Guest Post: Understanding The National Debt (Sesame Street Edition)

Submitted by Mark McHugh of Across The Street

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Words to live by.  Remember that when someone starts explaining which way the smoke on an electric train is gonna blow, you should probably check your wallet.  

I’m tired of convoluted explanations of simple problems.  It distracts people from the truth, which is usually the intent of those doing the explaining.  The end result is large numbers of people pretending to understand things they don’t.  Bernie Madoff’s “success”,  ETFs, Treasury auctions, the housing market. 

The easiest way to confuse people is with numbers so mind-numbingly  big they mean nothing to the average person.  What’s 13 and a half Trillion dollars supposed to mean to Joe Sixpack?  This is the best I could come up with:

Can you say “Unsustainable”?

Another way to confuse people is with words.  Focus, if you will, on just two words from the Purposes page of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

The purposes of this chapter are—

(1) to immediately provide authority and facilities that the Secretary of the Treasury can use to restore liquidity and stability to the financial system of the United States; and

(2) to ensure that such authority and such facilities are used in a manner that—

(A) protects home values, college funds, retirement accounts, and life savings;

 (B) preserves homeownership and promotes jobs and economic growth;

(C) maximizes overall returns to the taxpayers of the United States; and

(D) provides public accountability for the exercise of such authority.

Protect values.  Sounds downright noble, doesn’t it?  It does until you think about what those words really mean in this context.  The inescapable conclusion is:

Protecting values means distorting prices

In order to distort prices, you must distort markets.  Sure, that Commodore 64 you bought in ’82 would still be worth 600 bucks if we had outlawed improving computer design and Commodore would still be alive and well today.  Thankfully, no one concerned themselves with protecting the value of the C-64 and Commodore declared bankruptcy in 1994.  That’s how markets work and that’s why capitalism works.

Distorting prices and markets is an absolute fool’s game, so we find ourselves with a never-ending procession of Ivy League fucktards, who fancy themselves masters of the Universe, lining up to take a whack at it.  Yes, you can keep house prices up, if you can keep interest rates low, but in order to keep interest rates low, you  must rig the credit market.  To rig the credit market without destroying stock prices,  you must create money out of thin air to buy debt, which devalues your currency, so you have to hide it as much as you can.  So now you’re rigging the Forex and precious metals markets to cover your tracks…..

Next thing you know, you’re selling choppers to Saudi Arabia.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.   Everybody with an IQ below 140, who’s not in politics knows that.  What most of those people don’t understand is how much this little magic show costs.  This next chart shows the monthly cost of  the changes in the National Debt, per person.  In other words, this is what it would cost just to stop adding to the National Debt.

This is the real cost of the so-called “recovery.”  Is there a family of four on this side of the rainbow willing to cough up 2 grand a month to keep it going?