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34 Shocking Facts About U.S. Debt That Should Set America On Fire With Anger

We have all been lied to.  For decades, the leaders of both major political parties have promised us that they can fix our current system and that they can get our national debt under control.  As the 2012 election approaches, they are making all kinds of wild promises once again.

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We have all been lied to.  For decades, the leaders of both major political parties have promised us that they can fix our current system and that they can get our national debt under control.  As the 2012 election approaches, they are making all kinds of wild promises once again.  Well you know what?  It is all a giant sham.  The United States has gotten into so much debt that there will be no coming back from this.  The current system is irretrievably broken. 30 years ago the U.S. debt was a horrific crisis that was completely and totally out of control.  If we would have dealt with it back then maybe we could have done something about it.  But now it is 15 times larger, and we are adding more than a trillion dollars to the debt every single year.  The facts that you are about to read below should set America on fire with anger.  Please share them with as many people as you can.  What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is absolutely nightmarish.  Words like “abuse”, “financial rape”, “theft” and “crime” do not even begin to describe what we are doing to future generations.  We were the wealthiest nation on earth, but it wasn’t good enough just to squander all of our own money.  We had to squander the money of our children and our grandchildren as well.  America has been so selfish and so self-centered that it is hard to argue that we don’t deserve what is about to happen to this country.  We have stolen the future of America, and yet we strut around as if we are the smartest generation that ever walked the face of the earth.

All of this prosperity that we see all around us is just an illusion.  It is a false prosperity that has been purchased by the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.

Did you know that if you added up all forms of debt in the United States and divided it up equally that every single family in the country would owe more than $683,000?

We are a nation that is absolutely addicted to debt, and the U.S. debt crisis threatens to destroy everything that our forefathers built.

Yes, everything may seem fine for the moment, but what do you think would happen if the federal government suddenly adopted a balanced budget?

1.3 trillion dollars a year would be sucked right out of the economy and we would be looking at an “economic readjustment” that would be mind blowing.

Enjoy this false prosperity while you can, because it is not going to last.

Debt is a very cruel master, and our day of reckoning is almost here.

The following are 34 shocking facts about U.S. debt that should set America on fire with anger….

#1 During fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government spent 3.7 trillion dollars but it only brought in 2.4 trillion dollars.

#2 When Ronald Reagan took office, the U.S. national debt was less than 1 trillion dollars.  Today, the U.S. national debt is over 15.2 trillion dollars.

#3 During 2011, U.S. debt surpassed 100 percent of GDP for the first time ever.

#4 According to Wikipedia, the monetary base “consists of coins, paper money (both as bank vault cash and as currency circulating in the public), and commercial banks’ reserves with the central bank.”  Currently the U.S. monetary base is sitting somewhere around 2.7 trillion dollars.  So if you went out and gathered all of that money up it would only make a small dent in our national debt.  But afterwards there would be no currency for anyone to use.

#5 The U.S. government spent over 454 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2011.

#6 The U.S. government has total assets of 2.7 trillion dollars and has total liabilities of 17.5 trillion dollars.  The liabilities do not even count 4.7 trillion dollars of intragovernmental debt that is currently outstanding.

#7 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#8 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will surpass 23 trillion dollars in 2015.

#9 According to the GAO, the U.S. government is facing 34 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities for social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare.  These are obligations that we have already committed ourselves to but that we do not have any money for.

#10 Others estimate that the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government now total over 117 trillion dollars.

#11 According to the GAO, the ratio of debt held by the public to GDP is projected to reach 287 percent of GDP by 2086.

#12 Others are much less optimistic.  A recently revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.

#13 The United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.

#14 If you divide up the national debt equally among all U.S. taxpayers, each taxpayer would owe approximately $134,685.

#15 Mandatory federal spending surpassed total federal revenue for the first time ever in fiscal 2011.  That was not supposed to happen until 50 years from now.

#16 Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.

