Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Several Inconvenient Truths About The Debt Ceiling And "Deficit Reduction"

Bill Buckler presents an amusing compendium of facts, let us call them inconvenient truths, in the latest edition of his newsletter, some of which would make for entertaining anecdotes if presented at the Biden "deficit cutting" talks, which also, and very paradoxically, aim to cut US debt by increasing it.
  • Not one penny of US debt has been repaid for 51 years: the last time US government funded debt actually decresed on a year-over-year basis was 1960
  • 97% of today's funded debt has been accumulated since August 1971 - the end of the Bretton Woods era by Nixon, and the terminal delinking of all fiat currencies from any and all hard assets, ushered in the era of modern-day hyper-debt insolvency
  • Obama projects 2.5% Fed Funds rate in budget calculations through 2020. Average Fed Funds rate since 1980: 5.7%; Since 2008: 0.00%, If average 5.7% rate was used, projected US deficit would increase by another $4.9 trillion by 2020
  • Obama projects 4.2% growth rate over next 3 years. If a normal growth rate of 2.5% is used, deficits would increase by another $4 trillion by 2020
  • The US government borrows 40-50 cents for every dollar it spends. A balanced budget would mean cutting government spending in half.
  • Implementing a balanced budget would not reduce current debt outstanding. It would merely stop it from growing.
  • Over the past three fiscal years US debt grew by over $1.5 trillion per year: this is more than three times the record annual debt increase in any previous year in US history
  • Last night deficit reduction targets were cut from $4 trillion to $2 trillion over the next decade, in exchange for a $2.4 trillion debt ceiling hike, which will last the Treasury until the next presidential election. Said otherwise, the Treasury needs to fund a $2.4 trillion hold over the next 15 months. Over a decade this come to $20 trillion: ten times more than the proposed deficit reduction.
And the most inconvenient truth of all:
The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) is said to have been precipitated by the Lehman failure in 2008 which froze inter-bank lending on a global basis and almost brought down the system. It is said to have been prevented by a massive and global increase in new money creation. In reality, had economic nature been left alone to take its course, there is a good chance that the world would be fast emerging from its financial black hole by now. At a minimum, most of the malinvestments would have been discounted to the point where they would no longer act as a dead weight on future savings and investment.

Economic “miracles” (so-called) have happened before. The US emerged from a deep recession in 1920-21 because the government and the central bank did NOT interfere. Germany emerged from the actual physical rubble of WW II for exactly the same reason. So, to a lesser extent, did Japan. In all these cases, debts which could not be repaid were not held on life support by central banks, they were written off. In all these cases, creditors took very severe “haircuts” indeed while many debtors literally had to start again from scratch. In all these cases, the LACK of government impediments or government largesse meant that a recovery took place in a much shorter time frame than would otherwise have been the case.

Economic distortions today are HUGELY bigger than they were then. That means that the recession will be deeper and the recovery phase possibly longer. But until it is allowed to begin, there is no way out.
None of the above will be noted anywhere by the great diversionary media spin machine over the next two weeks, since July 22 is the date by which Congress says it needs to pass the debt ceiling legislation so it can get it to Obama's desk for his signature by August 2.

No comments: