Things are worse than I said

In my Sunday Examiner column I noted that the national debt currently amounts to 62 percent of gross domestic product and I cited Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart’s book This Time Is Different for the proposition that economic growth is impaired when debt reaches 90 percent of gross domestic product. However, it has been pointed out to me (see this paper by Senate Budget Committee Republicans) that these two measures of debt are incommensurate: the 62 percent figure refers to public debt outstanding while Rogoff and Reinhart’s 90 percent refers to total debt. This underlines rather than undermines my point, for total debt now amounts to 95 percent of gross domestic product. We may already be at the danger point, rather than heading there fast.

Beltway ConfidentialMichael BaroneUSwashington examiner

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