National Debt Officially Over $10 Trillion

first email about the feeling I had about the site in the past few weeks. Chris, I hope you don’t take these comments in the wrong way, we really do appreciate what you do and the time you take to write about your views. If anything, we’re all saying that we’d like More Chris and less others. I would love to see more encouragement for and responses from you to those that want to argue the other side of your points because only through debate can we really understand the issues.

hi folks

i am the guilty party who wrote about the flare guns you can visit my post of 9/30 at the mid game sec thread. that about sums it up. but maybe i should elaborate. i have a friend who lives in ashevile he has witnessed several fist fights over gasoline, i have several friends who rode out katrina, a friend was murdered on his sailboat this year, in india where i live half the year if you get in a car accident ou better get out and run as fast as you can because the mob will beat you to death even if you are the passenger. the world is not a very safe place. i live in rural arkansas many of my neighbors are armed to the teeth. there are a lot of angry people in this country right now. i am not willing to assume that polite society will last a whole lot longer. my information was meant to be of assistance for those who mignt feel the need to defend themselves, such as people living in the inner city where gang violence is not something on tv. or single women or anyone who might appreciate it.

i would love to think that you will be able to continue to gamble oh excuse me invest and manage your portfolio in the the safety of your comfort controlled 21st century control room. and i would like to believe someday i will be able to go back to renovating houses that are falling down and providing a home for someone who needs one. but you know i just dont think that is the world we live in anymore . so i will just

go ahead and work in my garden put up some food and firewood for the winter. write as many emails as i can to the worst congress in the entire history of this country. call till my fingers are numb from pushing the buttons. tell everyone i know that there is an international cartel who really owns this country . and is intent on reducing us to serfs and transferring every last bit of wealth they can geat their lily white hands on. and whether you mind or not i will continue to read this site for the 4 hours or more that i have been and share the crash course with as many folks as i can. and realize that though i may not particularly like the guy in the foxhole with me we are really on the same side. and the last time i looked we still have freedom of speech.

Joe2baba, please there is no need to defend what you wrote. People are free to take anyone’s comments at face value and agree or disagree as they wish. I also happen to agree that there might be a greater need for self-defense than is currently recognized. Your post simply struck me as a way to illustrate a point, not because of what you personally wrote or think, but because the mental image that it conjures (shooting somebody with a flare gun at a gas station) makes the distracting effect on the main message clear. It’s not about you, or your ideas, which I would like to hear more of in the future. Its that the forum is located right across the street from the public library, and the noise is making it difficult to concentrate. The forum is a great place, in which comments including yours should be welcome equally with all others. The problem is that people enter "Martensonburg," the first building they see and hear that personifies the place is the rowdy forum, not the university or the library or the museum.

ike – Some good ideas you and others are suggesting. I’d recommend posting them in the Site Comments and Feedback folder so they can be prioritized.

Also FYI, there is RSS for the blog and forums. All that’s necessary is to click the small RSS icon next to each title.

jrf29 and Xfiles:

Thanks for your candid feedback, guys. By way of introduction, I have recently joined forces with Chris and will be focusing on helping take workload off Chris’ shoulders so he can focus on the content that you’re calling "more of Chris". Expect an announcement about my role soon.

Since I’ll be working on how to resolve issues like this, I’d like a little more feedback. I agree with you that we need to liberate Chris from reading and responding to the blog comments. I’ll take that up with Chris. But what do you think we should do about blog comments? I think we’d lose a lot if we disallowed them. How would you solve the problem? Would a policy change advertising that Chris will not read or respond to blog comments be sufficient to address your concerns?



Good points Chris but you left out the amount of debt that will be incurred as a result of the huge obligations contained in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The ratio of future obligations to future revenues means that we have a lot more debt to be incurred and when you start out in the hole you can only keep digging a short while until the walls collapse and you are buried alive.




Hi Erik,
Glad to hear you’ll be helping Chris out with the blog.
One of my main requests is a way to "subscribe" to comments or to an RSS feed for a particular comment. Chris mentioned further down in the thread that there is RSS for comments, but I don’t see any RSS icon in the comments area or at the top of the blog post (am I missing something)?
I do see that it’s possible to subscribe to an RSS feed for each forum. That’s very helpful.
Thanks for your help!

