The Top 100 Statistics About The Collapse Of The Economy That Every American Voter Should Know

ilene's picture

I bolded some of the most discouraging statistics... ~ Ilene

Courtesy of Michael Snyder of Economic Collapse 

The U.S. economy is dying and most American voters have no idea why.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media and most of our politicians are not telling the truth about the collapse of the economy.  This generation was handed the keys to the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen, and we have completely wrecked it.  Decades of incredibly foolish decisions have left us drowning in an ocean of corruption, greed and bad debt. 

Thousands of businesses and millions of jobs have left the country and poverty is exploding from coast to coast.  We are literally becoming a joke to the rest of the world.  It is absolutely imperative that we educate America about what is happening.  Until the American people truly understand the problems that we are facing, they will not be willing to implement the solutions that are necessary.

The following are the top 100 statistics about the collapse of the economy that every American voter should know....

#100 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#99 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#98 Since Barack Obama was sworn in, the share of the national debt per household has increased by $35,835.

#97 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

#96 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will hit 344% of GDP by the year 2050 if we continue on our current course.

#95 The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government debt held by the public will reach a staggering 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

#94 In 2010, the U.S. government paid $413 billion in interest on the national debt.  That is projected to at least double over the next decade.

#93 According to one new survey, one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.

#92 State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.

#91 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

#90 U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

#89 According to a new study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#88 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#87 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#86 The cost of a health insurance policy for the average American family rose by a whopping 9 percent last year, and according to a report put out by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, the average family health insurance policy now costs over $15,000 a year.

#85 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#84 An all-time record 49.9 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all at this point, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row.

#83 According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

#82 Average yearly tuition at U.S. private universities is now up to $27,293.

#81 The cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent since 1978.

#80 In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.

#79 In 2010, the average college graduate had accumulated approximately $25,000 in student loan debt by graduation day.

#78 The total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.

#77 One-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don't even require college degrees.

#76 In the United States today, there are more than 100,000 janitors that have college degrees.

#75 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#74 In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.

#73 It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year.  Their biggest customer is the United States.

#72 U.S. oil companies will bring in about $200 billion in pre-tax profits this year.  They will also receive about $4.4 billion in specialized tax breaks from the U.S. government.

#71 The United States has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976, and since that time the United States has run a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

#70 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#69 The U.S. trade deficit with China is now 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#68 Today, the United States spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#67 China has surpassed the United States and is now the largest PC market in the entire world.

#66 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in "advanced technology products" of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#65 In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China was "scrap and trash".

#64 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#63 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#62 More than 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed down since 2001.

#61 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#60 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#59 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.

#58 If you gathered together all of the workers that are "officially" unemployed in the United States today, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

#57 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States right now than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#56 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

#55 Only 55.3% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were employed last year.  That was the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

#54 Today, there are 5.9 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 that are living with their parents.

#53 The economic downturn has been particularly tough on men.  According to Census data, men are twice as likely to live with their parents as women are.

#52 According to one recent survey, only 14 percent of all Americans that are 28 or 29 years old are optimistic about their financial futures.

#51 Incredibly, less than 30 percent of all U.S. teens had a job this summer.

#50 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#49 Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

#48 In 1980, 52 percent of all jobs in the United States were middle income jobs.  Today, only 42 percent of all jobs are middle income jobs.

#47 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#46 According to Paul Osterman, a professor of economics at MIT, approximately 20 percent of all employed Americans are making $10.65 an hour or less.

#45 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#44 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#43 New home sales in the United States are now down 80% from the peak in July 2005.

#42 The all-time record for fewest number of new homes sold in the United States was broken in 2009.  Then it was broken again in 2010.  It is on pace to be broken once again in 2011.

#41 At one point this year, U.S. home prices had fallen a whopping 33%from where they were at during the peak of the housing bubble.

#40 U.S. home values have fallen approximately 6 trillion dollars since the housing crisis first began.

#39 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant.  That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.

#38 Historically, the percentage of residential mortgages in foreclosure in the United States has tended to hover between 1 and 1.5 percent.  Today, it is up around 4.5 percent.

#37 According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, at least 8 million Americans are currently at least one month behind on their mortgage payments.

#36 According to a Harris Interactive survey taken near the end of last year, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.  In 2007, the same survey found that only 43 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck.

#35 Starting on January 1st, 2011 the Baby Boomers began to hit retirement age.  From now on, every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65.  That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.

