Debt Cancer: More Than 80% Of American Adults Owe Somebody Else Money

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

How long can our debt levels keep growing much, much faster than the overall economy? 

We haven’t had a year of 3 percent growth for the U.S. economy since the middle of the Bush administration, but we keep borrowing money as if there is no tomorrow.  Much of the focus has been on the exploding debt of the federal government, and that is definitely something I plan to address once I get to Washington.  But on an individual level, U.S. consumers have been extremely irresponsible as well.  In fact, one new survey has found that more than 80 percent of all American adults are currently in debt

It’s no secret that America is a nation that runs on debt, but it may surprise you to learn that the overwhelming majority of U.S. adults owe money in some way, shape, or form. According to new data from Comet, here’s how many Americans have debt at present:

  • 80.9% of Baby Boomers
  • 79.9% of Gen Xers
  • 81.5% of Millennials

For most of us, it starts very early.  We were told that going into debt to get a college education would not be a problem because we would be able to pay those loans off with the good jobs we would get after graduation.

Unfortunately, those good jobs never really materialized for many of us, and now millions of former college students are absolutely drowning in debt

A study released Friday by the Brookings Institution finds that most borrowers who left school owing at least $50,000 in student loans in 2010 had failed to pay down any of their debt four years later. Instead, their balances had on average risen by 5% as interest accrued on their debt.

As of 2014 there were about 5 million borrowers with such large loan balances, out of 40 million Americans total with student debt. Large-balance borrowers represented 17% of student borrowers leaving college or grad school in 2014, up from 2% of all borrowers in 1990 after adjusting for inflation. Large-balance borrowers now owe 58% of the nation’s $1.4 trillion in outstanding student debt.

In addition to owing more than a trillion dollars on student loans, Americans are also now carrying more than a trillion dollars of auto loan debt and more than a trillion dollars of credit card debt.

Corporations have been incredibly irresponsible as well.  Corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, and corporate bankruptcies have been rising steadily in recent years.  All it would take for the dominoes to really start falling is some sort of a major economic downturn.

Local, state and federal government debt levels are all at record highs as well.  It is now being projected that our national debt will hit 30 trillion dollars by 2028, and those projections are probably too optimistic.

My guess is that we will almost certainly hit the 30 trillion dollar mark far sooner than that.

We can’t keep doing this to ourselves.  Our incessant greed is literally destroying the future, but anyone that tries to warn about the collective insanity that has descended upon our society is mocked and ridiculed.

Let me ask you a question.

Would you willingly choose to give yourself cancer?

Of course not, but that is essentially what we are doing to ourselves as a society.

Debt is economic cancer, and as Lance Roberts has pointed out, if we continue to allow debt levels to grow like this eventually it will kill our entire economy…

Debt is, by its very nature, a cancer on economic growth. As debt levels rise it consumes more capital by diverting it from productive investments into debt service. As debt levels spread through the system it consumes greater amounts of capital until it eventually kills the host.

Debt is addictive, because it does boost our standard of living in the short-term.  It is so easy to keep going back for one more “hit”, but every time we do it just makes our long-term crisis even worse.

Most people out there seem to think that our economic problems have been “solved”, but that is not true at all.

The truth is that our long-term problems just continue to grow with each passing day, and that is one of the reasons why I am so determined to go to Washington.  We are at such a critical juncture right now, and if something is not done the prognosis is extremely negative.

If we stay on this current path, the very best that we can hope for is a “soft landing” and a greatly reduced standard of living for future generations of Americans.  Here is more from Lance Roberts

The processes that fueled the economic growth over the last 30 years are now beginning to run in reverse, and when combined with the demographic shifts in the U.S., the impact could be far more immediate and prolonged than the media, economists, and analysts are currently expecting. Sacrifices will have to be made, the economy will drag on at subpar rates of growth, individuals will be working far longer into their retirement years and the next generation of Americans will lead a far different life than what the currently retiring generation enjoyed.

It is simply a function of the math.

I am sorry for not writing more lately.  I have been working night and day to get ready for May 15th.  With Donald Trump in the White House, this is our opportunity to take our government back.  If we miss this window, we may never have this sort of opportunity ever again.

America is drowning in debt, but of course our problems go far beyond that.  Our economic, political, cultural and spiritual problems go very deep, and we desperately need to change course as a nation.

Unfortunately, most of the population is in a deep state of sleep, and my hope is that we can wake them up while there is still time to turn things around.

*  *  *

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on


ChaoKrungThep Uchtdorf Tue, 02/20/2018 - 02:19 Permalink

Pro-Trump?? You know Donnie the Punk was put into office to do his clown act while his masters looted the good ship USA, right down to the waterline. Think Titanic, mad captain at the helm, unsinkable hull shoved in, owners checking insurance policies back on the dock. Oh, and before you left port, they pawned the lifeboats. Suckers. Hope you can swim, a long way back to shore.

In reply to by Uchtdorf

TechnoCaveman Four Star Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:26 Permalink

Very good chart Four Star.
   Also "Public debt to the penny" How the government has stopped spending a trillion dollars *a year*, sometimes more than a trillion dollars,  in the past year. 
Now the government will rein in debt spending. I hope they make "harvest boxes" available to the general public as well. Put them on Amazon would be great ! 

