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Nobody Is Talking About The Elephant In The Room

You won't hear any candidates talking about the biggest problem America has, because all of them want to spend, spend, spend.

Not a single candidate from either party (One Republican and a committee of vultures for the Democrats) is talking about the biggest problem America faces. It’s the elephant in the room that everyone ignores.

The national debt stands at over $22 trillion dollars. That’s a figure beyond the imagination of most people outside macroeconomics classrooms and think tanks. Imagine 22 Microsofts, all mortgaged, and the government (as in “we the people”) having to pay the loan.

China holds $1.8 trillion of our debt (e.g. China owns the equivalent of Amazon plus Apple in U.S. government obligations). As a percent of the whole, it’s 8 percent, and that might not seem big. But take out the Social Security Trust Fund that our government has borrowed from, and military pensions, and all the other funds our government raids to pay for pork, and you’re left with $16 trillion owed to investors and governments and real people.

Of that $16 trillion, foreign investors and governments own 40 percent. Of that 40 percent, China owns 28.8 percent. Now it’s looking a bit more influential. The Federal Reserve owns about $2.5 trillion of our debt, which is only about $700 billion more than China owns.

Think about that…all the “quantitative easing” in the money supply, playing with interest rates, or the ability of the Fed to influence our economy through public debt it owns, is only slightly bigger than China’s own leverage, should China decide to use it.

President Trump is playing with blowtorches in a gasoline-soaked room made from balsa wood. For over a decade, the Fed has bet on the economy to outpace the chains our government has forged with public debt. And so far, it’s worked.

But with tariffs, along with more or less full employment, if a bear market hits, we could hit the recession brakes so fast that we’ll have economic whiplash.

Democrats don’t talk about the national debt for two reasons. One is that they like to tax and spend, so taxes are the answer, or socialist policies. The second is that they’d love to see the economy tank under Trump. They want everything to go up in flames because that helps them politically. Democrats only talk about the national debt when Republicans want to spend on things they don’t like (such as the border wall).

Republicans don’t talk about the national debt because President Trump is perhaps the least fiscally conservative president in history. As in, ever. Trump simply doesn’t care about spending, and knows very little (as evidenced by his uninformed rants on “winning” in trade balance wars) about the effect of debt on the economy. Trump only knows debt is a good way to finance hotels, and how to hedge to get out with others holding the bag when things go sideways.

If we don’t reduce our ballooning debt, it will severely limit the choices of future presidents, and future Americans. China will have way more options than we do. Maybe that’s why the Chinese might give Trump what he wants for a trade deal. They can wait him out, and in six years, he’s guaranteed to be out of office–if not in 18 months.

You won’t hear any candidates talking about the biggest problem America has, because all of them want to spend, spend, spend.

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