There Is No US Debt Crisis

La Fleur writes:

Speaking of the debt, what is the general consensus here on where the US dollar is headed? There are scary posts on financial sites claiming we’re headed for either hyperinflation or default, and soon. What do you guys think? 

I have seen those financial sites she reads. They are all coming from the Populist Right (They are basically the Tea Partiers), and I think they are unnecessarily alarmist. One would do better to read the economists on Counterpunch or Paul Krugman.
The real risk? Not inflation and of course not default. But deflation.
There is no debt crisis. Bottom line. Our debt is the 3rd lowest in the industrialized world. It’s about 68% of GDP. When it gets to 100% of GDP, that’s when deficit hawks say to start getting worried. That will happen somewhere between 20-70 years from now. Doug Henwood of the Left Business Observer says we will reach 100% of GDP in 70 years at the current rate. The unnecessarily alarmist Obama Cat Food Commission to Cut Social Security says something like 20 years. You can split the difference.
Because our debt is so low, deficit hawks (all rightwingers by the way) have decided to add up all of the state, county, municipal and even consumer debt to conclude that our debt is by far the worst in the world.
Dishonest accounting? You betcha!
I say when debt gets to 100% of GDP, then we start talking about debt crisis.
Japan has the highest debt around at over 200%, but that’s not the cause of their economic problems. Japan went through a couple of horrible economic bubbles in the past 20 years. Sound familiar? Or should I say, capitalists never learn?
The result of the bubbles was an economic depression, and the dreaded deflation has had Japan in its grip for 20 years or so. The government has tried everything from 0% interest rates to deficit spending to mass stimulus, but nothing seems to work to get consumers spending again, and the deflation has not been licked. The Japanese debt was run up in the past 20 years trying to lick the deflation monster. The big problem with the Japan is deflation, not the debt, and the latter did not cause the former, in fact it was the other way around. Even at 200% of GDP, Japan has not defaulted on their debt, and it’s still very much a 1st World Country last time I checked.

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0 thoughts on “There Is No US Debt Crisis”

  1. robert, you are right about most of these economic doomsayers being right wing populists. Have you ever visited LewRockwell.com? Theyre pretty much the epitome of this kind of thinking, predicting apocalypse every other Tuesday or so. Im still waiting for the dollar to collapse. BTW Robert, what do you think of Austrian Economics in general? That school of thought is popular on Stormfront and libertarian and paleoconservative circles. It seems to have gained ground in recent years, especially since Peter Schiff successfully predicted the housing bubble collapse. Search youtube for “Peter Schiff was right!”. He says it with a stone face, even as the host and guests burst out laughing at him. This is what got me interested in Lew Rockwell’s philosophy, I used to be a libertarian. If Austrian Economics is wrong or flawed, then how was one its main champions correct on the housing bubble, which nobody else predicted?

  2. So the Karl Denningers and Zero Hedges are just trying to scare the shit out of us so we’ll accept gutting social security and the rest of our pitiful safety net?

    1. I don’t know what their agenda is. But these guys are all rightwing populists. I haven’t followed those sites very much because the politics sickens me. I don’t know how they stand on gutting Social Security or the safety net.
      I think they are so caught up in their alarmist bullshit that they might not even have a very coherent politics.
      Have any of these sites ever had any actual recommendations, you know, besides yelling that the sky is falling?

  3. Hey, Bob, you really need to do market-ticker.org. Denninger might be right wing populist but he has plenty of fans on the anti-banking Left. Like go there TODAY and review his posts on the mortgage fraud industry and the banks what should be done with them!

  4. And btw, I find it difficult believing you don’t read Ian Welsh and plenty of leftists as alarmists. Welsh has more or less written off the US as doomed.

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