Thursday, January 2, 2014

All The Money In The World

It's a recurring idea in the protests against "the 1%" that we have enough money in America; it's just in the wrong hands.  "Wrong" meaning "not the government's".  I found it interesting this morning to see that Bloomberg News reports that last year the combined net worth of all the billionaires in the world grew to only $3.7 Trillion.  This is due to their equity holdings increasing in value, which is of course due to the Fed's money pumping. 
The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals.

The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, according to the ranking.
Again: that's their net worth, not income, so taxable income would be less and that's all of them in the world, not just the Americans.  If the aim is to raise tax revenue, you don't get out of trouble by raising their income taxes.

While $3.7 trillion would more than pay for our yearly federal deficit, it's not even 1/4 of the accumulated debt of $17.2 Trillion.  Not to mention the approximately $130 Trillion in unfunded liabilities.  While it might be remotely possible for the to nationalize the assets of an American billionaire like Bill Gates or Sara Blakely, they wouldn't get very far with the Mexicans, Chinese, Saudi or other nations' billionaires. 

It's just another sign of how deep our fiscal hole is and how bad the situation is.  There is no "let the rich pay for it" and there is certainly no "let someone else pay for it".  There is no paying for it.  Things that can't go on forever won't, and math is unforgiving.  As I always say, infinity is a handy concept in math, but a rotten way to run an economy.  We simply can't continue to expand our monetary supply and deficit spend the way we have.  There is simply no way that the government's financial obligations will be paid.  Either foreign investors lose confidence in the dollar and it collapses or the dollar inflates to meaningless.  Either way, the math will have its reckoning. 


  1. This sounds... familiar.

    Boost the signal, man!

    1. Excellent. I see we've both been banging the warning drums for a long time.


  2. I'm 70. My health is maybe OK but as a cancer survivor with a 6 month scheduled checkup due soon for a growth in my lung maybe it's not OK. So sometimes it is less real to me that our government is self-destructing and our media is intent on covering it up and diverting our attention to the latest "gay or anti-gay" outrage. But assuming I'm still around it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I expect the government to remain in denial and continue to borrow and print enough money so that they can kick the can down the road to at least get past the next election but it is a process that only makes everything worse and full on collapse inevitable. How will it play out? I assume the next congress and the next president regardless of party or political persuasion will continue more of the same. I assume taxes will and must go up because it costs big bucks to kick the can down the road. I assume at some point we will become France and create a confiscatory tax system as the pressure mounts to stave off the collapse for one more election cycle. I assume the efforts to maintain the status quo will torpedo any chance that we could simply have a recession, sell off indebted assets for pennies on the dollar and experience a genuine (as opposed to a phony) recovery. I assume that the left wil cntinue to trumpet the phoney income equality arguement as a way to get low information voters to keep them in office. I assume because of all these factors that by 2016 our national debt will be about $21 trillion or so and our printed money supply will have grown to about $7 trillion. I assume Obamacare will destroy what was probably the best healthcare system in the world. I assume the Republicans wil continue to go along with the socialist agenda and all the while insist that anyone calling for real budgets and an end to deficits will be considered radical and "terrorists" by them. I know it's unwise to "assume" but that's what I see for our future. Our country is going down the toilet and the Republicans and Democrats are in agreement on two important issues: Amnesty and that tea party voters are terrorists. May you live in interesting times.

    1. You know, I think that's a pretty perceptive analysis. I think you're pretty much right on the spot with that.

      Nothing would surprise me more than to suddenly realize it's 2020 and I'm sitting around retired, with a pleasant, strong economy and country; my kids working in good-paying, rewarding jobs, and the government in its place. Sunshine and lollipops as far as the eye can see.

      It's going to be less like Star Trek and more like Blade Runner.

      Note: This is an edit. The original appeared briefly before I notice a really bad writing thing.

    2. So, what country do you think that will be?