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Author Topic: US debt clock running out of time, space
West Coast Tiger
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posted 30 March 2006 07:50 PM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
US debt clock running out of time, space

quote:
NEW YORK (AFP) - Tick, 20,000 dollars, tock, another 20,000 dollars.

So rapid is the rise of the US national debt, that the last four digits of a giant digital signboard counting the moving total near New York's Times Square move in seemingly random increments as they struggle to keep pace.

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of 8.3 trillion -- or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 -- dollars ... and counting.

But it's not big enough.

Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the 10-trillion-dollar mark and, lacking space for the extra digit such a figure would require, the clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence.

The clock's owner, real estate developer Douglas Durst, knew such a problem could arise but hadn't counted on it so soon.

"We really expected it to be quite some time," Durst told AFP. "But now, with the pace of debt growth only increasing, we're looking at maybe two years and certainly before President (George W.) Bush leaves office in 2009."

...

Last week, the "family share" readout on the clock stood some loose change short of 90,000 dollars.


[ 30 March 2006: Message edited by: West Coast Tiger ]


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Wee Mousie
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posted 30 March 2006 08:45 PM      Profile for Wee Mousie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am waiting for someone like Chris Matthews to say something like, “You’d have thought they’d have learned their lesson with the Y2K bug!”
From: Mouse Hole | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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Babbler # 7842

posted 30 March 2006 11:40 PM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Wee Mousie:
I am waiting for someone like Chris Matthews to say something like, “You’d have thought they’d have learned their lesson with the Y2K bug!”


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
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posted 31 March 2006 12:09 AM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I was looking for a Canadian reference and came up with this from a government website.

quote:
Federal debt as a percentage of the economy was 38.7 per cent in 2004–05, a reduction of 29.7 percentage points from its peak of 68.4 per cent in 1995–96.

Canada’s Fiscal Progress

Are these numbers accurate?


From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 31 March 2006 12:11 AM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, more or less. Compared to most of the world, Canada is doing really, really well with our debt.
From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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posted 31 March 2006 03:28 AM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The real problem associated with the debt is the ability, or lack thereof, to pay it off.

There is no hope for the US debt to be paid, or even paid down, ever. The only possible way that they might make a dent is to lower the standard of living in the US by 50% or more. That's not likely to be a political platform anytime soon.

It's interesting that the Straussians that run the US now are doing economically more or less what the German Nazis did in the thirties, bankrupting the country.

The ideology is to steal what you can, and finance a huge military with the proceeds, which not only allows you to retain your ill gotten gains, but allows you to steal more.

This agenda is to put your economy on a permanent war footing, which ultimately puts all the world's economies on war footing. The results are pretty much a foregone conclusion.

The only hope for the world is that the US declines so rapidly, and someone else rises so rapidly, that the US empire ends with a whimper instead of a bang.

Well, we can hope.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
goyanamasu
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posted 31 March 2006 07:32 AM      Profile for goyanamasu     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Everybody's looking for news of the USA that admits 'Our sad day of reckoning has come.' You have it here.
But there's an odd twist. Real estate developers in many regions are sounding more progressive about key issues and more so than many left liberals. There's one in Florida who personally tries to help undocumented Hispanic fieldworkers in his spare time. This guy inherited his small empire and just watched his fortune skyrocket.
One reason for land developers gaining social consciousness is probably fear that their land and complexes are just part of a bubble and that they'll only be holding debt if and when the US economy blows; i.e., when the next bubble bursts. (Grammarians stay away. Bursts is a word.)

From: End Arbitrary Management Style Now | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
ceti
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posted 31 March 2006 10:33 AM      Profile for ceti     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
At this point, the US will never be able to pay off their debt, and will go out with a bang (they'd sooner nuke the bankers than pay up) as a lurching behemoth with feet of clay. The whole thing with "Full Spectrum Dominance" and PNAC is to allow the US to get away with bloody murder!
From: various musings before the revolution | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 31 March 2006 11:14 AM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by maestro:
It's interesting that the Straussians that run the US now are doing economically more or less what the German Nazis did in the thirties, bankrupting the country.

