Periodically, I remind you about a disaster that was considered to be so imminent, it repeatedly was referred to as a “ticking time bomb.” I have evidence of the warning as early as 1940, and then every year thereafter.
I’m talking about the federal debt that not only was said to be a “ticking time bomb,” but “unsustainable” and “the time bomb of doom!”
THE FEDERAL DEBT
Year after year, that “time bomb of doom” has kept ticking, and here we are, in 2019, with a healthy economy, and still that bomb hasn’t exploded.
Eighty years of warnings, eighty years of being wrong, eighty years and many people still believe the doomsday sayers.
Visualize a cult leader telling his flock the world is about to end, so they all give away their earthly belongings, and then they march up the mountain to await the end. But the world doesn’t end. So they march back down.
And they do this every year for eighty years, and they still don’t catch on to the fact that the cult leader’s predictions are a farce.
That is analogous to the endless, wrong warnings about the federal debt.
Here for your amusement, is my latest reminder, beginning with 1940:
Back in 1940, the federal budget was a “ticking time-bomb which can eventually destroy the American system,” said Robert M. Hanes, president of the American Bankers Association.
By 1960: the debt was “threatening the country’s fiscal future,” said Secretary of Commerce, Frederick H. Mueller. (“The enormous cost of various Federal programs is a time-bomb threatening the country’s fiscal future, Secretary of Commerce Frederick H. Mueller warned here yesterday.”)
By 1983: “The debt probably will explode in the third quarter of 1984,” said Fred Napolitano, former president of the National Association of Home Builders.
In 1984: AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland said. “It’s a time bomb ticking away.”
In 1985: “The federal deficit is ‘a ticking time bomb, and it’s about to blow up,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. (Remember him?)
Later in 1985: Los Angeles Times: “We labeled the deficit a ‘ticking time bomb’ that threatens to permanently undermine the strength and vitality of the American economy.”
In 1987: Richmond Times–Dispatch – Richmond, VA: “100TH CONGRESS FACING U.S. DEFICIT ‘TIME BOMB’”
Later in 1987: The Dallas Morning News: “A fiscal time bomb is slowly ticking that, if not defused, could explode into a financial crisis within the next few years for the federal government.”
In 1989: FORTUNE Magazine: “A TIME BOMB FOR U.S. TAXPAYERS”
In 1992: The Pantagraph – Bloomington, Illinois: “I have seen where politicians in Washington have expressed little or no concern about this ticking time bomb they have helped to create, that being the enormous federal budget deficit, approaching $4 trillion.”
Later in 1992: Ross Perot: “Our great nation is sitting right on top of a ticking time bomb. We have a national debt of $4 trillion.”
In 1995: Kansas City Star: “Concerned citizens. . . regard the national debt as a ticking time bomb poised to explode with devastating consequences at some future date.”
In 2003: Porter Stansberry, for the Daily Reckoning: “Generation debt is a ticking time bomb . . . with about ten years left on the clock.”
In 2004: Bradenton Herald: “A NATION AT RISK: TWIN DEFICIT A TICKING TIME BOMB”
In 2005: Providence Journal: “Some lawmakers see the Medicare drug benefit for what it is: a ticking time bomb.”
In 2006: NewsMax.com, “We have to worry about the deficit . . . when we combine it with the trade deficit we have a real ticking time bomb in our economy,” said Mrs. Clinton.
In 2007: USA Today: “Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen.”
In 2010: Reason Alert: “. . . the time bomb that’s ticking under the federal budget like a Guy Fawkes’ powder keg.”
In 2011: Washington Post, Lori Montgomery: ” . . . defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode.”
In 2014: CBN News: “The United States of Debt: A Ticking Time Bomb”
On Jun 18, 2015: The ticking economic time bomb that presidential candidates are ignoring: Fortune Magazine, Shawn Tully,
On February 10, 2016, The Daily Bell: “Obama’s $4.1 Trillion Budget Is Latest Sign of America’s Looming Collapse”
On January 23, 2017: Trump’s ‘Debt Bomb’: Deficit May Grow, Defense Budget May Not, By Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr.
On January 27, 2017: America’s “debt bomb is going to explode.” That’s according to financial strategist Peter Schiff. Schiff said that while low interest rates had helped keep a lid on U.S. debt, it couldn’t be contained for much longer. Interest rates and inflation are rising, creditors will demand higher premiums, and the country is headed “off the edge of a cliff.”
On April 28, 2017: Debt in the U.S. Fuel for Growth or Ticking Time Bomb?, American Institute for Economic Research, by Max Gulker, PhD – Senior Research Fellow, Theodore Cangeros
Feb. 16, 2018 America’s Debt Bomb By Andrew Soergel, Senior Reporter: Conservatives and deficit hawks are hurling criticism at Washington for deepening America’s debt hole.
April 18, 2018 By Alan Greenspan and John R. Kasich: “Time is running short, and America’s debt time bomb continues to tick.”
January 10, 2019, Unfunded Govt. Liabilities — Our Ticking Time Bomb. By Myra Adams, Tick, tick, tick goes the time bomb of national doom.
January 18, 2019; 2019 Is Gold’s Year To Shine (And The Ticking US Debt Time-Bomb) By Gavin Wendt
[The following were added after the original publishing of this article]
April 10, 2019, The National Debt: America’s Ticking Time Bomb. TIL Journal. Entire nations can go bankrupt. One prominent example was the *nation of Greece which was threatened with insolvency, a decade ago. Greece survived the economic crisis because the European Union and the IMF bailed the nation out.
July 11, 2019: National debt is a ‘ticking time bomb‘: Sen. Mike Lee
SEP 12, 2019, Our national ticking time bomb, By BILL YEARGIN
SPECIAL TO THE SUN SENTINEL | At some point, investors will become concerned about lending to a debt-riddled U.S., which will result in having to offer higher interest rates to attract the money. Even with rates low today, interest expense is the federal government’s third-highest expenditure following the elderly and military. The U.S. already borrows all the money it uses to pay its interest expense, sort of like a Ponzi scheme. Lack of investor confidence will only make this problem worse.
Keep in mind that the phony “time bomb” began to “tick” back in 1940, when the total debt was $40 Billion. Today, 80 years later, it has risen 52,500% (!) to $21 Trillion, and still it ticks.
Also, keep in mind that unlike the U.S. government, *Greece’s government is monetarily non-sovereign. The U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign; it never can run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar. The federal debt is nothing like a Ponzi scheme, which always runs short of money.
The question is: How many years will you allow the debt con artists to be wrong about the bogus debt dangers, before you shout “Enough!” We don’t believe you“?
Are 80 years of being wrong, sufficient?
As the saying goes: “Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me repeatedly for 80 years; shame on me.”
Will you continue to let these phonies fool you, forever? If so, shame on you.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA
3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.