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US debt vs. government assets

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posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 10:31 AM
This is something I've thought about and I'd like to know if anyone has more knowledge about this:

Typically, when an entity's financial position is evaluated part of the equation is assets owned by said entity.

I see all the time the argument, "everyone in America has to balance their budget, so should the government." Now, this argument are ridiculous because households and the gov are hardly analogous. Plus, most people in America operate on a credit cycle too.

Anyway, I never hear people consider the federal government's assets when talking about the debt. It is always just the debt figure- what is it 17 trillion? It is treated as if this is completely isolated and in no context.

But the federal government happens to own millions of acres of land, military equipment, satellites, space probes, planes, a bunch of office buildings, and lot's of financial securities totaling 3.53 trillion according to wikipedia.

I'm not sure how complete that number is, it may not include land assets. It seems smaller than I'd expect.

Does the value of assets make the debt any less threatening?

edit on 8/24/2013 by PatrickGarrow17 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 11:07 AM
Just found an article that talks about this a bit

And a recent report from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) makes some startling claims about how much U.S. taxpayers own in real assets. According to the report, the U.S. government owns:

More than 900,000 separate real assets covering more than 3 billion sq. ft.
Mineral rights, on and offshore, covering 2.515 billion acres of land, more than the total surface land in Canada
45,190 underutilized buildings, the operating costs of which are $1.66 billion annually
Oil and gas resources on and offshore worth $128 trillion, roughly eight times the national debt of the country
According to this report the US gov owns 128 trillions in oil/gas on federal land.

Debt problem solved?
edit on 8/24/2013 by PatrickGarrow17 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 11:11 AM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

I'd say the value of assets makes the true horror of the debt even clearer. That sounds a bit low to me too, but not by too much. The Federal Government literally owns large %'s of entire Western States. 80% of Nevada, I believe...and literal statement there, not figurative. Bureau of Land management as well as others literally do own it as federal at that %.

I don't know though.... It may not be too far off. All the gold ever mined on Earth, ever, totals up to a sum between 7 and 8 billion depending on current market price. Probably closer to 7 by now. Gold has been falling... That goes back to the start of time and recorded activity by man. All gold...of which a fair % doesn't exist now by loss and consumption in things like electronics where it's literally lost to trash.

It makes the 17b trillion in debt a little better to put into perspective for the truly unthinkable amount it is. Beyond literal imagining when you start looking at the "How much is a trillion" charts and multiple every example by 17.

* Correction... 84.5% in Nevada.

edit on 24-8-2013 by wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 11:17 AM
reply to post by wrabbit2000

Just the person I was hoping to get some input from.

I was thinking that the value of our assets puts the debt in context in the world of large numbers. And I checked it out, the Fed number from wikipedia doesn't include land. Our assets are way, way, north of 3.5 trillion.

Not sure if you saw my next post, there is an estimate of 128T just in oil/gas in federal assets.

For arguments sake, say US federal assets total 150 trillion. In this case, is a 17 trillion dollar debt something to seriously worry about? Isn't there a prospect to convert some of our physical assets into cash?

100 trillion plus seems like it would be more accurate to me than 3.5. That number seems to be excluding land and natural resources from them.
edit on 8/24/2013 by PatrickGarrow17 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 11:18 AM
The problem with determining the assets is the US does not own anything. The US has been in bankruptcy proceedings for the last 100 years and is in the process of selling off what it used to own. I believe what we owed was about 250 million dollars in 1913 and we still haven't paid if off fully. At this point the US "manages" the assets for other investors, but it does not own much. I think the proceedings were to take 100 years, so it should be final now.

The fiat debt notes you carry in your pockets are proof, they are IOU's issued by the fed in exchange for the assets the are currently collecting up - the assets include you personally.

Assets - human. The human assets are the "full faith and credit" as they personally, you and I, guarantee that the currency printed will be paid back by us with REAL assets, not more fiat currency, but REAL assets. The FED does not accept dollars as payment for anything, they are IOU's, they accept real physical assets like mineral rights, property, land, or............ labor in the form of security. We agree to war for them.

