Bill Bonner explains the fix we’re in:

US GDP is reported to be $18 trillion a year – with $3.5 trillion coming from US federal government spending. Add state and local government spending, and the total rises to more than $6 trillion.

This means that the private sector – the part that pays the bills – is only $12 trillion. Total debt – government, corporate and personal – in the US is now $58 trillion (misreported yesterday as $59 trillion… but what’s a trillion dollars between friends?). That’s nearly five times the real economy that supports it.

And it helps explain why it is so hard to “grow your way out” of debt. Assuming an annual interest rate of 2%, even if you could contain debt increases to 3% of GDP a year, the productive part of the economy would have to grow at 5% just to stay even. No developed economy in the world is growing that fast.

To our national shame, I believe the Obama Administration is the first in which our debt grew faster than GDP during every growth year.