Is This The End of the American Century?

This site features updates, analysis, discussion and comments related to the theme of my book published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008 (hardbound) and 2009 (paperbound).

The Book

The End of the American Century documents the interrelated dimensions of American social, economic, political and international decline, marking the end of a period of economic affluence and world dominance that began with World War II. The war on terror and the Iraq War exacerbated American domestic weakness and malaise, and its image and stature in the world community. Dynamic economic and political powers like China and the European Union are steadily challenging and eroding US global influence. This global shift will require substantial adjustments for U.S. citizens and leaders alike.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Downplaying and Misrepresenting the Debt

It is bad enough that our political leaders make light of the unprecedented levels of government deficits and debt, as pointed out in a New York Times covers story October 20: "Deficit Rises, And Consensus Is to Let it Grow." The problem is compounded when The Times’ story on the subject totally misrepresents the scale of the problem.

The reporters use a strange method of calculating the burden of the debt, contending that it constitutes “a relatively modest 40.8 percent of the nation’s national income.” In fact, the current federal debt is about two-thirds of gross domestic product, according to official budget figures. The story asserts that the current debt burden is much less than during the 1990s. In fact, The Fiscal Year 2009 Budget estimates the debt at 69.3% of GDP, which is the highest figure since 1955.

The story also misrepresents the size of the current debt when it states that the federal government increased the national debt “to the present $5.8 trillion.” In fact, the current debt is over $10 trillion, and with the bailout bill, Congress raised the ceiling on the debt to $11.3 trillion.

The Times' story does a disservice to its readers with this misinformation, and contributes to the national problem of discounting the gravity of the situation, which could well lead the country into bankruptcy

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