Government Spending Spree Drives Global Debt to $100 Trillion


Burning dollar
Images of Money Foter CC BY

However bad your spending habits may be, chances are it's better than that of the average national government. The political class around the world has been running the credit cards up with such glee, you have to wonder how officials plan to pay the loans back (that's rhetorical—of course they don't plan to pay them back). Riding a tide of government borrowing, global debt markets rose to $100 trillion in mid 2013 from a mere $70 trillion in 2007. Wait. $100 trillion? Yup.

According to the Bank for International Settlements, which basically acts as a bank for central banks:

Global debt markets have grown to an estimated $100 trillion (in amounts outstanding) in mid-2013 (Graph C, left-hand panel), up from $70 trillion in mid-2007. Growth has been uneven across the main market segments. Active issuance by governments and non-financial corporations has lifted the share of domestically issued bonds, whereas more restrained activity by financial institutions has held back international issuance (Graph C, left-hand panel).

Not surprisingly, given the significant expansion in government spending in recent years, governments (including central, state and local governments) have been the largest debt issuers (Graph C, left-hand panel).

Graph C is below, and it shows that global debt is soaring and poised to achieve orbit.

The United States government's official national debt is currently $17.5 trillion. Peter Suderman recently pointed out that the proposed White House budget would leave us with a debt that's $8.3 trillion higher than it is now over the next decade.

So the next time somebody starts talking about "austerity," you can explain just how austere the past few years have been for poor, strapped governments.

Soaring global debt
Bank for International Settlements

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  1. Debt doesn’t matter….shreeky told me!

    1. We owe it to ourselves, so it’s not like we’re in the hole that much.

  2. To be fair, a trillion isn’t quite what it used to be.

    1. Nuevo dollar will fix all this.

  3. that’s rhetorical?of course they don’t plan to pay them back

    But we’re all going to maintain the fiction that they will, right?

    1. $100 trillion? That’s getting into Dyson sphere territory.

      1. So the solution is just to lock ourselves into a transporter loop until someone else pays off the debt?

        1. No. The solution is that we refinance and roll the debt into a larger loan where we build a ring world around the sun. Then we lease the excess space to aliens for vacations and stuff.

          1. You’ve been watching too much Star Trek, ProLib. Aliens aren’t going to want to vacation here. Earth is the Florida of the galaxy.

            1. Kirk once kicked a Klingon into the molten core of an exploding planet.

              1. It suddenly strikes me as odd that no latter-day Star Trek series ever set a holodeck episode in Rick’s Caf? Am?ricain.

                1. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t use my name, ProL.

                  1. Look, no one but me knows you’re Herman Cain.

            2. That’s why we need to ring world the solar system, silly.

              You do know that everyone does vacation in Florida, right? In fact, you’re probably vacationing here right now.

              1. That would explain why a methed-out python is trying to eat my leg.

                1. Florida is both greater and worse than you can possibly imagine.

            3. That Scotty episode juts show how pussified Starfleet in TNG was. I mean no alcohol allowed on board? Really?

              1. Something really, really bad happens to the Federation between TOS and TNG.

                1. The greatest thing that ever happened to Star Trek was the death of Gene Roddenberry.

                2. The reason why ‘Generations’ is my least favorite Star Trek movie is because if fucked up a golden opportunity to put Kirk in command of a TNG era vessel. How awesome would it have been if he has to take command of the Enterprise D to rescue Picard?

                  And then for good measure they kill him off in the lamest, most undignified way possible.

                  1. I still can’t believe they shat on the Shat.

                  2. “Bridge on the Captain!”

                    1. They love to crap on the shoulders of those that hold them up, these days. Same thing happened in the first Mission Impossible movie when they made Mr. Phelps the bad guy. That’s like revealing that Kirk was a Klingon all along, or George Washington was a British spy.

                  3. Re: Grand Moff Serious Man,

                    The reason why ‘Generations’ is my least favorite Star Trek movie is because if fucked up a golden opportunity to put Kirk in command of a TNG era vessel.

                    The reason why it is my least favorite Star Trek:TNG movie is because of the Supernova-sized plot hole where first Picard is in this Nexus-induced fantasy world; then we’re supposed to believe that he is able to ‘return’ to ‘reality’ with Kirk on tow and not to another Nexus-induced fantasy where he defeats Alex DeLarge and saves the crew of the Enterprise.

                  4. Was there any really good way to kill Kirk onscreen? Besides, they’d originally gone with a simple shot in the back, compared to which dying on a crashing bridge was better.

                    1. No. And why kill him if it’s gotta suck?

                      Now Spock, that was a good death.

                    2. You kill Kirk in order to slam Picard.

                      “I’ve always known I’ll die alone.”

        2. We put the debt into a space elevator then cut the cable.

        3. We put the debt into a space elevator then cut the cable.

      2. $100 trillion? That’s getting into Dyson sphere territory.

        or at least a ring world.