#34 According to a new poll by Americans for Secure Retirement, 88 percent of all Americans are worried about "maintaining a comfortable standard of living in retirement".  Last year, that figure was at 73 percent.

#33 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 In 1950, each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.

#31 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

#30 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run outfive years faster than they were projecting just last year.

#29 According to one study, the 50 U.S. state governments are collectively 3.2 trillion dollars short of what they need to meet their pension obligations.

#28 A different study has shown that individual Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

#27 Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

#26 According to a shocking AARP survey of Baby Boomers that are still in the workforce, 40 percent of them plan to work "until they drop".

#25 Last year, 2.6 million more Americans dropped into poverty.  That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#24 Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty.  Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

#23 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.  Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#22 More than 45 million Americans are now on food stamps.

#21 The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.

#20 Approximately one-third of the entire population of the state of Alabama is now on food stamps.

#19 Right now, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#18 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

#17 The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010.

#16 There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.

#15 In Washington D.C., the "child food insecurity rate" is 32.3%.

#14 More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

#13 It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.

#12 The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

#11 According to a recent report from the AFL-CIO, the average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year.

#10 The wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States.

#9 The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#8 The percentage of millionaires in Congress is more than 50 times higher than the percentage of millionaires in the general population.

#7 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

#6 According to one recent poll, 90 percent of the American people believe that economic conditions in the United States are "poor".  To put this in perspective, only 11 percent of Americans rated economic conditions in the U.S. as "poor" back in January of 1999.

#5 According to another recent poll, 80 percent of the American people believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

#4 Our dollar is being systematically destroyed by the Federal Reserve.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 will cost you $116.78 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 will cost you $457.67 today.

#3 The Federal Reserve made $16.1 trillion in secret loans to their friends during the last financial crisis.

#2 The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine.  Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 4700 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.

#1 According to a new CNN/ORC International Poll, 27 percent of all Americans have never even heard of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

We need to educate America.

Please share this with as many people as you can.  Time is running out for America, and 2012 is going to be an absolutely pivotal year in the history of this nation.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that is rapidly accelerating.  If dramatic changes are not made very quickly, we will soon witness a full-blown collapse of the economy.

Wake up as many people as you can.

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reddog's picture

most of the debt is WAR related.

the PENTAGON eats and destroys the U.S.

why do we need 11 carrier groups ???

when you add all military related costs (VA, etc.),

the military eats 70% of the U.S. budget.


corporations take 70% of national income (GDP); 

but, corporations only pay 7% of taxes in the U.S.

can you have a bit more perspective ????




mtomato2's picture

Carrier groups is, without question, the best military money we can possible spend.  By any measure.

boiltherich's picture

The top 3% own half of all wealth and the other 97% have the other half.  The top ten percent own 97% of all wealth and the lower 90% own barely three percent of the wealth.  Right wing answer is to get rid of the other 90% who are just beginning to wake to their situation now that they can no longer live on credit.

Not that the left has the answer either, they seems to be wanting a solution which is just a retread of Raygun era supply side voodoo, they think that by reinflating assets (as if they could) giving banksters trillions and trillions while voiding any accounting principal that gets in the way, they seem to believe that this will make the tide rise lifting all boats once again.  Now the arguments on either side of the political divide is not whether deficits will help but how deep the red ink can be, some even calling for an end to taxation. 

I remember clearly when $10,000 per year was a solidly middle class income for a family of four, when only rich people had credit cards, when state universities were free to residents (California), and most people did not have healthcare insurance because most people did not need it, they could actually afford to pay their own medical costs, it did not cost 2 grand to walk through an ER door, and having a kid was a few hundred bucks.  And I am only in my early fifties. 

In a way the collapse we all wait for has already happened, it just was a slow motion collapse that lasted forty years and is still in progress.  Of course when the pot of water we frogs sit in heats that slowly it is hard to say just when we hit a boil, but more than a few are starting to remember when they were not even in a pot but roaming the swamps of the wild.  For a few calling for a return to the founders world of Washington and Jefferson though you are sadly misdirected.  This is not an enormous empty continent with a few million colonists and an endless frontier behind which sits vast storehouses of mineral and agricultural wealth, a rural agrarian economic system that is in part dependent upon the use of slaves.  For one thing just try a little recreational no less commercial gold panning and see what happens.   We became an urban technological meritocracy which though it now is badly wounded still can not ever return to the economics and ethics of the founders, not unless the wingers get their wish and 300,000,000 of us cease to exist.

buyingsterling's picture

Great work Ilene.

