Robert Samuelson surveys the ocean of debt:
In 1946, after World War II, the ratio of publicly held federal debt to GDP was 108.6 percent. Since then, the economy (our income) has generally grown faster than the debt. In 1974, the debt-to-GDP ratio reached a post-World War II low of 23.9 percent, and even in 2007, it was only 36.9 percent. That was manageable.Uncharacteristically, Samuelson doesn't even mention the unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs and government pensions which have swollen full of promise without the means to pay. La-dee-da, let's spend another trillion dollars:
By contrast, today's prospective colossal borrowings dwarf likely economic growth. The Obama administration's latest projections, released last week, show nearly $11 trillion of borrowing from 2009 to 2019. In 2019, the debt-to-GDP ratio would be 76.5 percent. This could be too optimistic, because it assumes some spending restraint and tax increases. A projection by the Concord Coalition, a watchdog group, adds about $5 trillion in borrowing in that period. In 2019, the debt-to-GDP ratio could be roughly 100 percent.