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$24.5 Trillion In US National Debt, $144 Trillion In Unfunded Liabilities In... 2015

Tyler Durden's picture


By now everyone has seen and played with the US debt clock via whereby anyone who so wishes, can find every little detail about America's current sad fiscal state. The fact that America currently has just under $14 trilllion in national debt should be no surprise to anyone who professes to having an even modest interest in the state of the US economy. Yet a new feature on the "debt clock", namely one which extrapolates future debt at current rates of advancement (instead of one based on the always completely inaccurate CBO estimates), and looks at US debt in the year 2015 will probably make many stop dead in the their tracks. If anyone thought that $14 trillion in 2010 debt is bad, just wait until we hit $24.5 trillion in total US national debt in 2015. And it gets even more surreal: total US Unfunded Liabilities are estimated at $144 trillion, roughly $1.2 million per taxpayer... Was that a pin dropping?

As Zero Hedge has long been predicting, we anticipate roughly $2 trillion in incremental debt per year. Surprisingly we are not far too off from where the "debt clock" sees US leverage in 5 years. At an estimated $24.5 trillion in federal debt, our $2 trillion per year run rate is spot on. Another thing that is spot on: our prediction that the US will need not one but two debt ceiling increases in 2011. And probably 6-8 over the next 5 years.

Some other observations for the US economy in 2015 simply assuming current conditions persist:

  • Federal spending will be $3.3 trillion per year, and with federal revenue of $2.3 trillion (this number will be reduced as it also assumes $731 billion in payroll tax, a number which will likely be indefinitely reduced) the result is a budget deficit of $983.7 billion.
  • Annual Medicare/Medicaid expenses will be just over $1 trillion
  • US population: 326.8 million
  • US workforce 131.3 million (and declining)
  • Officially unemployed: 19.4 million
  • Actual unemployed: 22.3 million
  • State/Federal employees: 17.9 million
  • People on SSN and other retirees: 72.6 million

And the most critical data:

  • Food stamp recipients: 89.7 million
  • Foreclosures: 2 million
  • Social Security Liability: $19 trillion
  • Medicare Liability: $99 trillion
  • Total US Unfunded Liabilities: $144 trillion
  • Gross Debt to GDP: 143%

Should one of the bolded predictions hit, the travails of Greek and Irish bondholders will be nothing compared to what those unlucky enough to be in possession of US debt in 2015 will have to go through.

h/t Justin


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Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:34 | 818790 Max Hunter
Max Hunter's picture

Tic Toc Bitchez!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:53 | 818862 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture


Porter Stansberry on the 'comming' crisis 1h video

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:47 | 819034 66Sexy
66Sexy's picture

If we owe 1.2 million each, and are on the books as taxpayers (have filed returns), then we do not own our homes. We do not own our cars, nor our stocks. Anything that can be taken with the stroke of a lawyers pen or a bought off legislators whim, we do not own. They will take it from us in the event they have to. The only thing you can truly own is what you can hide, and what can be sold as a valuable commodity internationally.

Use your imagination on that one.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:48 | 819038 primefool
primefool's picture

Truth . Strangely - it may turn out that the only thing you ctruly own, is what you can hide , which is indeed your imagination.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:57 | 819267 edwardscpa
edwardscpa's picture

How much is that per taxpayer earning over $100K?  Over $250K?  Because let's face it, folks with income under $100K are going to need to concentrate on feeding themselves in the years to come.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:22 | 819797 hambone
hambone's picture

Let's say 5m households make in excess of $250k annually (only about 2.5% of total households but lets be generous as many more have that income but wiggle out w/ loopholes). 

Without further ado, another ridiculous number for ya:

5 million taxpayers * $4.9 million = $24.5T for a one time payoff of 2015 projected debt.

Probably will look a lot better if we include the $100k "rich" crowd as well:

10 million taxpayers * $2.45 million each (phewww, that looks a whole lot better).

