I've written many times before about the problem of debt, and how it threatens our joint and several individual, corporate and national future. I've just come across one of the best explanations of the problem of debt in layman's terms that I've ever found.
Chris Martenson is a well-known economic forecaster and commentator. In 2011 he published 'The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment'. He's currently updating his 2011 book in the form of a series of video podcasts on his YouTube channel. I highly recommend watching them all. They contain no-nonsense, down-to-earth explanations of how we got into this mess and what are likely to be the consequences. One of his talks - the latest to be uploaded - is titled simply 'Debt'. Here's the key graphic from that presentation, IMHO.
Take a good, long look at that graphic. It's no joke. As of the end of last year, the average US family of four had a debt burden - comprising its share of the overall personal, corporate, local government, state government and national government debt - totalling $735,000. That's even if the family carried no personal debt whatsoever - no credit card balance, no student loans, no mortgage, no car note - nothing.
If you're horrified at the thought that you, personally, as an individual, are on the hook for over $180,000 of other peoples' debts, you need to watch this video presentation to find out how that happened. If the embed code stops working for any reason, you can watch it on YouTube.
Horrifying, isn't it? Now you understand why knowledgeable commentators have been saying for years that our present economic circumstances are unsustainable. Never before in the history of the human race have numbers like these been bandied about. Sooner or later, something's got to give. The only reason it hasn't already 'given' is that the Fed has been printing money like there's no tomorrow (through it's so-called 'quantitative easing' programs) to subsidize expenditure and debt, both for the US government and for the economy as a whole. That 'money spigot' is scheduled to be shut off next month. What's going to happen then? Your guess is as good as mine . . . but my guess is that it won't be good.
Debt is the albatross around our economic necks. It's dragging us down, and there will be no way up unless and until we shed that albatross. It's as simple as that. Mathematics is a science, not guesswork - and the debt numbers don't lie.
Thanks to Mr. Martenson for a very enlightening and informative video series. I very strongly recommend that you watch all of them. If only they weren't so depressing . . . but we can't blame Mr. Martenson for reality.