Aug 6, 2011

Peeing in the corner

I responded to a lengthy post on this evening which featured the typical "we're totally f'ing f'd!" back-and-forth and decided to chime in.  Thought I'd "leverage" it into a blog post:

"Okay, now I know mine isn't popular prevailing opinion today, but after a lot of thought over the years about what the proper ratio of debt a nation desirous of high-growth and low inflation should carry, and I have to disagree: I don't think we're over-leveraged at all.  

That isn't to say I think we're spending the right amounts of money in the right places, I don't.  I'm a Libertarian-leaning Conservative (I know, how does this reconcile?) and I believe that the governments job ought to be limited to insuring adequate defense of its citizens health and property, and promotion of a fair and robust economy. 

However, as a question of pure economics, I believe we should have taken-on more debt, ESPECIALLY if we believed hard times are ahead.  At the core of the question is the term "leverage".  In business you understand that leverage is essential as a term to any CEO in wont of building anything of greatness; it accelerates growth and often hastens arrival at the desired end-state.  An inability to leverage a governments revenue and asset-base invariably lead to the same disastrous outcome for a nation as it would a business.

Economic leverage typically requires at least one but typically both revenue inflows and assets (a collateral base).  It maddens me to no end that all the bird-brained media chicken-littles have America peeing in the corner in terror inre our being over-leveraged; they are never neglect in speaking about spending deficits and gross national debt, I also often hear about "$40 trillion in unfunded liabilities in the next thousand years...squawk squawk"...but let me ask you: when was the last time you heard ANYONE in the media mention our our stock of Broad or Narrow Money, of Foreign or Domestic Credit, or our National Balance Sheet?  Never?

Same here.  

How many companies would you buy (or sell for that matter) if the assets of the business weren't taken into account?  Obviously rhetorical, because only a maniac or invalid would do such a thing.  So why I ask is the media screeching about important policy when such absolutely fundamental elements of it are completely ignored?  My guess is because we, by and large, as a public aren't yet educated on such things.

What's the bottom line on America, Inc.'s Balance Sheet?

Rutledge Capital's analysis pegs it at roughly $188 Trillion.

Now that, THAT is a big number."

Aug 5, 2011

We should be taking on more debt, not less...

Hey all,

Who knows someone at MSNBC?  I desperately want to storm onto the set of "Morning Joe" to let Mika Brzeznski know that "sanity is on sale at Checkstand 4!" (where there's definitely not a line, thanks in part to her morning squawking and squealing about the US national debt).

Every morning I watch slack-jawed as she whips the cast and guests of the show into a whimpering peeing-in-the-corner frenzy!  Today she reported that our "infrastructure is collapsing", and that "society is on the brink of collapse"...REALLY?

I suppose scary headlines = higher viewership = more $ for media, and until that dynamic is checked, it'll be more of the same scaremongering.  What I'd like to know is: "Who though is going to sue her on behalf of sanity and reason for defamation?".

Is the national debt a concern?  Yes, always, especially in weaker economic periods, but there are numerous compelling examples of the economic strength of the United States being (conveniently) overlooked today in favor of more perspiration-worthy headlines:

In order to even begin considering whether we are barreling into economic oblivion, we must put our national debt into perspective, and to do that, we could use the same methods used to understand the relative financial health of any individual, household, or a company for that matter, and when making such a determination step-one is looking at an entity's "assets vs. liabilities".

However, joining Mika's terror stampede requires skipping step-one on a wholesale level.  I for one can't remember the last time I heard anyone on the news even attempt to inventory the balance sheet of the US, or the value of the economic assets of "America, Inc.".

Our national debt "looks" high as a number, but contrast with our GDP, it looks, well, fairly normal.  However, in contrast with our national assets?  Well, frankly, it looks insufficient.  Meaning: at the rates the US Treasury could be borrowing right now, IT'S NUTS TO NOT TAKE ON MORE DEBT!

As a percent of GDP, our total national debt (much of which, by the way, is owned by the people of the US) isn't even equal to one years worth of our GDP (which is between 60-95% depending on whether we include intra-government debt)!  Historically it's been 120% of GDP before.  In fact, at present levels, our debt as a % of GDP ranks us (as a nation) somewhere around 45th worldwide; below that of France, Canada, and many other nations not in the news.

I could go on and on, but I'll quit for now with this final statistic:  The present value of America, Inc.'s total economy is estimated to be between $188-$200+ TRILLION.

Now that, that's a big number!

Has anyone heard our debt framed in those terms?

Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas

Total Government Debt as % of GDP Internationally:


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