Hi switters, actually this is Ron, I’m helping Chris with many of the technical pieces of the site. Sorry I had thought the comment at first was about RSS for the overall threads. Actually as of right now there is RSS for the forums and for the blogs themselves, but not yet for the comments.

I’d certainly recommend commenting about this in the Site Feedback & Comments forum so we can keep track of these ideas.

Suggestion: Separate the comments from CM’s posts, possibly adding a few select ones which amplify the topic. Leave the bulk of them on a different page which we can access as interested.


Hi Erik,

Thanks for taking the time to help out and get Chris’ message out and thanks for taking the interest in hearing more from your readers. I don’t partake in many chatboards, in fact, other than this one I only contribute to one other. I have rethought my position on limiting posts and admit that I was reacting to wanting to see more content than reader opinion. Now that I’ve had more time to think on it, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Add the ability for readers to put some posters on ‘ignore’. This is in NO offence to anyone including the person that posted on flares (sorry, I can’t look up your post while writing this to address you properly, my apologies) who was good enough to post his response and I truly appreciate his views. However, what jrf29 wrote in response about viewers seeing the riot in front of the museum and library was so well written that I won’t even try and re-write what he was trying to say… it was a great point. Another version of this is the other post’s suggestion about rating or endorsing a post so that people can quickly scan which ones are worth reading.

  2. If it’s possible, I think it would be good to hear Chris take up some well written responses and debate them a bit. I personally learn a great deal when there are 2 intelligent people discussing a particular issue. Chris can pick and choose which posts are well written and deserve a response but it would be just nice to see a healthy debate. It’s a ‘style’ thing so of course if that just isn’t what Chris wants to do, then no biggie, that was just my personal suggestion.

  3. I would actually move the New Forum Topics and new posts off the main welcoming page and focus on the concepts and the Crash Course that has served to educate so many people. Move the forums deeper into the site where people who are familiar with the site, can easily navigate to. I’m not try to hide anything here but I do recognize that those who really should be getting the ‘message’ and want to educate themselves may be turned off by the posts (including my own) and view this site as being something that it isn’t.

If I think of any others, I’ll definitely post on them but I’d like to express my gratitude once again for all the work you guys are doing and my respect for the posters on this site. This is what the internet was made for, this is the type of work that can make a difference.

Hi everyone, this is Ron. I’m working with Chris and Erik to help deliver the technical aspects of the site. The more feedback we can get from everyone the better! Please take advantage of the new Site Feedback & Comments forum so we can capture all the thoughts and ideas in one place and hopefully spur more discussion among site members. Thank you!

First post here, and a basic point that I don't see yet. All the debt is someone’s asset as well. Last I checked the figures about a week ago, 23% of federal debt is owned by foreign entities (from US Gov site). So 77% of the debt is owned by us. It is money we owe to ourselves. The interest we pay on that 77% comes back to us. Both the Democrats and the Republicans like to overlook this fact and equate public debt with private debt. The Republicans do it so they can say we don't have enough money and the Democrats do is so they can say we need to pay more taxes. I was told in econ 101 that the debt is not paid by future generations, it is paid by us as we forgo other more productive uses of that capital. When the debt is paid by "our grandchildren" someone else’s grandchild will get the payment.

Hi Erik,

I never meant to imply that blog comments should be disallowed, or that Chris shouldn’t participate in the discussions. I think the blog comments are great, especially running discussions on more fixed issues like peak oil. Furthermore, I think that Chris’ participation in the discussions is also great. It energizes the discussions, fosters a feeling of community, and I would love to see him continue to respond to posted comments, whenever he finds the spare time to do so.

I think part of my critique has to do with site design, which has a big impact. After the redesign, the blog and comments now dominate the main web page. I understand that this was done intentionally, but I think that it detracts from the more important material on the site, especially for the first time visitor. The blog diverts the attention of the visitor away from the excellent material that is available on the site, such as the Crash Course and other articles written by Chris, which should be showcased and viewed first by the reader, perhaps after an appropriate introduction page. Furthermore, the great effort made by Chris in responding to comments cannot be archived, searched, or stored in a useable way, and therefore doesn’t form anything of enduring value for other readers. This is, to an extent, a deflection of Chris’ energy. When I say "more Chris", I mean more of Chris’ pure thinking and writing about important and big-picture issues, rather than just responding to some other guy’s opinion (be that guy a newswriter or a commenter).

