CBS News revealed today that under Trump’s watch, the U.S. national debt tops $21 trillion for first time ever. Click here to read.
Twenty-one TRILLION dollars. That’s $21,000,000,000,000. A lot of zeros. The largest national debt in the history of human civilization.
To be fair, this has very little to do with Donald Trump. That’s just CBS playing politics as usual for clickbait. Trump hasn’t been POTUS long enough. Though some might argue that the historic tax break legislation that he and the republican led congress just passed helped contribute to this staggering imbalance (and will add even more to it down the road). But many will also jump out of their SUVs to blame Obama for it. And still others will point to the fact that the George W. Bush administration and their endless “wars on terror” are what really ramped up this new trend in American over-spending. All would be right.
Not that anyone likes thinking about this topic, but what I tend to contemplate a lot regarding the mind boggling National Debt figure above and its ramifications is that statistically we know that once a country’s debt reaches 60% of its GDP, that country historically plunges into a deep depression or even falls apart into panic and chaos, unless it institutes extremely painful “austerity” measures (think cutting back on spending for the most basic of people’s everyday necessities…). Which often leads to bloody revolts and revolutions.
(People generally don’t like starving. And more apt, humanity has reached a new era where many believe that they have a right to being taken care of by very big governments and they have deliberately voted in governments who do just that. (Think Socialism or Communism). And some might even point to modern day America as well. What are commonly referred to as “Entitlements” or “social welfare spending” has reached an epic sixty-some percent of the annual budget in the U.S. It didn’t always used to be this way. It doubles how much is spent on defense, for reference. (Although the U.S. still also manages to spend more on defense (think weapons of war and Intelligence) annually than all other nations on earth combined.)
Even when a country enforces strict austerity measures on its people for years at a time in order to try to pay down its debt, it still often presents numerous challenges to ever escape the clutches of the growing interest payments, it’s currency turns near worthless and it finds itself unable to end the death cycle.
Ironically that’s usually when the US steps in and takes the country over thru the World Bank and IMF and other backdoor means etc… And as funny and tragic as that is, it’s not possible in this instance because it’s the US that we’re talking about here. So who’s going to step in and take over? That’s the real question.
[This might be as good a place as any to note for followers of New World Order Conspiracy theories that there is a view by some that the national debt of the United States is entirely meaningless in the bigger picture, because the world itself is ruled and has been ruled by one very small but far reaching group of people or organizations, dominated by the Vatican (still just the Roman Empire disguised as a “religion”) (the wealthiest country/company in the world), the U.K. (the so-called “royal family” being the second wealthiest country/company in the world, with the largest real estate holdings on earth), France, and the United States. The United States is allegedly the military arm of this invisible, omniscient and omnipotent global power, whereas much of the decision making still comes from the U.K. and the Vatican, as it has for over a thousand years, and to a lesser degree France. In the case of the Vatican/Roman Empire, it’s been more than two-thousand years. So… no debt, low debt, high debt, it just doesn’t matter when you run the military machine for most of the entire globe.]
When it comes to the United States’ national debt, we know the U.S. has been protected from this normally predictable economic outcome outlined above through various nefarious schemes and actions they’ve taken since WW II like dropping two nuclear bombs on Japan in order to intimidate and scare the crap out of potential competing super powers, creating the U.N. as a thinly veiled disguise for its goal of global dominance through more legitimate seeming means, building up the largest military and nuclear stockpile the world has ever seen, dismantling democracies and installing dictatorships all over the world, installing and maintaining 8,000 military bases in over 80 countries, propping up the Saudi dictatorship to control the country of Arabia indefinitely in order to control the global oil supply and force the world to use the US dollar as it’s mandated reserve currency, etc. (The list is much longer, I know. The small sample above can be viewed as a general overview of some of the more standout or major egregious activities that led to the establishment of the modern American empire.)
Okay fine. So the United States has largely gotten away with just about anything one could imagine over the last 75 years, including running up a mind-blowing national debt that surpasses its annual GDP and yet it just keeps on plugging away. [The United States recorded a government debt equivalent to 105.40% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2017. Government Debt to GDP in the United States averaged 61.70 percent from 1940 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 118.90 percent in 1946 and a record low of 31.70 percent in 1981.] For context let’s take note that in the G20 (the largest 20 economies in the world) the United States is NOT the winner in the highest debt to GDP race. That award goes to Italy presently, who’ve managed to rack up an impressive 130% debt to GDP ratio. Japan comes in second place, with approximately 110%. But the United States IS in third place. For the world’s largest economy and one of only two real viable super powers left in the world, that should be a frightening statistic.
But instead, it seems to be no big deal. No one seems to think it’s a problem. Not even normally fiscally conservative Conservatives seem to care anymore. The US dollar is actually getting stronger and forcing other countries’ currencies and debt into dangerous territory. And US Treasury bonds are still considered the safest, most secure and sought after assets in the world.
It may sound crazy. But it’s real. And to some it might beg the question if any of our former ideas regarding global economics even matter today as long as a country like the United States can maintain global dominance through fear of its military might. Classic empire stuff.
