It’s incredible that Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the United States of America, sports a replica of the national debt clock which stands in pride of place at Bryant Park, New York.

It’s put there to give people the willies; to get them worried about government expenditure and federal ‘debt’. So-called ‘libertarians’ love it. It’s a misguided neoliberal ‘austerity’ thing.

“Look over there at government debt! Gamble all you like here, folks!” Seems private debt doesn’t matter at all.

It’s even more ironic that the clock was the idea of a real estate magnate who made his fortune from escalating land prices.

The real threat, for which there’s no public clock to measure–especially in Vegas!–is certainly the level of private debt. Attaining levels of impossible private debt brings economies to their knees every 18 years or so. Much of this debt relates to the servicing of land prices in mortgages. Were governments to shift taxes from wages to land prices, it would reduce land prices and keep the lid on them; then private debt would remain manageable.

Federal debt may always be paid by government, the issuer of the currency. However, this is no apologia for federal government misspending over which the public ought to have control via its elected representatives. They rarely do, however, because (despite occasional slaps over the wrist with a wet lettuce) the finance, insurance and real estate kleptocracy (the FIRE sector) has taken over the control of economies.

If we had private debt clocks around the world right now, they’d provide a far better perspective than this sign in Las Vegas. Banks and monopolies have become the economy. Things aint looking good: ‘the private debt piper must be paid’.

Must he – really? Maybe people matter more than failed banks?

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