This is the original text for the July 4 speech, which had to be cut down somewhat in the actual delivery at the Tea Party, due to schedule/time constraints.
Almost everyone with a pulse and a brain has heard about the crashes in real estate, stock market and debt—and the GIGANTIC government spending and taxes. Some people I talk to are unconcerned, because taxes haven’t risen much lately—at least YET. That’s by design- to gain approval for spending programs first, and then present the bill – after everyone has already eaten the meal and drank the Kool-Aid.
Most people have no idea at all how bad the situation really is. I didn’t forsake my regular 4th of July festivities to come here this year, without VERY good reasons and I suspect that you didn’t either.
I’ll take a few minutes to quantify for you just how bad things are, to help underline the urgency of quick and drastic ACTION—this is no ordinary recession and these aren’t ordinary times.
The world annual economy is—or at least WAS- about $50 TRILLION dollars. It’s hard for almost anybody to imagine how much that really is. It’s the output of the combined efforts of over 6 billion people worldwide- their jobs, income, spending, charitable contributions, taxes, industrial output, government spending, etc. $50 TRILLION dollars is $50 X 1000 X 1000 X 1000 X 1000 dollars, or 50 x 10 to the 12th power, for you scientific and mathematical types. The United States of America, with only 5% of the world’s population, generates, or formerly generated, almost ¼ of that-- $13 TRILLION. Plus, we drive a lot of the rest of the world’s economy. Think of the vast imports from China, India, Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, Western Europe, etc.
What’s Different- Debt, Derivatives, Industrial Base
Why is this “recession” so much different? Three reasons- debt, derivatives and industrial base. The U.S. was the largest creditor in the world by far, but over the years, has degraded into the world’s greatest DEBTOR, with more debt than the rest of the world combined. How much debt? The nominal national debt is now $11 TRILLION, with at least $2 TRILLION more to be added this year. Often conveniently omitted are the additional, huge “unfunded liabilities” of Social Security and Medicare, estimated at $60-80 TRILLION, larger than the entire world economy and growing fast. Last week alone, we borrowed over $100 BILLION in new treasury debt. We are sucking away most of the world’s investable capital from free enterprise and other productive avenues. Private debt is another $44 TRLLION.
Derivatives were described by billionaire investor Warren Buffett as “financial weapons of mass destruction” and they are. A derivative is a financial instrument based upon some other financial instrument or behavior. Examples are options, futures and credit default swaps. They’re designed to protect some parties and to “leverage” huge investments and profits, but they can be extremely destructive, if things go the wrong way. This is what really destroyed AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and may yet wipe out Citibank, Bank of America and others. Total world notional derivatives value is estimated at an incredible $600+ TRILLION dollars, 12 times the world annual economic output. Many are being triggered by defaults/failures, stock market and interest rate volatility. The Federal government has paid out some $300 BILLION for AIG alone. The bailouts seem like a drop in the bucket in comparison-- they are trying to buck the tide.
Our industrial base is a far smaller portion of our economy (14%) than in our glory years, before we exported so many jobs.
The Budget and Deficit
Last year, we had a huge $400 BILLION deficit. This year, the administration has already conceded a $1.8 TRILLION deficit forecast, one dollar in deficit for every dollar of tax revenue forecast to be collected—that hasn’t happened since WWII. But guess what? Tax receipts are now down 34% from last year! Not surprising, with businesses imploding and unemployment exploding. The forecast is wildly optimistic, especially as it doesn’t account for that—or for most of the prolific new spending programs in the pipeline…
- Cap and Trade- Climate Change legislation, the largest tax increase in human history- as if the U.S. could change the climate much
- Universal “free” healthcare, when Medicare is already bankrupt and costs are skyrocketing
- Immigration “Reform” opening the gates to 12-30 million illegals and more at the gates, which will break the bank when we’re already broke, unemployed, underemployed. We’re for orderly, legal immigration. That’s how most of our families got here ourselves.
Add to all this the vastly higher payments for the aging, retiring “Boomer” hordes.
Taxes to Pay for All the Spending
Now, we already have among the highest taxes in the world. Most years, I pay well over half of my income for various taxes. The foolish election promises not to increase taxes for people with under $250,000 in income are already history. Do you seriously believe we can spend like this without getting a bill? With huge spending and borrowing, interest payments and entitlements alone will consume all available money, with nothing left for anything else. We’re passing the tipping point where government spending and the taxation needed to support it destroy productivity and even incentive to produce. It would seem that we would need at least two to three times this years’ federal tax receipts ~$4T+, to balance next year’s expenditures—an impossibility.
The new programs and expansions I just mentioned are not sustainable, not even possible. We will be forced to retreat. The only choices are an orderly retreat where we somewhat control the alternatives, or utter collapse. There WILL be a rebellion of the taxpaying classes. It has already begun. We are living it together, right here, today!
The Fed and the Value of Our “Money”
The Federal Reserve was established in 1913 as our current central bank. Its mission is to protect the value of the currency and maintain high employment—how are they doing? Well, the dollar is near an all time low in buying power. Since 1913, it is down 95-97%, depending on who you believe. I don’t have to tell you much about unemployment, except to say that the true numbers are far higher than the “cooked” government statistics with their phony “birth/death” model and ignoring entire classes of the idled populace (try looking at www.shadowstats.com ). The Fed is a major cause of the pain we are going through. Please support U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Fed, which already has a majority of the House as co-sponsors, yet somehow Nancy Pelosi isn’t motivated to move on it.
We got into this mess not just because of Obama, not even just Bush, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Nadler and Kennedy, Wall Street/Banks, et al. It was unfortunately one of the most bipartisan processes in history. Now, we must work TOGETHER to get out of it. We need to get more people in office who will address our priorities and free up private enterprise, within reason. Much serious damage has been done over the last 60+ years. We will not return to 2005 anytime in my lifetime, nor should we want to. But, we could possibly return to a sounder, better economy than we have now. The state of California is just as bad as the federal government, but lacks the money printing press- thank God!
In conclusion, remember: no economy has ever spent its way out of something like this.
Supplemental information, other background notes
- 1920-21 depression was severe, but short, because prices were able to find their level and capital was quickly and productively redeployed by private enterprise.
- 1930’s Great Depression became “Great” after government meddling made things worse. WWII was what got us out of it.
- Crash and current recession/depression were caused by manipulation of interest rates, unsustainable stock market, debt and real estate bubbles, which are correcting, in spite of the best of Keynesian economic theory-driven efforts to reverse them. It is like trying to reverse the tide. It’s best to go with it in opportunistic ways, like a skilled swimmer in a riptide.
- The current stimuli/bailouts may actually move economic activity up, but will likely ultimately fail, because of redeployment of capital into unproductive avenues and unsustainable debt. Efforts should be far smaller and focused on life support and productive industries.
- The $11 trillion debt, plus $2 T more in ’09, plus approx. $70T unfunded liabilities, total $83T, which is about $272+K/person. That may rise to $22T debt, plus $100T unfunded liabilities by 2012= $122T, for $400+K/person, clearly unsustainable.
- Total debt 57 TRILLION ($186K/person), Not including SS/Medicare unfunded liabilities. Balance of trade $-821BB.
- Source document for $13+ trillion bailout estimate: http://www.24hgold.com/english/news-gold-silver-breakdown-of-the-fe...
- Fewer people today will be able to eke out subsistence existences, with farms and gardens, in anew depression. Most are urban workers, with specialized skills.