Debt: $26,003,751,512,344.91 . . . In Case You Are Counting

download-7Yes, we have reached over $26 trillion in debt and members are demanding more stimulus money.  According to data released yesterday by the Treasury Department, we hit $26,003,751,512,344.91. That is the definition of ballooning and runaway debt but no one seems to be talking about it. We are now a credit card country that believes we can put the entire economy on layaway.

 Just to keep track, we hit $24 trillion for the first time just last April 7, 2020.   We then hit $25 trillion for the first time on May 5. Get the picture?

Once again, this all seem weirdly immaterial to the news or newsmaker, Democrat or Republicans. We are piling on debt that will smother the rising generation, a lost generation facing massive debt and a destroyed global economy.  

Consider that in 2009, debt was 52.3 % of our GDP.  By December 2019, it reached 79.2%. We are now approaching our debt-to-GDP ratio from post–World War II high of 106.1%.

Each new spending bill has a catchy title and a massive unpaid bill.  There was the $2.0 trillion CARES legislation. Then there was the massive $3.0 trillion HEROES Act.  There are new trillion dollar stimuluses as well as demands for approval of programs like a $14 trillion reparations bill.

Politicians love crisis because it allows spending with little scrutiny.  They can spend trillions and kick the debt can down the road for someone else to address. A similar thing happened in states like Illinois with public pensions.  Politicians signed off on larger and larger pensions with teacher unions and other public employees while enjoying ample political endorsements and support. Then the debt ballooned and left the states near bankruptcy.  Yet, voters did not blame these leaders. Indeed, COVID-19 hit and the next round of spending will include bailouts of cities and states.

Recently we discussed how New York de Blasio demanded over $7 trillion and expressed frustration that it had not arrived because Washington is “the only place that prints money.” We could not possibly have any problems by just printing trillions to cover these costs, right? De Blasio is putting the hype back into hyperinflation.

So, we are left with calls for trillions in more spending and politicians declaring “print, baby, print.”  You only have to look from Greece to Zimbabwe to Venezuela to see how this story ends.

62 thoughts on “Debt: $26,003,751,512,344.91 . . . In Case You Are Counting”

  1. I have strongly agreed with this position for many decades. But what if it’s not true, for the USA, in 2020? How would we know?

    You mention cases: You only have to look from Greece to Zimbabwe to Venezuela to see how this story ends.

    None of them were borrowing money in a currency which their gov’t had control of; just as Weimar Rep had debts that were not denominated in D-Marks.

    Look at Japan, with some 200% of annual GDP / GNP as debt. But mostly in Yen, and mostly owed to Japanese investors. Yes, they had a “lost decade” of the ’90s. Then another, and then yet another.
    30 years of almost no inflation with huge debt. Their currency hasn’t even gotten much weaker than the US Dollar. Now about 107 yen to dollar; in 1990 was ~145, in 2000 ~122, in 2010 ~82.

    The US Federal Reserve – US Treasury system is protecting much of the “wealth” of all the wealthy (& powerful) of the world. Interest rates today are about 0%, with good economists like Miles Kimball arguing for negative interest rates.

    Instead of CPI price inflation, we do see asset inflation – stocks at record highs. House prices at record highs. That’s far far different than prior hyper-inflation examples.

    Before we see significant problems, we’ll see interest rates going up. (Then it will be “too late”!) At some point WHO is politically powerful will change, and many of the wealthy will lose a lot of wealth.

    The 2008 TARP bailout for rich, irresponsible bankers, rather than bankruptcy and regulators taking over the assets and rich equity owners losing their equity, shows that there’s plenty of bailout money expected to be available for the rich willing to support politicians who support them.

    I still believe excess spending is bad. But more because of clientelism and moral hazard, rewarding the corrupt (like in China), rather than currently unlikely hyperinflation fears.

