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IPFS News Link • Government Debt & Financing

The Fed Asks America to Fill in the Blanks _______

•, By Simon Black

For most of the past decade, even as the debt spiraled out of control and passed $20 trillion, $25 trillion, $30 trillion, etc., hardly anyone in the media said a word about it. If anything, they would insist that the 'debt doesn't matter.'

That tune is finally starting to change. And the latest example came last night when 60 Minutes interviewed the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell.

The US national debt now stands at more than $34 trillion. It will surpass $35 trillion by the summer and likely $36 trillion by the end of the year.

It's growing so quickly that the interviewer asked about the debt, "Thirty years from now, it is projected to be $144 trillion. . . [I]s the national debt a danger to the economy in your view? I have the sense this worries you very much."

The answer to almost any sentient human being, of course, is "absolutely yes." And the Fed Chairman admitted as such. Sort of. He said:

"In the long run, the US is on an unsustainable fiscal path. . . Over the long run, of course it does [worry me very much] . . . It's time for us to get back to putting a priority on fiscal sustainability. And sooner is better than later."

Now a term like "the long run" is a funny thing because it can mean just about anything. To some people in finance and economics, "the long run" can mean five years. To others, fifty years.

Saying "the long run" is like asking your audience to fill in the blanks with whatever timeframe they think that means.