#17 During Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.

#18 When you add up all spending by the federal government, state governments and local governments, it comes to 46.6% of GDP.

#19 Our nation is more addicted to government checks than ever before.  In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

#20 U.S. households are now actually receiving more money directly from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

#21 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#22 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#23 In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.

#24 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.

#25 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#26 If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion each and every year.

#27 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.  But this year alone the U.S. government is going to add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt.

#28 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.

#29 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.

#30 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 470,000 years to pay off the national debt.

#31 If Bill Gates gave every penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.

#32 According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. is facing a “fiscal gap” of over 200 trillion dollars in the future.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article that he did for CNN….

The government’s total indebtedness — its fiscal gap — now stands at $211 trillion, by my arithmetic. The fiscal gap is the difference, measured in present value, between all projected future spending obligations — including our huge defense expenditures and massive entitlement programs, as well as making interest and principal payments on the official debt — and all projected future taxes.

#33 If you add up all forms of debt in the United States (government, business and consumer), it comes to more than 56 trillion dollars.  That is more than $683,000 per family.  Unfortunately, the average amount of savings per family in the U.S. is only about $4,735.

#34 The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.

But do our leaders care about statistics such as these?

No.

In fact, Barack Obama says that we need to raise the debt limit by another 1.2 trillion dollars.

The absurdity of raising the debt limit when we are already in so much debt is beautifully illustrated by the video posted below….

I just thought that video was so well done.

The “huge cuts” that Congress has agreed to are absolutely meaningless when compared to how rapidly our debt is exploding.

Calling those cuts “pocket change” would be an insult to pocket change.

But it is not just U.S. debt that is the problem.  The European debt crisis threatens to completely unravel in 2012 and Japan actually has the highest debt to GDP ratio in the entire industrialized world.

In 2012, a total of 7,600,000,000,000 dollars of debt must be rolled over by the G-7 nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

That doesn’t even count new borrowing.  That number just represents old debts that are coming due that must be refinanced.

Anyone out there that insists that this debt bubble can be fixed under our current system is lying.

A massive amount of financial pain is coming.

It is time for Americans to wake up from their television-induced comas.

It is time for Americans to get very angry.

Your future has been destroyed and the future of your children and grandchildren has been destroyed.

You better take action while you still can.

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Today’s Market Looks Like It Did At The Peaks Before Last 13 Bear Markets

The US stock market today looks a lot like it did at the peak before all 13 previous price collapses. That doesn’t mean that a bear market is imminent, but it does amount to a stark warning against complacency.

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h/t ZeroHedge 

The US stock market today looks a lot like it did at the peak before all 13 previous price collapses. That doesn’t mean that a bear market is imminent, but it does amount to a stark warning against complacency.

The U.S. stock market today is characterized by a seemingly unusual combination of very high valuations, following a period of strong earnings growth, and very low volatility.

What do these ostensibly conflicting messages imply about the likelihood that the United States is headed toward a bear market in stocks?

To answer that question, we must look to past bear markets. And that requires us to define precisely what a bear market entails. The media nowadays delineate a “classic” or “traditional” bear market as a 20% decline in stock prices.

That definition does not appear in any media outlet before the 1990s, and there has been no indication of who established it. It may be rooted in the experience of Oct. 19, 1987, when the stock market dropped by just over 20% in a single day. Attempts to tie the term to the “Black Monday” story may have resulted in the 20% definition, which journalists and editors probably simply copied from one another.

Origin of the ‘20%’ figure

In any case, that 20% figure is now widely accepted as an indicator of a bear market. Where there seems to be less overt consensus is on the time period for that decline. Indeed, those past newspaper reports often didn’t mention any time period at all in their definitions of a bear market. Journalists writing on the subject apparently did not think it necessary to be precise.