It costs about $5/day to feed someone, and less for them to occupy vacant housing/apartments/military bases. We can easily feed and house everyone. But we can't afford their tats, cel phones, nail jobs, rim jobs, etc. The government should seek to provide a very basic level of subsistence to those on the margins - enough to keep a person going, but only that. Part of the problem is that we're seeking to provide a lower middle class existence to the welfare class. Instead, we should make it easier for them to get by in the productive world by doing away with the laws and regulations that affect the cost of living, particularly rents and food. This evil government is actively discouraging independent food production. And the country is awash in surplus medical equipment - do we have to provide state of the art care to everyone with a pulse? If the welfare class received circa 2000 tech and meds, they'd still be ahead of 80% of the planet and 99% of all people who have ever lived.

That probably sounds cruel to some, but the real power behind demagogues like Obama are the people who will line up for entitlements any chance they get (social and corporate). Because they are our brothers and sisters, we believe we owe those in genuine need a helping hand. But we don't owe the welfare class a comfortable existence - their lives should be consumed with worry about the future and plans to change it. Those that would abuse and milk the system are often hard to identify, so the system has to be minimalist. We DO owe them some latitude: lots of them can provide for themselves if they have to, but now every new business has to jump through hoops that are written by and for the intelligent, in part to discourage the lower classes from competing. A sane and compassionate welfare system must provide the minimum possible safety net, and must exist alongside a system of commerce which provides lots of opportunity to get out of welfare and become independent. Presently, as soon as someone on the dole wants to earn, they are cut off the dole. This problem is fixed by making the dole as small as possible, and letting those on the dole earn while on it. They lose the dole when they move out of whatever crappy housing is being paid for by the rest of us.

We know what TPTB would like to see happen; they're eugenecists and would like to find a way to do away with the welfare class, as long as they can blame it on someone else. This mess doesn't have to result in millions of dead Americans, but that's going to happen unless we start thinking differently about almost everything.


apberusdisvet's picture

The most egregious statistic is that the odds of NOT descending into the totalitarian feudal state that has been planned by the elite are


Were that it wasn't so.  Look how we've  gotten there incrementally:

Creature from Jekyl Island surfaces, immediately followed by an income tax to pay for the coming rape and pillage.

FDR and the original Keynesian Revolution

JFK assassination

LBJ Great Society

Unions take over public education; US goes from first in math and science to worse than 20th today.

Nixon takes us off the gold standard; last audit of Fort Knox

The election of  the supreme globalist and NWO proponent Bush Sr

The false flag of 9/11 and the trashing of the Constitution since.

Supreme bankster/CIA nurtured puppet becomes President



Libertarian777's picture

first statistic is insanely scary when you think 30 years ago there were still 30% of households getting government cheques. So we've gone from almost 1/3rd which already was terrible to almost 50%, and people wonder how we got to where we are.

Sheens Liver's picture

101. There are over 300 million fingers pointing blame, but only one Ron Paul with an idea of how to fix this mess.

Eeyores Enigma's picture

A few points on what are some of the fundamentals behind the "Occupy…………….." movement and all of the other movements around the world for that matter.


First the most powerful meme of this movement, the one that scares TPTB to there core, is the fact that it is all about;


1% vs the other 99%


The accounting has been done by multiple organizations. The banking industry in the US and probably globally, have the assets to cover peoples deposits, merchant deposits and transactions, basically all of the "REAL ECONOMY's" money. 


Unfortunately this only represents a small portion of the banking and finance industries activities. The other 90% of what they have been doing, essentially gambling and fraud, is what is being bailed out, that is what is at risk if (when) banking collapses, NOT the real economy.


This is a bit over simplified as banking collapse would certainly effect all trade and therefore the real economy but not in the way that they are saying and recovery of the real economy would be possible and maybe even reasonable whereas what is happening right now is that the real economy where 99% of us live, is being sucked dry, thrown under the bus, raped, or what have you, in order to cover the bad gambling debts of the 1%.


It's not just banking and finance it is all big corporations most of which have been augmenting low and declining revenues from making and selling stuff by participating in the financial dealings (gambling and fraud) also.


 The politicians currently in charge (and those aspiring to be) got there positions and owe complete allegiance to BIG money. They will do what is best for the 1% NOT what is best for the 99%. In all fairness they are convinced that serving the 1% is whats best for the other 99%. I know this for a fact.


