Why Main Street is in Big Trouble


Most folks on Main Street America are addicted to debt.

That grim diagnosis comes from I.O.U.S.A. author and film producer Addison Wiggin. According to Wiggin, Main Street America manages credit limits and not savings. So while the media covers on the every minute of bailout package's debate, Americans need to know about their money, Wall Street and the government’s role in the economy, now more than ever.

Wiggin, who spoke to MainStreet.com exclusively, breaks down the economic crisis into four deficits.

The budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends and what it takes in revenues annually. At present, the federal budget is running a deficit. To compensate the difference in spending and revenues, the federal government uses Social Security surpluses to offset the bills the government racks up.

A looming issue? "Baby boomers are beginning to retire."

The problem is that by 2017, Social Security will “start paying out more than it garners in revenues.” And, according to Wiggin, the government cannot pay the bills now.

Today, America’s debt is purchased by banks and foreign lenders. We consume goods from abroad but do not export nearly enough. For example, China has $262 billion of the U.S. debt. "Though in the short term, foreign ownership of U.S. debt is not a problem, it is part of the free economy; the long term is more worrisome." If China should threaten to dump its treasury holdings, the U.S. dollar would be eviscerated.

"Very simply, American’s do not save their money. They manage credit lines, not their savings accounts."

"Americans need to hold their politicians accountable. Americans should expect that the government will cut back on programs."

To read more of this exclusive Q&A with Wiggin, check back later this week.

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