In assessing America’s past experience with bear markets, I used that traditional 20% figure, and added my own timing rubric. The peak before a bear market, per my definition, was the most recent 12-month high, and there should be some month in the subsequent year that is 20% lower. Whenever there was a contiguous sequence of peak months, I took the last one.

Referring to my compilation of monthly S&P Composite and related data, I found that there have been just 13 bear markets in the U.S. since 1871. The peak months before the bear markets occurred in 1892, 1895, 1902, 1906, 1916, 1929, 1934, 1937, 1946, 1961, 1987, 2000 and 2007. A couple of notorious stock-market collapses — in 1968-70 and in 1973-74 — are not on the list, because they were more protracted and gradual.

CAPE ratio

Once the past bear markets were identified, it was time to assess stock valuations prior to them, using an indicator that my Harvard colleague John Y. Campbell and I developed in 1988 to predict long-term stock-market returns. The cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio is found by dividing the real (inflation-adjusted) stock index by the average of 10 years of earnings, with higher-than-average ratios implying lower-than-average returns. Our research showed that the CAPE ratio is somewhat effective at predicting real returns over a 10-year period, though we did not report how well that ratio predicts bear markets.

This month, the CAPE ratio in the U.S. is just above 30. That is a high ratio. Indeed, between 1881 and today, the average CAPE ratio has stood at just 16.8. Moreover, it has exceeded 30 only twice during that period: in 1929 and in 1997-2002.

But that does not mean that high CAPE ratios aren’t associated with bear markets. On the contrary, in the peak months before past bear markets, the average CAPE ratio was higher than average, at 22.1, suggesting that the CAPE does tend to rise before a bear market.

Moreover, the three times when there was a bear market with a below-average CAPE ratio were after 1916 (during World War I), 1934 (during the Great Depression) and 1946 (during the post-World War II recession). A high CAPE ratio thus implies potential vulnerability to a bear market, though it is by no means a perfect predictor.

Earnings to the rescue?

To be sure, there does seem to be some promising news. According to my data, real S&P Composite stock earnings have grown 1.8% per year, on average, since 1881. From the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017, by contrast, real earnings growth was 13.2%, well above the historical annual rate.

But this high growth does not reduce the likelihood of a bear market. In fact, peak months before past bear markets also tended to show high real earnings growth: 13.3% per year, on average, for all 13 episodes. Moreover, at the market peak just before the biggest ever stock-market drop, in 1929-32, 12-month real earnings growth stood at 18.3%.

Another piece of ostensibly good news is that average stock-price volatility — measured by finding the standard deviation of monthly percentage changes in real stock prices for the preceding year — is an extremely low 1.2%. Between 1872 and 2017, volatility was nearly three times as high, at 3.5%.

Low volatility

Yet, again, this does not mean that a bear market isn’t approaching. In fact, stock-price volatility was lower than average in the year leading up to the peak month preceding the 13 previous U.S. bear markets, though today’s level is lower than the 3.1% average for those periods. At the peak month for the stock market before the 1929 crash, volatility was only 2.8%.

In short, the U.S. stock market today looks a lot like it did at the peaks before most of the country’s 13 previous bear markets. This is not to say that a bear market is guaranteed: Such episodes are difficult to anticipate, and the next one may still be a long way off. And even if a bear market does arrive, for anyone who does not buy at the market’s peak and sell at the trough, losses tend to be less than 20%.

But my analysis should serve as a warning against complacency. Investors who allow faulty impressions of history to lead them to assume too much stock-market risk today may be inviting considerable losses.

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You don’t want to miss this new trend

Over the past six years, U.S. stocks have screamed higher…

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Original Link | The Crux


From Ben Morris, Editor, DailyWealth Trader:

Over the past six years, U.S. stocks have screamed higher…

They’ve doubled the performance of stocks around the rest of the world — a 116% gain compared with a 57% gain (*all numbers in this essay are as of Sept. 12).

But recently, that situation reversed…

Over the past four months, non-U.S. stocks have more than doubled the gains in U.S. stocks (8.5% compared with 4.1%). And yesterday, the market gave us a sign that big gains are likely still to come.

