Just how bad is the US debt problem

January 27, 2010

Some interesting factoids over at Capital Gains and Games:

Point One:  We often hear that the US government debt load is  lower as a share of GDP than those of many other large, wealthy nations, including Japan, Germany, the UK and France. But a more apples-to-apples comparison, which combines federal, state and local government borrowing, suggests that the US is in worse shape than most other AAA-rated countries.

By that measure, the United States general government totalled 78.6 percent of GDP in 2009 and  will hit 90 percent by the end of 2010, Fitch says.  That would make us the the most highly leveraged of all AAA-rated countries — Germany, France, the UK,  as higher than that of almost all other AAA-rated nations.  (Japan’s debt is still much  higher, but it lost AAA status back in the late 90′s.)

Point Two: the  picture is even grimmer if you look at US government borrowing as a share of revenues.   US goverment debt (federal, state and local) was 330 percent of revenues in 2009 — the  highest ratio of any AAA country.   And that 330 percent doesn’t include additional trillions of dollars in new “contingent liabilities” — bank guarantees, federally insured mortgage-backed securities, and so on.

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

He’s just driving it up and up until he can declare a crisis.

When that happens, what do you think his “recommendation” will be?

Posted by proreason | Report as abusive