Let's party like we're $100 trillion in debt
Why not? We are.
The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The jump in debt as measured by the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS in its quarterly review is almost twice the U.S.’s gross domestic product.
Borrowing has soared as central banks suppress benchmark interest rates to spur growth after the U.S. subprime mortgage market collapsed and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy sent the world into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yields on all types of bonds, from governments to corporates and mortgages, average about 2 percent, down from more than 4.8 percent in 2007, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index.
“Given the significant expansion in government spending in recent years, governments (including central, state and local governments) have been the largest debt issuers,” according to Branimir Gruic, an analyst, and Andreas Schrimpf, an economist at the BIS. The organization is owned by 60 central banks and hosts the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, a group of regulators and central bankers that sets global capital standards.
So what did the world buy with that $30 trillion? The weakest recovery from a recession in history. That's quite an accomplishment considering what I would have done with $30 trillion. Send everyone on the planet to Disney World. A visit to Disney World would be a civilizing experience for the half of the world's populations who think it's kewl to behead people or chop them up with machetes. It would no doubt bring peace in our time.
But we didn't spend $30 trillion on trips to The Magic Kingdom (no, not Saudi Arabia). We spent it on crap like Obamacare; and feathering the nests of unions; and subsidizing sloth; and lining the pockets of Third World kleptocrats.
In other words, very little of it was used productively. Even businesses misused that cash. Chevy Volt, anyone? How about Coke Zero?
Oh - by the way. Someone, somewhere, someday is going to have to pay all that money back. That's why it's called "debt." Of course ,many of us will be worm food when the bill comes due. Good thing, too. We wouldn't want to hear what our grandchildren are saying about us as governments seize their property to forestall the inevitable collapse.