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[Solid Masonry] Is The U.S. Economy Floating Or Sinking In Debt?

John Philip Mason is a residential appraiser with 20 years experience and covers the Hudson Valley region of New York. He’s a good friend and a true professional who believes that all appraisers need to have a macro-economic perspective in order to be effective. This week, he gives new meaning to the word “indebted” in Solid Masonry. …Jonathan Miller


I have a confession to make. I can’t float. As a kid I remember swimming lessons at camp and there was this lovely young instructor (and yes, I had a bit of a crush on her). She would hold me up as I lay on my back; assure me with words of encouragement (just relax, I’ve got you, etc.) and suddenly her smile would disappear from view as I sank like a stone towards the bottom of the lake. Now many years later my wife (and yes, I have a bit of a crush on her, too) insists it’s just a state of mind and all I need do is “think light thoughts.” Now I’m not 100% sure if this is why, but to any parents out there with very skinny kids, just trust them if they tell you they can’t float.

Which brings me to a question regarding debt in America, If we stay relaxed and we think light thoughts, will that alone assure us we’ll be able to float? Well not according to Niall Furguson of the New York Times. In his recent article Reasons To Worry [1], Mr. Furguson indicates why we as a nation may lose sight of the reassuring smile as we sink towards our own murky bottom. I highly recommend reading his piece, for it left me with the sense that even if his facts and conclusions are only partially correct, we may be faced with a very dark economic future in this country. In it he touches on the various aspects of debt in America, including:

And since none of this can be good for real estate markets, I have to ask, is the U.S. economy floating or sinking in debt?