"We Are Number One!", Or Why At Least Broke Greece Is Not America

Tyler Durden's picture

A rather curious phenomenon that has been observed in the popular press lately is that on those rare occasions when total global public debt is demonstrated correctly on a country by country basis, i.e., including contingent liabilities, as well as various trans-national, public-sector backed guarantees (such as EFSF backstops), and most importantly the Net Present Value of pensions and healthcare, or the cost of the welfare state expressed in current dollars, there is one country that is  systematically excluded. That would be the United States. Today we set the record straight by adding the US to the list where it rightfully belongs, and also answer the rhetorical question of why the US just so happens to be consistently omitted from such column-chart based, hair-raising classifications. Simply said, it is quite clear why the now defaulted Hellenic Republic could and should be forgiven in saying that “at least Greece is not America…”

Keep in mind this is purely a documentation of public debt in its broader definition. When one adds private financial and household debt, things get truly hilarious, as seen on the following chart also from Morgan Stanley (which unfortunately excludes such critical components of public debt as contingent and NPV of pension and healthcare) which shows why the UK, with its 950% global consolidated debt/GDP, is quite fond of infinite rehypothecation, or the iterational “fractional reserve” creation of credit money from one asset (most likely robo-signed away to someone, unclear quite who: just ask Jon Corzine how fiat money can evaporate when one tries to match it with the “asset” that spawned it), as many times as necessary to pay those record banker bonuses.

Incidentally, the reason why the US is again mysteriously underrepresented from this chart is not only due to ignoring the elephant in the room, or NPVed welfare costs, but because for a proper apples to apples comparison basis on total, consolidated cross-sector debt, one would have to also account for all the shadow banking system debt, a number and concept which modern monetary theory still refuses to acknowledge, which was the primary source of thoroughly unregulated and deposit-free credit expansion in the US in the past 20 years,  and which per Citi estimates from several years ago based on total assets held by custodial banks, would be well over double the US GDP alone!

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Fips_OnTheSpot's picture

Waiting for the day when 'reserve currency' becomes 'reverse currency' .. wait a minute... :D

Rahm's picture




Harlequin001's picture

I don't see the problem. All the US has to do is to raise the qualification for healthcare for Americans (like introducing a requirement for a third leg or twelve fingers for example) and as if by magic, no unfunded healthcare costs...

Whereas Greece is totally screwed since it can't do anything about it's excessive government debt.

And there you go, Greece is not America...

Fixed it for ya.

GetZeeGold's picture



The Greeks can gloat all they want but they're still not Icelanders.


Winston Churchill's picture


With real GDP growth of 0.08%,using the correct deflator.

Actual debt at 101% with interst at 3%.

Greece squared(or phucked).

Stuck on Zero's picture

As far as I can see Greece is further ahead than the U.S. and others in getting it's economy straghtened out i.e. defaulted.

AssFire's picture

Greece is not saddled with the "reward the most horrible people" system. The system many find that their destruction of "Little Whitey's" wealth via state-supported negritude does not bring the desired result of reducing Whitey to a pack of fearful and compliant serfs, but instead produces a substantial stratum of competent, responsible, organized and totally alienated people with a fervent desire to see the system crash. With the policies of the USan regime growing ever more brazen in their overt expressions of contempt and ice-cold, calculated hatred for Whitey, multitudes are daily adopting this attitude.

Whites need to start thinking in 'Atlas Shrugged' terms. The game most are attempting to play - described so well by Paul Kersey's above article of working like hapless galley slaves to foot the bill for BRA - is simply not winnable as long as we play by the slave power's rules. Stop playing by their rules and stop paying for your own destruction. The sooner the system collapses - the better.

Stop thinking that the R-jerseys of the single ruling party are on your side. They are most assuredly not. The sole purpose of the Repuke party (known to its admirers as the Gay Old Pedophiles) is to deflect money and energy away from any genuine opposition to the system described above. The black flag must be raised - it is the only banner under which we have a chance at survival.


Stack Trace's picture

Look...it is greedy "Whities" hiring the slave-wage "Brownies." Look at all the off-shoring, importing of brown skinned labor, etc. Those are "Whities" doing those things.

Slavery is alive and well. The problem is most of the "Whities" are also slaves and just as incapable of organizing and fighitng back as the "Brownies." How about we throw out the whole skins thing and focus on the real problems.... massive inequality and institutions bent on keeping 99.9% of the population enslaved.

Anyway, I don't normally write in these terms but I figured if I stooped down to your level you might understand.

AssFire's picture

You "stooped down" only after stealing my money for years.\ what level do you expect?

francis_sawyer's picture

Forget that... Let's look at this from a mathematical or scientific perspective...


"We're #1"

- If PISS = #1

- & if SHIT = #2

Well... I'd basically say that... "We ain't shit"...

Conclusion: we're NOT #2

"We're #1"!

There... fixed it...


EDIT: I guess that 'pissed' someone off...

Whiner's picture

Scatological, Bitchez! Bullish!