I thought that Germany in the thirties was already broke; that Hitler's war machine was heavily financed by British and American money. Aside from that, maestro, I see the US debt problem pretty much the way you do. And, like you, I hope there is a peaceful solution, but I don't expect one.

I do wonder if the Americans will just unilaterally declare their debt null and void at some point. Now, if you or I did that we'd wind up in the clink, but the world's largest economy may be able to write its own rules on this as on everything else.

Edited to add Lincoln's solution.

[ 31 March 2006: Message edited by: Cougyr ]


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
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posted 31 March 2006 11:39 AM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, I always thought the Weimar's initially broke Germany.

On topic, this shows that the US is serious screwed. How on earth can Americans continue to buy the argument that Shrub and his cronies are responsible, effective leaders looking to make government smaller and more efficient?


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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posted 31 March 2006 06:24 PM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here are some figures for Nazi Germany, with one important qualification, which I'll detail after:

The Nazis and the German Economy

quote:
Did the Nazis produce an economic miracle for Germany?

The Minister of the Economy was Hjalmar Schacht. He introduced his "New Plan". This plan intended to reduce imports, reduce unemployment, channel government spending into a wide range of industries and make trade agreements with other nations.

Hermann Goering also wanted Germany to become self-sufficient in all industries so that as a nation she could survive a war. Were these plans successful?

* by 1939, Germany still imported 33% of its required raw materials

* government income had been 10 billion Reichsmarks in 1928. In 1939, it stood at 15 billion. However, government spending had increased from 12 billion Reichsmarks in 1928 to over 30 billion in 1939 - a difference of 15 billion Reichsmarks.

From 1933 to 1939, the Nazi government always spent more than it earned so that by 1939, government debt stood at over 40 billion Reichsmarks.

* balance of trade figures had gone into the red by 1939 by 0.1 billion Reichsmarks.

* unemployment had fallen from 6 million in 1933 to 300,000 by 1939 and industrial production in 1939 was above the figure for Weimar Germany before the 1929 Wall Street Crash.

* annual food consumption in 1937 had fallen for wheat bread, meat, bacon, milk, eggs, fish vegetables, sugar, tropical fruit and beer compared to the 1927 figures. The only increase was in rye bread, cheese and potatoes.

* real earnings in 1938 were all but the same as the 1928 figure. Real earnings are wages adjusted to allow for inflation.


The important qualification is the unemployment figures. The Nazis skewed the unemplyment figures in a number of ways. Again, from the same source:

quote:
A number of policies were introduced which caused the unemployment figures to drop.

Women were no longer included in the statistics so any women who remained out of work under the Nazi’s rule did not exist as far as the statistics were concerned.

The unemployed were given a very simple choice: do whatever work is given to you by the government or be classed as "work-shy" and put in a concentration camp.

Jews lost their citizenship in 1935 and as a result were not included in unemployment figures even though many lost their employment at the start of Hitler’s time in power.

Many young men were taken off of the unemployment figure when conscription was brought in (1935) and men had to do their time in the army etc. By 1939, the army was 1.4 million strong. To equip these men with weapons etc., factories were built and this took even more off of the unemployment figure.

With these measures in place the unemployment figure had to fall drastically and many saw the Nazi figures as nothing more than a book-keeping trick. However, many would have been too scared to speak out against the Nazis or pass negative comments on the published figures - such was the fear of the Gestapo.


The source notes that jobs were created in various public work schemes. However, the terms and conditions of that employment were pretty harsh. In any case, the figures clearly show an steadily increasing government debt, along with a steadily increasing military expenditure.

Sound familiar?

Oh yeah, there was also some benefits:

quote:
The KdF ("Kraft durch Freude" - a Nazi organization that looked after workers 'leisure' time) also involved itself in introducing a scheme whereby the workers could get a car. The Volkswagen - People's Car - was designed so that most could afford it.

The Beetle, designed by Ferdinand Porsche, cost 990 marks. This was about 35 weeks wages for the average worker. To pay for one, workers went on a hire purchase scheme. They paid 5 marks a week into an account.

Theoretically, when the account had reached 750 marks the worker would be given an order number which would lead to them receiving a car. In fact, no-one received a car. The millions of marks invested into the scheme were re-directed into the rapidly expanding weapons factories.



From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged

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