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 11:56 AM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

I'd be lying to say I've looked much into this side. I recall having thought about it when I made my budget thread last year but decided not to since I had plenty on my plate as it was with that. So, I don't have the depth of knowledge here anything close to what I do on that.

Still, I'm not sure we can count things like Gold, Oil and Gas as assets unless they have already been extracted and are, literally, owned by the Government. Examples would be the National Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Louisiana or the Gold Storage..wherever it actually is these days. We could have a gazillion dollars in suspected resources....(and who knows if that's even a joke when he haven't gone but a fraction of a % into the ground beneath us yet) and it's still not real until it's in hand. Not to mention, it's probably owned by companies who just haven't signed leases to get what may not be known about yet. Uncle doesn't mine and own that in most cases. The Gov just taxes every ounce and barrel.

That's why I say the value may not be too far off. 84% of land in Nevada includes radioactive wastelands and some of the most inhospitable and barren land the U.S. or North America has to offer. Colorado, as another state, includes a large % of very rugged and very inaccessible land with almost no value at all outside clear cut logging with lots of air assets required just to get the stuff out.

It may well be worth looking for though. I'll say this. In having spent a good time now exploring all areas of the Federal Government's online presence for one thing or another? There is one truth I have come to learn and accept. Someone, somewhere records and makes statistics on EVERYTHING you or I could possible imagine. Somewhere else, someone else is keeping statistics on how many people keep statistics.

The truth is out there in the form of a spreadsheet. I'd be almost sure of it.

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 12:00 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

The assets vs debt is a valid comparison.


Keep in mind that those 'assets' that have a value of $150 Trillion can't be quickly sold off that easy.

The Federal Government relies on tax income, some investment income, and on Treasury securities sales. That's how they get money.

They rely heavily on buyers of securities (initially at auctions, that's where the immediate income is from).

Right now, there is about $11 Trillion in outstanding Treasury securities debt (and yes, it's part of the National Debt).

The fear is that if and when the 'market' for those securities becomes cloudy, then the government might have to start selling real estate. I think they already lease some land, but I don't know the income. And maybe they do sell occasionally.

Very complicated. The ability 'to pay when due' is the concern of buyers of Treasury securities.

As long as new security sales can produce enough to pay the ones coming due, the Peter/Paul pyramid scheme stays alive.

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by xuenchen

The fear is that if and when the 'market' for those securities becomes cloudy, then the government might have to start selling real estate. I think they already lease some land, but I don't know the income. And maybe they do sell occasionally.

This is the purpose of this thread. As yet, there hasn't been a demand for a larger return on bonds which would stem from a downward shift in confidence among buyers. I know the debt is a serious issue and it is massive, but in the context of a nation with this kind of wealth even 17 trillion isn't enough to seriously deter investors.

I thought countering one massive number (debt) with another (assets) might temper the discussion a bit, and it does seem like an under discussed point.

The question, obviously, is at what point does that market become cloudy. 20 trillion, 25? We obviously can't tempt fate here especially when some of our creditors might get bold and simply decide to pull the rug out. I understand these concerns. My hope is that the economy improves, the government gets efficient, and we never get to 20. I think it's more than possible to reverse trend starting in a couple years.

Panic is the enemy when teetering like this. Maybe thinking of the debt with regard to these kind of resources can insert a little optimism.

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 12:26 PM
reply to post by wrabbit2000

There seems to be surprisingly little on federal assets. I googled "US federal government assets" and this thread is on pg 1
I'm sure it's because I visit the site so often.

Almost suspicious...

This write up analyzes total assets of the US economy and in the table under tangible Federal assets is a ? question mark,

Liquid assets seem to be accounted for, but tangibles no so. They probably don't see much reason to get the land appraised.

Here's a map from that shows 14,000 "excess properties." Multiple buildings have been sold for a million plus in recent years.

