Z B: Debt

The real story behind America’s new $20 trillion debt

Late yesterday afternoon the federal government of the United States announced that the national debt had finally breached the inevitable $20 trillion mark.

This was a long time coming. It should have happened back in March, except that a new debt ceiling was put in place, freezing the national debt.

For the last six months it was essentially illegal for the government to increase the debt.

This is pretty brutal for Uncle[...] Click here to continue reading

You stand a higher chance of being crushed by a vending machine.

There’s something I’ve always found mesmerizing about watching animals in the wild.

They have the most incredible instincts, honed from countless generations of survival against constant threats.

Animals have a keen sense of danger. They know immediately when something doesn’t feel right, and they act on it without hesitation.

I saw an incredible example of this last year when I was visiting a remote wildlife reservation in Zimbabwe.

It was late[...] Click here to continue reading

… and now for the bad news

In the late 1760s and early 1770s, the government of France was in a deep panic.

They had recently suffered a disastrous and costly defeat in the Seven Years War, and the national budget was a complete mess.

France had spent most of the previous century as the world’s dominant superpower, and the government budget reflected that status.

From public hospitals to shiny monuments and museums, social programs and public works projects,[...] Click here to continue reading

The Final Show of the Greatest Country on Earth

On May 31, 1866, John C. Ringling was born in Iowa to German immigrants in what felt like an extremely bleak year.

The chaos and devastation from the Civil War that had ended in 1865 were still keenly felt, and the US economy was in the midst of a deep recession

The country was still shaken from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

And the new President, Andrew Johnson, was embroiled in a[...] Click here to continue reading

Stocks hit record high on sagging performance, higher debt

There’s something completely ridiculous happening around the world right now.

We can start in the United Kingdom, where the FTSE-100 stock market index hit an all-time high yesterday of 7454.

Simultaneously the British government released statistics yesterday showing that debt judgments and bankruptcy filings across the UK soared 35% in the first quarter of 2017 to the highest level in a decade.

British consumers are on a debt binge, borrowing (and now[...] Click here to continue reading

A polite history of government “predictions”

Recently the Congressional Budget Office published a scathing report that the US government debt-to-GDP ratio will double over the next 30-years.

Few government agencies are as blunt as the Congressional Budget Office.

In fact the agency’s report plainly states that “the prospect of such large and growing debt poses substantial risks for the nation. . .”

Echoing this sentiment, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office called the US debt:
“a[...] Click here to continue reading

You can’t rely on Social Security. Do this instead

In the late in the 5th century BC, the government of ancient Rome came up with a new idea that has lasted for thousands of years.

I’m not talking about their roads, republican form of government, or water sanitation.

Their bold idea was to start paying retirement benefits to Roman soldiers.

This was a pretty big deal. In ancient times, you worked until you died. There was no such thing as retirement.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Nine years later, Greece is still in a debt crisis…

Sometimes you have to marvel at the absurdity of the financial universe in which we live.

On one side of the Atlantic, we have the United States of America, which triggered yet another debt ceiling disaster last Thursday when the US government’s maximum allowable debt reset to just over $20 trillion.

Of course, the US national debt is pretty much already at $20 trillion.

(That’s roughly $166,000 per taxpayer in the Land[...] Click here to continue reading