Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MUST READ BOOK: The New Empire of Debt by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin

"In the last half of 2008, the Empire of Debt received the margin call from Hell."

And so begins the captivating book,  The New Empire of Debt: The Rise and Fall of an Epic Financial Bubble by authors William Bonner and Addison Wiggin.

If you are concerned (like me) that America is quickly spending itself into oblivion and third world nation status, this is a must read for you.

Yes, the authors lay out a compelling case that politicians are borrowing and spending money so fast that the once great American empire has become a hollow shell.  But they do it in a witty and often humorous way that H.L. Mencken would have found amusing.  (He's actually quoted in the book.)  I feel that much of what I read in this book is gallows humor, disguising the sad fact that Washington and Wall Street are devouring our national wealth for the sake of their own aggrandizement while Main Street suffers and sacrifices to pay the bills.

Politicians point to the latest financial crisis and scowl with derision about all the accounting gimmicks and social mistrust that has been generated.  But the investment bankers and bond analysts who sold bogus derivatives are mere amateurs compared to the waste, fraud, and numerical slight-of-hands occurring daily on Capitol Hill.  The hypocrisy is stunning, and quite disturbing to witness---and funny to read, in a black humor sort of way.

The United States is approaching ONE HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS in unfunded mandates, loan guarantees, pension liabilities, entitlement program promises, and fiscal deficits.

The entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States last year was only $14 trillion.

And the number keeps growing...and growing...and growing...with no end in sight.

As this wonderful and insightful book makes clear, the two greatest economic empires of the 20th Century were the United States and Japan.  The Japanese built a powerful industrial machine on the ruins of a devastating country and within thirty years were the envy of the world.

Not anymore, however.  Too much debt, investment speculation, fiscal mismanagement, and internal political strife has left the country mired in economic recession for nearly twenty years now.  And nothing is likely changing anytime soon for the people in Japan.

The New Empire of Debt: The Rise and Fall of an Epic Financial Bubble makes clear we are next unless matters change, and change REALLY REALLY REALLY fast.

For the record, I do not know these authors and have no stake in the sale of their book.  I am recommending it to you because it is not only essential reading but utterly fascinating to devour.

Robert J. Abalos, Esq.