"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Well, That Didn't Take Long

In the aftermath of lifting the debt ceiling, the federal government's debt in just a scant few days has gone past 100% of our GDP:
US debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100 percent of gross domestic project after the government's debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday.

Treasury borrowing jumped Tuesday, the data showed, immediately after President Barack Obama signed into law an increase in the debt ceiling as the country's spending commitments reached a breaking point and it threatened to default on its debt.

The new borrowing took total public debt to $14.58 trillion, over end-2010 GDP of $14.53 trillion, and putting it in a league with highly indebted countries like Italy and Belgium.
At the end of the story, there's this little nugget:

Moody's said Tuesday that the government needed to stabilize the ratio at 73 percent by 2015 "to ensure that the long-run fiscal trajectory remains compatible with a AAA rating.
Hmmmm.... to get to a debt to GDP ratio of 73% by 2015 we'd have to borrow $0 (balance the budget, in other words) and grow the economy by 27% in 4 years.   I did the math:  with compounding you'd have to have annualized growth of 6.2% in 2012-2015, i.e., with Obamacare and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts kicking in.   Not going to happen.   Then, when the inevitable downgrade occurs, interest rates will soar, putting a further cramp in business borrowing, new home construction, home sales, home improvements, etc. 

I don't need no Mark Steyn to feel the gloom.  

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