There is a lot of talk about the national debt of the United States these days, but the truth is that most Americans still do not really grasp how horrific it really is. Today, the U.S. national debt is rapidly approaching 14 trillion dollars. It is the single biggest debt in the history of the world. It has grown in size for a whopping 53 years in a row, and every single month it gets even worse. Things were bad enough before the economic crisis of 2008, but since then U.S. government debt has soared into the stratosphere. We are now running deficits that are well over a trillion dollars each year with no end in sight. We are literally running out of people to borrow money from. China is still the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, and we have to constantly keep sending top government officials over there to beg them to keep lending us money. But they are getting tired of our nonsense. Now the Federal Reserve is saying that they probably will just buy up massive amounts of U.S. government debt. That is essentially a gigantic Ponzi scheme, but the truth is that there is not much about U.S. government finances that does not resemble a Ponzi scheme at this point.
The following chart shows the growth of the national debt of the United States over the last few decades. As you can see, things are getting worse at an exponential pace....
In a recent article in which Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff analyzed the financial condition of the U.S. government, he summarized the situation by making the following statement....
"Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt."
After analyzing Congressional Budget Office data, Kotlikoff concluded that the U.S. government is facing a "fiscal gap" of $202 trillion dollars. That number includes our current debt and unfunded future liabilities that the U.S. government has already committed to.
What a complete and total mess.
So what can the U.S. government do about this situation?
Raise our taxes through the roof?
Oh yeah, the American people are really going to go for that about now.
Well, perhaps we could sell some U.S. government assets.
After all, don't we have a whole bunch of gold sitting in Fort Knox?
The truth is that nobody knows for sure what is in Fort Knox because there has not been an accounting of it in years, but assuming the gold is still there, perhaps we could sell it.
So how far would it go?
Well, according to one estimate, there is 147 million ounces of gold in Fort Knox. It would be worth approximately $176 billion at today's prices.
That would cover the U.S. government budget deficit for about a month or two.
The sad reality is that we are literally drowning in debt, and we are going to pass this enormous debt on to our children and grandchildren.
Do you think that they will thank us?
What we are doing to future generations is absolutely unconscionable.
But hey, now you can help.
If you would like to help address this problem, the federal government is actually taking online donations that will go towards paying off the national debt.
Try to resist the urge to laugh.
Seriously, though, the horror that this nation is facing is beyond comprehension. The following are 12 statistics about the national debt of the United States that are almost too crazy to believe....
#1 From the founding of the United States until Ronald Reagan took office, the United States had accumulated a total debt of about 1 trillion dollars.
#2 In just the last 30 years we have accumulated 12 trillion dollars more debt.
#3 If you were alive when Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
#4 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars. But somehow the U.S. government has accumulated a debt that is well over 13 trillion dollars.
#5 It is projected that the U.S. government will issue nearly as much new debt in 2010 as the rest of the governments of the world combined.
#6 If you do the math, the truth is that it is simply not possible to pay off the U.S. national debt. In fact, if you took every single dollar out of every single bank and out of every single wallet in the United States there still wouldn't be anywhere close to enough money to do it.
#7 According to an official U.S. government report, rapidly growing interest costs on the U.S. national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019. That is before one penny is spent on anything else.
#8 Back in 1950, each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by approximately 16 workers. Today, each retiree's Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers. By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.
#9 According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2010 the Social Security system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes. That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.
#10 Over 41 million Americans are now enrolled in the food stamp program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting that more than 43 million Americans will be on food stamps by the end of 2011.
#11 A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the globe more than 380 times. That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.
#12 According to Democrat Erskine Bowles, if some truly significant changes are not made, the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just for interest on the national debt by the year 2020. Considering the fact that the total budget for the U.S. government in 2010 was less than $4 trillion dollars, that is a very troubling prognosis.
Anyone with half a brain can see that this is not anywhere close to sustainable. Anyone with half a brain can see that this is destined to end very badly. Anyone with half a brain can see that we are headed for absolute financial disaster.
We have been living far, far beyond our means for decades, and now a day of reckoning is fast approaching. As a society we have been completely addicted to debt, and now we are going to pay the price.
Is there any way out of this mess?
Not under the current system.
The cold, hard truth is that the U.S. government is headed for a debt nightmare that is going to shake the financial system of the entire world. For years, many of us tried desperately to warn the American people that we were headed for disaster, but most people did not listen.
In fact, most Americans still do not understand how horrific this financial crisis really is. Unfortunately most Americans will probably not wake up until a complete and total economic collapse happens, and by then it will be too late.