  2. The affordability of our country’s debt and deficit is only part of this issue; the 50 States have Unfunded Pension Obligations and outstanding State debt in excess of $7 Trillion as well, so in simple conservative terms the total Federal and State Debt and Debt obligations is in excess of $33 Trillion. Decrease and restructure all public employee benefits ASAP.(with public school teachers being largest group – does anyone have factual data to prove that all taxpayers are receiving the academic educational outcomes for our public school education. Our per student cost is highest globally and the all in teacher compensation is the biggest cost driver)

  3. I did a search for commentary from Mr. Turley regarding the concerns of the debt associated with increasing costs from military interventionism around the globe and found nothing. It appears this line of grandstanding only surfaces around social programs and help for average citizens.

    While I admire Mr. Turley’s black and white take on constitutional law, his stances on other pressing matters is often lacking.

  4. the difference between Greece, Zimby, and the US is that the US is the world’s reserve currency. That won’t go away soon, but when it does, it will happen fast.

    But, China is working hard to change dollar dominance, and with an economy that makes most of the “stuff” in the world, and a billion people, and a roughly equivalent size economy, it actually could accomplish this, possible.

    And and in the past 6 months they have made some modest progress.

    The link below discusses some of their operations
    Another operation is at hand: destroying the one President who in past decades has dared to defy them, Donald J Trump. They are encouraging his rivals here to continue the campaign of lawlessness to destabilize the US and demoralize Trump voters. Oh, it’s working alright. With the military apologizing, it’s very clear it’s working. Do you Democrats cheer the victory of the CCP? They are your patrons. Trust me, when your guys fully take over, the CCP won’t seem like such an ally anymore.

    However, this dollar thread will unspool itself slowly. There is time to react. Get some gold and silver, in hand not on paper, and sit on it, while you can

    1. Dude, our balance of trade deficit with China under your hero has increased at a greater rate than under Obama, and he also removed our possible participation in the TPP Obama negotiated and which was aimed at establishing a Pacific Rim trading pact in direct competition with China. It is fact operating in that capacity without us.

      1. TPP was arguably a good move against Chinese financial interests. Maybe. Its’ true Trump flushed it. Maybe he had his eye on a bigger prize and that would have been in the way. Or maybe it was a mistake. Not sure, either is possible

        More certain merits against the PRC we can count in Obama’s favor, was the “strategic pivot to Asia” which was good on paper and worked out to a small degree.

        However, Obama was not the candidate up for reelection., Hillary was. That’s a lady deep in cahoots with the American financial interests who have profited from cozy relationship with the CCP going all the way back to the gross embarassment of the PRC election meddling in 1996 when PLA officers were openly donating to the Democrat party with the encouragement of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.;

        Here, read about it in the book entitled, “YEAR OF THE RAT”

        HOW IRONIC — 2020 IS AGAIN, A YEAR OF THE RAT Review
        While many political journalists largely considered the second term of Bill Clinton’s presidency in terms of his romantic interludes, Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II follow up on one of the more controversial scandals of the 1996 reelection campaign. The Democratic National Committee was eventually forced to return $2.8 million in illegal contributions, much of it from foreign nationals, and much of it brought to the party by fundraising executive John Huang.
        Huang originally represented U.S. interests for the Riady family, a powerful family of Indonesian businessmen with close ties to the Communist Chinese government. James Riady had been a “Friend of Bill” since 1977, and the two authors all but insinuate that the Riadys “scouted” Clinton–whether as an unwitting dupe, a sleeper agent, or merely an exploitable opportunist is never quite clear–and helped underwrite his bid for the White House. Why? So they could get John Huang a Commerce Department appointment… one that came with a top-secret security clearance.

        Timperlake and Triplett gather together an astonishing–and largely convincing–mass of evidence that the Clinton-Gore administration “has made a series of Faustian bargains and policy blunders that have allowed a hostile power to further its aims in Washington.” In addition to the potential security breach represented by Huang, they document numerous policy decisions that risk strengthening the technological and military power of Communist China, power that might well be used against the United States in the future.

