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Is the United States bankrupt?

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  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Abstract

Is the United States bankrupt? Many would scoff at this notion. Others would argue that financial implosion is just around the corner. This paper explores these views from both partial and general equilibrium perspectives. It concludes that countries can go broke, that the United States is going broke, that remaining open to foreign investment can help stave off bankruptcy, but that radical reform of U.S. fiscal institutions is essential to secure the nation's economic future. The paper offers three policies to eliminate the nation's enormous fiscal gap and avert bankruptcy: a retail sales tax, personalized Social Security, and a globally budgeted universal healthcare system.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2006. "Is the United States bankrupt?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 235-250.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2006:i:jul:p:235-250:n:v.88no.4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence J Kotlikoff, 2006. "Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us to Dinner? Simulating the Transition Paths of the US, EU, Japan and China," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Christopher Kent & Anna Park & Daniel Rees (ed.), Demography and Financial Markets Reserve Bank of Australia.
    2. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Measuring Social Security’s Financial Problems," Working Papers wp093, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2005. "Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us Out to Dinner? Simulating the Transition Paths of the U.S., EU, Japan, and China," NBER Working Papers 11668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2004. "The Role of Immigration in Dealing with the Developed World's Demographic Transition," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(3), pages 296-296, September.
    5. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Alexi Sluchynsky, 2002. "Does it pay to work?," Working Paper 0206, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Kent Smetters, 2003. "Fiscal and generational imbalances: new budget measures for new budget priorities," Policy Discussion Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Dec.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giancarlo Corsetti & Michael P. Devereux & Luigi Guiso & John Hassler & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Xavier Vives, 2010. "Chapter 4: US adjustment needs," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 101-110, February.
    2. Liu, Pu & Shao, Yingying & Yeager, Timothy J., 2009. "Did the repeated debt ceiling controversies embed default risk in US Treasury securities?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1464-1471, August.
    3. Malliaris, A.G. & Malliaris, Mary E., 2008. "Investment principles for individual retirement accounts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 393-404, March.
    4. Anjan V. Thakor, 2006. "Commentary on "Is the United States bankrupt? "," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 251-258.
    5. Nippani, Srinivas & Smith, Stanley D., 2010. "The increasing default risk of US Treasury securities due to the financial crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2472-2480, October.
    6. Libich, Jan & Nguyen, Dat Thanh & Stehlík, Petr, 2015. "Monetary exit and fiscal spillovers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 184-206.

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    Keywords

    Bankruptcy;

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