Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is the US government the world's largest sub-prime debtor?

That's what an article at Zero Hedge suggests - and when you look at the numbers, it's hard to disagree.

... consider how much the federal government borrows as a percentage of its income (the sum of its tax receipts).

... not only does the federal government often finance itself with debt, but it does so by borrowing a lot relative to its income. In 2009 it borrowed 85 percent as much as it was able to raise through taxes! While commentators praise the government for getting its budget deficits under control and down to a more “reasonable” level of 4 percent of GDP, we can see that it still needs to borrow more than 20 percent of its income to keep its operations afloat.

Of course, this is just the yearly deficit. Turning our attention to the cumulative effects of this in terms of the gross federal debt outstanding we can see that the situation is even more precarious.

As of last year, the gross amount of debt owed by the federal government was about 5.5 times its tax receipts. That would be equivalent to someone earning $30,000 a year owing $165,000. Somehow people are up in arms about students graduating with an average of $30,000 in debt and landing a measly $30,000 a year job, but few want to face the realization that the federal government is in five times worse shape.

There's more at the link, including graphs illustrating the above points and more.  Thought-provoking and recommended reading.


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