Monday, June 13, 2005
Mo Money, Mo Problems
Just when you think you have your debt under control, you realize you still have to pay your debt to society.
If America's monthly trade deficits continue at the "benign" level of 57 billion for the rest of the year, the annual 2005 deficit will top $685 billion, 11% higher than last year's record $617 deficit, and approximately 6% of GDP. On a per capita basis, that equates to about $2,300 per person, or $9,200 per family of four. That literally means that the typical American family will go $9,200 deeper into debt to the rest of the world, or almost 20% of average household annual pre-tax income. That is on top of the approximate $40,000 the typical family already owes the rest of the world. Were the trade deficit to continue at its present level for another 10 years, (an optimistic assumption given that it would require the deficit to stop growing), the typical family of four would owe approximately $150,000 to the rest of the world. If by that time interest rates were to rise to 8%, that would equate to monthly payments abroad of approximately $1,000 per household.
...Contrary to government and Wall Street propaganda, the real reason for America's trade deficit is our non-competitive economy, which results mainly from excessive taxation and regulation and lack of domestic savings. Since nothing is being done to improve this situation, and since American consumers continue to convert house price appreciation into current consumption, expect America's trade balance to continue to deteriorate, until either the housing bubble bursts or the rest of the world comes to its senses and stops financing it.