We can all agree that many people in this country have not been directly affected by the economic downturn/meltdown of available jobs. They still have their jobs, they haven't been foreclosed, they haven't been directly threatened by the government and they haven't been robbed (by the private sector) ... other than through increasing prices with looming inflation just ahead.
Their experience with the poor economy is second-hand - primarily what they read in the newspapers or see on TV. But overall, I believe they live in a bubble, totally unaware of the approaching dangers. You might correctly describe this period as the calm before the storm, and people are completely blind to the clouds of danger forming around them.
Being blind to the obvious is part of the human nature. And this morning, a friend from Florida sent me an email describing a rather interesting experiment on the subject. It's called the Invisible Gorilla.
Subjects in the experiment are asked to watch a video in which groups of players are passing basketballs back and forth. Half of the players in the video are wearing black uniforms, while the other half is wearing white.
The subjects are asked to "ignore" the players wearing black jerseys and just count the number of times the players wearing white pass the ball to each other. Halfway through the short video, someone wearing a gorilla suit walks on to the screen, thumps his chest and walks off.
Here's where it gets interesting - about half of the subjects participating in the experiment don't notice the appearance of the gorilla at all. They're so focused on counting the white team's passes and ignoring everything else that their minds naturally filter out something so completely obvious.
What's more, when they're told about the gorilla after the experiment, most people refuse to believe it. It shows without doubt that (a) people can be blind to the obvious, and (b) people also can be blind to their blindness. That shows how people can be blind about the risk to this country from the financial mess we are in (unsustainable deficit spending) and a burdensome debt that cannot continue to increase without disastrous results - the collapse of our country!
There's a lot of this happening right now. A lot of people live in their bubbles, detached from reality and completely blind to the obvious signs of danger.
The truth is that the insolvency of entire nations in the western world is an unequivocal fact. And it's not just Greece or Italy or Ireland. It's the United States as well.
According to the U.S. government's own 2010 financial statements, the cost of just three sacrosanct programs - Defense, Social Security and Medicare - exceeded all of the tax revenue collected that year by $10 billion dollars.
In other words, the U.S. government was already in the hole by $10 billion before it paid the light bill at the White House, or provided bailout funds (wasteful spending) or even paid a single dime of interest on the federal debt.
For several years now, the government has been in a position where it has to borrow money just to pay interest on the money it has already borrowed. The National Debt is now in excess of 15 trillion dollars. Yes, that is a very large number (almost beyond our comprehension.) It's the number 15 followed by 12 zeros.
This is the point of no return. Examining the long and distinguished list of countries over the last 800 years that have been in this position before, there is hardly a single example of a nation escaping default and/or hyperinflation. This time is not any different.
Now, when the decay comes, it comes quickly. Remember the 2008 Lehman collapse? The markets were plodding along with minor volatility for the months leading up to it. The warning signs were there, but almost everyone was blind to the gorilla thumping its chest. Then suddenly, "poof" - trillions of dollars of wealth are wiped out.
The same thing happens when a nation collapses. Everything is fine until it isn't. Look at how quickly the situation deteriorated in Italy, Greece or Argentina. The picture is rather clear, so it might not be advisable to ignore the reality of the dangers we face. Be prepared.
David B. Currance