Economists are anticipating that the federal budget deficit will be in the trillions of dollars this year. There are estimates that, with all federal efforts combined, the bailout and stimulus packages will be upwards of $7 trillion. I wonder if politicians who are so cavalier about using taxpayer money actually know how much a trillion dollars really is.
According to the Bureau of Engraving, a dollar bill is .0043 inches thick. That means that a stack of 100 new dollar bills would be .43 inches tall. A thousand is 4.3 inches. A million is a thousand thousands, so a million dollars is 4,300 inches. Converted to feet, that is about 358 feet high. A trillion is a million millions, so a trillion dollars would be a stack of money 358 million feet tall. If you convert that to miles, the dollar stack would stand 67,866 MILES high! It would wrap around the equator more than two times.
For another perspective, I saw an ad in the paper just this morning, offering bread for $1.99 per loaf. A loaf is 4 inches tall, so one dollar will buy a 2 inch tall loaf of bread. If, instead of using .0043 inches, the thickness of a dollar bill, we substitute 2 inches, the thickness of a loaf of bread that 1 dollar will buy, we get a much more dramatic view. A stack of bread that $1 trillion can buy would reach up more than 31 million miles. Given the price of $2 per loaf, that would be 500 billion loaves of bread.
Considering that there are roughly 300 million people in the United States, that is enough bread to give about1600 loaves to every man, woman and child in America. It is enough to give each of the 6.5 billion people in the world 77 loaves apiece. Our politicians certainly don’t buy loaves of bread with the money. So where does it go? Where does it come from?
The answer to the second question is that it comes from out of thin air. Modern money is the creation of the monetary authorities, in the case of America, the Federal Reserve and fractional reserve inflationary credit. Money is only as valuable as the goods it can be used to buy. Wealth and prosperity only come from production and never, under any circumstances, from money created by a central bank. When more money is made from nothing, with no increase in production, the primary effect is to increase prices. More dollars in the system changes the ratio of dollars to goods, and prices have to rise.
Prices should be decreasing significantly at this point in the downturn, lowering the cost of living for everyone, making everything easier to buy. They are, however, being propped up by your government. They are also establishing the next big wave of the cycle, and the choice in the near future will be runaway inflation or excruciatingly high interest rates.
Not too many years ago, the outrage was over politicians’ callousness when dealing in terms of billions. Billions lead to trillions, which lead to tens of trillions, then hundreds of trillions. Zimbabwe has put it in high gear with an inflation rate of over 1 million percent per year. Their government destroyed their monetary system and economy by making lots of money out of thin air.
We may never get to the point where we have a million percent inflation rate, but if we don’t start holding our elected officials accountable, they will destroy our economy, even more so than they have so far. From the ridiculous and irresponsible things that they keep doing, that destruction actually seems to be their goal.
The first question above, where does all the money go, is a very good one. It’s all a deep, dark secret. In spite of the rhetoric about transparency, you won’t really see where most of it goes. I’m sure that bailout millionaires will be grateful for your contribution to their investment fund.
A trillion dollars is an incredible sum of money. Incredible sums invite incredible abuse. Maybe something good will come of this whole mess. Just maybe, the people of this country will finally see through the scam that both Republicans and Democrats in congress have been perpetrating for decades. Maybe we will start to see some real change in the next few years when hundreds of crooked Washington politicians are kicked out.
Hey, anything’s possible when people use their heads, isn’t it?
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
There are tremendous changes underway in the journalism industry of epic importance that effect your personal liberty and finances. I do mention some of my competitors so obviously this article is biased. Newspapers are like blogs except expensive, dirty and a less efficient form of information manufacturing. It is difficult for them to ‘go viral’ and annoyingly hard to access while traveling through the backwoods of South America.
The Associated Press reports that the 146-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer will end its physical newspaper circulation on Tuesday 17 March 2009 and transition to a web only operation. In February the P-I website had about 1.8M unique visitors and the print circulation was about 117,000. Managing Editor David McCumber thinks the P-I will need to trim down from 181 employees to 40 with 20 in the newsroom and 20 selling ads.
