Samuelson: “Could America go broke?”

| November 2, 2009

When Robert Samuelson starts asking that question, it’s time to worry:

The idea that the government of a major advanced country would default on its debt — that is, tell lenders that it won’t repay them all they’re owed — was, until recently, a preposterous proposition. Argentina and Russia have stiffed their creditors, but surely the likes of the United States, Japan or Britain wouldn’t. Well, it’s still a very, very long shot, but it’s no longer entirely unimaginable. Governments of rich countries are borrowing so much that it’s conceivable that one day the twin assumptions underlying their burgeoning debt (that lenders will continue to lend and that governments will continue to pay) might collapse. What happens then?

Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Ambrose Prichard-Jones says that it’s Japan we should be worried about, not America:

Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), told the US Congress last week that the debt path was out of control and raised “a real risk that Japan could end up in a major default”.

The IMF expects Japan’s gross public debt to reach 218pc of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, 227pc next year, and 246pc by 2014. This has been manageable so far only because Japanese savers have been willing – or coerced – into lending for almost nothing. The yield on 10-year government bonds has been around 1.30pc this year, though they jumped to 1.42pc last week.

Again, read the whole thing.  ..bruce w..

Be Sociable, Share!

Category: Economics, Main, Sea of deficits

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

Comments are closed.