The Global Budget Race
Like many other countries, the United States is buried under a pile of mounting debt. Tunneling out will mean making some tough choices that can’t be put off much longer.
News stories regularly remind us that most national governments in the developed world are essentially insolvent. The United States has one of the worst balance sheets, with a projected debt in 2050 of $123 trillion. Of course, what can’t happen won’t happen, as economist Herbert Stein taught us. Long before that point, most countries will get their finances in order—either after a careful analysis of the alternatives or because they will be unable to borrow money and will be forced to take corrective action. How capably they respond will determine their future economic competitiveness and their standard of living.
Those countries that do a better job of bringing revenues and spending into balance—in a way that fosters a healthy and productive citizenry—will have a competitive advantage in the global economy, and they may be able to avoid economic decline.
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Douglas J. Besharov is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and director of the university's Center for International Policy Exchanges. Douglas M. Call is a senior research analyst at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.more from this author >>