Sunday, May 1, 2011

Time: U.S. debt is a time bomb

Time has moved from a centrist to a liberal publication, a virtual nonstop encomium to "progressive" causes and especially to the Obama administration.

But with liberals finally dragged into agreeing to at least look at controlling America's crushing federal debt, even Time now has published an article, "You Are What You Owe," discussing the issue's criticality.

It's written by Sebastian Mallaby, former editorial board member at the Washington Post and currently Director of the Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council of Foreign Relations.

Here are some quotes from it that I find frightening:

"On April 18, Standard & Poor's, one of those mysteriously powerful firms that grade the financial strength of bond issues, announced that it was starting to wonder whether the mighty U.S. government could be counted on to repay its creditors."

"The Congressional Budget Office projects that within 12 years, federal debt could reach 100% of GDP, putting the U.S. deeper in the hole than bankrupt Ireland or Portugal; the bond raters from S&P have good reason to be worried."

"America's largest creditor, China, urged...the U.S. to adopt more 'responsible measures' to protect investors. This came on the back of a hand slap from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just a few weeks prior. The IMF had rebuked the U.S. for its lack of a 'credible strategy' to stabilize its debt--an indignity once reserved for poor countries."

"America's top creditor is a populous and rising power that does not necessarily sympathize with U.S. objectives. It's not difficult to imagine a scenario in which China uses its financial muscle against the U.S."

"The alarming debt of more than $14 trillion fails to take into account the $3 trillion owed by state and local governments, not to mention a further $1 trillion or more of shortfalls in state and local pension systems. Politics being what it is, the feds may ultimately bail out the localities--in which case the national debt could end up even bigger than projected."

"A crisis in the U.S .government-bond market would signify that the most powerful of sovereigns had run into trouble. Who would then save the savior? The answer, perhaps, is no one."

The article ends with:

"Lawrence Summers, Barack Obama's chief economic adviser until recently, put the challenge in blunt terms: 'America's not meeting its debt obligation is like allowing a child with matches to sit in a room full of dynamite.' he remarked. 'I continue to find it close to inconceivable that elected policymakers would allow such a risk.' Lets hope his former boss has heard him."

1 comment:

Horse Girl said...

AARP Bulletin had an article about how the states are going broke and another article, about the Federal deficit, included a calculator that lets you see the effect of various cuts.


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