Debt

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The debt time bomb that keeps growing and now equals nearly half of U.S. GDP

"Corporate debt is at its highest level relative to U.S. GDP since the financial crisis , and while not now a concern, that mountain of corporate IOUs could quickly turn into a heap of worry under the right circumstances."

"Fueled by low interest rates and strong investor appetite, debt of nonfinancial companies has increased at a rapid clip, to $8.7 trillion, and is equal to more than 45 percent of GDP, according to David Ader, chief macro strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence."

"According to the Federal Reserve, nonfinancial corporate debt outstanding has grown by $1 trillion in two years."

"Everything is fine until it isn't," Ader said. "We don't need to worry about that until we're in a slowdown and profit declines."

"Low rates have encouraged companies to borrow, but instead of using the money to expand, they have used it to boost their share prices, he said."

GOP Tax Cuts Expected To Push Up Nation’s Debt

"When Republicans began assembling their tax overhaul proposals they were aiming to make them revenue neutral; the tax cuts could not lead to increased deficits. Holding the line on deficits has long been the goal of Republican deficit hawks."

"But that goal is now just a memory. Both the House and Senate proposals provide overall tax cuts in the $1.5 trillion range over the next decade. But there's no plan to offset them with cuts in government spending or new revenues. So over the next 10 years, the tax cuts are likely to add about $1.5 trillion to the national debt, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."

The Old Debt and Entitlement Charade

"The establishment is trying to pull a big one over on the public yet again. One of the designated topics for the last presidential debate goes under the heading, "debt and entitlements." This should have people upset for several reasons.

The first is simply the use of the term "entitlements." While this has a clear meaning to policy wonks, it is likely that most viewers won't immediately know that "entitlements" means the Social Security and Medicare their parents receive. It's a lot easier for politicians to talk about cutting wasteful "entitlements" than taking away seniors' Social Security and Medicare.

The ostensible purpose of the debate is to allow voters to be better informed about the candidates' views. So if the purpose is conveying information, why not use terms that most voters will understand?"

Federal Debt Service Payments as Percent of Gross Domestic Product

A combination of low interest rates and a strong economy means the US is spending a typical amount of the entire US economy on federal debt servicing. In 1970s and 1980s, with inflation, a weak economy, and heavy deficit spending, the federal government was spending a much greater portion of the gross domestic product on debt service.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Federal Outlays: Interest as Percent of Gross Domestic Product [FYOIGDA188S], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYOIGDA188S, February 28, 2017.