Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sure Cure for the Debt Problem: Economic Growth -

Sure Cure for the Debt Problem: Economic Growth - 
NOT so long ago, the National Debt Clock, perched above the Avenue of the Americas, a block east of Times Square, was running backward.
It seems remarkable now, with all the End Times talk of debt ceilings and default, but it was only 11 years ago that the owners of that electronic totem, the Durst family, simply pulled the plug. The clock, a fixture since 1989, went dark after the federal government ended its 2000 fiscal year with a record $236.4 billion budget surplus.
Today, well — you know. We face the largest budget deficit the nation has ever known: $1.6 trillion, the equivalent of about 11 percent of our economy. And, whatever Washington does, many economists say the situation will grow only worse, particularly as Americans age andMedicare costs spiral higher.
But there is, in theory, a happy solution to our debt troubles. It’s called economic growth. No need to raise taxes or cut programs. Just get the economy growing the way it used to.
Good luck with that. Growth is in short supply these days, as new, dismal numbers underscored on Friday. Revised data showed that the recession took an even bigger bite of the economy than we thought. And economists are sizing up the risks of another recession.
“The basic issue is that the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal track,” says Dean Maki, the chief United States economist at Barclays Capital. “From that point, none of the choices are fun.” The most obvious choices, Mr. Maki says, are to reduce spending (ouch), raise taxes (yuck), let inflation run (gasp) or default (thud).
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