BTW - @ $2.45m, if it were a 30yr fixed debt at 0%, it would only be $6805/mo per every 10 million taxpayers.  Wouldn't do a thing about the unfunded liabilities but whatever.

What's that, say you don't want to pay it off and just finance it - now we're talking!!!  That's $12,500 per taxpayer annually just to pay interest (assuming 100m taxpayers and 5% financing cost...the average for the last 50yrs).

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:12 | 819296 Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

I would rather have hard assets that throw off cash.  XOM, CVX, etc...

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 22:08 | 819988 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Owning a stock is not a "hard" asset. It's a fraction of ownership of a publicly traded company that is denominated in dollars, typically held in "street name". Your counter-parties are:

1. the company and its management;

2. the brokerage company that holds the shares and SIPC that 'guarantees' the brokerage company;

3. the government and its taxation and regulatory policies; and

4. the government and its estate taxation policies.

That's just the obvious, I'm sure that others can think of other counter-parties. Not that owning stocks is bad, but I personally don't consider them 'hard' assets. 

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 12:16 | 821007 Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

If you own XOM then you own part of their global oil reserves and one of the best managed corporations with a rock solid balance sheet.  Furthermore, as an owner, you are given a decent share in the profits (dividend).  I wouldn't buy at current prices, but it is definitely on my radar. 

Stocks are a great investment with the proper due diligence and at the right price.  Personally, I will buy stocks when the dividend yield on the S&P 500 goes over 5%.  No major bear market has ever ended without it going over 6%.  By that measure, we are far from a bottom.  I am patient.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 22:59 | 820053 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

The stock market is unsecured credit line to the corporations. They can wipe you to NOTHING without any fear of retribution other than making you not want to be an unsecured creditor in the future. Calling it a hard asset is tragecomedy.

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 12:17 | 821010 Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

Not if you do proper due diligence and buy ownership in the right businesses at the right price.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:56 | 819060 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I just threw away a USA Today article from the early 2000's when it was only about $400k per person. Our absolute f*^@% idiot legislators have sold us...our lives, our property and indirectly our civil rights/liberties to pass out checks, favors and socialist pablum. The truth is that we will NOT pay that kind of debt and we cannot pay it outside of a rapacious inflation rate. Personally, I have to believe that most like the Fed, the Treasury and others in government know this. There is no personal or political freedom when your tax rate is 100% as it effectively is.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:21 | 819560 Roger O. Thornhill
Roger O. Thornhill's picture

What will be really exciting is when interest rates start cranking up on that debt! Those burying us alive are not being properly forthcoming of the disaster that will happen when rates get out of control. Similarly it's the same way MBS's were sold with the conceit that real estate prices never go down. Ah, those "geniuses" with MBA's! They never fail to amaze.

The real question is how far they can play this - I know that they will play games all the way to the end. I would not be surprised in some 11th hour financial power play that lock world currencies together - who can say what they will do. TPTB have shown they have no respect for the rule of law, or the free market. I have been shocked and surprised at what they have done so far. I thought in 2008 that the adults would step up and let this sort itself out, but the adults don't exist anymore. What evil machinations they may think up next may well be surprising - but know that they are fully capable of an array of insane, deceitful maneuvers.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:06 | 819095 Grimbaldus The ...
Grimbaldus The Norman's picture

The things you own, end up owning you.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:46 | 819612 Rainman
Rainman's picture

...agree, unless you just let it all get repo'd. The economic system now apparently runs on good-til-cancelled.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 22:10 | 819989 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

And thus, in these times, more than most, the practice of detachment...





Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:50 | 819237 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

That has always been the case, you know.  All you have to do to prove that is stop paying your property tax and see what happens.  Nothing has really changed.  You don't really own anything you can't hide and you never did.  What you purchase is the use of a thing.  The State retains ownership of all.  I imagine they think they own your gold too, and will thank you nicely for keeping it safe for them when they want it back.      

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:15 | 819300 Grimbaldus The ...
Grimbaldus The Norman's picture

I've never, even since I was a wee lad, held onto the ridiculous concept of ownership of property. I don't get attached to 'things'. I've always been borderline chaotic anti-materialism.. I couldn't even tell you why, just seemed the right way to be...