OUT WITH THE OLD
Old media such as magazines, book publishers and especially newspapers are facing tremendous financial headwinds. The New York Times has been borrowing to pay the dividend while gross and net incomes decline resulting in their share price falling 80% in the last year. In the last year stockholder equity has been cut in half and net tangible assets have imploded from $166M to ($209M). The New York Times intend to implement 5% wage cuts for most employees.
Gannett, which offers 85 newspapers including USA Today, has fared worse with both revenue and net income falling for the past three years and the share price evaporating from $30 to about $2.50. They have likewise seen their net tangible assets decline from ($1.75B) to ($2.4B). But their net income performance is even more dire going from $1.1B in 2007 to ($6.6B). The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild reports that Gannett is considering 15% wage cuts.
McGraw-Hill, which adopted digital platforms and products earlier, has fared slightly better with their stock falling only 50%. Nevertheless, they face intense pressure on their revenues and net income. In 2008 the stock of publicly traded newspaper companies declined 83%. At least McGraw-Hill had positive net income but their net tangible assets are declining.
The formerly venerable magazine Newsweek, owned by the Washington Post Co., has a rapidly evaporating subscriber base. As the International Herald Tribune reported, “Thirteen months ago, Newsweek lowered its rate base, the circulation promised to advertisers, to 2.6 million from 3.1 million, and Tom Ascheim, Newsweek CEO, said that would drop to 1.9 million in July, and to 1.5 million in January 2010.” While the Washington Post Co. has been increasing revenues its net income has fallen by 75% since 2006 and the stock has plunged from 800 to 350.
Even book publishing companies like Pearson PLC, which owns the Financial Times and Penguin Books, is facing steadily declining net income. Rupert Murdoch’s venerable media behemoth, News Corporation which owns MySpace and Fox, is down over the last year from $20 to about $7.
IN WITH THE NEW
News is a good or service and those both consuming and producing it must derive utility or it will cease. The Internet is full; not the hard drives but people’s attention. Information has two costs for the consumer: time and money. I take no-one’s time or attention for granted. RunToGold occupies at least thousands of hours per day of people’s attention. The articles are written with precision, conciseness, and produced when there is actionable information instead of a deadline. Unlike television with commercials that interrupt, annoy and disrespectful of the consumer’s time and attention the advertising on RunToGold does not interrupt your ability to consume the valuable free information and most importantly is done with your permission.
Blogs such as Seeking Alpha or Citizen Economists are more economical than either magazines or newspapers. Creative destruction is taking place in the journalism industry at a rapid pace. It baffles me that people are no longer willing to pay money to learn about Anna Nicole Smith only to have it interrupted by some totally irrelevant and often times inappropriate commercial about treating certain bodily functions with a pill when they could read for free about the problematic ETFs GLD and SLV or Silver In Backwardation for Five Weeks (now nine weeks but climbed out for the first time on March 27). I guess people are passionate about different topics.
As Minyanville recalled, “One thing we’ve learned while trying to build a financial media platform at Minyanville: Advertisers don’t like it when you say negative things about them. Several months ago, Washington Mutual pulled an advertising campaign from us after we published a story saying the former banking giant was dangerously close to tipping over the edge and collapsing. Then, they tipped over the edge and collapsed.”
Tom Ascheim said, “If you can’t get people to pay for what they love, we’re all out of business.” I and millions of other bloggers disagree. Many, if not most, bloggers generate news and content in unlimited niches as a hobby or for fun. Generally blog enterprises operate at a loss or are barely profitable. Without an editor to silence or at least muffle the criticisms when one launches repeated volleys, like the Single Digit Midgets, Problems with the GLD and SLV ETFs, Financial Professionals Infected With Financial Insanity Virus, etc. at potential mainstream advertisers it does not bode well for gross revenue.
While many blogs lack formal editors it may be only grammar and not content that is found lacking as editors censor material issues along with dangling participles. Why has GATA been almost completely ignored for over a decade by the financial press, newspapers and other heavily censored media? Consequently, why believe or trust them?
I think a significant portion of the rise in gold’s price over the last decade has been a direct consequence of the rise in the amount of truth in the public zeitgeist. With real gold there is no way to lie; gold is either in physical possession or not. Consequently, gold loves truth and fiat currency loves lies.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
In Kazakhstan Currency Goes Poof I reported even Putin’s amazement with the degree of censorship. ”I was in Beijing at the time. I looked through the world electronic media. Complete silence. As if absolutely nothing is going on. It was as if somebody ordered everyone to keep their mouth shut. To those who organized all this; I can only say congratulations. Congratulations. You did an excellent job. The only problem: your results were poor and this will always be the case because the work you do is unfair and immoral. In the long run immoral policies always lose.”
