The american federal government posted a $666 billion deficit in the just-completed fiscal year 2017, the Treasury Department announced Friday, marking another year of deteriorating finances as the government slinks back toward the trillion-dollar mark.
It’s a black eye for both President Trump and former President Barack Obama, who split responsibility for the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2016, and ran through Sept. 30.
The deficit is the worst since 2013.
Federal spending grew twice as fast as revenue, accounting for the massive jump in red ink, which rose $80 billion over last year’s $586 billion total.
The figures come just as Republicans are hoping to pass a budget that could lead to even deeper deficits in the near future, and could complicate the GOP’s path to a major tax overhaul.
But Trump administration officials sought to use the numbers to bolster their case for tax cuts, blaming “historically subpar economic growth” for the fiscal struggles.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the administration has concluded Congress isn’t interested in trimming the budget, so there’s only one option.
“We had offered $54 billion worth of discretionary cuts in our budget back in March. Only about $4 billion or $5 billion had survived so far on the Hill. We’re not going to be able to cut our way to balance,” Mr. Mulvaney told “Face the Nation” on CBS.
“So the next part of the plan, the next part of that — sort of the calculus, right [that] deficits are revenues less expenditures — is to focus on the revenues. How do we get government revenues up?” he said.
The biggest drivers of the spending increases were Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — the large entitlement programs that budget watchdogs say will eventually break the federal budget.
Social Security and Medicare increases were a reflection of the aging population, while Medicaid’s increase was due to Obamacare expansion, the CBO said in its analysis of the numbers.
But President Trump has said he won’t consider changes to those programs — a vow Mr. Mulvaney said the president has reiterated to him in recent days — so there’s little chance of a solution there.
Spending on Obamacare’s subsidies for health plans purchased on the exchanges soared by 27 percent as taxpayers had to cover ever-rising premiums within the struggling marketplaces.
The Defense Department, by contrast, grew at just 1 percent.
Other big changes were spikes in loan guarantee costs at the Education and Housing and Urban Development departments.
Interest on the debt also soared by 10 percent.
Veterans Affairs spending grew by $9 billion as the department tried to keep up with growing demand and the fallout from the waitlist scandal that led to a new program allowing veterans to seek care at private clinics and have the government reimburse those costs.
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You certainlyhave heard ofthe latestNASA studyonthe collapseof our civilization. In this study,we haveat besta fewdecadesbefore disappearingfrom the face ofthe Earth.Beyondalarmismalsoprominently displayedin this study thatin its conclusions,the whole of humanityfaceschallengesof historic proportions. It seemedinteresting to tryto return to thisstudy thatunleashednumerouscommentson social networksandinmy email!!So let’s trytosee more clearly, and analyzethe subjectaway frompanicand takinga step back.
What is theposition takenby the studyof NASA?
Clarification,please find attachedthe link toaccess theoriginalyou isto say,the full document, in English and27pages!
We can summarizeby saying thatthe studypoints to thethreat ofdepletion of naturalresources and the distributionof resources.
The researchers useda mathematicalmodel calledHandy(HumanNatureandDynamical) andlistedthe reasons thatled to the fallof other civilizations: the Mayans, theMesopotamianempire,the Roman Empire,the Han Dynasty,etc.By studyingthe dynamicsbetween man and nature, the study shows that there is arecurring cyclefoundthroughouthistory andthat causesa « sudden collapse » of civilizations.
Among therecurringcollapsecausesinclude: –Climate; –Demography; –Water, agriculture; –Energy.
When it occurs, the convergence of thesefactorsresults ina civilizationalcollapse.
« For the authors, it would be wrongto believethat technological advanceswill solvethese problemsbefore it istoo late, becausetheylead tohigher consumption. Onesolutionproposedbythis study: the establishmentof appropriate policiesthatwould aim toreduce inequalities andresource consumption. «
Clearly,thisNASA studyactuallyadvocatesthe establishmentofsystematic policiesof« decay »to save humanity.
The collapseof complex societiesof ProfessorTainter
Thisis an excellent book. I enclosean annexagainthe link toreadorreread itin its entiretyyou. To summarizeagain,for thisAmerican professorwho has studiedcarefullythe collapsesof companiesin our historythe factors that leadto the tragedyare:
3 /The increased complexitycarries with itincreasedcostsforresidents.