The few things I do have, other than Family, I'm willing to part with without much fanfair.

'Stuff' can become a trap which can be hard to escape from, once well established. I choose not to let it get that bad.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 23:05 | 820059 Farcical Aquati...
Farcical Aquatic Ceremony's picture

Two people junked these statements? Unreal.

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 08:14 | 820502 Grimbaldus The ...
Grimbaldus The Norman's picture

It is what it is. I don't expect anyone to agree with me, just so long as they respect my POV.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:12 | 819909 minus dog
minus dog's picture

You already don't own your home - at this point the government can seize it for pretty much any reason.  Your only own your stocks as long as the government decides not to seize them or render them worthless.

They can take your car, too, (and without due process) by claiming that you might have used it for something illegal.  It's up to you to shell out the cash to lawyer up and get it back - if you can, after a year or two of legal wrangling.

On the bright side, at least they have to catch your car before taking it...

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:34 | 819183 bankrupt JPM bu...
bankrupt JPM buy silver's picture

You know what would be cool?  If stansburry put a godamn pause button on an HOUR video.  FUCK.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:45 | 819223 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

Yes and the vidoe was a bit self serving too I know

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:43 | 819949 Dental Floss Tycoon
Dental Floss Tycoon's picture

If you click the text it will stop.  Click again and it continues.

About half way through I figured out I had been spammed.  Not that he is wrong just trying to make a buck.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:55 | 818870 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Good thing is that this national debt clock is made in FLASH





Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:57 | 819068 Millivanilli
Millivanilli's picture

Ipads are notebook amputees.  What a fuckin useless idea. Though, I imagine if steve jobs shit, apple devotees would smear it on their ipads as a screen saver.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:16 | 819682 unununium
unununium's picture

On the bright side, it's a better Kindle.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 22:30 | 820015 DarkAgeAhead
DarkAgeAhead's picture

I hate Kindle.  The name, the thing, and the people that use it.

Did I tell you how much I hate Kindle?

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 17:02 | 822081 andybev01
andybev01's picture

'Kindle' sounds too much like kindling, as in book burning.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:03 | 819089 Janice
Janice's picture

I keep waiting for the Kotex marketing executives to come out with the new slogan,

"Kotex, the original ipad."

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:47 | 819760 nate28jf
Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:14 | 819677 blindfaith
blindfaith's picture

no 99.9 worn't know because there can't or don't read and don't want to.  Merrily we sail along, Sara or someone else will save us all.

Slavery is knocking on the door, but they think the knock is for you... not them.

Isn't everyone glad about the no tax bill that got passed.  Think of all the worthless dollars we can bury in the backyard to make the roses grow or use for padding for those boxes of goodies you sold on eBay for millions of worthless dollars, no sorry, Paypal points.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:00 | 818887 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Math is a bitch bitchez

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:53 | 819054 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Speaking of math, look at the liabilities line. Note how Medicare liabilities are FIVE TIMES as large as Social Security liabilities. Yet all we are talking about is Social Security, not Medicare. Why is that?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:16 | 819128 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

debt isnt debt until they come repo your car and kick you out of your home!  hehe

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:19 | 819693 blindfaith
blindfaith's picture

if the US government cracked down on the Medicare & Medicade Fraud in Florida the number would be 1/3 that.  But what the hell, we don't want to take away anyone rice bowl.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:39 | 819006 Kurtieboy
Kurtieboy's picture

Why doesn't the government give $1 million to each citizen right now and cut the bullshit? Economy would definatly

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:51 | 819620 andybev01
andybev01's picture

...and the next morning you would wake up to $50.00 latte's and $100.00 Happy Meals.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:42 | 819946 sterling effort
sterling effort's picture

..and the next morning you would wake up to $50.00 latte's and $100.00 Happy Meals.

Thats ok. Ill pay for them with my $30,000 oz gold.

