can never predict when the liver will give out.

When young people ask me for career advice - and that's a little frightening right there - I always advise them to learn a skill they can perform to amuse the people around a campfire. Then if everyone laughs ask to share any food. I am only half kidding. America has been arrogant for too long, and it could be about to catch up with us.


At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and for the next 20 years comes the expanding group that you could call the 'entitlement class'... who have added 10+ years beyond their original projected life..because of medical advances..

costs will soar...revenues will fall...

if America was a small business... we would be tempted to sell it now
..before the new overhead arrives.


At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When all who are planning their personal survival based on having the most toys and biggest wad of cash, get all bunkered-in in the nick of time, it might come as a big surprise when money is not money any more.

Then what is? Water is money.

And for the record, and for those who can only have chosen blindness, not to see it coming, history recites itself:

Year ][ Our Debt (yearly deficits accum'ed.
---- -------------
1836 zero (1st Democrat, Andrew Jackson,
. . . . . . . retires Colonial War loans)
1980 1 Tri$$ion
1988 4 Trillion
1992 6 Trillion
2000 4 Trillion
2006 8 Trillion

Figures rounded off to the nearest president.

The INTEREST (in this year's budget) on our debt is like 200 Bi$$ion, more than the budgets for Education and Welfare, Transportation, Interior, Commerce, State and domestic traquility, and Justice combined.

I know math is yucky, and so is stupidity. Let us propose an Exam Question for voting privilege, to answer this:
What's the difference between a million and a billion?

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

The scary number involves our total financial exposure - benefits we are currently promising compared to what has been funded. The numbers are ridiculous. I saw one mention of needing to come up with 40 plus TRILLION. No kidding.

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, at some point of nonsense dollar bills vaporize. It is quite empowering to read how the US dollar was invented, out of thin air, and naturally returns to it:
Secrets of the Federal Reserve
The history, organization and controlling interests behind the Federal Reserve -- by Eustace Mullins, 1983
Read the book until you come to the part where Prescott Bush got 1 share. Then go figure. What, his son Poppy can inherit it? What, his son Puppet can inherit it?

My simple-simonism:
In the old days, you got some land, (say, murder all the First Peoples of North America and occupy theirs), then you found some gold in it, you took the gold to the bank, they put it in the vault and gave you 'gold notes' to spend, you circulated those, and anyone accepting a gold note for their goods or labor could take the note to the bank, redeem it and get that much gold back.

These days, you get some land, then you find some oil in it, you take the oil to the bank, they put it in the vault-tank and give you 'oil notes' to spend, you circulate those, anyone accepting an oil note for their goods or labor can take the note to the bank, and the bank says, 'keep the note, we don't have your oil, we burned it.'

Hence the forecast that in the future you get some land, you find water in it, etc., and water is money.

This and That are complexer things to think. Got moneyiness? They say ninety-five percent of the gold in Oregon is still in the ground.

At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot this, so insert it before last paragraph:

Water vaporizes, too. But then it comes back falling out of the sky like pennies from heaven. The rain falls on every man's land, rich and poor alike.


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