Sunday, October 9, 2011

Debt, Total Debt and by Sector

Today we're just going on a little about debt, so you get the picture(s). These are all taken from FRED graphs, the St. Louis Federal Reserve's data manipulation and display feature, which apparently anybody can register for and log on to. And with a little practice you can get the graphs I have here. They are a little small, but at FRED
you can make them into PDF files and any size you want. The first is total debt for everyone in the US, everyone being, roughly:

GFDEBTN/1000 Total debt of the US federal government, divided by 1000 because the original graph is presented in millions, and for some reason just doesn't convert if you naively add graphs together.
HSTCMDODNS Total Household debt of all kinds, I think.
SLGSDODNS Total debt for State and Local Governments.
TBSDODNS Total debt for non-financial businesses.
DODFS Total debt for financial sector.

It's at roughly $55 Trillion and holding steady, more or less, these past three years. For the 45 previous years it was pretty much growing at an exponential rate. Interesting. See my previous discussions on money and debt eg:

Here is the debt decomposed into the five sectors: First, state and local government debt is seen to be relatively small potatoes. After that everybody else is pretty much still in the race. These last three years, financial has deleveraged a lot, households a little, and business has held steady. Federal govt. debt, however, has accelerated, which seems to imply that, (as others have noticed) the government is going further faster into debt to pay for the financial sector's deleveraging.

Now $55 Trillion is about $180,000 per person, which is also about the per capita capitalization of the United States. That is all the assets in the United states add up to about $55 trillion dollars or so. Maybe slighty less. Anyway, that person at the mean, asset, or wealth, speaking, who is further up the totem pole than the median, (who is half way up the totem pole,) owns nothing. And anybody below him owns less than nothing. Objectively speaking. That is, anybody below that line pays interest, and anybody above that line collects it. Now that mean asset holder is somewhere in the top 5% as far as I can figure, (somewhere between a guess and a calculation.) That is more than 95% of the population each own less than $180,000.

Look at the total debt line. It was going exponential. Is still going exponential, if you discount the financial sector and its deleveraging. You're probably wondering how you did it, since, on the average, your own total debt line looks just the same a that one. Because you pay the debt. All of it. Businesses pass on debt to their customers in higher prices. Government, federal state and local pass on debt in the form of higher taxes. The financial sector passes on debt in higher fees, and higher interest rates. So the bottom line is not just your bottom line. All sector's debt weighs on the consumer, and that is you. And it takes many forms, not just higher prices and taxes. It's also higher unemployment, higher underemployment, and fewer government services, and less services from businesses. More foreclosures and decaying infrastructure. All so that a few percent can collect their unjust profits, and live in the style to which they are becoming accustomed to.


  1. Nice analysis. Debt is my favorite topic, by the way. At FRED I usually look at TCMDO, not DODNS & DODFS. But I don't know how the two sets of files compare.

    FRED: Your Interest Cost Dollars At Work.

  2. Here is how the banker's game works:

    1) Get the government to issue some currency (cash -- paper or reserves at the central bank -- reserves are government issued cash central bank deposits). Government issued cash is around 5% of the currency (money) supply. The government issued currency is put into circulation by the government simply spending it.

    2) The rest (95%) of the currency is issued by the private banks. Each customer loan is a new bank deposit (i.e., new currency) and increases the currency (money) supply of the economy. Note that this newly created money (currency) is put into circulation by the borrower spending it. Most currency (about 95% America's currency supply) has been borrowed into existence and when bank customer pays the loan back that amount of currency is removed from circulation. The banking system cannot go backwards (fewer net loans) as time moves on because fewer net loans means fewer currency in circulation in the economy.

    Accmulation of interest charges on outstanding loans means that the currency supply must constantly increase even if it means giving out lower quality loans. Think of it like a plane flying it must fly at some minimum speed or else the plane (the banking system) will crash (i.e., banking system collapse).

    3) The bankers make dam sure that the common public does not understand how the monetary system works meaning that the private banks issue 95% of the currency. This is whole another topic how they do this.

    4) The system works until real economic capacity of the economy grows and debts can be serviced and interest charges paid. Most of the time the economy oscillates between boom (growth) and bust (recession) because bust is needed to clear debts and start a new lending cycle.

    5) Eventually, one of these cycles goes so deep that currency supply (and demand) falls so low that too many debts become un-serviceable. The recession becomes a depression now.

    6) The bankers then have to decide how to "reset" the system. One way to reset the system is to let the depression takes its course. But of course this path is very chaotic because people lose jobs and may become violent. Once most debts are cleared lending can start again and the currency supply is replenished. Wars are a good way to get initial money (currency) into an economy after a depression to get demand going again. This is the great depression scenario.

    7) Another way to "reset" the system is to get the government to print too much money and spend and destroy the currency and blame it on the government. This justifies issuance of a totally new currency (note that hyperinflation clears debts) and the lending cycle can start again.

    8) The banking system (as is) is setup to maximize the power and influence of the global bankers and NOT for the maximum general well being of people. By the way this is a global game. This is the only system around no matter what country you are in. The global banking cartel makes sure that no competing systems are allowed to exist (so they might be copied and global bankers will lose power).

    For more details on this stuff please read the following articles in order listed below:

    Mansoor H. Khan