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ISBN: 0844771678Издательство: American Enterprise Institute Press
Many appreciate that the federal government's finances are shaky. However, few realize how really bad they are because most evaluations are based on what happened in the past--not what is likely to happen in the future. Although we are accustomed to hearing that today's federal debt held by the public amounts to $3.5 trillion, the important--but often overlooked--question concerns how much debt we will incur going forward. As we approach a time when entitlement outlays will dominate federal spending, Jagadeesh Gokhale and Kent Smetters recommend shifting to a new, forward-looking method of analyzing our fiscal position. Combining outstanding debt with future revenue shortfalls, they calculate the United States' "Fiscal Imbalance"--the amount of money that the federal government must have in hand today to sustain current tax and spending policies indefinitely--at a heart-stopping $44.2 trillion, considerably outstripping debt currently held by the public. Although policymakers...