The American Economy

Things are tough right now in the U.S. and throughout much of the world.  In some ways, things have never been better.  We have access to more information than ever.  We can communicate with anyone, even if they are on the other side of the earth, and there are many ways to communicate.  We have computers that are exponentially greater than those of just a few years ago.  We have big screen televisions with great picture quality at a price that would have been unimaginable just 10 years ago.

Yet, with all of these new great technologies, our standard of living is going down in other ways.  Our basic needs are more expensive.  These include medical care and food.  You could also include housing if you ignore the peak of the boom from 5 years ago.  In the 1950's it was common for the man to go off to work and for the woman to stay home and take care of the kids and keep up the house.  This has become increasingly difficult for families to do.

Part of this can be attributed to the fact that we want our gadgets like televisions and cell phones.  But it is hard to believe that this is the main reason, especially when these new technologies get cheaper and cheaper.  I believe the primary reason is government.  In the last 50 years, government has grown by leaps and bounds.  Some periods have been worse than others, but it has been a continuous trend of more laws, more regulations, and more taxes.  In addition, the U.S. has been completely off the gold standard since 1971.  This has allowed more tampering by the Fed.  Inflation redistributes wealth and it misallocates resources.  This is harmful to production in our society.

If you add up government at all of the levels (federal, state, and local), we fork over about half of our income to the government and this doesn't even account for all of the things made more expensive due to government mandates and regulations.  It is not hard to believe that the average American is struggling financially.  Until the American people stop allowing politicians to have so much power, there will be more of the same.  There is certainly an economic limit as to how far the government and the Fed can destroy things, but the day of reckoning won't be pretty.

The Fed has tripled the adjusted monetary base since 2008.  This is unprecedented.  The federal government is running deficits of over 1.5 trillion dollars.  This is also unprecedented.  The national debt is almost 100% of GDP.  There is no sign that any of this madness will stop.  The only thing that will stop it is the laws of economics.  The government will eventually have to tighten its belt or risk destroying the dollar completely.

The government surpassed the debt limit this week.  Now they are playing accounting games and borrowing money from government pensions.  They are adding problems to the already existing ones.  The politicians want to try to delay the day of reckoning.  They may succeed for a little while longer, but it seems that they are running out of tricks and don't have much more time.

You should take every precaution you can at this point to get your financial house in order.  You should be prepared for some rough times ahead.  Don't get caught off guard.  Most Americans can sense that something is wrong, but most don't understand the magnitude of the problems we face.  I think with technology and an increasing awareness among Americans, we will see a rollback of government eventually.  Until then, you should be prepared for some hard times.