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Monday, June 1, 2015

Paul Krugman, "That 1914 Feeling": Greece? What About Puerto Rico? What About the US?

Examining the Greek debt crisis in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "That 1914 Feeling," Paul Krugman notes the concern of Jacob Lew, America's Treasury secretary, who "recently warned Europeans that they had better settle the Greek situation soon, lest there be a destructive 'accident.'" Krugman goes on to say:

"Some major players seem strangely fatalistic, willing and even anxious to get on with the catastrophe – a sort of modern version of the 'spirit of 1914,' in which many people were enthusiastic about the prospect of war. These players have convinced themselves that the rest of Europe can shrug off a Greek exit from the euro, and that such an exit might even have a salutary effect by showing the price of bad behavior.

But they are making a terrible mistake. Even in the short run, the financial safeguards that would supposedly contain the effects of a Greek exit have never been tested, and could well fail. Beyond that, Greece is, like it or not, part of the European Union, and its troubles would surely spill over to the rest of the union even if the financial bulwarks hold."

The national debt of Greece? Almost $378 billion, and debt per citizen of over $34,000. Yes, it's worrisome.

But closer to the US, what about Puerto Rico, which also stands on the brink of default with debt totaling some $73 billion? In April, Standard & Poor's reduced Puerto Rico's general obligation debt from a B to a CCC plus rating, i.e. junk.

Meanwhile, America's debt has risen dramatically under the careful guidance of the Obama administration to an unsustainable $18.3 trillion, or debt per citizen of some $57,000.

A "1914" feeling? How about 1929?

1 comment:

  1. wag the dog and talk about Greece, the one in Europe, not the one near Rochester, NY.

    Lew and Krugman dare not look too close to home, else they discover the hidden debt:
    "...Currently, over 94 percent of all [New York State]State-funded debt outstanding was issued by public authorities without voter approval. ..."

    19,750,000 residents only owe 256,774,266,332 USD, per capita: 13,001 USD that they do not even know about, being so busy spending double per capita for Medicaid (twice that of California) for the one out of every four New Yorkers who qualify for Medicaid.

    The New York model for Medicaid was used to expand it to all states, in the ACA.

    tick tock.