But this type of censorship behavior is not new. Decades ago President John F. Kennedy expressed outrage regarding this topic. Now the truth is coming to light at a rapid pace causing the evaporation of the derivative illusion and everyone seems to be either upset or completely stunned.
The press is one of the few businesses given specific absolute protection under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for the redress of grievances.”
When those petitions for redress of grievances are met with further violations then another business given specific absolute protection becomes important. ”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
It is common for government officials to perpetuate lies. For example, Section 132 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is titled “Authority to Suspend Mark-To-Market Accounting” and restates the SEC’s authority to suspend the application of FAS 157. But make no mistake about it: Both gold and truth will cleave their own way with indivisible justice.
The Great Credit Contraction is grinding down the top lines of almost all businesses. There is no bottom line without a top line. While the costs with operating a website are generally lower than manufacturing a newspaper I think the Intelligencer will have a difficult time operating profitably with 40 employees. I wonder if these rapidly evaporating state organs will likewise receive bailout funds?
Do not be like the Intelligencer employees and wait for either a pink slip or bailout. The newspapers need a more profitable business model or risk complete evaporation.
You can hasten this transition and support the vitally important free press. For example, begin ignoring the old media with its disrespectful advertising by canceling your newspaper subscriptions and redirecting those funds to your trusted friendly neighborhood bloggers or by purchasing some firearms and lots of ammunition. After all, if you do not know what The Great Credit Contraction is and how it will affect your lifestyle or wealth then you may want to find out as the institutions and organizations, including governments, continue evaporating.
Disclosures: Long physical gold and silver with no position in the old media companies and is a direct competitor of NYT, WPO, PSO, GCI, MHP, NWS, for advertising dollars.
Under a floating exchange rate, firms have a correct estimate of how risky it is to have unhedged foreign currency exposure. When a central bank artificially distorts currency volatility downwards, as RBI has often done, this gives out the wrong incentives to take on foreign currency risk. Now firms in India are lobbying that they be permitted to delay marking to market of exchange rate losses in the aftermath of a surprising rupee depreciation. Mahesh Vyas has facts on Indian firms and currency exposure, in the immediate context of the debate on fudging AS 11 disclosures. Also see editorials in Financial Express and Business Standard.
This morning Jim asked me how long it will take for the Australian economy to get back on a sustainable growth path. I was not able to answer directly. I suggested that what happens to economic growth in Australia will depend on what happens in the rest of the world. I added that if the U.S. starts to grow again in 2010 then that will have a positive impact on growth prospects for Japan and China and for commodity exporters like Australia.
Jim asked: “How confident are you about the U.S. starting to grow in 2010?” I started making excuses about my lack of knowledge of the U.S. economy and my poor knowledge of short term macroeconomics. That was when Jim said: “You know that political leaders all over the world have been saying that they will do what it takes to restore confidence and get sustainable recovery.” I nodded as Jim went on: “What they seem to be implying is that they will just keep increasing government spending until people become more confident. Does that make you feel confident?”. I shook my head. Jim then asked: “So what will it take to restore investor and consumer confidence and get sustained recovery?”
I told Jim that was a very good question. That only bought me about a second to gather my thoughts. The only sensible answer that I could think of was that restoring confidence was a matter of establishing a general expectation in the U.S. (and other major economies) that GDP would grow at about the same rate as the trend rate of growth in their productive capacity.
Jim interrupted: “That means boosting aggregate demand. Isn’t that what governments are trying to do now?” My response was that our focus should be on establishing the expectation of sustainable growth in the monetary aggregates rather than just a short-term boost in aggregate demand, with the expectation of a subsequent contraction as soon as inflation raises its ugly head again.
Jim interrupted again: “Next you will be telling me that Milton Friedman was right and what we need is a rule requiring the monetary authority to maintain a specified rate of growth in the stock of money.” I admitted that I still thought Friedman was on the right track, but technical difficulties involved in targeting the money supply would make it more sensible to target growth in nominal GDP (i.e. PY rather than M).