My personal thoughts:

(1) I agree with Xflies. By all means keep the blog, but move it off the main page. You should have to click a few times to get to it; it is for veterans of the site. When a new user with a fresh mind and no idea what "peak oil" or "exponential money" means visits the site for the first time, and starts to click around, the first thing they should be drawn into is the crash course, or else some incisive introductory articles written by Chris.

(2) I really think that the blog itself has the potential to become an unhealthy drain of energy for you guys. This is my uninformed opinion. But to an extent I think the site should be careful about being drawn too much into the frenetic pace of the day-to-day news. Not that the news of the day doesn’t deserve comment, but Chris and the rest of you guys have bigger, more important things to think about. Like what peak oil will mean in practical terms ten years from now, conducting experiments in low-energy living and reporting the results, and interpreting graphs, statstics, and data which are released by reliable scientific sources and would be overlooked by the average reader. What makes this site and Chris’ best work so unique is that it cuts beyond the day-to-day noise. It reveals the bigger picture. It frames current issues in a way that allows readers to step back from the deceptive noise of the world and see the broad sweep of history as it relates to their experience now. Seeing the inflation graph in the crash course as the post-1970 section was revealed was just that sort of crystallizing moment for me. As the writer Benjamin Hecht said, "Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock." There are hundreds of sites out there that do that, and comment very adroitly on the news of the moment. But very few that are willing to expend the intellectual energy to go beyond that, and cut deeply into all available information on the past and future to make bold predictions. There are enduring problems which this site addresses, and these efforts should be given the space and emphasis on the web page that they deserve. This webpage deserves the look and feel of an objective, intelligent, and trustworthy source of profoundly important information that will continue to be relavent even as the truths in the crash course are made apparent by rapidly unfolding events. This site can be an important and influential think-tank in the making. The crash course is already influential. Don’t shortchange it by allowing it to appear to be just another economic collapse/doomer/peak oil/survivalist/gold bug/the president is a moron blog. There are plenty of those.

(3) I love Xflies’ idea of structured debates. I think abother great idea would be a collection of common arguments against the message of the crash course, accompanied by strong refutations. As new questions or arguments come up in discussions, they can be addressed in this way which is enduring and useful to future visitors, rather than being dispersed among disparate, non-searchable comments that will not be read for more than a few weeks.

I have never written close to this much feedback about a website before, and would never do so if I were not deeply convinced of the value of the work presented here.

"My mother in law reports today that she went to take cash out of the
bank but greeting her at the door was a hand-taped sign stating that
customers are now limited to $1000 cash per day." – Dr. M

Converting deposits to cash? What is she, some kind of wingnut?

Just kidding. I had no problem cashing a $3,000 check at MonsterBank the other day. But then, they’re an officially-sponsored ‘government errand boy.’ Sort of like Waste Management, MonsterBank is always there to take out the financial garbage – for a price.

In fact, I usually greet the tellers with a cheery, "Bought any banks today?" They laugh ruefully – but then they glance at their watches, knowing that the serious gorging on bankster roadkill starts after dark.

As for the debt doubling in 8 years – the bailout bill justed passed in the Senate is about equal to the entire federal budget of 1986.

All of this insane exponential expansion points toward one thing: PONZI SCHEME. Democracy and paper money mix like teenagers and whisky – HIC!

Senator Biden: "Dude, I just wrecked my dad’s Thunderbird."

Senator McCain: "No problemo! Just make him raise your allowance to $50,000 a week, and buy him another one. He’ll never notice!"

Senator Biden: "KEWL!" Cool

The title of the bailout bill which the Senate passed last night is – sweet Jeebus, I am not making this up –

"The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007"

Hello everyone… This is my first comment in the site although I 've beem following the site for quite some time.


I’ve been trying to obtain some gold and silver but it seems rather impossible. The premiums are outrageous related to the SPOT PRICE.

While silver is around $12 most dealers like are selling for $17… almost a 50% premium.

Gold is at a $95 premium regarding the SPOT PRICE.