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 17:03 | 822086 andybev01
andybev01's picture


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:36 | 818791 plocequ1
plocequ1's picture

1.2 Million? I dont have the money. Now what? I will pray.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:38 | 818800 jahbless
jahbless's picture

try sending them a picture of a spider instead.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:52 | 819245 Robert-Paulson
Robert-Paulson's picture


Bwahahaha.....Epic stuff on this link

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:31 | 819582 blindman
blindman's picture

this is a great link and analogous to the

taxpayer's obligation regarding the "national debt". 

it is denominated in funny money or spider money already.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:42 | 819605 CPL
CPL's picture

It's from


The guys blog is an endless stream of insane and funny dialogues.  This is my favorite.

The humane way to trap a cat...with a bear trap.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:56 | 819627 doggings
doggings's picture

ah - pure genius

Simon's pie charts, quite possibly the funniest thing on the whole internet.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:39 | 818807 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:48 | 818837 plocequ1
plocequ1's picture

Gunnery SGT Hartman says i can give my heart to Jesus, But my ass belongs to the corp

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:52 | 818864 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

and your dick to your wife ;)

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:29 | 818987 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

You got that right!  LOL

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:01 | 819642 dearth vader
dearth vader's picture

Hard to keep straight in the face of such numbers...

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:54 | 818868 archfool
archfool's picture

Easy!  According to O(1), make the rich pay!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:54 | 818871 SumoPower
SumoPower's picture

1.2 Million will be change... Hyperinflation Bitchez!!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:13 | 819116 Popo
Popo's picture

Unless of course any of the suckers... Er... Bond investors, rather... read this article and demand a higher interest rate. Which of course they should. Because who in their right mind would ever buy US debt ever again, knowing that it will never be paid off -- or it will be paid with cheaper dollars....

Which of course, leads us to 30% interest rates, which in turn leads us to...

... Deflation bitches.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:01 | 819278 Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

Exactly.  Before hyperinflation, the pile of debt has to collapse.  It will collapse when the bond market demands a risk premium that is bigger than the ability to keep rolling the T-Bills over.  The politicians know they are completely dependent on low rates.  The FED can only monetize so much before rates rise.  Look how far they have already gone since QE2.  Deflation will win until the government can no longer service its debt.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:07 | 819293 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

Deflation will win until the government can no longer service its debt

And then it will win again after the default or hyperinflation because credit will be non-existent.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:59 | 818880 Don Birnam
Don Birnam's picture

America's fiscal future sleeps with the fishes.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:35 | 818795 Tic tock
Tic tock's picture

To be fair, that amount also included the cost to JPM on the loss incurred on supporting the Summers's plan wrt precious metals.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:37 | 818798 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

And it gets even more surreal: total US Unfunded Liabilities are estimated at $144 trillion, roughly $1.2 million per taxpayer... Was that a pin dropping?

Piece of cake. Just let me sell a few ounces of Gold in 2015 to cover my portion of the bill. BTW how do you calculate the tip? :>)

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:40 | 818811 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

How about I just take their $1.2 million dollar bill and rip it to shreds, throw it back in the govt's face and tell them to go fuck themselves.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:15 | 819044 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:05 | 819090 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

I agree. It's banker debt and banker assets- fuck 'em. Power flows from the barrel of a gun...bullets for pin strips baby...

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:11 | 819112 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

That's what we will all effectively end up doing. The question is what the government will do to us when that happens.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:13 | 819117 tmosley
tmosley's picture

We won't get a physical bill.  The bill will come in the form of rising prices.

It seems to me that the 1.2 million figure is probably pretty close to the income level that will be required for you not to see a degradation in your standard of living.  Anyone above that sees their standard of living go up, anyone below sees it go down.

Of course, that figure will rise every year.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:44 | 818827 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Marc Faber said it best today: DON'T BUY US PAPER!

Second thing he said: democracy might not exist forever but capitalism will. Guess what he meaned by that...

Don't own cash

Don't own government bonds

Buy commodities, real estate, land.