Jim said: “So what you are saying is that if the U.S. central bank were to announce a target rate of growth of nominal GDP and start making appropriate adjustments in monetary policy to achieve that target, then this would restore confidence and promote a sustainable recovery.”
I wish I had sufficient confidence to tell Jim that he had hit the nail on the head. Instead I suggested that rather than trying to put words in my mouth he should take a look at Scott Sumner’s blog: TheMoneyIllusion.
I particularly liked the following posts on Sumner’s blog: Why did monetary policy fail?; and The Economics Babel.
The CEO of the Perth Mint gave a presentation to the WA chapter of the Australian Institute of Company Directors on Wednesday that I thought I’d share with you. It was only three slides as it was a 10 minute slot. All of the figures behind these charts come from the World Gold Council.
First up is quarterly known supply.
Key take away point is that while the various supply sources change from quarter to quarter, overall it is relatively consistent and more importantly, bears no correlation to the gold price. The second chart is known demand, with an emphasis on “known”.
Now this is a bit more variable than supply, but again there is no clear correlation to the gold price. I should note that known investment means coins, bars and ETFs but does not include over-the-counter professional trading.
The fact is that even if we did know the unknowable (such is the nature of the gold market, it is a secretive thing) demand would equal supply anyway. Also consider that the data is not perfect, that classifications may be wrong (eg how much of Indian jewellery demand is really investment demand).
So how to get through this. The next slide takes an admittedly simplistic approach and says lets look at non-investment supply (primary mine supply and scrap – we assume that scrap is not investment bars for example) and take away non-investment demand (industrial and jewellery – again not a perfect assumption about jewellery).
What this number then (approximately) represents is net investment. You’ll note that when it was negative the price was flat and when it was high the price rose. Not perfect correlation and it could be improved with more accurate source data, but hey, you’re getting what you pay for.
I ran into Jim again yesterday. Actually it would be more true to say that he ambushed me. I turned a corner and there he was. After the way he treated me in our first discussion reported here I was not particularly looking forward to talking to him again.
Jim said: “I enjoyed our last discussion”. I nodded agreement as I wondered why I wasn’t shaking my head the other way. Meanwhile, Jim was saying: “I heard that you wrote up our last discussion on your blog”. I must have looked a bit concerned because Jim said: “That’s OK. I don’t mind helping you with your blog, as long as you are accurate in reporting what I say and don’t make me look stupid”. I told Jim that might not be easy, but I could tell from the way he was looking that he obviously didn’t think it would be a joking matter if I made him look stupid – even though I wasn’t using his correct name on my blog. So I added that I was not going to report his expletives. Jim said that was OK. He claimed that he didn’t swear in any case, but if I wanted to I could use some bleeps now and then just to add emphasis. He said: “I won’t mind if you use a bit of poetic licence now and then, as long as you don’t make me look stupid”.
After he had bought me a beer Jim said that wanted to ask me something else. He said: “You believe that free markets are perfect don’t you?” I responded that I wasn’t quite sure what he was getting at. I told him that in my view all markets are imperfect, but when governments try to regulate them they often make matters worse. Jim said: “No, that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about capital markets – share prices and bond prices. Do you think those markets are close to perfect?”
At that point I explained to Jim that what he was talking about was the efficient markets hypothesis that prices always reflect all relevant information. I said it seemed to me that investors have the strongest possible incentive to make informed decisions because their personal wealth is at stake – and equity prices reflect the information on which investors base their decisions.
Jim said: “I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying that individual investors all have the same expectations about future prospects of particular firms?” I acknowledged that individuals have a lot of different views about the future. I suggested that even though a lot of investors think they can beat the market, the market averages out these different expectations, so those who do better than the market tend to be balanced by those who do worse than the market.
Jim nodded for me to continue. I explained that people who invest in funds with low management fees, whose weightings of individual shares in their portfolio are similar to a share market index, often do better than those who pay high management fees to funds that undertake a lot of research.
Jim said: “I suppose if someone has just lost half their capital on the share market they will not feel so bad if the value of their portfolio has fallen in proportion to the index and they have been paying low management fees.” I agreed.
