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If you look at your GDP growth graph, you'll see that most of the big economies are between 2 and 2.5% growth per year. If you put that in terms of GDP per capita growth, the differences will be even smaller.
This one I think you are underestimating, in the sense of GDP growth in comparison to increase in debt.  Samuelson points out that GDP growth in France has averaged 1.6% over the past several years.  In that same period, France has exceeded the 3% debt ceiling (as compared to GDP) in many of those years.  In fact in 1995, even when they achieved that number, hitting 2.9%, since the GDP growth was only 1.4%, France lost ground in the main evaluation of its overall debt position--total debt compared to GDP.  If this is an issue for the US with its overspending, and it is, why is it not an issue for France?
by wchurchill on Tue Apr 4th, 2006 at 04:45:51 PM EST
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Us debt and deficits are a problem in that the absolute amounts are huge and require funding to be available in the same huge amount from the rest of the world.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 4th, 2006 at 06:33:46 PM EST
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we've both commented on this before, and we just look at this from two different economic perspectives.  You tend to focus on the absolute size of the US debt, and the fact that it is high because the country is so big.  And I acknowledge that is factually accurate.

I tend to focus on lender's evaluation of the debtors ability to repay the loan.  One of the key aspects of that decision is how the debt relates to the debtor's ability to pay.  I would argue that is based upon 1)some evaluation of debt related to income or net worth--so I look at total debt divided by annual GNP, and 2)and some evaluation of the future strength of the countries economy, so growth in GNP, evaluation of productivity, evaluation of the countries dominance in key industry sectors, etc.

Thus you think it's more important than I do.

by wchurchill on Tue Apr 4th, 2006 at 07:09:55 PM EST
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I don't doubt America's ability to pay. I doubt the rest of the world's ability to lend enough money. Thus my focus on absolute amounts - on the LENDING side it's a problem.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 6th, 2006 at 09:22:50 AM EST
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