Death and taxes are said to be the only guarantees that life provides, but there is another guarantee and it is a growing problem that will impact the lives of Americans for generations. The total owed by the U.S. Government has more than doubled from $9 trillion before the recession at the end of 2007 and will soon reach $20 trillion, regardless of who is elected President of the United States. What does $20 trillion look like?

Most people haven’t seen a thousand-dollar bill, but it does exist and President Grover Cleveland is on it. If you had a stack of Grover Cleveland’s to cover the national debt, it would be 1,200 miles high. That is an impressive stack of bills, but to imagine $20 trillion another way, our national debt is larger than the value of the largest 500 publicly-traded American companies. If you were able to combine all financial assets of the top 7 money managers in the world, companies like J.P. Morgan and Fidelity, you would still be left with over $1 trillion of debt.

The $20 trillion debt is over 25 times the value of all exported oil in a year and over 155 times more costly than all of the gold mined in a year. Take all of the gold, silver, physical cash, and bitcoin in the world and it would still be significantly short (35%) of paying off the national debt. To pay off the national debt every American would be sent a bill for over $150,000.

In 2012, the total debt exceeded the U.S. economy for the first time since World War II. Ten years ago, the national debt was only two-thirds of annual economic growth. In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, slower economic growth, lower tax revenues, and higher government spending, our national debt has increased at an alarming rate.

Government waste is, unfortunately, the accepted norm and so is our increasing national debt. U.S. Congressman Bill Posey has established a governmental wasteful spending list. Some of the items on the list should call into question the qualifications of our elected and governmental officials.

• Department of Agriculture - $111,413 beer brewing lessons in China • Department of Agriculture – Billions for food stamps spent for Taco Bell and beer • Department of Agriculture - $2 million for intern program (1 intern hired) • Department of Defense - $2 million for jazz playing robots • National Science Foundation - $1.3 million study of how a koozie works

For what it’s worth, the koozie study findings were published in Physics Today. Dale Durran, University of Washington professor of Atmospheric Sciences was quoted in the publication, “Probably the most important thing a beer koozie does is not simply insulate the can, but keep condensation from forming on the outside of it.” As a side note, the total student debt owed by U.S. consumers to gain such knowledge is $1.26 trillion. Total debt owed by U.S. consumers for credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and student loans is over $11 trillion.

There seems to be no end to government waste. Since Obama took office in 2008, the United States government has not had a congressionally approved budget. In 2016, the American people helped subsidize parties at both political conventions to the fiscally irresponsible total of almost $100 million. In 2012, federal employees were paid $120 million. One thing all these employees had in common besides their employer was the fact that they were all dead. Federal employees who are working and actually alive on average make over 70% more than their private sector counterparts.

Angry yet? How about our government spending $2.6 million to encourage Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly? The Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston benefited from government handouts to study why three-quarters of lesbians in the United States are overweight and why most gay males are not. Who does not appreciate Moroccan pottery? You should, because the U.S. government spent $27 million to teach Moroccans how to design and make pottery. The government takes golf very seriously, and gave researchers $350,000 to fund a study that discovered if golfers imagine that a hole is bigger it will help them with their putting.

The world-famous Alabama Watermelon Queen in 2012 received $25,000 of your taxpayer dollars for her promotional tour. I guess traveling in Alabama can be expensive. Small price to pay compared to Paris. Vice President Joe Biden and his staff spent one night in Paris. The hotel bill for that night came to $585,000. Biden and staff flew on a private jet but other federal employees on business are subjected to flying commercial. To soften the blow, the government spent $146 million to upgrade federal employees to business class flights.

Ever wondered what the benefits are of watching reruns on television? So did our government, so they spent over $600,000 to learn more about the subject. How about understanding why chimpanzees throw poop? That cost taxpayers $592,527. Maybe the study revealed chimpanzees were angry because zoos did not have enough poetry. The government set out to change all that by spending nearly $1 million to add snippets of poetry in zoos around the country. No word if this has curbed poop throwing chimpanzees or not. A new soccer field in Guantanamo Bay so detainees could pass the time by kicking a ball around was a steal at $750,000 of taxpayer money. Finally, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research spent $300,000 to research what was the color of the feathers of the first bird on Earth. If you are wondering the answer is black. Black is a color that does not seem to be in the vernacular of the government budgeting office and that impacts all of us and will for generations.

Everyone would like to be paid millions to study the wonders of beer koozies, or the poop of a chimpanzee but real-life dictates that Americans need to take action to protect their financial portfolios against those who decide to spend our money on beer brewing lessons for China or jazz-playing robots. The U.S. Gold Bureau offers clients the ability to diversify and protect their investment portfolios by purchasing precious metals like gold and silver bars and Investment Grade Coins.

The national debt is increasing at historic rates, due in large part to excessive government spending and a stagnant economy, but that does not mean your personal wealth needs to suffer. Contact a Precious Metals Specialist at (800) 775-3504 to learn more about protecting your financial portfolio.