Then Jim asked: “What do you think of Warren Buffett’s view that it is possible to beat the market because people are often irrational – they let greed take over and then they panic when fear takes over”. I said that I like Buffett’s approach to investing, but I wasn’t too keen on his politics.
Jim ignored the latter remark and asked: “So what advice do you think the Oracle of Omaha would give to novice investors about where to put their money?” I said that I imagined that he would tell them to put their money into Berkshire Hathaway. Jim replied: “Well, you don’t know everything! Buffett says that novice investors should stick with low-cost index funds.”
I checked to see whether or not Jim had just made this up. Warren Buffett actually gave this advice in April this year reported here.
The RIAA will soon have it’s day in court when it has to defend itself against an outraged public.
Throughout history, major steps in the progress of nations have come about through landmark court cases. Whether we take the Dreyfus’s case in France, or the slew of court decisions in the United States in the 60s to end racial prejudice, we see that when public opinion reaches a boiling point, then the law itself changes in a rational way to accommodate the new sense of right and wrong.
The courts have always been at the forefront of detecting new ideas, concepts, and understandings of fundamental freedoms. With the advent of the Internet, a flood of new problems relating to data protection, communication, and privacy have come up, and one by one, the courts are having to decide the status of each one. For example, the recent decision on whether or not linking to a defamatory website is itself defamation decisively defends the freedom of a person to give their own views and cite another’s opinion.
Image Credit: sandrino
One such landmark case is on the horizon, and the end is predictable. The legality of p2p file sharing will soon be decided. And I’m willing to stick out my scrawny neck and say that p2p file sharing will have the stamp of legality. And with no restrictions. No patrolling, and no traffic shaping.
Why am I so sure? Because it makes sense. Even if the courts do not immediately agree to it, they will sooner or later. Because that is what history has shown us. The EU has already struck down France’s Three Strikes Proposal.
The RIAA is right to be worried. People often feel that CD’s are overpriced and that the Recording lables charge too much for each song. This is true. However, they are forced to do so. Recording Labels take huge risks when they support any new artist by publicizing them and promoting their albums. Most of these artists will be failures. To compensate for this, the labels simply have to charge high rates for songs that do succeed. Of course, this means that successful artists can holdup the lables and demand higher rates. To mitigate this, the labels bind their artists to them with contracts that prevent them from running off.
The RIAA does have some valid reason to feel that the p2p file sharing of mp3s is hurting them. No doubt there is some loss there, but not to the extent that it publicly cries out. We’ve already discussed earlier on how software piracy is not really theft.
The point however, is that the RIAA needs to recoup their losses that arise from supporting poorly performing artists by charging exorbitant prices from the public for the songs of the successful ones. This is the main reason for file sharing. Apple has shown using itunes that people can and do pay for songs and software if it is reasonably priced. Perhaps a day is coming when artists can bypass the recording labels and sell their songs directly to the public at a much lower price. This is obviously something that the labels are scared of since it undercuts their entire raison d’être.
The reason that file sharing will be legalized is simple. At the end of the day, you simply cannot place a restriction on what people do in the privacy of their homes without causing damage to anyone. Opportunity Costs don’t count as damage, unfortunately for the RIAA. If legislation dictating what people can and cannot do in the privacy of their homes is ever enforced, it will result in the creation of a police like atmosphere that will give people the feeling that they are being watched. And that is something that cannot be tolerated for long.
It’s obvious that the RIAA doesn’t understand this. That is why they are claiming that even ripping legally puchased CD’s is illegal! (See the first paragraph in the second heading). They are frustrated and clutching at straws, desperately trying to retain some authority when the very rules of the game have changed. It’s only a matter of time before they lost big time in court, and will have to accept the new environment as it is. Wait for that day. The US would have progressed once more.