Money = a claim on the future.

1% controls all of the money.

99% have no future.


Bottom line This is a crisis of capitalism but this is where it gets tricky.


Debt driven Capitalism is and has been the optimal system to promote exponential growth. Resource depletion, over population, environmental degradation,  are just a few of the detrimental results. A version of capitalism is what every Country around the world uses to juice growth, even communist China. Silly people think they can control capital, LOL!


Capitalism functions like a pyramid scheme in that there are always opportunities for more and more people to acquire wealth but only as long as multiples of additional participants are constantly coming in at the bottom. Oh, yeah, capitalism also requires that there is enough cheap, almost free energy coming on line at a similar or greater multiple in order for those participants to generate excess profit$ to pass on up the pyramid.


Right now there are plenty of willing participants but due to the lack of cheap, almost free energy these participants are unable to generate "excess profit$" to pass up the pyramid. Low life bums. So instead of money flowing, being pushed up that is, the relentless, unquenchable demand that "capital" is simply sucks it up anyway it can even if it has to create virtual participants with virtual excess profits. There is no stoping capital…FEED ME SEYMOUR!


Capital has muscle too and is always looking for cheap, almost free energy. Is it any coincidence that last of the light sweet crude is in Iraq and Libya?


Even that is not enough so it just keeps on expanding debt/credit and skimming off the top.


Debt/credit expansion has continued on well beyond anything that this planet can ever support.


Problem is whenever you talk this way people scream "your a damn communist/ socialist".


Clearly humanity needs to operate from a base of support that includes healthcare for all. education for all, security in old age for all, in order to maintain dignity and humanity and this is socialism. Above and beyond that maybe we can have some form of capitalism that allows people to reach there aspirations BUT CAN NEVER INTRUDE ON THE BASIC SOCIALISTIC BASE SYSTEM. Truth is we kind of had this sort of setup here in the US for a while but then capital noticed this while heading out for some grub one day and…well the rest is history and here we are.


Maybe instead of Debt based Capitalism we should try Gift based Capitalism.







buyingsterling's picture

Thoughtful and mostly right, but by your admission you can't stop capital. When you say we need a basic socialist system you have to pay for it, so capitalism has to be muscular enough to do so. Socialism exacerbates capitalism's excesses.

Henry Chinaski's picture

I posted this on an other topic but it seems more appropriate here.

The farce is out in the open now.  Hell, TPTB aren't even trying to hide it anymore. 

The tea partiers noticed it first and the Occupiers are coming around.   They see the effects of the problem, but can't define it or see the root cause.  It is dawning on people that both political parties produce about the same result.  I hope everybody follows their concerns and grievances to the logical conclusion.  Individual liberty and responsibility is the answer.  The founding fathers figured this out and Ron Paul is preaching their gospel of liberty.  The Austrian economists established the theoretical proof.  It takes study and thoughtful consideratoin to see the truth.  Central planning fails every time it is tried.   (Most people on ZH are already there.)

Most people are still asleep.  One by one, they are waking up.  Now is the time to spread the message of liberty at every opportunity.  As the situatipon deteriorates, more people will be looking for answers.

mtomato2's picture

Looks like individuals from both ends of the political spectrum are coming together, but the unity is based on destruction, not solutions.

The progressives want to solve the problem by introducing more government involvement in every single aspect of our lives from the very top to the very bottom.

The [conservatives? Tea Party? Constitutionalists? ???] want to solve the problem in the polar opposite way, by limiting the Federal government's authority in just about every way but militarily.

Civil war?  Maybe.  I mean, how else do these things get resolved when social volatility is at such a dangerous high?

Problem Is's picture

Centralized Corporate Power and Serfdom
Centralized power is the problem. Corporations centralize power and corrupt markets into fixed oligopolies and crony capitalism. Local economies, small businesses and local banks are the answer. Keep our earnings and money local.

Leakage From Our Local Economies
Buy something at corporate big box and that revenue is sucked out of your community to a TBTF bank never to be seen or of benefit to your community again...

Grass Roots Redevelopment of Our Local Economies
Wall Street, corporate power and their political toadies are the enemy of the vast majority of us... taxing us at every turn with rigged markets, usury rents and just plain old taxes rigged against the individual and small business owners...

Problem Is's picture

Central planning fails because it is really central looting by a corrupt ruling class who amass centralized power and seek parasitic rents from the entire society. Whether it is called communism or corporatism, the results are the same.

