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It happened. You owe $1 million dollars

A student of numbers, I’ve always had a side interest in U.S. macro economics. Back in the early 1980s, the national debt was approaching $1 trillion dollars and the Debt/GDP ratio was in the low 30 percent range. I remember thinking “How could that ever be repaid?” Imagine having a credit card with 30% interest. The economists and the experts noted that there was a recession (true) and that a normal, expanding economy would lower the ratio over time.

Fast forward to 2000. The 1990s were good. Everyone was excited about the electronic economy. The Internet was new and accessible by all Americans. The inherent efficiencies and economies of scale would certainly propel us into a capitalistic approach – production costs would be driven down, especially in government. The debt would shrink.

That didn’t happen. The Internet ‘bubble’, perhaps a by-product of Y2K, would raise the debt to $5.7 trillion. The cause? There were many explanations, but the end result was an increase of the debt by six-fold in 20 years. A new metric was mentioned – ‘Unfunded Liabilities'(it even sounds scary). In short, it’s the amount that has been promised in future payouts, except that the cash isn’t there. Technically, it’s no different than a mortgage. But with the baby boomers inching closer to retirement, there was a concern – especially since this number was nearing $26 trillion.

There are many sources that monitor unfunded liabilities. The one source I use is usdebtclock.org. It monitors the debt, the unfunded liability and other figures that may surprise, or shock you. As an example, could you ever believe that the U.S. now has 46 million living in poverty?

It’s 2016 and it is an election year. It’s imperative that we have a government that works. But,our national debt has increased to nearly $18.8 trillion, or $158K per taxpayer. The unfunded liabilities crossed over the $100 trillion mark during the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s now nearly $100.8 trillion or $842K per taxpayer.

So…..the bottom line is that we’ve gone over the $1 million mark per taxpayer of combined debt + unfunded liability in America.

Regardless of your party, cause, agenda or disposition, the dreams and change we want in America is dependent on our ability to fund those changes. Data doesn’t lie. The numbers can’t be sustained and in the absence of legislators working together, the days of dreams are numbered. In fact, it may be too late already.

Mark Schuster, CEO

January 14, 2016

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