        Year of the Rat is a sharp polemic that does what Sen. Fred Thompson’s hearings failed to do: show Chinese penetration of the American political elite. — The Wall Street Journal, Michael Ledeen

        America’s survival in the coming Century in the shadow of China’s rapid nuclear and space-based weapons modernization program, built largely with Western technology and know-how, has yet to be fully understood by American policy-makers and the general public. A clarion call to action is clearly documented in the YEAR OF THE RAT, a thoroughly documented and important new book by Congressional investigators and former Defense Department officials, Edward Timperlake and William Triplett. They describe in painstaking detail how members of the American business community and foreign agents of the Chinese military-industrial vanguard have used massive political donations to facilitate the build-up China’s first-strike capabilities through influencing White House policies on export controls and other national security safeguards.
        While Capitol Hill and the American media was transfixed on the Presiden t’s dalliances with young women, Timperlake and Triplett, who have a combined fifty years of service in American national security agencies, collected information from recently declassified U.S. Government documents and traveled to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, combing through records and documents related to key Donor-Gate personalities. In colorful description, they describe how they used undercover techniques to interview numerous sources with first-hand knowledge of illegal links between the Chinese military- industrial establishment and the Clinton-Gore political campaigns. The tragic consequence is the rapid escalation of China’s military into a world-class nuclear, space and information-warfare power.

        The influence of the President’s Chinese friends on American foreign policy is illustrated by an incident involving the down-and-out “Little Rock restauranteur” Charlie Trie during the March, 1996 crisis involving Chinese communist missiles fired toward Taiwan. Following the deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers to the region, Trie showed up in Washington, delivering $460,000 to the President Clinton’s Legal Defense Fund — and a letter, delivered to the White House, regarding the Taiwan crisis. The provocative letter stated, in part [verbatim], “Any negative outcomes of the U.S. decision in the China issue will affect your administration position, especially in the campaign year… If the U.S. recognizes “one China” policy, don’t such conduct will cause a conflict for intervening in China’s internal affairs?…”

        In response, the Clinton National Security Council drafted a letter to Trie, assuring the communist Chinese that the aircraft carriers were simply a “redeploymnet,” and “not intended as a threat to the PRC.”

        Charlie Trie, as the authors found in Asia, is member of a Chinese Tria d crime gang that has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Trie’s money contact in Macau, who wired more than $1 million to Trie’s U.S. account, most of which is believed to have ended up in Clinton Defense Fund and Democratic Party campaign coffers, is Ng Lapseng, a Triad mobster and Chinese communist official. In fact, Ng visited the White House and attended a number of Democratic Party fund-raisers in Washington, sitting next to President Clinton at some events.

        In some respects, Clinton owes his presidency to his closest Asian frien ds, ethic-Chinese

        Indonesian bankers Mokthar and James Riady have billions of dollars in investments in China. In 1992, with the Clinton campaign broke and reeling from the Jennifer Flowers scandal, the Riady’s persuaded the Arkansas-based Worthen Bank, of which their Lippo Bank was a part owner, to issue a $3.5 million letter of credit to the Clinton campaign. In addition, James Riady and his wife donated $450,000 that year, making them the largest private donors to the Clinton-Gore campaign.

        Who are the Riady’s? The authors cite a CIA report to the U.S. Senate , that states, in part: “James and Mochtar Riady have a long-term relationship with a Chinese intelligence agency. The relationship is based on mutual benefit… the Chinese intelligence agency seeks to locate and develop relationships with information collectors particularly those with close association to the U.S. government.” Within months of Clinton’s election, a Riady executive and Democratic party fund-raiser, John Huang, had a Top Secret security clearance, with access to the most sensitive CIA information on China. Huang was issued the security clearance five months before working for Ron Brown at the Commerce Department. Incredibly, Huang maintained the clearance after he left the Administration to do full time fund-raising at the Democratic National Committee.

        Timperlake and Triplett further describe how other influential American and foreign corporate donors to the Democratic Party, some of whom are directly or indirectly linked to Chinese military and intelligence networks, have influenced Clinton-Gore policies that decimated national security export controls — despite protests by Pentagon arms-control experts. Citing testimony by highly respected American aeronautical experts, the improvement of Chinese missile performance is shown to be a direct product of negligent Administration oversight of joint U.S.-China high technology programs and satellite launches, that have dramatically improved Chinese nuclear missile accuracy and reliability.

