Debt: Micro and Macro
"We the People" are living beyond our means- US consumer debt is at an all time high, to the tune of 2.004 trillion dollars. Consumer debt hit the 1 trillion dollar mark for the first time in US history ten years ago in December of 1994. Add in the nations mortgages and the figure is a wapping 9 trillion dollars Americans owe their creditors.
Personal bankruptcies are at a historic high (.PDF link) as well, with 1,625,813 filed in Fiscal year 2003, reflecting an increase of 98 percent since 1994.
The incidence of business bankruptcy is down, falling 7.4 percent. Non-business bankruptcies account for 97.8 of all filed in Federal Courts.
Could these facts have anything to do with the rosy view the media was putting out over the holidays, the hoopla about consumer spending showing the growing health of the economy? What we didn't know was that during the month of December, a mere 1000 jobs were created. Nationwide. A drop in the bucket considering the number of unemployed in the US. But with it being the holidays and all, the serfs were still spending. The media urged us on.
Remember how many jobs Mr Bush said the tax cuts targeted to America's richest citizens would create?
The President has proposed $726 billion in tax relief to create 510,000 new jobs this year and a total of 1.4 million new jobs by the end of next year.
The next year refered to above is 2004.
Let Job Watch fill you in with the facts and illustrative graphs (bookmark this site). Bottom line, in this period, at a baseline of 3% growth, without the tax cut ,the nation should see the creation of 4.1 million jobs- add in the jobs the tax cut was to create and your looking at 5.5 million jobs created under the present administration.
Where are they?
An article in the Toronto Star touches on the global risk the present administration's policies present to the US and global economies as spelled out in the International Monetary Fund paper "U.S. Fiscal Policies and Priorities for Long-Run Sustainability" I'd urge you to explore the IMF link, lengthy as it is, holding in mind that the IMF is corporate capitol leaning. Also holding in mind that this is the organization that impose "Structural Adjustment Programs" on debtor nations to allow them to get in the black again. As the Whirled Bank Group puts it:
Balancing national budgets can be done by raising taxes, which the IMF frowns upon, or by cutting government spending, which it definitely recommends. As a result, SAPs often result in deep cuts in programmes like education, health and social care, and the removal of subsidies designed to control the price of basics such as food and milk. So SAPs hurt the poor most, because they depend heavily on these services and subsidies.
Sounds a lot like the current regimes view of where they intend to see US Government going under their watch. Are we watching them turn the US into a third world nation?
Thom Harman describes this trend as a return to Feudalism.
"the old contest of feudalism and democracy renews itself here on a new battlefield."
--Ralph Waldow Emerson
The New Feudalism, Part 1 by Doug Kraft is an eye opening piece on the history of this trend in America.