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Publications

James K. Galbraith

Is the Federal Debt Unsustainable ?

17 mai 2011

By general agreement, the federal budget is on an “unsustainable path.” Try typing the phrase into
Google News. When I did it, 19 of the first 20 hits referred to the federal debt.
But what does this mean ? The phrase is often stated, but rarely defined clearly. One is led to
suspect that some who use the phrase are guided by vague fears, or even that they do not quite
know what to be afraid of. After a brief discussion of the major worries, this note will attempt to
clarify one, and only one, critical issue : the actual behavior of the public-debt-to-GDP ratio under
differing economic assumptions through time.

(pour lire la suite, consulter le document joint)