Saturday, August 14, 2010

$202 Trillion Debt - U.S. is Bankrupt

We have previously cited the report published by the Federal Reserve which calculated the federal government's unfunded liabilities at over $60 trillion, and haltingly suggested that the U.S. was, maybe, could be, "bankrupt."

Now the author of that study has updated the figure to $202 trillion:

U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don't Even Know It: Laurence Kotlikoff - Bloomberg

He says,

This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight, taking ever larger resources from the young and giving them to the old while promising the young their eventual turn at passing the generational buck.

Those are not the words you would expect from an economist who gets published by the Federal Reserve.

This means the federal government has made $2 million worth of campaign promises to every household in America -- promises which the politicians cannot possibly keep. "Vote for me, I'll give you this!" "Vote for me, I'll give you that!" "You deserve it!" "You're entitled!" "Vote for me!"

More from Kotlikoff:

Herb Stein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under U.S. President Richard Nixon, coined an oft-repeated phrase: “Something that can’t go on, will stop.” True enough. Uncle Sam’s Ponzi scheme will stop. But it will stop too late.

And it will stop in a very nasty manner. The first possibility is massive benefit cuts visited on the baby boomers in retirement. The second is astronomical tax increases that leave the young with little incentive to work and save. And the third is the government simply printing vast quantities of money to cover its bills.

"Massive benefit cuts" doesn't sound like "keeping our promises to the elderly."

"No incentive to work" means the economy collapses into a black market.

"Printing vast quantities of money" = hyperinflation and probable military dictatorship.

The government knows this. Politicians who are not abysmally ignorant and are less forthcoming than Kotlikoff are liars and frauds.

Kotlikoff concludes, "The U.S. is in worse fiscal shape than Greece."

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