Forget about NAFTA or OPEC or TPP or crowd size or hand size or any other acronym or stat or concept that obsesses the financial press these days. Only two numbers actually matter.
The first is $20 trillion, which is the level the US federal debt will exceed sometime around June of this year. Here’s the current total as measured by the US Debt Clock:
To put $20 trillion into perspective, it’s about $160,000 per US taxpayer, and exists in addition to the mortgage, credit card, auto, and student debt that our hypothetical taxpayer probably carries. It is in short, way too much for the average wage slave to manage without some kind of existential crisis.
It’s also way more than it used to be. During his tenure, president George W. Bush (2000 – 2008) nearly doubled the government’s debt, which is to say his administration borrowed as much as all its predecessors from Washington through Clinton combined. At the time this seemed like a never-to-be-duplicated feat of governmental profligacy. But the very next administration topped it, taking the federal debt from $10 trillion to the soon-to-be-achieved $20 trillion. And the incoming administration apparently sees no problem with continuing the pattern.