Fox-Scully's picture

USA! USA! USA!  oops wrong game.

vast-dom's picture



       US Military Expenditures > Greek Military Expenditures

US Penis Enlargement Expenditures < Greek Penis Enlargement Expenditures



evolutionx's picture

Learn from the ECB!


ECB accepts Portugal Bonds due Dec. 31, 9999

No joke: the European Central Bank accepts a Portuguese bond from the year 1943 as collateral due for repayment on Dec. 31, 9999. The ECB has turned into the dumping ground for European banks' junk bonds. The practice could harm the central bank's reputation as well as the Euro. The ECB issues Euros for almost everything.


barliman's picture


That's odd ...

... no matter how you look at these charts and try to analyze the individual sources contributing to each bar, in the end, they are really just dominoes - stood side by side and waiting for the slightest shock to send them falling against one another.

I wonder how long till this proves to be the case?

Soon, I think.


TheSilverJournal's picture

The dominoes fall when inflation pops the bond bubble. As long as more can be printed and bond yields can continue to be lowered, the ponzi will stay intact. But at some point, so much printing has to occur that negative real rate of interest will grow so absurd and then counterfeiting of gold fiat ponzi scam will be over.

TheSilverJournal's picture

That inflection point may have just been crossed. Real rates are already negative (even when taking the governments considerably kind to inflation numbers) . And with all of the bad data lately, the market still hasn't sold off. After all, if you sell something, you have to buy cash or bonds...so, according to the market, the move out of stocks or commodities to buy bonds because of the faltering economy might just not happen.

That's not to say that rates can't go lower. The Fed can print an infinite amount and literally put rates wherever it wants. What it does mean is that commodities and equities are set to soar. The money always has to flow somewhere.

fourchan's picture

5 more years of obama should tip the scales.

Sudden Debt's picture

And why not go Kim Jong Obama on America after his second term?
President For Life!

upWising's picture

Once upon a time, when the Great State of Utah was going to execute you, you got a choice.  A State Official would come into your cell and ask if you preferred to be shot or hanged.  [Urban Legend is that one condemned man opted for the option that cost the Great State of Utah the most money.]

Kim Jong Mitt or Kim Jong Bark.  Shot or hanged.  Result is indistinguishable.

Sudden Debt's picture

Graph is from 2010... Debt is up 3 trillion since than..

Triple A's picture

if the UK financials are so bad why do i not here more about them?

hooligan2009's picture

The UK is a global banking centre with most non-UK global banks representing their headquarters in London. There are a few UK banks left, but they are either under UK Government ownership (like RBS c.80% and Lloyds c. 40%) or aren't predominantly UK banks at all (HSBC) or are the UK equivalent of Goldman Sachs (Barclays). Each of the major US, German, French, Italian, Japanese banks' liabilities are represented in these charts as being claims on the UK, which of course they are not. The amount of assets in custody of $30 tn five years ago or so is interesting. As is the amount of these assets that custodians lend out to finance the Government debt of bankrupt Governments like the US, UK, Japan and France. I think we all should pay attention to the welfare state of Germany also. These unaccounted for liabilities in welfare spending are at least double that of the US and no-one is talking about those either.

Debtman And Robbin's picture

I don't think the UK is a global banking centre. 

But I think the City of London is.

That would be a huge difference.



And I don't think that German welfare liabilities are double that of the US. Even if, the Germans might be diligent enough to cope with that. At least they produce some useful stuff.

These charts are misleading as long as you don't know which liabilities are included. What about GSE liabilities? Actually, without more information, e.g. on the maturity structure of welfare liabilities, these charts provide a shit.

Sandmann's picture

If German GDP is lower than US GDP and 80 million Germans do not have more Assets than 313 million Americans it is hard to see how a nation with $3 Trillion GDP can have higher welfare liabilities than a $14 Trillion economy unless Americans have medical and retirement provision at levels of Chinese peasants

Marco's picture

Bank liabilities are not a claim on a country? Tell that to the Irish ...

Iceland is the outlier, only a single moral person in an important position managed to steer them clear of the position TPTB wanted them in ... most countries won't be so lucky.

hooligan2009's picture

they arent and never have been..ask the icelanders and ecuadoreans..the irish ploy of guaranteeing banks is somewhat akin to you or i guaranteeing student loans...

Marco's picture

And how close did the Icelandic government get to taking over the burden of the banks? TPTB have their claws deep ... in principal it's not a claim on a country, in practice it is. No more debt will be allowed to repudiated as we march on to neo-feudalism, it's only a matter of time before debt becomes completely hereditary again as well.

cossack55's picture

"Go tell it to the Icelanders"

            King Leonidas the Frozen

Sandmann's picture

In an Island Tax Haven controlled by the powerful Corporation of The City of London whose Officer - The City Remembrancer - sits behind the Speaker in The House of Commons to ensure compliance and where Shriti Vadera of UBS is key Adviser to Gordon Brown and his Secrtary Sue Nye is the wife of Gavin Davies, former Partner of Goldman Sachs, and where  Goldman Sachs had enjoyed inside-track access to the Treasury for the Labour era - it was very hard to imagine the British State telling banks to renege on foreign derivatives exposure. In fact it would have been healthier for Britain to have done a Super Lehman and legislated to seize control of domestic banks under Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and let the banks default on international obligations - but The Corporation would simply not permit it - and The Corporation has the power









TheGardener's picture

Nor do I and I have been watching British scheming for decades, it just eludes me how they always got away with it by their design ...

