US national debt is actually $70 trillion
Wednesday Jul 31, 2013
A new study by an American economist concludes that the U.S. federal debt is mind-bogglingly larger than it is officially said to be. The study by James D. Hamilton of the University of California, San Diego, says the U.S. government’s off-balance-sheet liabilities are six times the size of the official debt or $70.1 trillion.
“U.S. federal debt has exploded in recent years, growing from $5 trillion (or 36% of GDP) in 2007 to an estimated $12 trillion (72% of GDP) by the end of 2013,” Hamilton said in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
But the $12 trillion federal debt is only the tip of the iceberg because the figure is not inclusive of a number of off-balance-sheet commitments and liabilities.
“But the officially reported debt is only one respect in which current policy has left a burden for future taxpayers. In addition the government has made a number of implicit and explicit commitments that are not included in the net debt figures just reported, but which could potentially require much larger adjustments in future spending or taxes than those associated with paying interest on the official debt itself. The biggest items in this category come from Social Security and Medicare which, if current policy is maintained, will require enormous sacrifices from future taxpayers.”