4 /Investment insociopoliticalcomplexityas a responseto the resolution ofproblems, oftenreached a point ofdiminishing returns.
5 /As themarginalreturn on investmentincomplexitydeclines, the company continues to investmoreheavily inproportionally lessprofitablestrategy.It is then necessaryto deal withoutbreaks oftensionout of the currentoperating budget.
6 /diminishing marginal returnsmakecomplexityan overall strategylessattractive, so that parts ofa societyperceivea growingpoliticalseparation ordisintegrationadvantage.Logically,various segments of thepopulationincrease theiractiveorpassive resistance, oropenlyattemptto secede.
Compared tothis reading, it is clearthat a country likeFrancegetsalmostfaultlesslycriteriaof collapse.Like whatwe can befirstsomewhereand with ease.Tax exilesorour compatriots whoare simplychoosing andthey areincreasinglylikely totry theirluck abroad, are nothing elsethan « segments of the populationthat increase theiractiveresistance ».
We financeourcomplexitybyincreasingtaxesalwaysmore things likeelectronic cigarettes, drinks,and creativity ofour elitesisthe matter withoutlimit. « Clashofsimplification » launched by our presidentis an oldsnakeWedEveryonewants to simplify thecomplexity, orthe complexityispacked,itescapes us,we runbehind her.Wesuffer. Oncelaunched, the shock of simplificationwas soonforgotten, andfrankly,among you …whostill remembersabout itwhile he wasthe« one »of our mediathereless than a year.
The Club of RomeandDennisMeadows
DennisMeadowsis one of theauthors of thevisionarystudy« The LimitstoGrowth »which,in 1972, warned aboutthe risk of acrisisof collapsein the firsthalf of the 21stcenturycausedby the depletion ofresources of the planet. That makes40 yearsthat some havealready sounded thealarm aboutthe unsustainabilityof our economicmodel based onthe idea that « infinite growth ofmass consumptionin a finite world. »
Now it isno need foranymathematical model tounderstand whatcommon senseallowsa childto understand. The infinitegrowthin a finite worldis an intellectualaberrationin itself.Butoursystem iscurrentlyon theabsurdpremise. Topass it, itwould takeus tosuchaccess to otherplanets andwe canobviouslyexploitmassively. This again isillusoryasthe costs andtechnologiesto achieve thisweare missing.
Let’s be realistic. This isnotto send ateam of bravemodernadventurersto Marsfor a few monthsand4!This wouldcolonize, to live, operate and repatriateresources onEarth.We shouldbuildcargospaceinstead ofourcontainer. Weobviouslyarenotand we risk, as thereis the problem,never reachthepointwhere we will betechnicallyable to goeasily exploitanother planetand knowourcollapsebefore.
DennisMeadowsis notanyonesince he was thedirector ofMIT, a very famousuniversity,and his1972 studydescribed severalscenariosofpossible developments inthe economy, population and global resources, eachscenario corresponding todifferent choicesthat humanity couldcollectivelymake fromtheir1972screenplay« Itis business as usual« , which roughly correspondsto whathappenedthereafter,predicted thatthe approachlimitsthe planetwould begin toexert a strongimpact on growthfromaround2010,which wouldthenimpactincreasing, eventually leadby 2050at the latesttocollapse, that is to say, aprecipitous declinein living standardsandperhapsthe world’s populationin a state ofexhaustionof resources andthe natural environment.
For those whowish to explorethis subject(and Irecommendthem), you will find thelink to the latestinterviewgiven byMr.Meadowsand French inthe text!
Now that wehave seen throughthe work ofthreedifferent people or groupsthat the idea ofacollapse wasnot nearly asunlikely,ask the questionthat reallymad!
Western civilizationisshenowseriously threatenedwith extinction?
I would rather talkabout a possibleloss ofcivilization aswe know it inthe sense that thedisintegration ofWestern structuresdoes not mean theywill be replacedby a new« darkage. »The currenteconomic crisis canbe consideredas suchin two ways:itcould be an elementdirectlytriggerourpotential fallor aprecursorelement throughthe tensions itcangeneratein the coming years, in this case it would meanin reality, the collapse has already begun.
