U.S. Debt Crisis Term Paper

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U.S. Debt Crisis

Financial crisis is not a totally new concept. It is a fact that more than three quarters of the entire members of the IMF, whether they are developed or developing countries have been affected by a serious financial crisis ever since the year 1980, demonstrating the instability of the world wide global economy. The origins of the financial crises may be different, but what all these crises have in common is the fact that they were all preceded by a phase in which large amounts of foreign capital flowed into their country, and this resulted in the support of current account deficits. The stock markets soared downwards, the price of consumer goods fell and serious constraint in the government finances observed to have occurred all over the world. This phase demonstrates a decline in the imports of United States and simultaneously affecting the countries relying on exports to the United States. The national debt of United States is estimated at about $3 trillion, accounting for 30% of the U.S. GDP and presently increasing at 5% of GDP per annum. The actual cause of the U.S. Debt Crisis of the 1980's was the inevitable result of the build up of the external debts of the developing countries, when they accumulated huge debts and could not pay them off.

Several factors have influenced the U.S. Debt crisis. As a result of crushing of investors in the 'margin call' squeeze by the brokerage houses following bubble collapse a huge amount of capital funding suffered losses. Several causes were forwarded with regard to the bubble burst. The telecom bubble is observed to be the result of the easy money. Some analysts pointed out that the 'New Economy' has not been crashed despite collapse of the telecom and the dot-com bubbles. The September 11, 2001 attacks of the terrorism in United States were at a time when U.S. was undergoing serious economic upsets. The current corporate frauds in America have stunned the confidence of the investors. All these frauds may crumble the very foundations on which the stock market is based on and these must be contained as far as possible. The employment situation with most of the incentives have depicted a slower rate of improvement since the depression of the current cycle in November 2001 and perceived to slower even in comparison to that of 1990-91 incident. There is a definite need for regulations of every kind so that investors can be protected and the integrity of the stock market is maintained.

Introduction

Much has been heard about the 'debt crises' of the developing countries. However, the actual catastrophe lies in the national debt of United States. (The next international "debt crisis" is in North America) The current account deficit of United States per hour now accounts for $60 million. It was 28% more during 2002 at half a trillion dollar equating about 5% of U.S. GDP. This never before trade deficit resulted in amazing disequilibrium in the world economy. The national debt of United States is estimated at about $3 trillion, accounting for 30% of the U.S. GDP and presently increasing at 5% of GDP per annum. The United States is purchasing $1 million a minute more from the rest of the world than the rest of the world from U.S.. During 2002 the trade deficit was about 2% of the Gross Domestic Product of U.S.. The global Gross Domestic Product demonstrated an increase of 2% over that of the last year. This has the evidence of the contraction of the global economy. (Interview with Richard Duncan on the Dollar Crisis; Causes Consequences Cures)

The extremes of the 1980s and 1990s were considered to be unprecedented ever since The Roaring Twenties. The rate of public savings declined to the record lowest levels. Fast growth in the value of the properties due to inflationary trend made the American consumers to extract large amount of their home equity in order to maintain their living beyond their means. With the decrease in interest rates the economists predicted halt of rising home prices, stopping of equity extractions, fall in consumption and thereby initiations for the New Paradigm Recession. The two years of New Paradigm Bubble during the year 1999 and 2000 the imports into the United States increased by $307 billion which is 33% more than that of 1998. The U.S. imports fell by $79 billion in 2001 which is 6.3% less than that of the previous year. The influence of the fall of U.S. demand on the rest of the World was astounding. The growth rates of all the major trading partners of United States are observed to have declined unexpectedly. (Interview with Richard Duncan on the Dollar Crisis; Causes Consequences Cures)

The stock markets soared downwards, the price of consumer goods fell and serious constraint in the government finances observed to have occurred all over the world. The second phase of the recession is initiated with the consumers refraining from spending more than they earn. This phase demonstrates a decline in the imports of United States and simultaneously affecting the countries relying on exports to the United States. The annual public deficits have increased in the regime of President George W. Bush with introduction of tax cuts and increase in the defense expenditure. Moreover, the national debt was supplemented by the War on Terrorism and the huge expenditure involved in the reconstruction of Iraq. (Interview with Richard Duncan on the Dollar Crisis; Causes Consequences Cures)