If you’ve been reading DailyWealth Trader (DWT), you know we’ve encouraged readers to own foreign stocks for years…

Mostly, this has been because investors around the world suffer from something called “home-country bias.” Nearly all the businesses they buy are based in their home countries… And they either ignore or fear opportunities outside their countries’ borders.

This hasn’t been a problem for U.S.-based investors lately… But now that foreign stocks are outperforming – and now that U.S. stocks are no longer cheap – it’s an even better idea to put some of your money to work in other markets.

Plus, as I noted above, the market just gave us a sign that the gains in non-U.S. stocks will likely continue…

Yesterday, the MSCI World ex USA Index hit a new one-year high. The index is made up of more than 1,000 businesses based in 22 countries. And in the past, new one-year highs were a great sign.

The table below shows how the index has performed after hitting a one-year high. Over the past 33 years, it has happened more than 600 times.

One year later, the index was higher 76.9% of the time… And the median return was 11.5%. (That means you would have made 11.5% or more exactly half of the occurrences.) You can also see the rate of 10%-plus gains and 5%-plus losses…

dwttable919

These are great odds. Based on history, if you were to buy a basket of non-U.S. stocks today, you would have a 54% chance of making 10% or more over the next year… and just a 14% chance of losing 5% or more.

Compare that with the index’s returns after all periods (essentially, buying the index at random). The average and median returns were lower across all time frames. The chances of a positive return were seven to 10 percentage points lower. The frequency of 10%-plus gains after one year was much lower… And the frequency of 5%-plus losses was much higher.

dwttable2919

History presents a clear picture… Buying non-U.S. stocks after new one-year highs is a good idea.

You can see how a handful of foreign stock funds have performed relative to the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 Index over the past year in the chart below…

0912_spx_globalstocks

All but Greek stocks are at or just shy of new highs.

If you prefer to keep it simple, you can also consider buying a fund like the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Fund (VEU). It is the largest exchange-traded fund dedicated to diversified non-U.S. stocks. It holds stocks from 54 different countries, with larger weightings in developed markets and smaller weightings in emerging markets.

VEU just hit a new high, too.

If you’ve been dragging your feet on buying foreign stocks, you’ve missed out on great gains lately… But you haven’t “missed the boat.”

Non-U.S. stocks have underperformed U.S. stocks for years. And that situation has started to change only recently. Now that these stocks are hitting new highs, it’s even more likely than before that we’ll see double-digit gains in the year to come.

I strongly recommend you participate.

Regards,

Ben Morris

Crux note: Ben has recommended a few great ways to safely invest in foreign stocks today. So far, his readers are up on all of them – 19%, 31%, 16%, and 1%, respectively. And his top open recommendation just hit 150% since February. For a limited time, you can access all of Ben’s top ideas with a risk-free trial subscription. Get the details right here.

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Today the music stops

After months of preparing financial markets for this news, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce that it will finally begin shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

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Today’s the day.

After months of preparing financial markets for this news, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce that it will finally begin shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

I know, that probably sound reeeeally boring. A bunch of central bankers talking about their balance sheet.

But it’s phenomenally important. And I’ll explain why-

When the Global Financial Crisis started in 2008, the Federal Reserve (along with just about every central bank in the world) took the unprecedented step of conjuring trillions of dollars out of thin air.

In the Fed’s case, it was roughly $3.5 trillion, about 25% of the size of the entire US economy at the time.

That’s a lot of money.

And after nearly a decade of this free money policy, there is more money in the financial system than ever before.

Economists have a measure for money supply called “M2”. And M2 is at a record high — nearly $9 trillion higher than at the start of the 2008 crisis.

Now, one might expect that, over time, as the population and economy grow, the amount of money in the system would increase.

