40 'Frightening' Facts On The Fall Of The US Economy

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

40 Statistics About The Fall Of The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

If you know someone that actually believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them the statistics in this article.  When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us.  We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions.  30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars.  Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars.  40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars.  Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars.  At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted.  Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas.  Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.  The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high.  The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth.

The following are 40 statistics about the fall of the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe...

#1 Back in 1980, the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars.  Today, it is rapidly approaching 17 trillion dollars...

National Debt

#2 During Obama's first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.

#3 The U.S. national debt is now more than 23 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

#4 If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.

#5 The federal government is stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

#6 Back in 1970, the total amount of debt in the United States (government debt + business debt + consumer debt, etc.) was less than 2 trillion dollars.  Today it is over 56 trillion dollars...

Total Debt

#7 According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001.  That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011.

#8 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.

#9 According to The Economist, the United States was the best place in the world to be born into back in 1988.  Today, the United States is only tied for 16th place.

#10 Incredibly, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been permanently shut down since 2001.

#11 There are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.

#12 According to the New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit.

#13 When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.  By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.

#14 Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little "m") for the entire year.  In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars.  That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

#15 Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.

#16 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

#17 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#18 At this point, an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#19 Small business is rapidly dying in America.  At this point, only about 7 percent of all non-farm workers in the United States are self-employed.  That is an all-time record low.

#20 Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners in the United States had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned.  By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.

#21 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#22 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#23 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

#24 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either "poor" or "low income".

#25 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#26 Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different "means-tested welfare programs", and at this point more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one of them.

#27 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#28 As I wrote recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

#29 At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.

#30 Right now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits.  By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.

#31 Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.

#32 Today, the number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

#33 According to a report recently issued by the Pew Research Center, on average Americans over the age of 65 have 47 times as much wealth as Americans under the age of 35.

#34 U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#35 As I mentioned recently, the homeownership rate in America is now at its lowest level in nearly 18 years.

#36 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#37 45 percent of all children are living in poverty in Miami, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty in Cleveland, and about 60 percent of all children are living in poverty in Detroit.

#38 Today, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.

#39 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, about 32 million Americans were on food stamps.  Now, more than 47 million Americans are on food stamps.

#40 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of "Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming."

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nope-1004's picture

Great post.  #29 is laughable.  We will NEVER pay off our bills.  Default or hyperinflate are the only 2 scenarios left.



LawsofPhysics's picture

Wrong.  World war (either overtly or covertly) is another option.  In essence, if all the "liabilities" were to suddenly "go away", that would also solve the percieved problems.  Please, those who ignore history...

nope-1004's picture

We are in a world war now.  Currency and trade wars, along with covert and cyber espionage, has been going on for years.  Read: Iran.  Do you need tanks rolling through St. Petersburg before you're convinced that there is a war going on?


Oh regional Indian's picture

WAR is ongoing and inevitable, given the state of the world. 

It is now overt nd covert, cold and hot and there is no such thing as a safe haven. A matter of when, not if it is coming to a neighbourhood near you.

That said, this list reads like THE COMMIFICATION of America.


They want everyone adn everything in the Govern-net...


trollin4sukrz's picture

Hey? why do I have all these fine looking latin babes trying to get me to marry them? I am already married. Google has fvked up again..

espirit's picture

Dija notice they have "Russian" names?

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

#17 and #18

No accident...  Even still, we are only looking at income disparity, when its wealth disparity (through theft and fraud and drug smuggling and usury...) that is the real shocker. 

Most manufacturing will be heavily automated within 20 years.  The question is, who owns the automation?  Wealth disparity will really kick the economy in the ass then.  All the profits going to 1%, and most people would probably have to borrow money (or gov't dole, if that lasts) just to live.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

John Mccain spends Memorial Day in Syria with the alCIAda rebels..........

these stinking neo-cons make me sick..........


Shocker's picture

41) Employment situation is worst than thought

Layoff/Closing List



Chupacabra-322's picture

So when is this "fall" going to happen because I've been hearing about it now since 2009 yet nothing develops. Bottom line is, the criminals can continue the fraud, crimes, deception & illusion for as long as they want. They own the keys to the printing press. The inevitible fall, if & when it happens or not & their criminal restructuring plans have already been planned.


willwork4food's picture

Planned yes. Can they control it? questionable.

otto skorzeny's picture

The best layed plans of mice and men... when this shit gets out of control it will be biblical.

JLee2027's picture

I think so too. Worldwide financial wipeout, virtually overnight. We shall live in the most interesting times.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Speaking of 'Biblical'... a new Israeli bill would elevate Judaism above democracy


An Israeli MP (Yariv Levin of the governing Likud party) has submitted a controversial proposal to the legislature which could grant Jewish identity priority over democracy in rulings which pertain to issues of religion and state, and also requiring Jewish communities be set up in disputed areas.