We strain under crony capitalism of finance capital criminals who incompetently only fail upwards in a corporate owned governance political system.

Stalin and his kleptocrats achieved the same results with a different facade... but it all amounts to the same for the bottom 99%... the peasants...

swamp's picture

What are we back in kindergarten? Bold the "important" items of the list for the stupid readers?

mtomato2's picture

No.  Some of us still have jobs and can't be sitting staring at an article about macro economics all day long.

swamp's picture

#56 Remember Vietnam? 

HiHoAg's picture

The "average" Amercan is one stupid SOB

The Americans that argue democrat v republican are even fucking dumber than that...

buyingsterling's picture

The average American thinks they live in a system built around their best interests. Both parents work in most working families, and the system throws up as many distractions as possible. Don't blame them for appearing to be stupid, it's the result of decades of relentless conditioning. Many people reading and writing here were once 'sheeple' waiting to be awakened. No one is born knowing how things work.

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Agreed, two wings of the same bird, don't listen to what they say, look at how they vote lock step with the Administration Dem or Repub and the paragdime becomes shattered.

ljag's picture

What surprises me the most is the one category that was ommitted......the number of people who 'live' on the underground economy.  A lot of the peeps I know, either sell weed or grow pot in their basement. I dare say if they were to legalize it, the 'real' economy would instantly collapse. I find it amazing that regular folks that get some form of government subsidy, have $400 to spend on an ounce of weed. And most of those are not boomers who generally have an extra $400 lying around. How do they do it??????????????

Problem Is's picture

Participants in the underground economy are hard to quantify accurately...

Is a local crack dealer, a CIA drug smuggler, or a TBTF bankster drug money launderer (all of Wall Street) going to respond to your survey about numbers, volume and dollar amounts?

gaoptimize's picture

Hi Ilene,

   Thanks for this important compilation.  However, I hope you will consider not passing along numbers (such as the percent of debt to GDP) projected beyond 2020, as we know that the conditions that created the trend used for the projection are clearly unsustainable.  You know the collapse will occur long before such extremes would be reached.

Problem Is's picture

+1... Excellent Point
Those long term projections, anything greater than 5 years are complete inaccurate bullshit and should be immediately ignored...

Any one that has studied probability and statistics... and by study I don't mean stared at a chart drooling while drinking coffee...  knows that...

mtomato2's picture

To be fair, I think the point of those projections was simply to show linearity of current trends, i.e. severity based on  theta.

Again, however, there's little to no support that anything economic or financial is or has ever been "linear..."

Problem Is's picture

Allow Me to Retort:

The two entries I was referring to inaccuracies in long term extrapolations:

#96 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will hit 344% of GDP by the year 2050 if we continue on our current course.


#95 The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government debt held by the public will reach a staggering 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

Now, #96 The Heritage Foundation, their accuracy in economic forecasting I can't speak to. But #95, the CBO, let us look at one of their project of budget surpluses in 1999 extrapolating just 10 years forward for 2001 through 2009:

Baseline (Conservative) CBO "Estimate"

"CBO projects that those on-budget deficits will give way to on-budget surpluses in 2001 and succeeding years as the total budget surplus climbs to $381 billion in 2009."

Enhanced CBO "Estimate"

"CBO’s projections assume that enacted appropriations will be consistent with the statutory caps of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act (the Deficit Control Act) that are in place through 2002... If, instead, discretionary outlays are held to the dollar level of the 2002 caps through 2009, CBO projects that the total budget surplus will grow to $514 billion in that year."

CBO Optimistic "Estimate"

"It is also possible that the U.S. economy will continue to surprise most analysts and taxable incomes will continue to grow rapidly for another year or more—in which case, surpluses are likely to be even larger than projected. In the longer term, CBO projects, real growth will average 2.3 percent a year from 2001 through 2009, taking into account the possibility of booms and recessions during that period."

"CBO is now projecting budget surpluses that are much larger than those it projected last August... Cumulative surpluses over the 1999-2008 period are $745 billion higher."

The CBO assumptions did not exactly pan out, now did they.

The Fallacy of Assumptions 

"CBO’s baseline projections are intended to provide the Congress with estimates of the spending and revenues that will occur if current laws affecting the budget remain unchanged."

The CBO Couldn't Even Estimate 1 to 10 Years Out: How do you expect an accurate 70 year extrapolation?
Now the current laws effecting the budget did NOT remain unchanged did they? By late 2001 into 2002 spending exploded to loot the so called surpluses.