Seems theres a lot of land for sale by the Gov. Also cars, boats, all kinds of stuff on there.

Trying to find exact figures for land based revenue and sales...

edit on 8/24/2013 by PatrickGarrow17 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 12:37 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

Oh.... I didn't mean to make it sound that easy.

Executive Branch

If you want a number you can feel any confidence in whatsoever in using without sourcing as a place to blame if it's proven wrong? You'll be getting to know the inner financials of each of those Departments. I'd personally, if I were doing this, start at the top and work down with asset totals and property/equipment/interests held by each.

Within each..of course..are many agencies..and some departments may have easily found Dept. wide stats to cross one off the list quick. Most, I'm thinking, won't. It'll be agency level stats on assets and tracking that it'll come down to ...and at that level?

I'll agree his numbers look woefully too low for Federal total. I don't even want to think about the methodology for State data between 'close enough is good enough' and 'I can stand behind this with confidence' numbers. Even the short Federal version, I'd expect 15-20 hours in.

You did ask...and seemed interested in more than just repeating the MSM 'consensus' repeated wherever someone thought to write it. Hard work.

* I got to thinking a bit more about this...and gimmie a bit of time. I'm going to hunt around a bit. There are literally parts of the Gov who don't just keep stats on themselves but exist for absolutely no other purpose than to generate endless reams of them on everything. I'm going to go fishing for a bit and see if I can't catch something a bit more tangible for numbers. There has to be...and itemized to check and understand how it got that total.
edit on 24-8-2013 by wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 05:29 PM
The way I look at this issue is the assets don't mean nothing unless we plan to sell the government, the problem is they don't know how to manage their working capital (income), if this was a major corporation they would of filled for bankruptcy a long time ago and sold of piece by piece.

A good indicator of how they are doing is to look at their Debt to Equity Ratio like any other company,(minus Federal land and mineral rights)

If you use any Debt/ Equity Ration calculators and current Income for the government you will see. For Example I used the following numbers

Debt- 17,000,000,000,000 (trillion)
Equity- $610,000,000,000 (Billion) income.

Debt to Equity ration is 2786.89%, basically what this number is saying is for every 1 dollar the US Government receives it spends $2786.89.

Wish I could spend like them. Maybe we need to foreclose on the White House and Flip it for a penny or two

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 05:57 PM
Right. Its not like the US is close being bankrupt or anything like that. The dept is a problem but, not a doomsday one. It is more of poiitical weapon than anything. Paying it down if it were some sort national crisis could be done without to much grief. Of course is not the way things work, we have a political game to play. I do think it would be fun to have seen the wars in Iraq and Afganistan payed by selling off some oil assets instead of having the next 3 generarations paying for it every year.

posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 09:03 PM
If I could add just a bit.

The debt that goes into the $17 Trillion does not include the promises we've made to Medicare and Social Securiy recipients, and other programs.

Some economists have included such figures and concluded that are National Debt is closer to $70 Trillion.

posted on Aug, 25 2013 @ 03:24 AM

Originally posted by MrSpad
I do think it would be fun to have seen the wars in Iraq and Afganistan payed by selling off some oil assets instead of having the next 3 generarations paying for it every year.

How about paying them off via SEIZING some damn oil assets instead? Wars were far less frequent and far more carefully entered into when the victorious side was claiming spoils of the wars. We've turned war into a goddamned videogame where neither side's government has much to lose and both side's citizens take it in the seat in terms of casualties and economic cost.

IMO the US government shouldn't own a single acre of land outside of the District of Columbia. Their military bases scattered around the states should be leased from the states who actually own the land at a rate equal to what private entities would be expected to pay for monopolization of that land's use. Only a damned fool would sign the deed to the chicken coops over to the fox... oh look, America's history is clearly peppered with quite a few damned fools because that's exactly what was allowed to happen.

edit on 25-8-2013 by burdman30ott6 because: (no reason given)

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