GeneMarchbanks's picture

For one, the story has stayed mostly hidden from the public. Especially the US public, which isn't exactly the most intellectually curious. Since the hyper-hypothecation article (also MFG) last year it has finally surfaced as the final frontier. Don't expect much in way of coverage and scandal, the confrontation never arrives since every single 'adversary' would rather try to gain in its influence rather than expose or potentially subvert the operation.

Absinthe Minded's picture

The UK is global banking centre because they have no rehypothecation rules. Long live the Ponzi !!!

Sandmann's picture

Why would you ? It is THE major global financial centre - Bankers are not going to piss on themselves. If they attack London they expose the Root Cause of the whole disaster. They don't make money shorting themselves - they make money by squeezing sovereign states in Greenmail through Bond Trading and Derivatives.  When Thatcher allowed Arab terrorists to make London their Headquarters the deal was they don't foul the nest and keep terrorism out of London. It is the same with Banks. If they attacked their main base where would they go ? There is nowhere on earth as hospitable for Banks as London - they pay no Taxes, their Staff pay no taxes, and they get English public schools like Eton and Marlborough for their children.........go look at Non-Dom deals. They have a captive Government which does NOt prosecute, a tame regulator in FSA, and no other country would want to be as exposed in Balance Sheet terms as the Offshore Island -


Britain is simply Jersey magnified

Ghordius's picture

excellent comments - got to look up the Tatcher reference

there is nowhere on Earth a place as hospitable as the "Square Mile" for banks: witness infinite rehypothecation

and of course you have to remember that the force is strong in the City of London, witness the arrival and reception of The Murdoch at Westminster (music video here), with MPs grovelling at his feet, hilariously happy to be chided affectionately by The Great Old Man in what were supposed to be parliamentary hearings in a sordid tale of blackmail, wiretapping and assorted criminal activities in the media/political intersection.

The FT and others are also furiously explaining that he was just very polite to meet every seriously important politician on Bog Island without ever addressing how or how much they want to be friendly.

Which in a twisted way it could be even true: young politician meets The Murdoch, all the newsies of the globe notice it and that's it folks, spontaneous sychophant forces are applied: "this is the young future, we got to give this person lots of positive coverage and friendly spin, I mean, he was allowed in His Presence, this is the Mark of Greatness". Reapply for a short boost like Cameron did - visiting The Murdoch on his yacht for added intimacy - he can't kneel to His Presence in public, can he? Not yet.

Note that Bilderberg (though a lesser Nexus compared to The Murdoch) works on a similar principle: You have been Noticed, please have a friendly, open chat with us so that we might know you better (note the open discussion club rules and how the minutes don't mention who said something, only what has been said). That's it. Reporters don't need detailed instructions, just a wink.

All Hail the Global Fourth Estate and The Murdoch. All Hail the Bank Cabal and the Holy Vampire Squid.

GMadScientist's picture

I hope that asshole dies screaming riddled with bone cancer.


TheGardener's picture

In praise of you Ghordius and Sandmann`s comments I may add, The Murdouch is an old school robber baron, most fellow
robbers of this former Australian being either dead or jailbirds.

Great scams though they pulled off in the 20th century just as if it were the 18hundreds, down under means behind and ahead at the same time in a wicked sense.

GMadScientist's picture

"if the UK financials are so bad why do i not here [sic] more about them?"

Because they have their own currency.

Matt's picture

+1 as surrogate for above.

Starting post with italics blocks arrows.

dogismyth's picture

It really doesn't matter what the graphs represent, nor does it matter what the debt is.  The monetary system is merely a tool to transfer more and more power and control to those destined to be rulers over the people.  It really has nothing to do with money.  All debt could be forgiven worldwide regardless of who owes what.  And how would that change the world?  And how would we start anew?  That's the freshest virtual reality I can think of.  What we are experiencing is utter nonsense and depravity of our evolution.  There are enough intelligent people to pick up pieces to rebuild a better tomorrow.  Pray the system crashes and the generational leaders and inbred family members are neutralized.  That's the only real hope for your progeny. 

DaveyJones's picture

I'd like to change their destiny

l1b3rty's picture

let's not forget about the shadow military and intelligence spending, or the black budget. The US funds today not only the world's lending system via WB, IMF, etc., but also its modern NKVD.


RiverRoad's picture

And we'll blow anybody away who disses our dollar.  sarc/

Clashfan's picture

Hate and War, the only thing we are today.


Peter Pan's picture

The message of these graphs is simple. We have overspent in the past and our expectations from the future outweigh the means. In other words we are stuffed in both directions.