        The critical premise of the authors has been validated by the recent rel ease of an explicit Pentagon report to the Congress illustrating how the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is developing a range of high technology weapons to destroy American satellites and establish “capability to establish control of space and to deny access and use of military and commercial space systems in times of crises or war.” Equally troubling, the Chinese are ready to test fire a new generation of mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit the entire Western area of the United States. According to the U.S. National Air Intelligence Center the new DF-31 missiles give China a major first-strike capability, “that will be difficult to counterattack at any stage of its operation, through terminal flight phases.” The rocket-motor of the DF-31 was first tested in July 1998, while President Clinton was visiting Beijing. Although U.S. intelligence was fully aware of incident, citing it as a “political test,” the Clinton Administration failed to raise the issue. YEAR OF THE RAT is must-reading to understand why the betrayal of American national security is the most dangerous and tragic legacy of the Clinton-Gore era. — Al Santoli, Author of Everything We Had and Leading The Way. Editor of the weekly “China Reform Monitor,” for the American Foreign Policy Council

        1. Many players in California real estate who strongly support Hillary and her faction, including Kamala, have made some serious bank selling properties to CCP connected buyers.

          And boy oh boy they sure have. In a way this 1996 stuff is old hat and very unsophisticated compared to what they do now. I can see Pompeo has his eye on it. I’ve explained how it relates to how the CCP officials siphon money out of the PRC to their relatives in America. It flies under the radar of most Americans who just are looking to make a buck. Aren’t we all? I’m not saying people are CCP collaborators for making lawful real estate transactions, I am just saying the big overall effect is one that both benefits the PRC deeply, both financially, and politically, by making firmer networking effects with connected real estate people.

          Kyle Bass and Bannon and a very small number of Republican financial experts (yes, there are some, even if most investment bankers are Democrats!) but there are some brilliant minds working on this problem for the long term benefit of our country and it’s future sovereignty against the growing power in all spheres, of the PRC

          1. How does Bezos fit in, Mr. Kurtz? Seems like China is trying to take over a large chunk of our economy via Amazon.

            1. Amazon is complicated. One one level, it is actually a competitor to Chinese PRC companies controlled by CCP like Alibaba.

              However, Amazon also selling tons of shiny junk made in China. If all that shiny junk is more expensive due to tariffs, then, people buy less of it. Get rid of Trump, get rid of tariffs, people can buy more junk from Amazon. Simple motivation, just one possibility.

              Or, maybe as the richest man in the world, Bezos has decided to “make friends” or more of them, among the Democrat leadership and shine it own with outfits like BLM who might one day, target HIM. Paying protection, in effect. Better believe a lot of rich buys pay all kinds of protection.

              There are hundreds of angles Bezos could have to work this against Trump. Or, he miight not like his hair! It’s obvious however that Bezos hates him and wants to take him down.

        2. Well, that goes a long way toward explaining the inclusion of China in the WTO.

      2. Yeah, Book, TPP was a chance to organize a Pacific economic alliance to rival China. But because Obama had promoted that alliance, Trump had to burn that bridge like he burns every bridge. Yet Kurtz goes right ahead and writes 80 paragraphs to tell us how threatening China is.

  5. In which Jonathan Turley thoroughly demonstrates he doesn’t understand economics beyond first semester freshman level.

    Ought to avoid editorializing about matters beyond his comprehension. ➿

      1. goodbeavis, if you meant me, nope. Presumably any more advanced economics text explains Keyensianism.


      2. Notice the various cartoon / emoticons on his comments?

        Psychotic features …. Paraphrenia



    The entire concept of endless tax cuts, as prescribed by every conservative donor group, is to create a funding crisis. This way Republicans will have a seemingly justifiable excuse to make draconian budget cuts across the board.