Banks will become are leaders.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:55 | 819260 Dr_Dazed
Dr_Dazed's picture

Real estate?  What happens when they tax it up and you can't pay?  Tax lien, foreclosure, by-by investment.  What is it about "only things you can hide" that doesn't work for you?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 17:16 | 819436 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

Put your Property Taxes on a Credit Card and then default.  That will buy you a year.  Or Rent your Property and let the Tenants pay the Property Taxes.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:44 | 819609 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Yea a 'property purchase' in this country is just another joke, even if your property is paid for entirely they still demand tax on your land (serfdom) and if you cant or refuse to pay they kick you off and seize your land.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:40 | 818803 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

I am pretty sure the folks behind the will be found to have had unprotected sex in Scandinavia at some point in the past.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:45 | 818829 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:54 | 818867 Turd Ferguson
Turd Ferguson's picture


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:02 | 818900 Ray1968
Ray1968's picture

As Hugo Chavez says: must protect the people from criminals. The USDebtClock, I'm sure, will be branded a terrorist web site with the new Internet power grab.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:14 | 819299 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

No, the CIA will organize and fund a "black op" so that a group of Islamic radicals can fly an airplane into it.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:48 | 819039 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

is our debt consensual?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:56 | 819059 Ignatius J Reilly
Ignatius J Reilly's picture

Absolutely hilarious.

It's always consensual to one half of that transaction.

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 00:47 | 820249 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Some people sure find it sensuous. 

Lipstuck on a pig!

Else, why'd they keep buying it?


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:31 | 819167 hambone
hambone's picture

Thanks for the laugh!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:37 | 818804 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

The reason is in the mix of originating nationalities.

Americans used to be:








Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:44 | 818828 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture

I guess we don't have too many Icelandics in the halls of power?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:49 | 819235 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

And you frogot all the deadbeat East Europeans

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 17:24 | 819448 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

+1 :)


I also forgot the Muslims but that's a problem that will blow itself up :)

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:16 | 819684 IQ 145
IQ 145's picture

 Frensh? Is Frensh what happens when Walloons try to speak French?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:39 | 818808 umop episdn
umop episdn's picture

What can't be paid back will not be paid back--especially since people really resent having to pay someone else's debt. System reset via massive inflation is inevitable in my humble opinion.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:46 | 818833 ATM
ATM's picture

Isn't that "reset" really a pay back since it will come from those who have saved and those who have not could give a shit about inflation since their saved assets are non-existent and the govt dole is indexed to inflation or they'll just get some free govt cheese.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:39 | 818809 TexDenim
TexDenim's picture

Using the figures above, with 131 MM in the workforce and 73 MM on Social Security, that means 1.81 workers for every retiree -- which means an average of $1000 per month of SS just to keep the retirees a current rates, assuming no COLA or increase in the retiree population. The math doesn't work. Forget Social Security.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:43 | 818824 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

None of the math works...however a magical formula has been discovered by central banksters! Its simple- Print and pump today, so we can live to print and pump another day! 

That now passes as total US economic policy. 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:46 | 818841 Cursive
Cursive's picture


Who knew we would unwittingly be participating in the greatest Ponzi scheme ever?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:52 | 818861 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

No doubt!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:58 | 818877 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Are we really surprised that it has come to this? There have been stories in the mainstream media for at least the past 25 years spelling out the runaway train SS and other entitlements, along with deficit spending, would become.

Each time they "fixed" social security, they really didn't fix it as long as Congress gave themselves the right to print and spend to fill any hole they created as well as appropriating the SS "Trust Fund". Then they added Medicare Part "D", another colossal sink hole.

The writing has been on the wall since I've been a money manger, meaning 25 years. And each time the leadership said they were going to deal with the mess, they didn't. Where were we during this slide into hell?

"Our" leadership isn't deposited on Earth by space aliens. They are "our" leadership. So what are we going to do about it?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:35 | 818998 macholatte
macholatte's picture

but what happens AFTER the boomers are dead, accelerated by Obamacare, of course?

