Bridges Collapse As The West Drowns In Debt
This article was written by Jeff Nielson and originally published at BullionBullsCanada.com
A recent headline in the mainstream media caught my attention due to its dramatic nature. It spoke of “bridges crumbling” in the United States (along with its highways rotting). The media drone then attempted to explain why these bridges/highways were being allowed to crumble, despite borrowing rates which are “the lowest since 1969”.
The explanation given was totally false: that (supposedly) U.S. state and local governments were “repaying obligations by the most on record”. This is propaganda nonsense, since what it directly implies is that state and local governments would have to be recording the largest budget-surpluses on record. Mathematically, this is the only possible way to retire debt by a corresponding amount. Those surpluses do not exist.
In fact, what the Liar from the mainstream media was really pointing out is that state/local governments are making the largest interest payments on record, the result of the “unprecedented deficits” acknowledged within this piece of mainstream propaganda. This allows us to provide the real answer to the question: why are “bridges crumbling”, in the U.S. (and across the rotting West) despite the lowest borrowing-rates in 45 years?
The answer to the question is simple arithmetic. Our bridges, our highways, indeed, our entire economies and societies are falling apart because governments (at all levels) are drowning in debt. When governments (at all levels) are making the largest interest payments on record (but never paying-off any principal) it means less dollars left over for spending on useful/necessary services, and infrastructure investment/maintenance.
Because these governments are now all permanent debtors, and their interest payments simply get larger every year; it is mathematical proof that these governments are now already past the point-of-no-return on their indebtedness. As a matter of the simple arithmetic of “compound interest”; it is no longer a question of “if” governments across the West will default on their debts – merely when.
Western governments (most-obviously the U.S.) are insolvent endemically, thus the worsening decay of our infrastructure (and economies/societies) will never stop its downward spiral. Rather, this downward cycle will worsen, exponentially, until we have a collective Debt Jubilee, and simply erase debts which are now too large to ever be repaid.
Debt Jubilee is a regular event throughout history, going back to (literally) biblical times. It is based upon one of the constants of human behavior: that governments (good and bad) will place short-term expediency and popularity ahead of long-term fiscal prudence. The result is a multi-thousand year litany of governments (of every shape and form) digging themselves into (debt) holes from which they can never be extracted, resulting in Debt Jubilee.
But the story of the West drowning in debt is more than a story of governments. This endemic indebtedness extends throughout our populations. There are two reasons why individual members of our societies are drowning in the highest levels of personal debt in our history.
The first reason is that the Corporate propaganda machine has made taking on debt a virtue. In every previous generation; taking on “a second mortgage” was the ultimate indicator of personal, financial shame. It proved that (barring some personal calamity) the borrower had not been managing their finances responsibly – and thus had committed the Cardinal Sin of financial management: taking on unnecessary debt.
Today; the Corporate propaganda machine euphemistically refers to second-mortgages as “home-equity loans”. And instead of chastising borrowers for their financial irresponsibility; it praises them for being smart enough to “extract” (i.e. squander) the equity that they had previously built-up in their homes.
Compounding this, we have the simple, human quirk of “monkey see/monkey do”. With all levels of our governments pretending that they can increase, and increase, and increase their debt-levels permanently – with no adverse consequences – it was only a matter of time until the general population adopted this mantra of the deadbeat.
The result is that we now have Deadbeat Cultures. Dozens of insolvent (Western) governments can only pretend to be “solvent” because the One Bank has manipulated the interest rates on the highest debt-levels in history to the lowest rates in history. If interest rates even approached historical norms in the West; these Deadbeat Debtors would all collapse into debt-default more quickly than one could say “debt dominoes”.
Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of individual Western debtors have seen their standard of living collapse by more than half, as wages (in real/constant dollars) across the Western world have fallen by more than 50% over the past 40 years. But their debt-levels keep going higher, in both absolute and proportionate terms. Transformed from the Middle Class to “the Working Poor”; they now have to borrow their way to even a quasi-Middle Class existence.
Like our governments; they borrow and borrow today to avoid acknowledging financial reality. Like our governments; more and more of their income/revenue dollars are simply squandered paying interest on their debts. And this delusion-via-debt comes at a terrible cost: guaranteed bankruptcy/poverty in their futures.
The Corporate media can hide the devolution of the Middle Class into the Working Poor (across the West) by simply refusing to report the facts. “Tent cities” have sprung-up around urban centers across the U.S., one of the surest signs of a Third World culture. But in the Wonderland Matrix of the mainstream media; these tent-cities simply don’t exist.
However, what even the endemic lies of the propaganda machine can’t hide is the systemic decay/disintegration of our rotting cities, crumbling highways, and collapsing bridges. A Wikipedia chronology of bridge failures, conveniently separated into half-century intervals, is illuminating.
Western bridge-collapses 1900 – 49: 16
Western bridge-collapses 1950 – 99: 42
Western bridge-collapses 2000 – 13: 31
Western bridge-collapses 2000 – 49 (projected): 112
There were two, very good reasons why the number of bridge-collapses in the Western world increased from 16 to 42 in the second half of the 20th century. First, Western societies were in the process of “motorizing” during this time, and at an extremely rapid rate. Thus highway and bridge-construction increased at a similarly rapid rate..
There were simply a lot more bridges in existence in 1975 (the mid-point of that half-century) than in 1925 (the mid-point of the previous half-century). Furthermore; those bridges in existence in the first half of the 20th century were (relatively) new, and thus we would expect a much lower rate of collapse.
Conversely, there are two very good reasons why we should have expected the rate of bridge-collapses across the West to flatten-out rather than nearly triple, as we entered the new millennium. To begin with; the “motorization” of the West has ceased, indeed, as gasoline consumption numbers indicate, the U.S. (in particular) is now de-motorizing, as its transition to Third World status accelerates.
Consequently, bridge-construction has nearly ground to a halt, as “cash-strapped” (i.e. bankrupt) Western governments are now spending a smaller percentage of revenue dollars on construction-and-maintenance of infrastructure than at any other time in at least a half-century. But not only are few, new bridges being built; there were significant improvements in both engineering techniques and safety-standards during the course of the 20th century.
The general trend in our societies has been toward a lower rate/incidence of structural collapse. With these two factors combined, there can be no possible explanation for the continuing, rapid escalation in the number of bridge-collapses across the West except neglect – due to dwindling maintenance budgets.
What the evidence around us now proves, conclusively, is that (until Debt Jubilee) it will never be possible for our governments to provide even a minimal level of public services, or even a minimal level of infrastructure maintenance and continue to make these massive, unprecedented (and permanent) interest payments to the One Bank.
The (banking) Vampires have now sucked these Western corpses nearly dry. Our “tickets” to the Third World are now booked, and the only thing which can prevent that trip from reaching completion (the mass, involuntary bankruptcy of both Western governments and their citizens) is to declare our Debt Jubilee now, before the Vampires suck-out the last, few drops of blood.