This article by Jeremy Warner is frightening. The scale of the impending calamity is summed up in the observation that “By the end of the decade, the annual [United States] interest bill alone will have reached $1 trillion, or more than a quarter of all current US federal spending.” Amazing and depressing in equal measure.
If you want to scare yourself with statistics, go to www.usdebtclock.org. This brilliantly conceived internet graphic engenders much the same feeling you get when watching the extortion of the meter in a London taxi; at some stage, you know you are going to have to get out and walk.
Amongst much else, what it shows is the real-time accumulation of US public debt. When I last looked, this was approaching $14.228 trillion, or around 100 per cent of GDP. Higher and higher, the big number goes. America is bankrupting itself as surely as Wilkins Micawber. So extreme is the country’s addiction to debt that if nothing is done, it will surely force the wholesale retreat from the New World’s century-old dominance of international economic and geopolitical affairs. Worse, the medicine required to correct the problem threatens to be so strong that it may force that same retreat in any case.