3 september 2011, the clock keeps ticking

The debt clock was, I think, an invention of the reagan era, laid to rest when clinton balanced the budget, but now as relevant as ever, as it continues to tick rather wildly up. Today, every us citizen owes almost fifty thousand dollars each, and as the leeway that the dollar being the world's reserve currency provides finally begins to run out, that is forcing america down the now well-trodden road of fiscal contraction that the rest of us have already been following for some time. Many think this is not the right path, but it is that debt, and its echoes in other parts of the western world, that make it inevitable. As growth slows, so will tax revenues, compounding the already deep and deeply-unsolved problem of paying for pensions (and benefits in europe) and now the absorbed banking and financial debts and guarantees that have loaded up these governments. When these problems hit america, home of the world's flight to safety assets, we've really got problems. It is american borrowing that has kept the world afloat for many years. When it can no longer borrow on such a scale, someone else needs to pick up the baton, just as america itself did, replacing britain and sterling as the world's supreme financial power early in the last century. We are living through history.

american national debt at this moment