Here's the one thing: America's triple-A rating is at risk.
I know you're sitting there on your couch, eating Doritos and thinking, "I can't possibly think of one thing that I care less about on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend than our triple-A rating."
OK — good point. Good night everybody!
So, how does our triple-A rating possibly affect you?
Credit agencies have to rate the riskiness of loaning money to a company or a country: The riskier the investment, the higher the return investors demand.
Globally, there are only 18 countries with a triple-A rating — that's as good as you can do. Credit agency S&P has already lowered the ratings for Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, Greece and Spain; and the U.S. may not be so far behind — according to another credit agency, Moody's.
Moody's warn that growing socialized health care and Social Security costs could bury the country in debt and cost the U.S. the triple-A credit rating that we've had since 1917.
So, what is Moody's thinking? The same thing you are: How can you give a top credit rating to a country that owes $11 trillion along with a minimum of another $45 trillion in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Even if you use the current rosy budget numbers, just the interest on our debt will balloon to $806 billion a year by 2019.
If we do lose our credit rating, what happens?
With a lower rating, common sense tells us it would cost the government more to borrow money to fund its pet projects. Interest rates go up; the price of gold goes up and the dollar loses value. The dollar lost value this week, just because our credit rating was being questioned.
Is this definitely going to happen?
Well, we've gone from "tax and spend" to "spend and print." No one knows the timing, but if we continue accelerating down this road, it's inevitable that we crash into the brick wall at the end of it.
We must change course.
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Just think about what happens if the interest rates jump when you're trying to buy a house. If you try to take out a 30-year fixed mortgage, the average interest is 4.8 percent. At that rate, the average $169,000 house will cost you $888 a month. At 9.8 percent, it's $1,460-dollars; and 14.8 percent, it's $2,112-dollars; and at 19.8 percent, it's $2,800 a month.
But what if you had a rate of 21 percent? Sound crazy? Well, you say crazy, I say Jimmy Carter. That's what rates hit in the late '70s. And even though economists have been referring to the current situation as the "worst since the Great Depression," people still can't imagine interest rates approaching what they were just 30 years ago.
(In case you were wondering, at those rates the typical house shoots up from $888 a month to $2,963 per month.)
Remember, back then times were very tough. But not tough enough for the country to lose its triple-A rating.
What's going to happen to our country if that happens?
Remember your $169,000 house payment goes from $888 a month to $2,963 per month. If we lose our rating, what's the monthly payment going to be for our country's "house" that'll have $20 trillion of debt in the next few years?
Those are the stakes today. Happy Memorial Day everyone!
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