I stumbled across a very interesting chart the other day.
Apparently, this graph was put together by Jon Gabriel using U.S. Treasury and Congressional Budget Office data, so the numbers are about as credible as you can find (which may not be saying much).
If you have had a sinking feeling for the past number of decades about why it has felt like the U.S. economy wasn’t really moving in the right direction even before the financial crises in 2008, this will fill in that feeling with facts. Very disturbing but inescapable facts.
Here it is:
And this is just up to 2013. It has gotten no better since then.
Sure, worry about the deficit. Argue about entitlement programs.
The owners of all this consumer and commercial debt are happy you’re not looking at the real problem because now they don’t have to do anything about it but profit from it.
The politicians are bought off by the bankers, so they rail about government spending and tax reform and libertarian values on one hand and take money from the people consolidating wealth on the other.
What’s more, this isn’t a partisan issue. We’re all getting screwed by this other than the 1 percent. Elected officials aren’t going to do anything about it. And the bankers aren’t going to do anything about it.
There are two ways to look at this from the point of view of your own investments, as I can see it.
The first is, realize the banks once again rule the land like the dinosaurs of old… and follow quietly in their wake. Be like a bird that sits on the back of a rhino walking through tall grass. As the rhino moves through the underbrush the insects fly into the air and the bird flies off and grabs them.
Hold the big banks you might have in your portfolio and expect them to expand their domination of both the domestic and global markets through acquisitions. If you want to go this route, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK) or Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) are right up your alley.
Or you can choose to believe that this is simply a long-term super-cycle which will eventually implode.
As Bob Livingston has said for decades, we have transitioned from a world of money to a world of debt. And this chart bears that out clearly.
Individuals have increasingly less control over their economic or day-to-day lives than they have any time in the history of the U.S.
The politicians have used partisanship to slow down Congress and distort the real challenges facing the country. But the bankers’ greed will have its limits. Eventually they won’t be able to tap into Americans’ pockets any longer. Just like what happened at the end of the housing bubble.
This debt bubble has been even more pervasive. It will have a reckoning that will reverberate for a century.
There won’t be grass roots revolution. It will collapse from its own weight.
By doling out debt, it keeps individuals feeling like they’re doing OK. As long as they’re somewhat comfortable and feel like they can reach the next rung, they won’t rock the boat.
And because many are already so deep in debt they’re scared to lose what they have and damage their almighty credit rating — the greatest invention the banks have launched in 50 years.
This is why I have advocated getting money out of the system — not all of it but some of it for now.
If you want a stock that is a good play on this current trend, look at Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE: FICO). They invented the FICO score and get a fee for every time someone checks their score. Visa (NYSE: V) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA) should do well too as they debt message spreads across developing nations. They will spearhead the debt contagion.
If you want to get out of the loop on a personal finance front, the first step is to make paying off your debt your top financial priority (aside from low fixed rate big ticket items like your house or car).
Only bank with local banks or better yet, local credit unions.
Hold real assets like gold and silver. Collectibles like antique cars and art can also be helpful.
I also recommend you learn about bitcoin. As of April 1, bitcoin is now considered legal tender in Japan. Trading around $1,150 per bitcoin, the price has remained high. It’s the enemy of the banksters since it operates beyond their systems. Because of this, it will never be considered a “real” currency by the banksters and the markets will not make it easy for firms trying to grow it. But it’s here and it’s real.
— GS Early