But even on a per-capita basis, and relative to the size of US GDP, there is more money in the system than there has ever been, at least in the history of modern central banking.

And that has consequences.

One of those consequences is that asset prices have exploded.

Stocks are at all-time highs. Bonds are at all-time highs. Many property markets are at all-time highs. Even the prices of alternative assets like private equity and artwork are at all-time highs.

But isn’t that a good thing?

Well, let’s look at stocks as an example.

As investors, we trade our hard-earned savings for shares of a [hopefully] successful, well-managed business.

That’s what stocks represent– ownership interests in businesses. So investors are ultimately buying a share of a company’s net assets, profits, and free cash flow.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Let’s look at Exxon Mobil…

In 2006, the last full year before the Federal Reserve started any monetary shenanigans, Exxon reported $365 billion in revenue, profit (net income) of nearly $40 billion and free cash flow (i.e. the money that’s available to pay out to shareholders) of $33.8 billion.

At the time, the company had $6.6 billion in debt.

Ten years later, Exxon’s full-year 2016 revenue was $226 billion, net income was $7.8 billion, free cash flow was $5.9 billion and the company had an unbelievable debt level of $28.9 billion.

In other words, compared to its performance in 2006, Exxon’s 2016 revenue dropped nearly 40%, due to the decline in oil prices.

Plus its profits and free cash flow collapsed by more than 80%. And debt skyrocketed by over 4x.

So what do you think happened to the stock price over this period?

It must have gone down, right? I mean… if investors are essentially paying for a share of the business’ profits, and those profits are 80% less, then the share of the business should also decline.

Except — that’s not what happened. Exxon’s stock price at the end of 2006 was around $75. By the end of 2016 it was around $90, 20% higher.

And it’s not just Exxon. This same curiosity fits to many of the largest companies in the world.

General Electric reported $13.9 billion in free cash flow in 2006. Last year’s free cash flow was NEGATIVE.

Plus, the company’s book value, i.e. its ‘net worth’, plummeted from $122 billion in 2006 to $77 billion in 2016.

So investors’ share of the free cash flow is essentially worthless, while their share of the net assets has also fallen dramatically.

GE’s stock was actually down slightly in 2016 compared to 2006. But the minor stock decline is nothing compared to the train wreck in the company’s financial statements.

Between 2006 and 2016, McDonalds reported only a tiny increase in revenue. And in terms of bottom line, McDonalds 2016’s profit was about 30% higher than it was in 2006.

McDonalds’ debt soared from $8.4 billion to $25.8. And the company’s book value, according to its own financial statements, dropped from $15.8 billion to NEGATIVE $2 billion.

So over ten years, McDonald’s saw a 30% increase in profits, but took on so much debt that they wiped out shareholders’ book value.

And yet the company’s stock price has TRIPLED.

Coca Cola. IBM. Johnson & Johnson.

Company after company, we can see businesses that are performing marginally better (or in some cases WORSE). They’ve taken on FAR more debt than ever before.

Yet their stock prices are insanely higher.

How is that even possible? Why are investors paying more money for shares of a business that isn’t much better than before?

There’s really only one explanation: there’s way too much money in the system.

All that money the Fed printed over the years has created an enormous bubble, pushing up the prices of assets to record highs even though their fundamental values haven’t really improved.

As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, “Financial assets across developed economies are more overvalued than at any other time in recent centuries,” i.e. at least since 1800.

Investors are paying far more than ever for their investments, but receiving only marginally more value in return. And they’re actually excited about it.

This doesn’t make sense. We don’t get excited to pay more and receive less at the grocery store.

But when underperforming assets fetch top dollar, people feel like they’re wealthier. Crazy.

Today the Fed should formally announce that after nearly a decade, it’s going to start vacuuming up a lot of that money it printed in 2008.

Bottom line: they’re going to start cutting the lights and turning off the music.

And given the enormous impact that this policy had on asset prices, it would be foolish to think its reversal will be consequence-free.

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