TheNASA reportisalsoreflected, as we have seen inotherstudies, particularly thoseof the Club ofRomewhich hadanalyzed froman environmentalangleofthefarmcommodity cycles. Itwas thusconcludedthat economic growthwould eventuallysee alogical endfacing thelimits ofavailable resources ina system ofmass consumption,the basic ideacan besummarized by« infinite growth in a finite worldisdefinitionimpossible. « The otherpoint of referencein this regard isthat of theAmericanJosephTainter(The collapse of complex societies) under a more politicaland historical analysisofthe lategreat civilizations.
This leads usto wonderifindeedthesystem as we know, based on consumptionandmass productioncantakeforeverresting onthe fullabundanceof raw materialsand energy, all of which shouldbeavailable at avery low cost!
LikeNASAand the Clubof Rome, Iam among thosewho thinkthat such structuresmaynot last,especially in aglobalized worldlike ours.Once thatissaid,we should notsaythat our situation ishopelessso far: it’s notbecause oursystem can notmakemass consumptionits cornerstonethat civilizationitselfis doomedto collapse.Itshould not be confusedas suchpureeconomic system(and its corollary politics) of a civilizationas a whole:the recent fallof the Soviet systemis there to remindthe importance of suchnuances.The endof an economic systemis notthe endof a culturemuch less theend of a civilization, however it can alsobe one!
The complexityweakensa companymakingsensitiveto the slightest change
It is clear thattheunderstanding and predictionof the environmentisincreasinglydifficult.Taintergives the impression, quitepragmatically from therest, a companyweakensgraduallyas it becomesmore powerful, andmore complex.
For example,there arenot20years ago, it was possible for just aboutanyoneto repair theheadlightof his car, a simple bulb changeis necessaryto get there.Today,thisproblem asksto go tothe dealership,to use specialtoolsto disassemblehalfof the bumper, and buy a special bulbwhose price is10times larger.
In the same vein, the proliferation of electronic equipment forour carsmore sourcesof failures,andthesefailuresare nowimpossible, almost, to repairfor the average person. Lessautonomous, we eventuallydepend on whatwe call« services-support » (water supply, energy,food, clothingby externalservices …).Moreover, theseservicesare becoming popularmore theyweakenby definitionan overall balancegeneralizinginterdependence.
Thus, during thesnowstormsofearly2013,the government had beenforced tostoptrailersat the entrance oftheIle-de-France, which hadended up creatingshortages in severalsectorsaftera few days.In asimilar register, the impact of the tsunami thathit Japan inMarch 2011 ontheJapanese companieshadended up creatingsupply problemsaroundthe globe.In other words, the more we develop specificsystems, we arelessable to adaptto unforeseen events.
Theissue of complexityis alsoparticularly worryingthat it isso muchmorelimited in spacein the eraof globalization.The problemis that it isimpossible oralmost« simplify »asystem too complex, and the example of the « clashofsimplification »desired by theDutchgovernmenthereisquite revealingas heindeedcreated newlaws thataddedtothe complexity of thefrenchState.Finally,in a complex society, individuals are highly specializedandnotby definitionmasterthe skillsnecessary forsurvivalin a worldmore« natural. »Thereforea complex societymakes peopleless resilientasdependent on otherswho haveother skills.The complexitythusmakes each of usmore sensitive anddelicateto the vagariesof the world.
One factormaylead to a collapse! …Though!
Our companiesareboth complexand therefore fragilebutup to a pointthis complexityand this « technicality » possible to findsolutions andworkarounds.A complex societyisa certainadaptableway. This iswhy, apart from a totallyextremehazards,the collapse of acivilizationis alwaysmultifactorialand itis theconvergenceof economic,social, political, orculturalenergy.
So some people thinkthat a majorenergy crisiswould not beable to conductour industrial societiestocollapse. While this may seemlogicalif we assumethat the fallsof civilizationsare multifactorial, it is nevertheless forget too quicklyhowour wholelifenow dependsoil andits derivatives.We areat the endof the age ofabundantand cheapoiland the problem isalso notto know when tosinkthe lastdrop of oilthe last wellthathow muchwill costthe barrelswhen theytrulyrare.Our medicines,our medicine, our clothing,our food,ourfertilizer, our furniture, everything, absolutely everythingnow depends onthe availabilityof fossilenergy.No civilizationin historyhasnever been sodependent onenergyfairyand mostenergytodayis oil. We are unableat this time toconduct whatis called thetransition to cleanenergyorrenewable energy.