Expect US backing of anything & everything they do.  Hedge accordingly.

Henry Hub's picture

I wonder how soon it will be before we get a similar law in the U.S. placing Judaism above democracy.

fuckitall's picture

"So when is this "fall" going to happen..."

It's happening right now, as we speak. 

"Fall"doesn't have to be "sudden collapse".  It can be slow and steady.   You end up at the bottom either way.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

and again we need the "5 minutes to midnight" doomsday clock with the zerohedge icon as the 12 marker. If WB7 doesn't have the time maybe I'll do it :D I actually grabbed a few stills of Blankfein, the BernanQE and Krugman to go with an old B&W photo of the clock that might just work well together... just busy :D

The Heart's picture

"John Mccain spends Memorial Day in Syria with the alCIAda rebels.........."

Holy jumpin-jasper! Take a look at those fancy dressed "rebels" in camo.

So this is the new scam? Dressed battle ready American soldiers being called rebels? Pretty darn deceptive.

CutOut's picture

HEART, we are still waiting for an explanation.

aerojet's picture

Too bad they didn't cut his head off with a rusty bow saw.

nofluer's picture

Herd... stop and think for just a sec before you hyperventilate. If all the profits go to the 1%, and manufacturing is automated, and all the machines and resources are owned by the 1%, there will BE NO PROFITS because there will be no customers with the money or credit to BUY anything!!! For the rich to get richer, there has to be a measure of balance between the worlds of buyers and sellers or THERE IS NO MARKET AND MONEY and wealth BECOMES WORTHLESS!!!

With all this hankie waving going on, we need to go allll the way back to Adam Smith (Remember "The Invisible Hand"?) and look at some fundamental principles.

And while everyone is saying that default, hyperinflation or war are the ONLY ways out.... never forget the ubiquitous and totally unpredictable existence and manifestations of Black Swans! (See "The Black Swan" and the follow up book, "Antifragile" - both by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.)

My favorite maxim is the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." because that is exactly where we are. Or would you rather live in dull uninterestng times? (Mankind only seems to advance and grow when the fertilizer hits the spreader.)

otto skorzeny's picture

Your last sentence in parentheses is spot on.

BLOTTO's picture

Q in X-Factor Event...


1) Faked alien Invasion

2) Man made 'natural' disaster

3) Disease Pandemic

4) War

5) ?

TheReplacement's picture

Your point about the rich needing buyers in order to get richer is correct but only on the assumption that the rich would utilize a market.  You also refer to Adam Smith but I suggest you look further back.  Think medieval - kings and queens and a whole lotta serfs.  No market necessary, just serfs and soldiers (drones and robots anyone?).  Throw in digital snooping (NSA/FBI tapping, people turning themselves and everyone they know in on Facebook, GPS tracking in your phone and car...) and they could conceivably know all, see all, and, if not control all, kill those they cannot.

PS, try the Monsanto seeds.  They are delish this time of year.



prains's picture

Ken  Lay was CEO of a criminal enterprise called ENRON and their crimes were aided and abetted by Anderson Accounting

prains's picture

just running a ZH thought police test

Henry Hub's picture

***For the rich to get richer, there has to be a measure of balance between the worlds of buyers and sellers***

The worst thing a parasite can do is kill it's host. Successful parasites keeps the host alive. The parasitic oligarchic 1% in this country haven't realized yet the they need a middle class to feed of of. Kill of the middle class and the parasites die as well.

aerojet's picture

Feudalism. Slavery.  Both of those economic systems could be operated and basically are being operated even now.

trollin4sukrz's picture

No but most of them have nice tits.

trollin4sukrz's picture

we will NOT tolerate any conspiracy theories.

francis_sawyer's picture

"Obama will pay for my gas & mortgage"

~Peggy Joseph [2008]

trollin4sukrz's picture

moar foodstamps free porn and a hoverround will keepem happy.

GetZeeGold's picture



SGT Report UNBOUND: PROOF The U.S. Gov't Has Fallen To A Fascist Coup


trollin4sukrz's picture

all the ussa women over 30 are so fvkin fat the hoveround has to be reinforced. wtf is the problem? too much corn syrup? if a guy dont fvk fatassed bitchez ya dont get laid. no wonder we are all depressed and have to eat those fvkin pills to get a hardon. fvkin sows is not a lot of fun.. shit this sux.


ponzisaurus's picture

not enuf exercise-get to work slacker

dark pools of soros's picture

you can still fly to other countries and fuck their women

prains's picture


you are the ZH jump the shark, very sad day 

sadmamapatriot's picture

You never heard of more cushion for the pushin'?

Doña K's picture

Find a place 2,000 meters ASL or higher and you're gonna be okay.

