July 30, 2006

U.S. Is Bankrupt and This Is One Way That Counts

That's the question that's been bouncing around since economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff posed it in a paper for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in the current issue of its Review journal. Kotlikoff's thesis brings to mind images of the U.S. edifice teetering, like General Motors Corp., or imploding, like Enron Corp.

The bankruptcy thought is reverberating in envious Europe, since it fits in with the continent's preconceptions. The U.K.'s Daily Telegraph hyped the idea with the headline, ``U.S. `Could Be Going Bankrupt.'''

Kotlikoff's comparison of the U.S. to a failing company is too interesting to dismiss out of hand. The place to start is with the books, beginning with the liabilities.

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