If a $14.3 trillion national debt sounds like a staggering sum, economist Lawrence Kotlikoff's estimate of the nation's real long-term indebtedness might bowl you over. Kotlikoff, who was a senior economist on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, calculates the debt at $211 trillion.
Former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan (left) came up with a novel way to claim the U.S. government would never default on debt: print the difference. Greenspan told NBC's "Meet the Press" August 7, in response to a question about the recent downgrade in the U.S. bond rating by Standard and Poor's:
Item: In the Wall Street Journal for May 26, Cass Sunstein (photo at left), the President’s top regulator, wrote: “A 21st-century regulatory system must promote economic growth, innovation and job creation while also protecting public health and welfare. Earlier this year, President Obama outlined his plan to create such a system by adopting a simpler, smarter and more cost-effective approach to regulation. As a key part of that plan, he called for an unprecedented government-wide review of regulations already on the books so that we can improve or remove those that are out-of-date, unnecessary, excessively burdensome or in conflict with other rules.”
Britain's leading financial newspaper, the London Financial Times, now believes that the U.S. economy may be headed toward a Japanese-style "Lost Decade."
President Obama commenced his weekly address on Saturday by subtly blaming sluggish economic growth and high unemployment on his predecessor — the Bush administration. In prototypical Obama fashion, he reminded the American public that the economic plunders of today did not strike on his watch, and that his administration inherited "the worst recession since the Great Depression."
Anyone paying much attention to the news is aware that the U.S. government is now about $14.3 trillion in debt and considering borrowing even more. That $14.3 trillion, however, only includes what the government currently owes. If one includes Uncle Sam’s unfunded liabilities — promised future payments the government does not expect to have revenue to cover — Washington actually owes “a record $61.6 trillion,” according to a recent USA Today analysis.
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit,” said the Senator, “is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies.... Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
George Soros courageously walked into the Cato Institute on Thursday to debate some of the nation’s leading scholars of the Austrian School of economics.
Specifically, the billionaire backer of “regime change” sat down with Richard Epstein, Hayek expert Bruce Caldwell, and a moderator to discuss Friedrich A. Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty, a new edition of which was recently published by the University of Chicago Press.
Establishment economists and other economic cheerleaders were disappointed to learn that, despite the government’s best efforts to revive the economy through Keynesian interventions and stimuli, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the first quarter of 2011 was half the rate of growth in the last quarter of 2010.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now predicts that the size of China’s economy will surpass America’s by 2016, far earlier than most mainstream economists have been forecasting. Some analysts ridiculed the Fund’s prediction, but others warned that it could happen even sooner.
Constitutionalist Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, is planning to hold hearings about the Federal Reserve’s bailouts of foreign-owned banks during the economic crisis.