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Steve's note: My colleague and friend Porter Stansberry recently published an incredibly important piece of research. And he agreed to allow me to share it with DailyWealth readers. We'll be running his ideas all this week.
I should note I don't agree with all his points, but I think Porter is presenting ideas every American should be aware of...
Monday, June 6, 2011
On May 11, the U.S. Treasury updated the public on our federal government's finances.
So far this fiscal year (which began October 1, 2010), the feds have borrowed nearly $1 trillion. April marked the 31st consecutive month of deficit spending at the federal level. It did not matter that tax receipts have rebounded substantially – growth in spending on social programs has far outpaced the increase in revenues.
In total, President Obama's economic mandarins now forecast the fiscal year 2011 deficit will come in at $1.6 trillion.
To put this figure in perspective for you, when Ronald Reagan took office, the entire national debt totaled less than $1 trillion. Even as late as 2002, the national debt was only $6 trillion. Obama's administration will almost surely borrow more than $6 trillion in only his first term. In four years, Obama will double our entire national debt from its pre-financial crisis levels.
This has never happened in peacetime.
Keep in mind, this is the same president who, after taking office in 2009, held a widely publicized Fiscal Responsibility Summit and pledged to "halve the deficit we inherited" by 2013.
The budget deficit in Bush's last year in office (the 2008-09 calendar year) was $1.2 trillion – due largely to the Wall Street bailout and Iraq war.
Today, both of these major sources of spending have largely disappeared. The government is selling assets acquired during the financial crisis. That generates revenue. Yet rather than decrease the deficit, Obama has allowed it to grow by 33% annually.
This same man, while a U.S. senator, called 2006 efforts to raise the debt ceiling "a sign of leadership failure." He voted against raising the debt ceiling to $9 trillion, proclaiming, "Americans deserve better." Obama noted, accurately in our view, these mounting federal debts were "shifting the burden of bad choices onto the backs of our children and grandchildren."
We hope history will hold Obama accountable for his actions. But we're not holding our breath. Federal, state, and local government spending now makes up about 45% of the U.S. economy. Hardly any major business in America doesn't count on the government for a significant amount of its earnings. While we used to call this kind of system "socialism," today the popular term is "crony capitalism."
Whatever you call it, it leads to collapse.
Another worrisome sign? A record number of people (almost 70 million) now depend on the U.S. government for their daily housing, food, and – most of all – health care...
Today, 45% of American households receive some form of direct government payments. And 132.5 million people pay no federal taxes whatsoever – a record number of people who neither paid federal income taxes in 2010 nor were claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
Tallying up all these numbers, you discover something amazing. A tiny number of Americans pay for the well-being of nearly a majority. While half of the population may pay something in taxes, only the top 10% – people earning more than $113,000 – pay a substantive amount. These few citizens pay 70% of all the income taxes collected.
Benefits funded this way are unsustainable. According to a recent study published in the Wall Street Journal, the average couple that retires at age 66 on Social Security and Medicare will receive $1 million in benefits. On average, they and their employers paid $500,000 into the system.
The federal government is taking an excessive amount of money from its few high earners – a wealthy minority – and redistributing it inefficiently to pay for services the country can't realistically afford...
Individuals, of course, are not the only beneficiaries. Entire industries gush cash thanks to the generosity of the federal Treasury – mortgage REITs, defense companies, and most of the health care complex.
The system is so broken, not even the already lopsided payment scheme is enough. Not even close. Every week we hear more demands for the "rich" to pay their "fair share." The political reasons for spending are so powerful, until the government can take more from the rich, they will continue to borrow it from somewhere else.
Any American with the ability to balance a checkbook can discern the serious nature of this financial situation and the politics that explain its origins. Yet in the battle between political expediency and financial probity, the lust for power will always win.
So what can we do to protect ourselves as the borrowing and spending continues to accelerate? Tomorrow, I'll show you the first step to take.
If you're interested in hearing more on the challenges America is facing – and doing something about them – check out the Project to Restore America.
"The system we have today has delivered us to the doorstep of national bankruptcy," Porter says. "I believe that unless we reform the way we govern our country, we will lose the liberty that is our birthright as Americans."
Read Porter's full Project to Restore America manifesto here.
NEW HIGHS OF NOTE LAST WEEK
Sprint (S)... phones
Novartis (NVS)... Big Pharma
Netflix (NFLX)... at-home movies
DeVry (DV)... secondary education
Diageo (DEO)... liquor
NEW LOWS OF NOTE LAST WEEK
30-year mortgage rates... 2011 low
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OfficeMax (OMX)... office supplies
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Pilgrim's Pride (PPC)... chicken producer
Research in Motion (RIMM)... phones and tablets
DreamWorks Animation (DWA)... animated movies
Lexmark (LXK)... printers
In The Daily Crux