As soon as Leicester City lifted the Premier League back in May, we should have realised that 2016 was destined to be a year of extraordinary surprises. OK, with the exception of The Monster Raving Loony Party entering 10 Downing Street, it is hard to cause an upset on the same scale as Leicester City did within politics, but Brexit was 8/1 the day before the EU referendum and a Trump victory in the US election was around 9/2 the day before so it would be fair to declare 2016 as the biggest year yet for the underdog.
With hindsight, Leicester's success can be mainly attributed to the 'silent assassin' N'Golo Kante. Now that he has moved on to Chelsea, (last season's biggest underachievers) they are riding high at the top of the Premier League (at the time of writing) while Leicester have crashed and burned, sitting just two points above relegation.
However, the political upsets this year cannot be attributed to one person but rather reflect a far deeper shift in sentiment amongst a global populace that feels angry and wants the next 10 years to be very different from the 10 we have just endured. This is causing further economic uncertainty at a time when the global economy, which is drowning in debt in all corners - from governments to companies to home/car owners and even students - is as uncertain as it has ever been.
These numbers should send Trump into a Twitter
On the 20th of January 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated. One would imagine that the first thing a businessman would do would be to sit down in The Oval Office and take a long hard look at the books. To get an idea of what he will be looking at just visit usdebtclock.org.
If it were me, I would be reaching for a stiff drink within minutes. By the time he sits down in that office the US national debt will most likely have passed the $20trn mark. This equates to around $167,000 per US taxpayer. However, total US debt, which also includes household debt, business debts and monies owed by state and local governments, will be around $67trn (almost 400% of US GDP) by then. This has increased by 148% since 2000 and equates to total debt per US family of more than $810,000. The average US family has $9,000 in savings, (all Federal Reserve figures). When your debt is 90 times greater than your savings, rising interest rates are a VERY bad thing!
We keep hearing how Obama managed to get the US economy back on track and that unemployment has fallen to a nine-year low etc., but the Bureau of Labor Statistics don't lie, you just need to know what statistics to look at. There are 124m full-time workers in the US, from a population of 325m (38%), which means almost two-thirds of the US population is not in full-time work. Just short of 28m work part-time but even when added to the number of full-time workers the total workforce is almost 4m less today than it was in 2000.
Meanwhile, the number of people not working, (including pensioners, students, stay at home mums and/or dads and those that have just given up searching for work) has increased by almost 20% (15.7m) since 2000 to more than 95m…if I were 'the Donald' I would be on my second drink by now!
The median new-build house price in the US is $308,000, according to the National Association of Realtors, while the median annual income is $31,000, so a new property now costs around 10 times average earnings in the US.