"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Debt in Perspective: Europe, Here We Come

Reuters headlines a Treasury Department report to Congress:  U.S. debt to rise to $19.6 trillion by 2015.

That is a $6 trillion increase (44%) from the current estimated debt of $13.6 trillion by the end of 2010 and a debt to GDP ratio of 102%.  That also represents a $9 trillion (85%) increase in national debt since Obama took over the helm in 2009, and about $10 trillion (105%) increase since his socialist wannabe buddies took over the congress in 2006 (latter figure being more important since it is the president that proposes, but the congress who disposes).  To top it all, the debt figures above are best case scenarios, and we all know about the truly pathetic track record of government estimates with actual overruns ranging from 7 to well over 20 times their original estimates.  Before any of my progressive friends accuse me of partisanship, of course none of the liberal Democrat excesses like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 excuses the G.W. Bush administration's ten-year, $800 billion landmark legacy: Medicare Prescription Plan (or Part D).

Just think for a minute. In less than 9 years since 2006, we will have more than doubled the debt which took the U.S. the first 230 years of its existence to accumulate.  The annual interest paid on that debt alone will likely reach nearly $1 trillion, or $3,200 per each U.S. citizen regardless of age, by 2015.

We have a dual prong problem here in the U.S.  First, an ideological one between the socialist and free market view, and second, one of a flawed political system where self preservation stops the less principled politicians from doing the right thing.  I will write seperate blog entries about these later.
Seriously, are there still so-called economists out there who think that we can grow and prosper if we keep on this debt trajectory (other than Paul Krugman)?  What will it take for serious entitlement reforms to be implemented (since entitlement spending is two thirds of the federal budget and growing)?  Democrat and Republican alike, just paying lip service to reversing the ballooning debt will not prevent the eventual catastrophe that awaits us - collapse of our currency and default at the worst case scenario. 
Finally it is becoming clearer by the day: We have succeeded in emulating Europe better than many realize.

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