In reply to by Four Star

sabaj49 TechnoCaveman Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:13 Permalink

while the exploding govt debt is problem

the real problem is the 3-some of GREENSPAN, BERNAKE and sister YELLEN

they have really created a debt bomb that will explode

but since they just print more $$$$ what really happens is that

THE VALUE OF THE DOLLAR becomes worthless

thereby requiring many more $$$'s to buy same ''''stuff''''

and since GLOBALIZED wages have made NEW LOWER CLASS of bottom 95% - we'll all soon see MUCH LOWER STANDARDS OF LIVING


In reply to by TechnoCaveman

Uchtdorf sabaj49 Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:22 Permalink

Here's the problem: Ever heard of Jerome Powell? American presidents get to pretend that they're picking the head of the Federal Reserve System. Trump named Powell. If you believe, even for half a second, that Powell is going to be any different from his predecessors...that the Federal Reserve is going to change course (for the betterment of the average serf of America)...that the Fed will throw open its doors for an audit...that they will be shutting down their unconstitutional operations, then you simply don't understand political power dynamics. These traitors are not going to politely exit stage left.

In reply to by sabaj49

TechnoCaveman JibjeResearch Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:21 Permalink

Jibje You are right and that is the issue. House debt, credit card debt, car debt.
Worst is the lack of "ownership"  Everything comes with "Monthly fee". Cable bill, cell phone bill, internet bill, Netflix/HBO/Amazon subscription. 
Being "paid off" is a dream. Too many folks live by "Making the minimum payments on all the bills is safe and good to do" 
It is getting harder and harder for people to make all the payments.
My local high schools are not teaching how bad that is. Please do not do what the parents may be doing. 

In reply to by JibjeResearch

Blue Steel 309 JibjeResearch Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:21 Permalink

The issue is that usury is legal. I am not completely against lending money and charging interest, but your average 30 yea mortgage is fucking usurious in the extreme, at over 200% nominal interest. Sure 3.5% sounds low on the surface, but considering it is owed to a corporation that does not care about time, it is outrageously usury. Especially since they don't even have to have the money to lend it to you.

In reply to by JibjeResearch

Decoherence Blue Dog Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:45 Permalink

Agreed.  Savings is what allows people to start their own businesses instead of slaving away at shit jobs, guaranteeing a lifetime of enslavement.  Almost no one saves anything when they have debt.  Their wage just keeps feeding bankers.   Big business and banks want you to keep spending because they know it keeps the money moving up the ladder and you out of options.  If everyone just refused to stop buying garbage they don't need, this nonsense would end in a hurry.  

In reply to by Blue Dog

Decoherence octomancer Mon, 02/19/2018 - 23:48 Permalink

Always exceptions for those without any, or substandard critical thinking skills.  How many people do you see in this country driving gas guzzling pick up trucks to work when they don't even need one for their job?  How many people do you see leasing BMWs, Audi, Mercedes, etc. because rates were low?  This OMFG...This.  No way that person could have leased something else and saved that money every month to apply toward an asset instead of a liability.  It's just not possible.  How many people do you see buying the most expensive home they qualified for when one half the cost would do just fine?  Or simply come to terms with the fact they can't truly afford the neighborhood they want to live in and move to another.  But they'd much rather be house poor and then lose their home in the next recession.  How many people do you see piling up Amazon boxes on their front door steps, attempting to fill the void in their souls with needless consumption?  How many people do you see going out to eat 2-3 times a day because they're too lazy to cook anything at home?  People choose it every day of their lives.  

In reply to by octomancer

SilverDOG JibjeResearch Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:39 Permalink

Uhhmm yeah sure buddy.

No problem right ?

"It's different this time" - American Investment Whores

Keep trusting the FED and the Dollar-n-Friends, and everything A OK.

Just what are your "sums" based upon.

If all USD, you're fucked. If all on paper you are corn holed.

"Have fun storming the Castle" - Princess Bride.


My debt -0- richer than 80% with ten bucks in my pocket, or 10 million.


In reply to by JibjeResearch

JibjeResearch bitzager Mon, 02/19/2018 - 20:10 Permalink

Yes, ... with that knowledge, you/we/us have to figure out how to print money like the Central BAnks.  If you can print money..., the playing field is leveled.  That's the secret.



If you have BTC 10 years ago,

You would have BCH,BTG,BCD,BCA, LTC and LCC.

Just from BTC, you gained other wealth from new coins just by holding BTC. 

This is the trick and Central Banks ( all of Banks) are freaking scared shitless. 

Everything that we know in good and services is based on "trust".

Trust is so broken now...


Blockchain is the technology, the bearer of unbroken trust.... ,so long as there is no hack from another smart ass...human..., blockchain will always give true consensus based on true democracy.

All central planners hate blockchain because it's in direct competition.

In reply to by bitzager

techpriest navy62802 Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:15 Permalink



If they wanted genuine financial health, they would have raised rates and burned any notion of "borrow money to get ahead" to ashes, and then let people work out rates for themselves (the near-mythical free market). However, that would mean less spending and the political class being forced to admit that their policies failed. So, we get a pretend economy that will eventually go bust.


In the meantime, I am completely out of all debt, and building up multiple income streams so that I can ride out the transition as well as possible.

In reply to by navy62802

LawsofPhysics techpriest Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:22 Permalink

It is even simpler than that.  Basically we have a global system that rewards bad behavior and bad management!

Remind me, are all those MBS still on the Fed's balance sheet?  Did anyone actually go to prison for this?  Are the primary dealer banks still "too big to fail"?

"Full Faith and Credit"

In reply to by techpriest

silverserfer LawsofPhysics Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:41 Permalink

"savers" you mean early players to the usuary ponzi? as if saving and benefiting from compounding interest was ok? It never was. Now savers holding silver or gold, yes. You should be able to be paid to loan money yes as a set fee based on money that cannon be debauched. Not this conjured up on demand stuff.


 Debit based fiat money operating under compounding interest has put us in this shitshow. 

In reply to by LawsofPhysics