MONDAY MUSINGS – 40 Sobering Facts

Monday – June 10,2013

Ground rules were established early on for these Musings that we would minimize  rants concerning race, religion and politics.  But I have been a long time reader of Bill Bonner, author, entrepreneur, historian. One of his recent books, Empire of Debt (2006), railed that the government had taken control of the economy with its unfettered deficit spending, promotion of gluttonous consumption. and fearless military adventures.  We have all seen what has happened since.

He is often referred to as a rogue economist so,  as such, he must rant occasionally with his opinions, which sometimes slip into politics.  But his opinions have never spared either political party and while some of those opinions might be considered “far out” – he likes to quote Norman  Mailer that “there is more truth in a metaphor than a fact” – Bonner’s purported facts have generally been considered reliable.  Here are 40 of his most recent ones.  (And while Obama is mentioned 3 times, I would consider it mainly  because he had the “watch” for the prior 52 months.  Bonner’s 2006 book is equally critical of what occurred on the prior administraton’s “watch”.)

Thanks for stopping by.  VS

40 Facts You Won’t Believe

  1. Back in 1980, the US national debt was less than $1 trillion. Today, it is rapidly approaching $17 trillion.
  2. During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it  did under the first 42 US presidents combined.
  3. The US  national debt is now more than 23 times larger than it was when Jimmy  Carter became president.
  4. If you started paying off just the new debt that the US has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
  5. The federal government is stealing more than $100 million from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.
  6. Back in 1970, the total amount of debt in the United States (government debt + business debt + consumer debt, etc.) was less than $2 trillion. Today,  it is over $56 trillion.
  7. According to the World Bank, US GDP accounted for 31.8% of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6% in 2011.
  8. The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
  9. According to The Economist, the United States was the best place in the world to be born into back in 1988. Today, the United States is tied for only 16th place.
  10. Incredibly,  more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been permanently shut down since 2001.
  11. There are fewer Americans working in manufacturing that there was in 1950,     even though the population of the country has more than doubled since      then.
  12. According to The New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned  buildings in Detroit.
  13. When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade  surplus with Mexico of $1.6 billion. By 2010, we had a trade deficit        with Mexico of $61.6 billion.
  14. Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately $6 million (million  with a little “m”) for the entire year. In 2012, our trade deficit with China was $315 billion. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of  the world.
  15. Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than $8 trillion with     the rest of the world since 1975.
  16. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
  17. Back in 1950, more than 80% of all men in the United States had jobs. Today,  less than 65% of all men in the United States have jobs.
  18. At this point, an astounding 53% of all American workers make less than $30,000  per year.
  19. Small  business is rapidly dying in America. At this point about only 7% of all non-farm workers in the United States are self-employed. That is an all-time record low.
  20. Back in 1983, the bottom 95% of all income earners in the United States had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned. By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.
  21. In the United States today, the wealthiest 1% of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% combined.
  22. According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.
  23. The six  heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.
  24. According to the US Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income.”
  25. According to the US Census Bureau, 49% of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct        monetary benefits from the federal government.
  26. Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested        welfare programs,” and at this point, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one of them.
  27. Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every six Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16  million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
  28. As I  wrote recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on        Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
  29. At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than $38 trillion        over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for every        single household in the United States.
  30. Right  now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social        Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an       astounding 91 million.
  31. Overall, the Social Security system is facing a $134 trillion deficit over the next 75 years.
  32. Today, the number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.
  33. According to a report recently issued by the Pew Research Center, on average, Americans over the age of 65 have 47 times as much wealth as Americans  under the age of 35.
  34. US families that have a head of household who is under the age of 30 have a  poverty rate of 37%.
  35. As I  mentioned recently, the homeownership rate in America is now at its        lowest level in nearly 18 years.
  36. There are now 20.2 million Americans who spend more than half of their incomes  on housing. That represents a 46% increase from 2001.
  37. 45% of all children are living in poverty in Miami more than 50% of all        children are living in poverty in Cleveland, and about 60% of all children are living in poverty in Detroit.
  38. Today, more than 1 million public school students in the United States are        homeless. This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.
  39. When Barack Obama first entered the White House, about 32 million Americans  were on food stamps. Now, more than 47 million Americans are on food stamps.
  40. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.


About The Author

Bill Bonner   founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest   independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written   three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of   Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.

His free daily e-letter Bill Bonner’s Diary of a Rogue Economist is your gateway to Bill’s decades of accrued   knowledge about history, politics, society, finance and economics. Sometimes   funny, sometimes frightening – but always entertaining and packed with useful   insight, Diary of a Rogue   Economist can help you   make sense of the complex world we live in today.


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