New Thinking And Different Actions

September 20, 2017

Hypothetical 65 year old American Male:

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 285 pounds – 120 # overweight

Health: Marginal, with chronic pain and increasingly difficult daily existence

Ask our hypothetical male if he wants to lose 100 # of unnecessary fat, improve his physical health, live 10 years longer, increase stamina, reduce chronic pain, and drive a golf ball 50 yards longer off the tee.

Reason: He is addicted to his food choices, alcohol consumption, smoking, other activities, thinking and emotions which created ill health, chronic pain, and 120 pounds of excess weight. Different actions and choices are needed, but most people prefer not to modify their habits and behavior.

The Process: Change the quantity and type of food he eats, reduce alcohol consumption, add strength training and flexibility exercises, modify habits, quit smoking, and radically adjust his lifestyle. Most people will not make the effort.

The actions, thinking and emotions that created the problems will not fix those problems. Drastic change is needed or his health and quality of life will deteriorate.

Most people (nations, families, cultures, central bankers, governments etc.) will not change their lifestyle and habits. They will continue doing what created current physical pain and financial ill health.

FINANCIAL EXAMPLE

Suppose the hypothetical American family has $200,000 in credit card and mortgage debt. Income is approximately $40,000 per year. Assume annual credit card and mortgage interest rates average 8%. The interest only on the debt is nearly half the annual income, before many taxes and living expenses. Reducing the principal balance with minimum payments consumes most remaining income – for a very long time, assuming this family could somehow survive without increasing their debt.

This is a problem.

The numbers do not work unless the family can (magically) increase their debt each year – use a new credit card until maxed out, and then do the same with another credit card. Unfortunately, the minimum payments will soon consume the entire annual income and crowd out the family’s ability to pay for necessary living expenses. The credit card issuing banks may think “deadbeat” and refuse to expand credit limits or issue new cards.

This is a problem.

Compare to The US National Debt and Government Finances:

Multiply the debt and income for our hypothetical family by 100,000,000 to appreciate our national debt dilemma. Total official debt is $20 trillion. (Unfunded liabilities are much higher and are not considered in this simple example.) Annual income is about $4 trillion. But the rules are different at the national level:

  • Interest rates are held low. Instead of 8%, the government currently pays only 2 – 3% on the $20 trillion in debt. Eventually risk (currency plus default) might be appropriately priced and interest rates could rise.

  • Debt increases every year. In effect the national credit card has no credit limit and congress spends more every year. To quote a former Vice-President, “Deficits don’t matter.” (But they do!)

  • Expenses will increase rapidly due to the demographics of retiring baby-boomers, huge Medicare and health costs, and war, lots of expensive wars.

Since 1913 the national debt has doubled approximately every 8 – 9 years. Assume it doubles every 8 years from 2017.

Year         Debt

2017      $20 trillion

2025      $40 trillion

2033     $80 trillion

2041    $160 trillion

2049    $320 trillion

This is a problem! It will become a crisis!

THE THINKING AND ACTIONS THAT CREATED THE CRISIS WILL NOT FIX THE CRISIS!

If the national debt exceeds $300 trillion in the year 2050, what will a family of four spend for food in a week? Consumer Price Inflation will grow into an ugly monster!!!

Like the example of the hypothetical American male in ill health, the same thinking and actions will lead to ever-increasing unpayable debt, a weaker economy, excessive interest payments, and massive consumer price inflation, perhaps hyper-inflation. A solution requires NEW thinking and DIFFERENT actions.

New thinking and different financial actions should be initiated by our Congress and Administration. Have we seen any positive changes or new and helpful ideas in the last three decades regarding deficits, excessive government spending, and ever-increasing debt?

The consequences of western financial actions and thinking will be increasingly unpleasant for everyone but the financial and political elite. More of the same will be increasingly less viable for the rest of us.

New thinking and different actions are needed!

Read: The Burning Platform: Swindling Futurity

Gary Christenson

The Deviant Investor

GE ChristensonGary Christenson is the owner and writer for the popular and contrarian investment site Deviant Investor and the author of the book, “Gold Value and Gold Prices 1971 – 2021.” He is a retired accountant and business manager with 30 years of experience studying markets, investing, and trading. He writes about investing, gold, silver, the economy and central banking.

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