If the size of the workforce stays relatively constant and 70M boomers begin dropping off medicare and SS and such "unfunded mandates" in large numbers beginning 2015, won't most of the projected debt simply not materialize?


Long-Awaited Baby Boomer Die-Off To Begin Soon, Experts Say,647/

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:05 | 819097 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

ssshhh!  that's the free ticket retirement all us GenX'ers will be riding off in the sunset with...  we'll sell it to the young as 'sustainable'  (for us anyway)

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:35 | 819154 Bob
Bob's picture

What it comes to for the SS Trust, which is a real legal entity that has $2.5T in real Treasury Bonds on its balance sheet (no more insubstantial as IOU's than the ones Sovereigns such as China hold), I think people should set their emotions aside on this issue and put it into plain vanilla terms as the problem it really is: Will the Treasury default? 

If the Treasury is going to default, the obvious question really is what bondholders are going to take their haircuts first and how deep are they going to cut?

If we can't structure the game better for continued benefit payments, then dissolve the trust and disperse the proceeds appropriately.  Let us not pretend, however, that there would be no proceeds to distribute.  $2.5 T is a whole lotta money and it ain't pretend. 

There's no excuse, imo, for the prevailing swoon about the "pretend" existence of SS Trust assets as somehow more pretend that others. 

Not saying default isn't a reasonable discussion--but it really should be put into a reasonable context.  The SS Trust's bonds are as real as anybody else's. 

Our predicament is really much the same as the Ireland et al., it seems to me.  But then I'm not dying to kill the public's investment in SS and get off on watching losers choke on their foolishness. 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:17 | 819310 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

The SS Trust's bonds are as real as anybody else's. 

True, and just as worthless too.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:23 | 819324 Bob
Bob's picture

But they get far less respect from finance people . . . who, if you think about it, would be strongly predisposed to write them off in preference to all other bonds. Small wonder they are so delirious as they dance around the SS bonfire. 

But that's just self-interest.  Nothing wrong with that, but that doesn't make the discussion respectable without acknowledging the real situation in basic Finance 101 terms. 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:49 | 819959 psychobilly
psychobilly's picture

If we can't structure the game better for continued benefit payments, then dissolve the trust and disperse the proceeds appropriately.  Let us not pretend, however, that there would be no proceeds to distribute.  $2.5 T is a whole lotta money and it ain't pretend. 

The Treasury would have to turn around and issue more debt to come up with the proceeds to pay back the trust fund.  That $2.5 trillion is part of the gross federal debt that taxpayers are on the hook for.

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 04:01 | 820432 Bob
Bob's picture

There's that spin again.  It's uncanny how public opinion is being herded here on this particular issue. 

The politicos in Ireland are surely making the same case.  The real question, to a knowledgible finance guy, should be who does Treasury default on if it can't pay off its obligations. 

This foregone conclusion that it will be the citizen-investor who eats it seems corrupt as hell to me.  Watch how it spins from peoples' lips as a well-formed pearl of wisdom: It's a con

Fascinating that so many have bought it . . . and so many more are promoting it. 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:00 | 818885 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

You forget, govt drones dont pay SS taxes (yet) in spite of it being "just a tax".


Nice juggs

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:41 | 819022 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Yes they do.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 20:33 | 819848 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Any taxes government workers pay is just funny money squared.


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:28 | 819579 velobabe
velobabe's picture

why do they call woman's breasts, J U G s?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:38 | 819739 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

I calls 'em Daddy's play-toys!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:29 | 818979 Strider52
Strider52's picture

"Using the figures above..." That's pretty funny, considering Tex's avatar is just above that line.

