Iceberg ahead

Investor's Business Daily
by staff

07/17/06

A Fed study says the U.S. is going broke and that 'radical reform' of fiscal institutions is needed for our economic future. But rearranging the Titanic's deck chairs is not reform. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has released an analysis with the attention-grabbing title 'Is the United States Bankrupt?' The author is Boston University economics professor and National Bureau of Economic Research associate Laurence J. Kotlikoff. Kotlikoff said Washington 'is, indeed, bankrupt, insofar as it will be unable to pay its creditors ... current and future generations to whom it has explicitly or implicitly promised future net payments of various kinds.' And he provides some scary data ... our current 'fiscal gap' -- the difference between all future government spending and debt service and all future revenues -- is now nearly $66 trillion. That figure -- which many economists would consider an exaggeration -- is five times our GDP and double America's total wealth. Kotlikoff says that basically leaves us with a choice between doubling personal and corporate income taxes or cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits by two- thirds -- unless we go in a bold new direction he outlines...

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Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

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