If, or when, Greece defaults it will be bad. Obviously not as bad as it will be if they keep staggering on, being forced to increase debt by being made to take bail out after bail out, but we can still say that a default is Not A Good Thing. It’s just the least worst thing.
However, if a Greek default is Not A Good Thing what the hell do we call a US default?
TWENTY days out from a possible default on its loans by the world’s richest nation, America’s political leaders apparently agree that it should never have come to this. But on how best to put things right, they remain at loggerheads, deeply divided along ideological lines, anxiously protecting what Barack Obama has termed their ”sacred cows” – for Republicans, low taxes; for Democrats, coveted entitlement programs such as the national pension scheme and subsidised healthcare for seniors.
The US has racked up debts of more than $US14 trillion, roughly equal to its gross domestic product, and the trajectory portends fiscal disaster.
Without painful remedial action, the debt is expected to climb beyond $US20 trillion within five years, and hit $US25 trillion by 2021, just as the US is facing unprecedented challenges that threaten its global economic standing.
Clinton, for all that he didn’t know what to do with a really good cigar, left the country with a budget surplus. The US still had debt of course, but at least it wasn’t running up lots more. Two fiscally irresponsible spendthrifts later and there are suggestions that the US, the world’s largest economy, may have to default.
Has that even happened before? And what might that mean for other countries whose debts are proportionately even larger?