    The problem with this strategy is that real crisises come along, like pandemics, for instance. Amid these crisises, the need to print an extra $3 trillion becomes essential to ward off a prolonged recession/depression. And I remember when Republicans rammed through the Trump tax cuts in 2017, certain analysts were asking: ‘What if an economic crisis develops?’

    Well now we know what happens when Republicans pass mindless tax cuts to billionaires when the economy is already charged: ‘A national emergency arises and suddenly the debt is at WWII-like levels’. Yet Trump is musing out loud that additional tax cuts might be needed to ‘stimulate’ the economy and drive the debt even higher.

    No matter what is happening to the economy, Republicans will say a new round of tax cuts is imperative. Republicans have yet to figure out that tax cuts are ‘not’ a form of governing.

    1. Are you aware the Federal tax revenues have gone up since the tax cuts? Does that cause you to reconsider?

  7. Republican party of late is responsible for the debt, but somehow it only matters when a democrat is in the WH. Then of course, they have to cut SSI, and any program. Except of course, their tax cuts. Remind everybody what the debt was after Clinton, again after Obama. And who was in before and between those administrations.

    1. Congress controls spending and the Democrats control the House. The tax cuts resulted in increased Federal Tax revenues. The debt doubled under Obama.

      1. Yeah, Beavis, Obama inherited Afghanistan and Iraq from Bush along with the Bush tax cuts. Bush became the first president in history to cut taxes ‘before’ going to war.

        1. Please do the math for me that shows Bush is responsible for doubling the debt under 8 years of Obama.

  8. It would be interesting if you would write a piece about the interest rate being paid by US government on all this new debt and how long they have to pay it back. I suspect they are paying 1.25% interest only for thirty years. Not too bad and they can always print more money in 2050 when the debt needs to be repaid.

  9. Maybe we should allow each state to print their own money based on the state’s property and resources. Allow each state’s currency to be traded over-the-counter and futures sold something as California march2021, etc. How long would it be before China would own California, New York, and the like?

    1. Chinese CCP connected money men — and their extended families in America– are buying the West Coast from Vancouver to La at a breakneck pace. And they siphon their money out past the PRC currency controls via Hong Kong

      It’s funny how as soon as Pompeo threatened to pull the special status of Hong Kong off the table 2 weeks ago, the protests erupted. Now, aint it funny how that timing happened? I know I know. Because ending the HK special status will staunch the flow of laundered CCP money into America where they are loading up on land like crazy.

      1. I have watched the land-buying, too, to an extent. Makes me angry. The only ones who should own land in the US should be Americans. Lose our land right out from under us.

        1. Mexico used to have a rule only Mexicans could buy on the coast or within like 10 kilometers of the board. The banks help people work around it now with impunity.

          a law like that would never fly here. i am not saying make it illegal, just look at how and why it’s being done and by who.

  10. Is $60,000 a big number? That is the amount each person (including children and great-grandchildren) owe. This is approaching the median — $70,000 — of net worth of adults in the USA. We could not pay it off today; there just isn’t enough wealth in the USA to pay it off.

  11. JT: “That is the definition of ballooning and runaway debt but no one seems to be talking about it.”

    Remember Ross Perot? We talked about it, but the people didn’t care. We’re way beyond the point of no return.

  12. Stop clutching your pears about the debt and say it’s about time that the wealthy shouldered their responsibility and paid their FAIR share of taxes.

    This debt is directly variable with the Reagan revolution, the Laffer (laugher?) Curve, and the boomer generation that is adverse to paying their debt down. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case with the Greatest Generation.

    Bring back Eisenhower era tax codes now.

    1. +1

      Remember our president won’t release tax returns and probably much of that has to do with his dodging the,

      1. It’s tough to balance out the income tax and payroll tax. Most people don’t realize how regressive our tax system can be, between the sales taxes, use taxes, payroll, taxes and income taxes.

        I like Trump’s income tax reform because it simplified a lot of tax planning and cut taxes for middle income people. These are good things.

        I would be willing to entertain the possibility that people in the 1% and up should pay a larger part of the tax bill.

