PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN, PRINCETON ECONOMIST: Well, basically we have a world-class budget deficit not just as in absolute terms of course - it's the biggest budget deficit in the history of the world - but it's a budget deficit that as a share of GDP is right up there.It's comparable to the worst we've ever seen in this country.
It's biggest than Argentina in 2001.
Which is not cyclical, there's only a little bit that's because the economy is depressed.
Mostly it's because, fundamentally, the Government isn't taking in enough money to pay for the programs and we have no strategy of dealing with it.
So, if you take a look, the only thing that sustains the US right now is the fact that people say, "Well America's a mature, advanced country and mature, advanced countries always, you know, get their financial house in order," but there's not a hint that that's on the political horizon, so I think we're looking for a collapse of confidence some time in the not-too-distant future.
Now from his blog, when it was announced that the deficit will total over $9 trillion, over the next decade, more than double the worst deficit under Bush, for 10 straight years!
It turns out that I was a little over-pessimistic in my assessment, mainly because the $9 trillion includes this year’s deficit, so we start from debt at 40% of GDP, not 50%. Overall, the OMB puts debt in 2019 at 76.5% of GDP; that figure is slightly exaggerated, however, because various financial rescues get counted as additions to the deficit even though taxpayers end up with additional assets. Net of these assets, the debt in 2019 is 68.9% of GDP.
As I’ve pointed out, that’s bad, but it’s not horrific either by historical or international standards. On a comparable basis, federal debt hit
109 percent of GDP at the end of World War II, and hit a second peak of 49 percent at the end of the Reagan-Bush years. And a number of European countries have hit substantially higher debt levels without crisis.