  4. It’s not a problem because we owe it to ourselves.

  5. Suddenly, the silence from the rest of the galaxy makes sense. We’re viewed as a deadbeat planet and thus are being shunned.

  6. Meh. It’s a global economy. We owe it to *ourselves*!

    1. What MikeP said.

    2. Could we collectively refinance?

      1. Just press the Reset button!

        1. Oh, please, monsieur. It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.

          1. My wife just watched that with me (first time she ever saw it, believe it or not). She correctly loves it.

            1. Might as well be frank, monsieur. It would take a miracle not to love Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles.

              1. We have an old, very fancy theater in Tampa that runs a classics series every summer. Casablanca is part of that every year, as far as I can tell. I saw it there some years ago, which was pretty cool.

                1. I just looked up the local all-classics Stanford Theatre, and I see they are running Casablanca this weekend!

                  We may have to go.

                  1. Doesn’t get much more classic than Casablanca. My wife is now wanting to watch more classics. Tried Citizen Kane, but not as interested (to be fair, we just watched the beginning very late–I’ve always liked it, myself). Maybe The Third Man or another Bogart classic like The Maltese Falcon next.

                    1. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, if you’re in a Bogart mood. Every time I see it, I remember how awesome it is and wonder why I didn’t remember that.

                      Tonight’s classic will probably be one of the old Alec Guinness comedies.

                    2. Our Man in Havana. Very anarchic and libertarian in its way.

  7. We’re rapidly approaching the day in which Block Insane Yomomma will have both doubled the public debt, and accumulated a staggering $7 trillion in total debt. Both of those dubious, shameful distinctions are set to come within the next month or two.

  8. So the next time Krugman starts talking about “austerity,”

    Fixed for you.

  9. My wife is now wanting to watch more classics.

    iThe Thin Man, and its derivatives are always worth watching. Also, The Maltese Falcon.

    1. I recently rewatched To Have and Have Not and again thought it excellent.

    2. Yeah, I’m thinking The Maltese Falcon next. It’s got several of the cast from Casablanca, too.

  10. Government Spending Spree Drives Global Debt to $100 Trillion

    Not to worry! We can print our way out of this!

    I do feel sorry for all those trees, though. I mean, ALL of them.

    1. Naw, they’ll use environmental impact to eliminate all the paper money (Save the Trees, Prevent Climate Change) and eliminate coins too (Conflict Minerals, PCC, heck maybe some trees are involved too!).

  11. Peter Suderman recently pointed out that the proposed White House budget would leave us with a debt that’s $8.3 trillion higher than it is now over the next decade.

    While that may sound ominous (imagine, 8.5 trillion dollars more in debt!) the fact of the matter is that that level of debt is contingent upon the lenders willingness to continuously purchase government-issued debt. Of course the transfer of wealth from savings to government-issued debt means there is less capital available for investments in the market, but reliance on debt means also, at least, that people are not being taxed to the hilt to pay for government. At one point, not even sucking the blood of every single American will be enough to service the debt and then the government will have no other option but to default, either explicitly (by thumbing our noses to our creditors) or implicitly (through money-printing). So as long as the government lacks the balls to tax its people, default is what will ensue. The only ones hurt by government default will be those holding government debt (the idiots) and those whose livelihood depends on government handouts (the other idiots).

    1. Forgive my ignorance of economics (fat chance of that happening here…) but who actually owes what to who?

      I’m sure there’s an opening for a Rothschild/Bilderburg/Illuminati angle on this but there’s got to be some actual explanation to this.

      1. Your children owe me a retirement check for life and unlimited heart transplants. See: Social Contract

    2. While that may sound ominous (imagine, 8.5 trillion dollars more in debt!) the fact of the matter is that that level of debt is contingent upon the lenders willingness to continuously purchase government-issued debt.

      Yeah, I don’t think there’s much chance of the fed refusing to buy treasuries.

  12. Speaking of Bogart, you can’t go wrong with The Big Sleep.

    1. The Maltese Falcon. Easily the best of his work and a much better movie than Casablanca

  13. The Maltese Falcon was the third film of the Hammett novel in 10 years. Damn Hollywood and its obsession with remakes.

  14. According to my calculations this amounts to $14,025 per-capita world-wide. No wonder the rest of the world hates us!

  15. The annual GDP of the entire world is about $72 trillion

    That includes the salaries paid to government employees funded by issuing more debt. The way to keep the debt to annual GDP ratio in line is to hire everyone with government jobs funded by debt and let the Keynsian multiplier effect do the rest. Problem solved.

    If you don’t like that, let’s redefine the year to have 48 months. Now the annual GDP is 4x as much, and we solve that pesky leap year problem – and we can add 36 more diverse month names. Nobody will live to be 65, so I also solved the Social Security debt problem.

  16. From the other side global debt is growing with the growth of population all over the world. More people will work to cover expenses on goods and needs created for them such as protection, different social goods, cultural benefits, and so on. Furthermore customers may turn to Cash Advance Loan Store to have such goods which government is not able to provide them with.

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