by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook:
From 1990 until 2000 the debt of the United States of America stood at between $3.5 and $5.5 trillion dollars. Then in 2001, the fateful events of 9/11 took place. The Bush administration unleashed the so-called “War on Terror”, and the debt steadily climbed. Then as of 2009 something phenomenal happened, the rate of increase in the debt began to double. A 2000 debt of $5.67 trillion began to grow geometrically to the current level of $19.01 trillion. This staggering sum threatens the viability of government, America’s future, and calls to question the purposes our government was established to serve in the first place. The implications of quadrupling our expenditures since 2000 are dubious, catastrophic, and unprecedented in the history of the United States. By the time you are done reading this report, you should be on the phone to your US Congressman and your US Senatorial representative. Please America, make them stop.
Before I continue, it is necessary for all readers to grasp the sums of money we are talking about here. $19 (or 20) trillion dollars is not even understandable expressed on a typed page, not for most people. The magnitude of this kind of number, the money power of it, is simply outside the normal sphere of our experience. Even typed out completely, $19,012,827,698,418.00 dollars is a meaningless string of numbers. The weight of the debt is inestimable, expressed in such a way. But what’s more, the impacts such debt has, how it came about, and where the money went are even greater mysteries. Let me put the number in perspective, before we examine who caused the debt, and what the money was spent for. The American taxpayers and all the children of those taxpayers owe about $58,000 dollars just on the principal of this sum.
Now here is some of the evidence showing who is responsible for this mountain of debt, and what the repercussions will certainly be.
A Sinking America – Holed Below the Water Line
Our leadership has suspended something called the “debt limit”, allowing for virtually unlimited spending. Finger pointing is unnecessary; every leader in Washington is responsible. This is an undeniable fact. The latest disaster propagated by the US legislatures and our president is something called the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015, which allows the US Treasury Department to borrow unlimited funds from the Federal Reserve until 2017. The term “unlimited” and “Federal Reserve” are crucial for understanding, first the scope, and then the reasons for accelerated US debt since the last Bush presidency. Unlimited borrowing power should strike every credit card toting American right between the eyes. Imagining card companies’ interest rates, and the endless string of calls and bills arriving daily, for those swamped by the weight of plastic money, should send shivers down the spine. What happens if this debt is called in? What happens when the bubble bursts?
When things like Social Security deposits, they do not reach recipients, what effects will bankruptcy have? The negative effects on a single household are devastation, for an entire nation, and a world tied to that nation, the effects will be total devastation, a new kind of Dark Ages. But this economic Armageddon is also hard to grasp, especially for people used to “business as usual”, and those checks always in the mail somehow. Gas is still cheap, groceries are still plentiful, and that pay cut was not so bad. Americans still cook out on weekends, and watch the NFL, NBA, or Major League Baseball on cable TV. Life goes on, and only the poor kids go to fight in nameless towns in the deserts over yonder, for now anyway.
There are some who would argue that America can sustain such a staggering debt burden. But those pundits have gradually faded out of the limelight to be replaced by more logical experts. This Forbes report by Mike Patton gives us pristine insight into what has caused America to the edge of an unprecedented potential disaster. Patton pretty much answers the question of “how”, where understanding the history of this crippling debt. Nebulous terms like the “Nixon Shock”, and America going off the gold standard, are put into context. The power of the Federal Reserve Bank, that private entity most Americans think is owned by them, it is central to understanding what a mess we are in. In the article we discover what the end result of all this unsustainable debt is, though few would like to acknowledge it. The middle class in America will disappear, the rich will leave for greener tax pastures, and the poor will be forced to suck the well dry before long. America, as we have known it, will cease to exist. This is already, all but a foregone conclusion, I am sad to say. America right now, is very much like RMS Titanic, which sank after being holed below the waterline as passengers celebrated in her Grand Saloon. Not until the decks are awash, will most Americans realize the ship is doomed.
War, Chaos, and Debt, Debt, Debt
Even despite the fact the Obama administration has amped up spending and debt, media such as CNN Money out and out misleads us as to Obama’s role. Meanwhile, other media like US News & World Report diverts our attention, and puts the blame for America’s unsustainable spending on entitlement programs and welfare. The reality of trillions spent unnecessarily on war cannot be so easily diverted though. Yes, Medicare does account for 4 times as much spending as it did in 1970, but $6 trillion dollars to fight and effectively lose wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has to be accounted for. America still spends in a war on terror that we probably never was intended to win. The Taliban is stronger than ever in Afghanistan, and ISIL has morphed out of the deserts of Northern Iraq and eastern Syria. This says noting of the 400,000 people killed directly by these wars, or the tens of millions now displaced. Even before the more recent Syrian refugee crisis, Europe and other regions were already inundated with migrants fleeing war torn Iraq. This Brown University study, which started back in 2011, tells us how Obama and the previous administration put an immense burden on not only Americans, but on many other nations around the world. Let me remind you, this study and the video below are half a decade old now. The Obama administration has continued with not simply military expenditures, but with spending to prop up American hegemony, NATO, and surrogate nations like Turkey and conflicts from Ukraine to Yemen.
The wars in Afghanistan, and Iraq, the devastation of core constituents of those societies, it has lead to a widening of terrorist activities, not a curtailment. The war the Bush administration started on the lie of weapons of mass destruction has metastasized into a much wider conflict. ISIL and other jihadist groups are direct descendants of a hatred of America and the west spurred by suffering and war on the peoples of these countries. America has led the world into a war that may never end, and our leaders how want to make it even broader by attacking Russia and China. But we have only seen the tip of a huge debt iceberg so far.
Here are some more facts which shed light on insolvency and on current west-east crises as well. When President Ronald Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter, US debt increased almost instantly, by a factor of almost six times the borrowing, from the Federal Reserve. The debt remained fairly constant through Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, until Bush the junior took office, at which time borrowing increased by a factor of 2.5X. Then Barack Obama took office, and the debt doubled. For comparison, at the height of the Vietnam War, LBJ’s administration maintained a balanced budget and borrowed almost nothing. The gist of all this is, since Reagan the private bankers of the Federal Reserve have made a killing on interest payments on the debt alone. Not many people realize the magnitude of this problem. As for 2008, the total indebtedness of the United States government for things like future Social Security and Medicare payments that the U.S. government is already committed to pay out, exceeded $65 trillion dollars, and the figures are much higher today. Almost half of every dollar spent by our government today is borrowed.
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