Monday, February 8, 2010

Food for Thought: Total Debt to GDP Ratio

A previous post normalized government debt by GDP. If you add in private (consumer, corporate, etc) debt you get an even nastier picture:

Man, there is just nothing good you can say about a chart like that.

The fact that banks, foreign governments, and other "friendly" folks with savings are willing to continue to lend us more money when we're already in over our head should not be construed as evidence that we can actually handle the debt -- It only means that they feel we have sufficient (future) tax-levying power to pay interest on this debt (no principal, of course) for as long as it exists.

Plenty of homedebtors in the last 4-5 years found out that "qualifying" and getting a huge loan didn't mean they had the wherewithal to pay it back. They lost their downpayment and their house. What might we lose?

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