But will there ever be a reckoning? Like what will or could cause it? Let’s say the US just keeps jacking that debt up to 25 trillion. Or 28 trillion? Is there a figure that would ever be frowned upon by other nations around the world? Or does the threat of both it’s economic and military might protect the United States from any of the normal rules that other countries must follow?
Would anyone even care or pay attention if the United States jacked its national debt up to 150% as long as it maintained such a stronghold on the world militarily? Especially now after they’ve nearly taken over so much of the Middle East? That campaign was a huge win for the Neocon Hawks and their quest for “a new American 21st century”. Sad (for sure). But except for Iran (a country the U.S. has tried to dominate unsuccessfully for over 70 years), a largely successful military campaign of mammoth imperialist aims.
Some sources claim that during the Obama administration the United States was involved in more simultaneous wars than at any other time in its history. All in the Middle East. That’s a sobering statistic. Although if one reflects back on World War II, it seems hard to believe. But at the very least the United States during the Obama administration was involved in active military campaigns (or covert drone bombings) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria. Both the Bush and Obama years saw the United States involved in a multitude of battles and wars all over the Middle East to assure its global dominance would continue in the 21st century.
So what could possibly knock or take the U.S. out? They’re HUGE. Monstrous. Gigantic. You can hear their people mindlessly chanting “USA USA!” People used to compare the United States to the Roman Empire back in the day. Even though that comparison seems quaint by today’s standards. Rome was an ant colony compared to what the United States is now. Total global reach wrapped up and down and all around planet earth and into outer space as well. Does it last forever? Can it?
Historically we know that we’ve never seen it last forever… Every empire crumbles. Or has crumbled. But the only feasible outcome for the US in regards to how they have things set up now is terrifying. Due to their military and nuclear arsenal. One gets the impression that those in power in the US are not going to just get up and go away quietly. If they’re ever forced to go out they’re probably going to want to do so with a very loud and deadly bang.
Is there any other way for the world to regain even a little bit of control or even just liberation from US dominance without the US just going full on ballistic and invading or bombing? Is there any option for a safe NON military way for them to just back down? Even a little? This is what keeps me up at night.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A brief exploration of the state of affairs of the rest of the world in regards to America’s stupefying national debt and their need to maintain military dominance because of it.
What about the more serious question for Americans? As to what would or could happen to the people of the United States if ever there was a reckoning? If every country in the world got together and collectively decided to stop permitting the US to continue to rack up its unsustainable debt and using bullying tactics to perpetuate it, and the US was forced to get its economic house in order, would any other countries come to their aid? Or would they gleefully take a step back and watch the people of the United States stagger and struggle to survive, believing the tragic but necessary event was deserved and a long time coming?
[Long time readers will remember that when the horrific events of 9/11 transpired (regardless of who you think was responsible, at the time it was viewed as an “attack” on the American people) that yours truly was at a large International language school in Costa Rica. There were about 100 of us there for the semester as students at the time from a variety of different countries, most of them European.
I will never forget the callous nearly gleeful response that some of the other students at the school expressed that morning as we Americans (there were only 2 of us) stood there stunned and horrified watching those planes crash into the World Trade Towers on live TV. I will always remember the sound of people around me mumbling things like “serves them right”, “this was bound to happen” and “what did they expect?” As if they were happy that it was happening. I mention this for context and in light of the possible reactions the world might have if another catastrophe should affect the US, this time being more economic. People tend to cheer for the underdog and feel envious of those who always seem to win. And since World War II the United States has been winning bigtime.
And although old red white and blue collected most of the world’s empathy and support directly following the attacks of 9/11, they spent it all very quickly due to what many labeled unnecessary unjustified and villainous invasions of many middle eastern countries.]
To the above question though, some would respond that China has already been coming to the aid of the US economically and has been for decades. Along with Japan they hold the largest amount (measured in US dollars) of U.S. bonds, T-Bills and debt than any other non-U.S. entities. It’s a convenient way to help prop up the heavily imbalanced American economy, and in return help their own economy as well, since the United States is China’s largest trading partner i.e. the American people spend more money buying things from China than any other nation on earth.
So both super-powers, though ideologically differing in their view on how to run a large government body and control it’s people, have had a relatively stable win-win economic relationship for decades now. And despite the political bluster for the cameras, both rely heavily on the other. And they know it.
That’s a fact that provides me with both comfort and fear. Since the Cold War ended and Russia seemingly retreated back into its oligarchic trenches for the time being, China has lurched forward to become the only primary competitor with the U.S. for world domination both economically and militarily in today’s world. But they at present seem to need the US and it’s consumer base as much as the US needs them. And that’s probably a good thing. Can this delicate balancing act last forever? We don’t know. And that’s the problem.
And yes as always there is obviously much more to the story. We’ll get to it all in time.
– Posted by The Ambassador, as Ed Hale, from the Transcendence Embassy — New York, NY using BlogPress on an iPhone