Last week I challenged readers to provide links to the best arguments on both sides of the idea that we are doomed because of the soaring national debt. I have reviewed your comments and your links and render my nonpartisan verdict.
- If the government hadn't bailed out banks, we might already be toast.
- When baby boomers retire in numbers, we're doomed for sure.
- Stimulus money will largely be wasted.
- It is possible to grow the economy enough to minimize a very large debt, and this has been done in the past. But the past has never seen a debt as large as the one ahead of us, when the boomers start collecting Social Security and their health costs skyrocket. And we're not done with mortgage defaults either.
- If the government tries to inflate our way out of the debt, or raise taxes by some huge amount to pay it down, the medicine will be as deadly as the disease. In other words, we're in a fiscal death spiral.
- No one credible is showing any numbers that give us a way out of the death spiral. Or at least none of you provided a link to anyone who sounded credible to me.
- My blog sofware will never allow me to do properly formatted bullet points.
And so I conclude, based on the evidence presented in the comments to this blog that the most realistic straight line prediction is that we're all doomed. And that seems to be the case no matter what any president did in the past or will do in the future.
The good news is that straight line predictions are almost always wrong. The future unfolds in shocks and surprises. So maybe our civilization will be annihilated by space invaders before inflation ever becomes a problem. Or maybe some inventor is on the verge of building a device that turns industrial waste into delicious, non-fattening food.
I've already predicted that the next economic boom (okay, bubble) will involve energy storage devices. And I think another growth area will be new planned cities to store all the senior citizens. The notion of a "house" will change into something much less expensive and yet more fun and useful.