Causes of the U.S. Debt and its remedies

The actual cause of the U.S. Debt Crisis of the 1980's was the inevitable result of the build up of the external debts of the developing countries, when they accumulated huge debts and could not pay them off. It was during the 1960's that the value of the dollar fell and this was because of the fact that when the U.S.A. discovered that it had spent more than it could make, it printed a large amount of currency in dollars and for oil producing countries this had an adverse impact. This was because the payment for oil was lesser than what they needed and as a result the prices of oil were hiked up, and the profits made were deposited in Western Banks. This was the beginning of the real trouble, when the interest rates fell and the banks were also faced with a financial crisis. To counter this the banks began to lend out money as fast as possible to the Third World countries, with low interest rates, without thinking of how these loans would be repaid eventually. In the 1970's these countries discovered that they were not getting the prices out of crops that they had expected, and at the same time interest rates and oil prices began to rise, and the developing countries were stuck in a trap wherein they were earning less and repaying more for the loans and the interest. (How it all began; causes of the Debt Crisis)

When some countries stated that they just could not repay the loan, the IMF offered to repay the interest, under the SAP or Structural Adjustment Program, that outlined certain strict conditions that stated that the loan would be repaid be smaller loans, and this pattern was repeated over and over again over the next few years. SAP showed the way out of the debt trap and this was by helping them increase exports and decrease imports. Some other measures that have to be undertaken by the government are to spend less on health and education of the masses, cut down jobs in government offices, to encourage privatization and increase exports. However, in the year 2000 a new proposal was brought out that said that loans must be cancelled for some of the world's poorest countries so that unlimited human suffering could be reduced. (Causes of the Debt Crisis)

How the debt crisis been improved over the past 20 years

The debt crisis has been improving over the past twenty years due to some important factors. Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, said this about the debt crisis. It is a fact that free market economies that are in the stage of rapid development can often run into mistakes, as mistakes are really inevitable. (Financial Markets and Institutions Developments) The factors including the collapse of the dot-com/telecom bubble in 2000, the decline in equity market valuation as a consequence of the extended bear market and the accompanying decline in the value of real assets, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the accounting standards scandals, the fraudulent activities of stock brokers and their investment banking relationships, and the slow, jobless recovery since 2001 have served to erode investor confidence and put a hold on consolidation within the financial services industry and among non-financial companies have influenced debt crisis in America.

Collapse of the dot-com/telecom bubble in 2000

The Nasdaq stock market index demonstrated a peak on March 10, 2000 to 5048.62, which is…

Sources Used in Document:

The September 11, 2001 attacks of the terrorism in United States were at a time when U.S. was undergoing serious economic upsets. Ever since the beginning of the 2000 the U.S. economy is observed to have been consistently moving towards a recession, to be more particular to a stage of deep recession even without the event of September, 11. This is not considered downturn of the business cycle but demonstrated the conditions that resulted in the boom of 80s and still greater boom of 90s. Even prior to the September, 11 incidents the policy makers of U.S. Capitalism were started struggling with the serious strategic concerns that had developed. The continuation of a relatively high level of consumer spending that was beginning to be eroded by the growth and employment particularly in the manufacturing sector, was considered to be the only solace that hold back the economy from a sharp slump. (World economy: The economic aftermath)

Irrespective of the fall on the stock exchange ever since the crash of the technology stocks in March 2000, the shares remained overrated in relation to the company profits that had been radically falling. Further sharp fall were evident even without the imprudent reactions to the attacks on New York and Washington. Ever since the period from 1929-31 the attacks were considered to have greatest influence over the economy in form of falls on stock exchanges around the world. These falls were to eradicate a large share known as 'wealth effect', that was the inclination of the investors to invest more and the consumers to spend more as a result of the growth of their financial assets. To mitigate the crisis, the attempt of the Federal Reserve was to immediately infuse $38 billion of liquidity and the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, etc. had also similar efforts. This immediately checked an immediate economic collapse that could have resulted from the gradual reactions of failure in payments as a result of suspension of trading in New York and crisis in cash flow for many finance houses. (World economy: The economic aftermath)

The quickest response was observed for the sector of airlines that confronted devastating losses and bankruptcy. The devastations caused by September, 11 have made the major insurance companies to suffer from huge losses. The post attack period witnessed immediate increase in the crude oil price by more than $3.50 per barrel. Irrespective of the symbols of growing recession for many months prior to September, 11, 2001, the serious concern for the economic situation was not taken by many sections of the U.S. citizens. The advantages of the recent wage increases were continuing to have gradual impact while the inflation and interest rates were very low. The sufferings of the workers were limited to their unemployment. Some financial experts were become cold solace to their clients by telling that the wars were often good enough for the business. It was quite evident to observe that the opening of the New York Stock Exchange

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