So I thinkfor the first timein our history,one factor,andwe will consolidateallunder the term « raw material »can lead to acollapse ofsocieties as weknow them soitessential to oureconomic systemis missingblood.Now,and allthe figuresclearly show, they are running out.
To goa little furtherin the reasoning, the Roman Empire had nopower sourceother thanthe armsof slaves.Its collapsewas thereforeactuallymultifactorial. The same phenomenaare more or lessrepeateduntil the emergenceof our civilizationthatwe can call« Industrial ». Without energywe are doomed toa very short timeandthisiswhat explains, do not be naive, the need to intervenein Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Ukraine.All countriesof the world areengaged in a« softwar »to raw materials.Whenreallymissthose« softwar » could becomefar moredangerous.
So obviously, you want stillhopeandthat therealwayshas solutions.
These mechanismscollapsesare theyirreversible andcan we havesome hope?
The besthistorical exampleto me isthehistory of humanity, the latter punctuated bymajor shocksandreadjustmentsoften surprising.
Contraryto popular belief, thefall of the RomanEmpiredid not meanthe end of allcivilization and alltechnique,although thisobviouslyrepresenteda« regression ». Nevertheless, the following civilizationsalways manage toovercomethe technological and economicthreshold forthat preceded them. At leastthisisthecase in the historyof the West.
The problemis to askwhat mightreplace theglobalized societyat a time whennocons–model exists toreplace them,whichin itself issomethingtotally newhistorically.
A collapseof this systemwhere everyone isinterdependentwilllogicallygloballyand nothing willcomeinplacealternative.
When a systemcollapsesonce, he always had the ability to beabsorbedby a more powerfulneighbor(it wasthe case ofRomewiththe military power ofthe Germanic tribesand intellectualmatrixof Christianity), which is actuallyunthinkablein the current stateof things.
Whatcould leadtoacollapse of oursocial models? Should we gotofeara new MiddleAges?
As I saidearlier,we canseparate theend of apolitico-economic system of the end of a civilization, to which we can add athird scenario,far moreapocalyptic, namely the end of humanity.
Most disturbingisthat this pattern, as spectacularas it is,is notentirelyruled out.
Beyondtheglobalizedaspect of oursystem, further weaknessisto considertoday:our incrediblepotential for technologicaldestruction.
When the RomanEmpire collapsed, there was nolaboratoryP4focusingmasses ofdeadly viruses, or nuclearpower plants, let alone nucleararsenalscapable ofvitrifiedhundred timesthe entire planet.
Orone can legitimatelywonder whatwould happen ifever thesestructureswere no longer managedby competent staff. Moreover, thisissue ofpotentialtechnologicaldestructionwas a realproblemduring the collapseof the SovietUnion withanuclear warheadobsessionis foundsoldon the black marketby militarywhose balanceswere notpaidsinceseveral years…!!
If wecan always hopethat the capitalist system, in itsnarrowestacceptance(respect for private means of productionin theproperty)can rely onhis incredibleability to adaptto findnew lifeand newoperatingassumptions(likethe circular economyfor example), black scenariosare thereforeclearlynot be excluded.This brings usto thegroundbreaking bookby NassimTaleb, TheBlackSwan, forwhichitshapes ourhistoryis not the« average normal events » … but the extremeand highlyimprobable events.
The collapseisinevitable, then,?
The answerwill not likeyou becauseyou do not likebad news, but yes, the collapse of civilization aswe know itis only a matterof time andeven ifthese subjectsbecause they areparticularlyanxietyare not publiclydetailed, allthose who thinkita bitseriouslycome to the sameconclusion.
The growthof the world populationis exponential, but our resourcesare not. The problem canbe summed upfairly simply. Or we findmore resources andIcan guarantee you thatit’s noton Earthaswe find them, or we reduce our consumptionofresources, orwe reduce ourpopulationsodemand.
Sothere are threeparameters andnot one morethat you canplay. There isthisproblemthreevariablesand they are perfectlywell known.