So tell me how it is a logically sound assumption that between 2011 and 2080, "current laws affecting the budget remain unchanged."

Since the assumption or premise is so patently absurd, then I submit to you the projection is idiotic on its face, statistically invalid and of no use to anyone's enhancement of knowledge.

Most long range extrapolations suffer from the same fallacy of premise.

mtomato2's picture

I don't really think I deserved a "retort," especially all in bold.  I wasn't picking a fight.

I was just saying what I was saying.

mikmid's picture

What amases me is how long this economy has lasted and how long it looks like it will last. All the central banks and governments have kept the economy on life support for a long time and it appears they will a least try to keep it that way even longer. I'm betting on a collapse in 2013, anyone have a better guess?

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Yea,  statistically speaking, at the rate we are going, I say before the end of this month IMHO. There are some new events that will throw a monkey wrench in this so-called "recovery" If we were in a recovery, CAT stocks and Copper would be on the rise.

Their recovery plan is to bring the system down and have the people beg for ANY conclusion to this man made artificial "crisis".

11b40's picture

2012 may truly be a pivotal election, but what will be pivoting to?

Name me one candidate, other than possibly Ron Paul, who will even mention the thnings that must be done if the country is to change directions and begin the healing process.

RKDS's picture

They're all fucking clowns whose platforms distill down to "more of the same."

blindman's picture

usury at the root equates to this failure we see.
end the fed and their death star notes of failure.

Republi-Ken's picture


DAVID STOCKMAN, FATHER OF REAGONOMICS, otherwise known as "The Free Lunch Tax Cut Scam" SAID:


buyingsterling's picture

Shortsighted BS. Woodrow Wilson was a democrat.

Sweet Chicken's picture

America FUCK YEAH!!!

Spastica Rex's picture

Bed Bath and Beyond - Fuck, yeah!

Problem Is's picture

If you build stupid shit, the stupid shit will come - Fuck, yeah!

Zedge Hero's picture

And they wonder why we occupy the country...

PulauHantu29's picture

Concise, yet thorough. Thank you for this article.

The Daily Reckoning's staff recently wrote we lead the world in several other areas:

1 laziest;

2. fattest;

3. highest homicide rate;

4. highest incarciration (prison pop); and,

5. highest divorce rate.

I don't remember the other five but they were as dismal.

Oh yeah, #6 highest rape.



swamp's picture

Our prison population wouldn't be so high if it weren't filled with  33% + IDENTIFIED illegals. Many more have not been identified. Stop with yyour stupid statistics that skew the reality you sound like a yahoo puppet.

Shell Game's picture

Not to mention all the prison space filled with DEA bullshit. Marijuana a 'gateway' drug?  Central planned Statism, gateway to hell..

tj3's picture

I hate cherry-picked talking points. However, to be fair and balanced, Jesus loves you!

cynicalskeptic's picture

Can't be blaming Obama when Bush was the one putting 2 trillion dollars in war costs off the books - TARP was passed on his watch.  BOTH parties have failed but be fair about allocating blame....  

And using REAL inflation numbers, GDP was negative under Bush, unemployment was far higher and the dollar lost almost 40% of is purchasing power.

BTW - the patron saint of conservatives St.Ronnie ran up the debt too by expanding our military even as the Soviets were imploding......

RKDS's picture

Yeah, throughout this whole list, I saw years like 1976 and 1980 and 1994 and 2000 right alongside 2008.  Obama is a lousy president but those who blame everything on him are either stupid or lying.

mtomato2's picture

And why the HELL do you think the Soviets were imploding, you dolt?

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Blame Obama and the Dems when you loose your State Soverignty, have you read paragraph 376 in his job bill?

And this will come to pass because of this new measure:

Regaurdless of who caused the problem, we will fall headlong into Tierney without a doubt and feel some pain in real time.

This job's bill is a Chi Town type thug Politics gone Mainstream America that will strong arm states into submission Via taking Federal money and when their States Soverignty is signed away, The Govt. will send the Corperations to those states that have caved to create "job's". Real nice Huh? 


Spastica Rex's picture

Wrestling is fake and the NFL wins the Super Bowl every year.

JP McManus's picture

An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 will cost you $457.67 today


Unless that item is a Gold Double Eagle.  And now you can see the TRUE cost of inflation.

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Thank God the primary job of the Fed Reserve is to keep inflation down! real bang up job there Brownie!