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Good Morning Middle America, your King of Simple News is on the air.

I’m going to break out that old saw of growth again today for those who may have forgotten what the real problem is.

The U.S. economy and your paycheck are based on this outfit growing every year in relation to what it grew last year. The term for this type of growth is “exponential” or ever expanding. In a world that stays the same size (finite), the other word for our growth model is, “impossible.”

In my live lectures I use the following example in order to paint a visual picture:

A small town is founded on the banks of a large lake. There is a stream feeding the lake that averages 100 gallons per minute of water flowing in. On the other end of the lake, a stream flows out and the trees and critters down stream benefit from that outflow.

The new town buys a pump that displaces 50 gallons per minute to feed the needs of the now growing community. The outflow stream slows, but continues to flow and little negative effect is noticed.

The new town proves a popular place and follows the U.S. model for growth. Stores and subdivisions pop up, lawns are watered and cars are washed. A second 50 gallon per minute pump is purchased to meet growing demand.

The outflow stream stops flowing. The trees, plants and aquaculture downstream die, but…the lake remains full. The town is thriving and the builders and store keepers are making handsome profits, the American Dream is materializing on every new street. The dead trees downstream are cut for lumber and everything in nature is balanced.

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The town continues to grow and the public works director requisitions another 50 gallon per minute pump. One bright member of the town council, who has exceptional skills at general math, points out that the three pumps now pump 50 gallons more per hour more than the inflow rate of the stream.

A committee is formed comprising of the town’s most successful merchants, builders, and manufacturers to study the problem. It is determined that under the present rate of growth, the lake will not go dry for 50 years. The average age of those on the committee is 50.

The final findings and recommendations of the committee are; We don’t have a problem, it’s a big lake!

Silly little story huh? Replace the inflow water in that lake with oil, timber, natural gas, clean air, copper ore, iron ore, fisheries, productive farm land, and every other finite natural resource on earth. Replace the outflow of the now dry stream with good U.S. jobs.

That is where we find ourselves isn’t it? The outflow of U.S. jobs that pay a living wage has increased to a point that it has eclipsed the inflow of job creation.

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Math is the exact science and often does not paint a palatable or pleasant picture. I heard that; “They will come up with a substitute. They will come up with new technology. They always have.”

I personally know “They” and I wouldn’t count on them coming to the rescue. Ask your favorite Presidential candidate to disprove the above example. When they can’t, ask them how “they” are going to solve the problem.

Wake up Middle America, the lakes is about dry.

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Mike Folkerth is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed" and is not your run-of-the-mill author of finance and economics. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, (more...)

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