An Exercise in Contrasts

From Representative Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity”:

The United States is facing a crushing burden of debt – a debt that will soon surpass the size of the entire U.S. economy and ultimately capsize it if left on its present course.

From reality:

This graph shows the amount the United States pays per year on interest for its debt. If this is what being “crushed by debt” looks like, then we’re doing pretty well.

More seriously, this is another reason why it’s silly to focus obsessively over the total amount of debt. Yes, a large debt burden is a long-term liability, but at the moment—when global markets are eager to purchase US debt—there are more pressing issues to deal with, like high unemployment and a sluggish ecovery.

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