Looking back to 2007 we can argue whether too much government regulation forced lenders to make loans they might have otherwise passed on or if banks made those loans because there wasn’t enough regulations. Considering the growth of government and the concentration of wealth that the financial community has enjoyed in the ensuing years it’s likely that they worked together to create the crisis.
Regardless of who’s to blame, the economy crashed because of excessive consumer borrowing.
The situation today, compared to 2007 is significantly worse. While total U.S. consumer debt is only slightly greater today than it was in 2007, much of it may be attributable to people borrowing to pay their monthly expenses and not for the purchase of new goods and services that expand the economic base. Meanwhile, the increase in our federal debt is alarming. Federal debt is ultimately debt that must be paid by the American people. Since 2007 government debt has doubled to over $18 Trillion. As a percentage of the GDP, federal debt has risen by 63.5% over the past 8 years and now exceeds 100% of our annual GDP.
The failed Keynesian economic policies utilized over the past 8 years have left federal policy makers with little to work with. Their usual strategies of lowering interest rates and spending to “prime the economy’s pump” have already been tried. Interest rates can go no lower. Federal spending on debt is already 7% of the total budget and is certain to grow larger when interest rates increase.
Adding to the problem, the “jobless recovery” has left us with only marginal additional workers (.3%) than we had in 2007 to tax. David Strasser, a retail analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott explained, “The problem is you’re not seeing job growth; you’re not seeing wage growth,” he said. “We’re still overleveraged by any historical measure.”
To recap, since the last bubble burst we’ve doubled our federal debt adding over $61,000 in debt to every taxpayer. Our economic growth is stagnant and growth in the number of jobs is non-existent.
It’s not a matter of if the economy will collapse; it’s a question of when. The mantra in 2007 should’ve been “too big to save.” If we continue to make public policy based on the concept that any corporation or banking interest is “too big to fail” there will be further concentration of wealth and power vested in them at the cost of our individual freedoms.