        I’m always open to sensible bipartisan tax reform which updates our tax policy for current financial conditions and strengthens our tax base. This is however, a complicated topic, and most partisan conversation is overheated and not helpful.

        Oh i want to add,

        I would definitely suggest companies like Amazon. com figure out how to start paying taxes. But hey, they have managed to destroy ten thousand bricks and mortar businesses and get a free ride so far, and here’s Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world who owns it, dumping all over Trump in his newspaper the Wapoo every day.

        Silicon valley is full up of businesses like Amazon that are very smart in their tax planning. tthis may be lawful tax avoidance, I am not alleging evasion, but I do suggest that it may be time for an internet use tax of some kind. USE TAX. Look that up folks, you prolly never heard of it, but they are out there and more could come online to square things up the right way.

        Obama and his allies and other Silicon valley sycophants killed the idea off in 2015. It’s no more permanent than any other tax law however– only takes a new law to make it happen

    2. The wealthy pay most of the taxes now. What % do you consider the fair share? If you don’t understand the Laffer curve – which clearly you don’t – you should educate yourself.

      IIRC, 4 people paid the top rate under Eisenhower. Can you connect those dots?

        1. I can define it the same way Thrasymachus defined justice.
          See Plato’s Republic, 338c

      1. “The wealthy pay most of the taxes now.”

        The wealthy pay most of the income tax, but the income tax is less than half of total federal tax revenue. Most of the other taxes are not paid by the wealthy.

        1. Actually about half comes from FIT. The other big component is ss and medicare – and the more you earn, the more you pay in those. So I think your post is misleading. Note also, that ss and medicare are different animals than other revenue; i.e. they are (ostensibly) people paying for their own retirement benefits.

          1. Actually about half comes from FIT. The other big component is ss and medicare – and the more you earn, the more you pay in those
            First of all the income of the wealthy is mostly exempt from payroll taxes. But even if they are earning wages that are taxable there is a cap that means they don’t pay in any more than a upper middle class wage earner if they pay anything at all.

  13. Pull the military from Europe, Afghan, all over the world. Lay the troops off. Cease spending money on public housing.

  14. Quick fix

    Find the rest of George Floyd’s counterfeit $20 dollar stash & use it as a China virus stimulus spending package.

    1. The quicker fix, have the US Treasury start printing double rolls of toilet paper & selling it into the bond markets…… supply meeting demand.

  15. JT, when the 2017 stimulus bill – the corporate tax cut – was voted on, did you express opposition then? It cost $1 trillion. How about the budget bill just after that with increases everywhere? Those were optional.

    What is your suggestion now that we have a true crisis with people like George Floyd out of work and no ability to perform it over Zoom? I am able to function and maintain my business – which is thriving actually! – and recognize my privilege. I take it you are as well JT.

    What do you suggest for others not so lucky and the alternative of a possible economic collapse with more people in the street? That’s a serious question.

    1. please obama increased debt/deficit by over $9 TRILLION in 8 yrs – what do we have to show for it? Bush increased debt/deficit over $4 Trillion with most his justification the war on terror

  16. I’m coming around slowly after decades and decades of overspending and warning about the debt crisis that it really just doesn’t matter.

    I will write this though, it doesn’t help when you purposefully destroy the economy because you lost an election in 2016.

  17. I come here to read expert legal analysis, not your ranting about matters beyond your ken.

    1. Silver-man, you come here to spew invective on Turley about once a week. be honest.

  18. Maybe discuss how we are not being allowed to know who exactly got at least several billions of this increase.

    1. “It isn’t the 1% who won, as many doctors and small business owners fall into this group and have been royally screwed. It’s the .1% billionaire crowd who have reaped the benefits, including Mr. Vaccine Man himself – Bill Gates. The richest men, running the largest corporations in the world, have increased their net worth by almost a half-trillion dollars in two months – with more to come, as their obedient lackey at the Fed continues to funnel billions into their pockets with his electronic printing press.”

      It wasn’t directly given to them, but instead the Dems trashed the economy forcing people to rely on these companies for their goods.

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