I’ve heard from these guys as well it seems they have the better prices : but the waiting list I think goes up to 2 months when you first order and then you receive the material.

Anyone can help me find a good dealer, that is trustable and has good prices ?


Thank you so much




Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed replies, guys.

I’m just getting involved and need to be in sync with Chris and Ron before taking this discussion further, but you can expect me to be posting some feedback-seeking forum posts.

I do face the challenge of helping Chris prioritize the demands on his time so as to be most effective. I really like the feel of the forum conversations as well, and that includes having Chris’ personal participation in all of them. But something’s gotta give here. The consensus feedback seems to be that Chris’ unique and differentiating value is his thought leadership and educational skill at taking complex things and explaining them in plain English. If we’re going to focus on that area of leadership, something else has to suffer. We can’t finish Chapter 20 AND have Chris continue to participate in all the blog discussions AND write and produce new thought leadership material AND promote the Crash Course. Too many ANDs.

I want to get in sync with Chris before taking this conversation any further here. I’ll be posting new forum topics to solicit your feedback soon. I want this conversation to occur in plain view so all readers can participate, and not have it buried in comments about the $10T event.




Hi Erik,

I was a devout reader of Chris’s site before it exploded in popularity and was motivated by one of your earlier posts to throw some $ support Chris’s way.

I love Chris’s site, but I like it because of Chris. He has a unique means of pulling together and explaining data. I have come to trust Chris because although I am interested in these issues and think about them a lot, I simply do not have the background or foundation to trust my own analysis.

This site should not be allowed to degenerate into a free-for-all. Somehow, Chris needs to be quarantined from having to deal with the explosion in readership. He needs to stay grounded and focus on the basics or the site will lose its value. Period.

I think Chris is probably at his best when he is sitting in his pajamas pouring over data and succintly explaining his conclusions unclouded by the ramblings of me and the rest of the riff-raff. I am sure he knows this. He’s got to stay true to the mission. This is particularly important given the pace at which events are unfolding.

Thanks for helping him.

How much are we paying in debt service, i.e. interest on the national debt?

i for one appreciate the info and commentary which chris provides. i do not feel it necessry to have him answer my questions directly. i have gotten many of them answered by the people on the blog. i am all for an open forum. i think the folks who wish to carry on econwonk discussons in a private place could very easily start a linkedin group or perhaps have a list that has a moderator so there will be no one from the unwashed masses bringing the "noise" from the forum into the library.

i am chalking the noise up to the rate at which events are proceeding and i think once they have finished with us things will settle down on this site and we will go back to being the disenfranchised serfs we are. but if it had not been for the noise on this site i would not have written the hundreds of emails (which contained info from chis and others) i probably would not have spent untold hours on the phone trying to get thru to the toadies who are carrying out the wishes of the master in whose employ they really are. i would not have sent the link to everyone i know to watch the crash course. i think the noise could not be contained when people are seeing their retirements destroyed and the futures of their children and grandchildren sold down the river. jobs lost careers ruined and a not too rosy future on the horizon.

as for chapter 20 i am also interested in seeing what advice it contains but i have been involved in these types of discussions since the 60’s i moved to the woods in the mid 70’s. we always would share all the info we could to help each other. i have a feeling knowing a little about the life chris seems to have chosen that much of what he will share i have already heard or have implemented but if there is one new idea i will treasure it. my own read is that the closer you are to the land the better off you will be. i have been asking my friends "what do you think the amish have to say about all this ?" community will be extremely important we will need each other more than ever.

i really really appreciate the humor dark as well as lite it helps me tremendously to get as much laughter right now.

i especially wish to thank again machinehead i get hysterical just thinking about "zimbenwe" i am laughing right now. so if some consider that noise well it has kept me sorta sane .

in the end i guess we are all sorta in the same boat and looking for some answers. some may be more emotional than some wil be comfortable with and some may be too intellectual and detached for others. but i just figure you take what you need and leave the rest.

love you all and chris you are an amazing human being i can not thank you enough


I have personal experience ordering from NWT mint. Yes, their prices are very good. But they take WAY too long for delivery. I have only ordered from them once back in 2006. At that time, there was no physical shortage of silver. It still took 6 weeks for delivery. I can’t imagine the wait now.