We have got to be absolutely clear that protectionism offers no solution. It’s the road to ruin. It protects no-one in the long run at all and we are for a free trade world where we remove barriers rather than create barriers, no matter what the temptation is at this particular point in time for individual countries.”/span Gordon Brown, U.K. Prime Minister, talking about his hopes for the G20 summit.br /br /I have no doubt that the G20 will make a strong statement in opposition to protectionism. After the G20 leaders have agreed that protectionism is the road to ruin and have lined up for the group photo, they will then go home and continue to increase assistance to domestic industries at the expense of imports. The most we can hope for is that the threat of retaliation will prevent the most overt kinds of protectionism that could result in escalation of retaliatory protectionism. If we are lucky the world economy will begin to pick up before protectionism gets out of control.<br /><br />Why am I pessimistic about the effectiveness of the anti-protectionist pronouncements that seem likely to come out of the G20? It is because decisions by governments about industry assistance are made primarily in response to domestic political pressures and because prevailing perceptions about domestic economic impacts will cause governments to take most notice of the narrow interests that stand to gain from protectionism.<br /><br />The prevailing perceptions I am writing about include the belief that during a recession it is possible to protect jobs in one industry without any adverse effects elsewhere in the economy, unless there is foreign retaliation. It is easy to see why this is economic nonsense. Import restrictions cause consumers to buy higher-priced domestic production rather than imports – they work in the same way as a tax on consumption of a good that is used to finance a subsidy to producers. The result is that consumers have less income to spend on other goods. Jobs are saved in one industry at the expense of jobs elsewhere in the economy.<br /><br />Some readers might be thinking that this reasoning doesn’t apply to industry assistance that is funded from government spending because the increased spending just goes to increase the fiscal deficit and government debt. Some government leaders who increase budgetary assistance to industry might even think they have reason to expect to be patted on the head by leaders of other governments for doing something to stimulate the world economy. The truth is, however, that such covert protectionism does not even stimulate the domestic economy since private investors are likely to be forced to pay higher interest rates in order to fund their investments, and domestic taxpayers are likely to increase precautionary savings in anticipation of having to pay higher taxes in the years ahead.<br /><br />Is there anything that the G20 countries could do that would help governments to deal with the domestic political pressures that result in increased protection during recessions? The least they could do is to compare notes about how they cope with such pressures in their own countries. Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, is probably too modest to trumpet the success of the Hawke government in dealing with protectionism in the 1980s with the help of domestic transparency arrangements. It might be possible, however, for leaders of other governments who have an interest in this matter to prevail upon our Kevin to provide them with some helpful information on this topic.
An interesting statement buried in the comments to Steve Keen’s latest blog entry (which itself is worth reading as it discusses how neoclassical economics got us into this mess and how [if] it can be changed – as usual with the Keen blog, the comments are just as illuminating):
I have spoken to many whom I thought educated and found a pattern. Those in debt or those that stand to lose from asset deflation wants the bubble restarted.
… and those who didn’t get into debt, saved prudently and/or bought some gold, don’t want it restarted, I’d add. The observation is that the former are in the majority, but this doesn’t mean they will “win”. I think they are all waiting for someone else to start buying so they can offload their assets and get rid of their debt.
All this Government “help” going on at the moment is about restarting the bubble, which is another way of saying restoring consumer confidence, which is another way of saying let suck some other idiots in to boost up asset prices. The question is will it work, are people so desperate for the bubble to restart that they will believe and thus act, or is there just too much debt?
Before you answer that it is comeuppance time, consider this from February 1991 in “The case for gold in the 1990s” (see my blog of 7 Sep 2008):
The old remedy of inflating out of this predicament by issuing cheaper and cheaper money into the banking system simply will not work this time. The reason is simple – the country is already awash with too many debtors.
Well they got away with it then, maybe they will do it again. But maybe this time people are bit less trusting and a bit more exposed to alternative views via the internet.
The Congressional Budget Office has pronounced the multi-trillion dollar Obama Budget too expensive and too wildly optimistic on out-year economic growth projections. Challenged on this, Christina Romer answers back that the CBO’s out-year GDP growth estimates of 2.2-2.3% are too pessimistic.
Those are sluggish numbers, but the CBO is taking on board the fact that our economy will be lugging an incomprehnsible debt level. Usain Bolt is the world’s fastest man, but I, fat and 46 years old though I am, might just beat him over 200 meters if he has to carry a sixty-pound bag of concrete under each arm and I do not.
It is rather the same things for the poor, downtrodden American economy. Given ten trillion dollars of debt to lug, and looking forward to the day when barely one-third of the people are carrying another third in government employment and the final third on government assistance, it will be a wonder if the economy does even as well as OMB assumes.