More resources. Less consumptionofresources Lessresource-intensive.
Formore resourcesshould beas in thediscovery of America, and it was aconsiderablecontribution innew wealth andresources toold Europe,we leftthis time notourcontinentto discovera new one,butwe were going tooperateon another planet.Mustwe dobeforewecollapsewhich obviouslylooks verybad start.
We candrastically reduceour consumptionandthisis whathappens withunemployed workers and« poor »aremillionstobediminishingbynecessity, notby choice.We can go backto amuch simplerway oflife, leave the citiesandmove closer tothe earth.Cities arean aberrationin terms ofcityresourcessincebydefinition mustdo everythingtobringdepends on allservicesandsupports. He has noautonomy as possible.It can notgroworraise chickensorrabbitsitselfhoused ina hutchoverpriced.Ihope we canadapttothat waybecause if wedo not do thatthenthere will only bethe last variable.
Reducethe human population…it can be doneby disease, war or famine.Choose yourendoryour hungerbutin any casethis option isvery unpleasant.
How to prepare?
AgainI pointyoulinkan articleI wroteabout itrecently, entitled « How to prepare for the economic collapse. »
Please notethat accessto raw materialsproblems, which we arealready experiencing, are above alleconomic problems.Remember that beforethe subprime crisisin 2007,we wereallglued tothe priceof oileyeswhich exceeded$ 150 a barrel!!Whyin your opinion?Just becausethere wasenoughoilto supplypower to aworldineconomic growth.
This means thatgrowth will notreturnCANunlikeanything weexplainourgoonsleadersfor the simplereason thatif we hadafuturestrong global economicgrowth, whilethecommodity pricesflamberaitand thatbrand, thevery high pricesof raw materialswould« break » theeconomic growth andrecoverywould be strong. It is essential tounderstand this mechanism. Everyonehas forgottenorobscured, butfrom 2005 to 2007yetwe‘ve all been there andwe were able tomeasure the effect ofresource scarcity. While the economyis in troublearound the world, the price of oilis now10times higher thanduring the firstGulf War!!!
So be awarethat no matter whatthey tell you, there will beno returnto strong andsustainable economic growth.We arealreadybackinthe era ofscarcityandbefore the time ofthe collapse.
Thenstorewhichwill come in handy, have tools andnot « made in china », have plenty to keepwaiting for yourfirst harvest, learn to grow, sewing, repairing,horseback riding,hunting,trapping, learn tocope andto becomeas independent aspossible, and particularlyif you canleave the citiesbecause in case ofcollapse of civilizationcitieswill offer nochance of survivalin the long runand it is exactlythatitis happening in Greece. In Greece,it is a trueurban migrationtaking place. 60% of Greeks want to joincitiesthe countryside,pastboardshelloto tackleurban poverty.
Whilesomewill saybut it’s muchtoo pessimisticasanalysis oras an approach! Except thatmy dear friends,the crisis beganin the summer of2007!There arealmost 7 years!!We arewaitingfor 7full yearsthe returnto growththatwe are promisedto eachpresidentialgreetingseason!!!7 yearswaitingtocomesee nothingexceptmore miseryandmore poverty,moredamageto ourway of life,more taxes andless wealth…This movementis not just aboutour country.It is global.
Soafter 7years of waiting, do not you thinkthatthe right questionis notrather to askand ifthe collapsehad already begun? And ifthe collapsewas not « brutal » as indicated byNASA, butjustrelativelyslow?Andin your opinion,howthe RomanEmpirewas itcollapsed? April 16,3:23 p.m.at376? Inreality,NASAledusallastrayin this case, the collapse of a civilization,because it hasstructures, rules, laws, official bodies, culture, technique, etc.because shealwayshas aformof strength andresilience thatexplainedits success anddevelopmentneversuddenly collapses. At first itis a slowdecay, almostimpalpableoris confusedwithtemporary crisisterminal crisisandthe eventsgraduallyaccelerate,and finallythe last stage, when reachingcertain « threshold effects » that is tosay, asufficient accumulationofproblems, sothe endof the fall isbrutal.
The collapsehas already begun.It is economical,technological, environmental, social, political andmoralcourse. This isnot the endof the world butthe endof a system,andone in whichwe all livetoday.
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