  I'd like to use the figures above Tex's avatar - which, I noticed, got cropped recently - she had a pretty face too.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:42 | 819749 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Google up "Karina Hart" or "Danni Ashe" -- every bit as sexy as Denise Milani (or whatever), and willing to show ya everything!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:57 | 819778 Fearless Rick
Fearless Rick's picture

Hey, I know those knobs! Cynthia Myers, Playboy playmate December 1968. According to some, the greatest centerfold ever. Ms. Myers starred in some Russ Meyer flicks, like "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and a few others.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:40 | 818812 Cursive
Cursive's picture


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:40 | 818814 Shameful
Shameful's picture

1.2 million per problem.  They should be able to make that over their natural lives, just need a 100% tax rate and put in a little OT.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:47 | 818842 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I think they'll let you have 0,1% so you'll be able to buy a bowl of rice every 2 days.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:40 | 818817 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

But...but...economy recovered! Can I get a 'Hooray'?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:48 | 818848 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:43 | 819750 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Boo-yah for SD-1!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:41 | 818822 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

You think 6-8 debt ceiling increases over the next 5 years spell disaster? Wait till you see what happens when congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:44 | 818830 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Yea, who even thinks the debt ceiling increase in Jan is some surefire in-the-bag deal?? I dont.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:36 | 819000 ATTILA THE WIMP

SD1, That's the first thing you ever said that I thought was whacko.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:46 | 818834 Me XMan
Me XMan's picture

HAHAHA! Congress will always raise the debt ceiling.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:49 | 818853 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

you may put always in capital, fat and underline.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:51 | 818858 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Congress will 'ALWAYS' raise the debt ceiling by a couple trillion? Thats just ignorant.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:45 | 819222 Popo
Popo's picture

The power of debt markets is so poorly understood...

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:56 | 818876 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

One thing for sure, the debt ceiling will be used for political leverage.  Both party leaders want the ceiling raised rather than cut spending.  But with the election results, the Repubs have an opportunity to use a debt ceiling increase to their advantage.  There will be bluffs, deals, pandering to get it passed.  Boehner is old school GOP and wants the debt celing increased as much as dems; but he will leverage it for as much as he can.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:59 | 818881 Shameful
Shameful's picture

So the ceiling increase will go with more money to the military to kill people around the world.  Smooth.  It's a good idea to piss off as many people as possible before we had a debt implosion, wouldn't want friends in the moments after the collapse.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:48 | 819036 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

This is the key point. The debt ceiling will be raised (it has to be), but not until the politicos have postured and ranted and waved their arms about. Accusations will be made, blame will be hurled, straw men will be set up and knocked down, and the end result will be another huge waste of time.

Really, none of it would matter, except that time is the most serious shortage we face.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:44 | 819753 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Darn it!  And I was so looking forward to gridlock Kabuki!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:46 | 819951 UninterestedObserver
UninterestedObserver's picture

No shit next he'll be saying Congress is going to give themselves pay cuts and reduce their benefits and then cut their expense budgets too.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 17:54 | 819511 trav7777
trav7777's picture

nothing will happen.

Anymore than not having a budget this year or Belgium not even having a government.

As long as the people shrug and take it, nothing matters

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:43 | 818823 johnnymustardseed
johnnymustardseed's picture

The guy who sells the government ink for printing dollars is laughing!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:46 | 818838 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Funny part is, they dont even have to buy ink or paper for this daily 'printing' at 0%, they just add some more decimal points on a screen.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:01 | 819076 The Navigator
The Navigator's picture

Then the answer is to invest in makers of wide, wide computer monitors that will accommodate those long list of 0's - 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:16 | 819127 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Could we start a pool on when we cross a quadrillion? I think it would have been fun to do back in the early 80's on when we'd cross trillions in debt on an annual basis.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:21 | 819139 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture

+1  I bet we'll start seeing calculators with a 000 button on them.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:58 | 819270 VisualCSharp
VisualCSharp's picture

Brilliant! +1

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 17:48 | 819502 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Scientific notation FTW!  Will be able to tell all the kids in school off when they ask

"When will I ever need to know scientific notation?"