But......deficits don't really matter do they?

nope-1004's picture

Are you saying that the earth, whose diameter is 12,742 km's and 80% covered by water, is going to see the sea rise by 2 km's?  Kinda dramatic, no?



disabledvet's picture

we will need a lot of growth in order to start paying that thing to "normal." obviously the Fed will have to monetize to zero in the meantime. 100 year bonds anyone? at least 70 year ones. at the same time i absolutely agree with ORI that "war is a coming." not a "Cold War" or something along the lines of "head games on steroids" the usual "formalized" stuff. when i grew up it was all "go west for opportunity" from the folks who'd made it up here. now they're saying "it's the military" and i agree with them. all that paydown of student debt will be done on the battlefield. insofar as the State and Local stuff...that will have to be done by a very weakened if not existent American consumer. hmmm. "definitely going to need a jobs programs on steroids" to make that one work. i mean not only hiring but actually pay would have to double from here...and in very short order....

Poor Grogman's picture

The "war is inevitable" paradigm overlooks one fundamental historical difference.

Even the worlds top sociopaths care for their OWN survival and wellbeing, thus war in the nuclear age is dangerous for them as they cannot guarantee their own safety. Any war big enough to make a real difference to the global ponzi would have potential Nuclear risk.
The current and future proposed skirmishes in the middle east aren't going to save the fiat system in the long run.

The sociopaths among us are smart enough to realize that there is nowhere safe for them anymore if things get really out of shape, therefore my guess is that they will try and manage a somewhat orderly continuation of some variation of the present system. (it works well for them).

From a more distant perspective

When you reach The tipping point of a roller coaster ride. Things actually do slow down and seem almost normal and under control for a few seconds.

That is, before the screaming starts...

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The lesson of the 20th century is, these sociopaths don't go to war unless they control both sides, or its highly asymmetric (think America vs Vietnam, the British Empire at its peak vs the Boers in Transvaal).

All the major wars in the last 100 years, both sides were under control of one group.  That way you can prolong it as required, and maximize the post-war debt loads, not to mention control the outcome. 

How early on did the Allies break the cryptography of the Axis again?

Weisshaupt's picture

I will buy a group might conspire to start a war. However,  someone always gets greedy.  Sociopaths always betray one another


NoDebt's picture

Good comments.  War by proxy is the way of things now for that reason, I think.  Far more discretionary warfare, with as little media coverage as possible. 

Fake_nation's picture

Very good point. War is the grand historical sense is quickly becoming a thing of the past. This isn't to say that the world is becoming more peaceful, just that we're much more likely to see ongoing micro-eruptions of violence rather than mass warfare.

Several reasons for this:

1. Nukes, as has been pointed out.

2. Dissolution of national identities in multiculturalism/globalization. The west is fighting with itself moreso than with external enemies, and the rest of the world is in more of a state of tribal chaos than intense nationalism. 

3.  Changes in media that melt away old nationalist myths that drove war. The newspaper/radio were unifying forces that allowed a centralized agenda. Now, for better or worse, everybody has their head in their own little private universe of iNformation. This creates apathy toward society as a whole, the opposite of the old patriotic fervor. 

4. Shifts in media from the textual, which hide the images of war, to the photographic, which show the horrors of war firsthand. Vietnam was the last major symmetric war we tried to fight, and television sent devastating images back to the home-front that undermined support.  Hence Iraq and Afghanistan's very strict control on media images, no pictures of coffins, etc, but those barriers are being broken down by increasingly micro technologies. War demands myths that literal photographic reproduction undermine.

5. The technologies of war are getting so precise and specific as an accommodation to the nuclear stalemate. "Terrorists" are the new enemy, drones and information the weapons, and the generals are still fighting the last war.

6. Collapsing governments decay into internal strife and not outward militarism. Soviet Union is the model of this kind of post-WWII collapse, and America will probably look more like it than Nazi Germany. The ideology is failed, the people don't believe but don't see any alternative, and the union is slowly showing fissures. The empire ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. 

We at Fakenation highly recommend The Gulf War Did Not Take Place as further reading on the subject of fake media wars. When Baudrillard wrote that TV was still able to craft a meta-narrative, however- now every single media story is met with a counter conspiracy theory online. We're fast becoming a nation of lone wolves that believe nothing. Those that still believe are just the next round of layoffs away from joining the ranks of 'conspiracy theorists'.

esum's picture

to point 4.   We were not at war in viet nam. it was a police action to win their hearts and minds. if we were really at war we would have BOMBED THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF N. VIETNAM... we did that from U Tapao thailand... Everytime we did, NVN begged to negotiate. So after 53000+ casualties we leave with nada to show for it, plus those who helped us got destroyed. We are now negotiating to rent the deep water port at can ranh bay.. We never fought in the tea plantations or michelin rubber plantations... and we never invaded the north..  is that "war"... we dont win anymore. the troops are the best killing machine ever on the planet. The generals are third rate, political players who dont know how to play (patreaus) let the politicians run the war, and cow tow to the politicians who are pc cunts.