Bond Bubble Watch
By Arnold Kling
Brian Riedl of Heritage gives us the good cheer on the Budget.
Over the past 50 years, Washington has collected 18 percent of GDP while spending 20.3 percent of GDP. Annual figures have not deviated much from these averages. Even if all tax cuts are extended, revenues are projected to reach 18.2 percent of GDP by 2020–slightly above their historical average. Thus, the rising deficit will wholly result from projected spending leaping to 26.5 percent of GDP–a level never before seen except for the height of World War II
Germany’s ratio of public debt to GDP could exceed 200% by 2030 –with service on this debt approaching 10% of GDP–nearly twice Greece’s current debt service burden.
Japan is already at 200 percent for the ratio of gross public debt to GDP. That will reach 600 percent in 2030, assuming they make it that far.
The U.S. is somewhere in between, with a projected ratio of public debt to GDP of 300 percent by 2030.
Read the whole thing, to see what is happening to populations in these countries. For example, by 2030, the authors think that in Japan the share of population aged 80 or over could be 13 percent.
A couple months ago, Andrew Biggs and Eileen Norcross wrote
Pension plans operated by state governments on behalf of their employees are underfunded by an estimated $452 billion according to official reports, with total liabilities of $2.8 trillion and total assets of $2.3 trillion in 2008. However, many economists argue that even these daunting liabilities are understated. Current public sector accounting methods allow plans to assume they can earn high investment returns without any risk. Using methods that are required for private sector pensions, which value pension liabilities according to likelihood of payment rather than the return expected on pension assets, total liabilities amount to $5.2 trillion and the unfunded liability rises to $3 trillion.
Have a nice day.