"When you try to buy a loaf of bread"

Just wait till they have to upgrade systems to use quad floating point instead of double.  After all double will only carry to about 1 * 10^308 :)

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 19:17 | 819688 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture


Did someone just say .308?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:46 | 819954 UninterestedObserver
UninterestedObserver's picture

Yeah this article is reminding me that I need more

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:48 | 818851 doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

isn't creation of money just adding bits on the hard drive at the push of a button?

no more printing..its all electronic...

cant wait to get my hands on the Facebook farm will be the best.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:08 | 818917 jahbless
jahbless's picture

that got a small lulz from me - thx.  Gallows humour in dispicable times.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:52 | 819050 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

And that's why BB can say he's not "printing" money. 

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 01:29 | 820313 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Exactly TJ.

You see, these guys are not evolutionists but creationists.

Now we can all understand better when they say they are doing "God's" work. An angry god's work at that.

Can they create PM's though?

We'll see.



Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:08 | 818921 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Oh yea 1 more thing, the REALLY funny part of the ACTUAL money printing they attempt with $100 billion in these new supercool BennieBux...they cant even get THAT right and screwed up the whole batch! Probably cost us about $120 billion to print that $100 billion which now much be thrown in the incinerator.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:26 | 819157 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture


no wonder cotton has skyrocketed! 

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 01:10 | 820287 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Nicely played. 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:44 | 818831 sodbuster
sodbuster's picture

>Was that a pin dropping?<

Nope- that was me shitting myself.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:47 | 819230 Popo
Popo's picture

Me too. But I'm so freaked out, I think I shat a pin!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 23:04 | 820058 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

The FBI is searching through your shit. Something about a Waddle and Reed in a haystack.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:45 | 818832 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

I appreciate this enhancement.  Previously, i would have conversations with head-in-the-sand older realatives (close relatives), who are the first out-of-the-pan boomers, about SS/Medicare funding.  Their eyes would glaze over as they couldnt understand the meaning.  After providing a quick "well if the government wouldnt rob the SS fund to pay the general fund..." retort, they would move on to "i cant believe they want to lower taxes..."

I point out that the money is gone - water under the bridge, look forward, not backward.  Second, I tell them with the numbers the way they are, they could cut taxes to zero or increase them to 100% with the same outcome - default. 

With this new debt counter I may be able to get them to look at the numbers themselves in order to adjust to the inevitable.  I do not expect a change in thought however.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:27 | 818972 A Texan
A Texan's picture

"Second, I tell them with the numbers the way they are, they could cut taxes to zero or increase them to 100% with the same outcome - default. "


So why pay taxes?  After all, Bennie can just miracle up a few hundred billion anytime he wants, and what's a few hundred more or less in the overall scheme of things.


No, SERIOUSLY, why the fuck should my kids pay taxes for debts they never voted for (or had the chance to), for goods and services that didn't benefit them in any way?  Why should they, or anyone in their generation?  Fuck it, why should I?  After all, I've gotten virtually zero benefit out of it (save student loan guarantees, long since paid back in full, and the DoD, which generally does a good job of keeping those who want to hurt us very far away, and sometimes dead and far away).  Really, what benefit do I get for my taxes?


There's going to be a BIG tax revolt in this country sometime soon, and that is when the entire system will fall apart - all because of the leechfucks and their enablers.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:36 | 818999 primefool
primefool's picture

Correct - agreed. This idea that we are passing along huge debts to the grandchildren is laughable. The grandkids will just refuse to honor you stoopid leetle obligations - there. 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:19 | 819135 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Don't count on that. Our kids and grandkids have been government educated in the stoopid leetle ideas of collectivism and government as savior. It could break either way.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:49 | 819040 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Which is why I am for the tax cut.  Might as well gets some purchasing power while the gettin is good.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:03 | 819284 Dr_Dazed
Dr_Dazed's picture

I pay taxes because I like having a virgin butt.  Stop paying and you get a free taxpayer  sponsored vacation to Club Fed.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:47 | 818845 sabra1
sabra1's picture

tonite the americans will fire a missile into south korea, tell them the north did it, and all will be well again!

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