What Could You Do with the U.S. Debt of $14 Trillion?


Tom Digaloma, head of fixed income trading at Guggenheim Partners, said $14 trillion may sound astronomical, but it is not as worrisome as the deficits of other countries, such as Japan. Standard and Poor's just recently downgraded Japan's sovereign debt rating to AA- from AA, its first downgrade since 2002. By some measures, Japan's public debt is more than twice the size of its GDP, according to Debclock.org.

Though Moody's Investor Service and the IMF warned the U.S. about its debt levels, Digaloma said it will not be long before the U.S. increases its GDP and boosts employment levels, easing the debt ratio.

"Our economy is in a deflationary environment and I think we need to continue to spend money to get it back on track effectively," said Digaloma. "The most important component is to get our GDP pumping -- and when we get that pumping we can certainly handle the current debt levels."

Bronars of Welch Consulting said what is most concerning to economists and policy makers is the future obligations of the government, such as Social Security costs.

"A lot of people in Washington are concerned about the costs of those programs increasing," said Bronars.

On that front, the Social Security fund is on track to run out of money by 2037, according to the the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In 2011, the office calculates that Social Security will take in $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in benefits, a number that is expected to grow each year.

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