Friday, April 27, 2012

Chart of the Day

GDP was reported lower than expected No!!! Really???

There are many economic indicators that are bandied about on a weekly basis. Most are massaged by the government and misreported by the major media outlets. Since virtually the only economic growth we now see is attributable to public sector spending, once you distill everything down to the essentials, the only ratio that really matters for the US economy is the change in US public debt versus the change in US GDP. In the first quarter of 2012, The ratio of US public debt ($359.1 billion) and US GDP ($142.4 billion) has now hit 2.52x and is rising. In other words, it now takes $2.52 in new debt to increase GDP by $1.

The problem with debt is that once you reach a tipping point there's no easy way out. Most of the "growth" generated in our economy over the past 20 years has been fueled by debt, not productivity improvements or private sector investment. We're far past the point where additional debt can fuel meaningful additional growth. We can't can't cure the hangover with more shots of whiskey.

This is important for anyone starting off with their career, trying to save for retirement, or already living in retirement. Without meaningful economic growth and with unsustainable debt loads, the days of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency are over. Cutting entitlements or other government programs is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that will result here when the US dollar is no longer reserve currency that most other nations need to hold in order to conduct international trade.

Countries are already making trade agreements and transactions that exclude the dollar. It's likely that one of the BRIC countries will introduce a gold-backed currency at some point in the near future that will replace the dollar. A dollar collapse would most likely follow.
Lack of growth due to excessive debt leading to an inevitable fiat currency crisis are the real threats to the prosperity of every person in this country.


  1. Not the fun RV post I was hoping for but still very interesting.

    So what do we need to do to prevent this situation?

  2. I wish politicians presented this type of information instead of the simplistic "the other guy sucks".

  3. The "other guy sucks" defense is the favorite one and just doesn't hold water. This problem has been a bi-partisan creation in the works for 40 years. You can argue that there are differences between Republicans and Democrats at the edges, but for the most part both sides are at fault for the hole we've dug. Oh, and us, the American public, have played the role of enablers.

    Unfortunately, I don't think prevention of a currency crisis is an option anymore. It might have been maybe 6 years ago. About all that can be done now is to try to take steps so that your finances and living standards are best positioned to weather the storm.

  4. J & S, From that post I can only surmise that you are well aware of the Mises Institute but if not I would heartily recommend that you check them out. They have an excellent blog titled "The Circle Bastiat". Check it out at

  5. Ahhh, Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian School. I'm definitely a fan. I can't believe all the time/money I wasted in school being fed that Keynesian crap. I wonder if they even teach Austrian economics in any of our institutions of "higher learning".