Sunday , 19 May 2024

My Uncle Sam is in Trouble: Let Me Explain – Simply!

How to Explain the Current Economic Situation to Friends & Family

I’ve been trying to get across to friends and family how bad the economic situation has become… but with numbers in the billions and trillions they get a glazed/deer in the headlights look in their eyes. I have tried to overcome that problem by writing this article in such a way that the numbers can be more easily visualized which I hope will convince them – and you – of the serious nature of the US fiscal outlook. Words: 645

So says Chris Martenson ( in an article* which Lorimer Wilson, editor of, has further edited ([  ]), abridged (…) and reformatted below for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. (Please note that this paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.) Martenson goes on to say:

My Troubled Relative 

I need your advice. [My Uncle Sam is…] in financial trouble. 

  • He makes $50,000 a year, but he spent $74,591 last year, and his prospects of making $50,000 this year look kind of bad. There’s a good chance he will get a pay cut.
  • Unfortunately, he’s been overspending for quite a while and has charged $295,632 on credit cards. He’s been lucky enough to get low teaser rates, and when those expired, he’s been able to transfer the balances to other low rate cards so he keeps charging $24,591 per year beyond his income. If he can’t keep rolling over his debt at super low rates the interest will quickly eat him up.

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That’s not his worst problem, though. 

  • He convinced his family he was a great investor [so] his parents gave him a portion of their income for many years, and he promised he would make regular payments to them, and cover their medical care, when they got too old to work. The problem is, he spent all the money. 
  • He also has dependents who are poor, and he promised to help them out too. He needs a bank account balance of $2,372,953… earning an interest rate that keeps up with inflation – but the money is all gone.

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What should he do? 

  • His Republican friends, who say they are responsible with money, have decided he must really cut spending to get things under control. There are lots of things he can live without, so he should reduce spending by $1,292 per year. 
  • His Democrat friends say that’s too much. It would be a great hardship to cut spending that drastically, and $137 should be about right.

Here is a picture of his financial situation:

  • $50,000: Income
  • $74,591: Expenses
  • $24,591: Deficit
  • $295,632: Short-term revovling debt at artificially low rates
  • $2,372,632: Unfunded promises
  • $1,292: Republican friends budget cuts
  • $137: Democrat friends budget cuts


  1. What does the future look like for my Uncle Sam? 
  2. Do you think he can keep going like this much longer?
  3. What about his family that’s counting on the promises he made to them? 
  4. Do you see any possible solution other than bankruptcy?

If you multiply the above numbers by 47,620,000 and you get the fiscal picture for the United States Government in 2010:

  • $2.381 Trillion: Revenue
  • $3.552 Trillion: Budget
  • $1.171 Trillion: Deficit
  • $14.078 Trillion: Debt
  • $113 Trillion: Unfunded Liabilities (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid)
  • $0.0615 Trillion ($61.5 Billion): Republican proposed budget cuts
  • $0.0065 Trillion ($6.5 Billion): Democrat  proposed budget cuts

[The above begs the following questions: Is this economic reality sustainable?… If so, for how long? …THEN WHAT HAPPENS?]


Editor’s Note:

  • The above article consists of reformatted edited excerpts from the original for the sake of brevity, clarity and to ensure a fast and easy read. The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered.
  • Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given as per paragraph 2 above.
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