The United States cannot pay off huge national debts of $65 trillion, unless it stops its endless wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, says an American economist. Paul Sheldon Foote made the comments on Sunday when asked about comments by Dave Walker, former comptroller general, who said the US national debt is [over] three times as much the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion. “If you end up adding to that $18.5 trillion the unfunded civilian and military pensions and retiree healthcare, the additional underfunding for Social Security, the additional underfunding for Medicare, various commitments and contingencies that the federal government has, the real number is about $65 trillion rather than $18 trillion,” Walker had said.
Foote noted that “the reasons are very simple, if you keep the interest rate very low and have investment opportunities low and that the stock market has been flat that means that the pension funds are not going to be the 79 percent growth rate that had been put into their models and so there will not be enough money to pay people’s pensions.” “Both the corporate and government pensions in this country for the large part are far underfunded, social security we have known for a long time is not adequate and will not be without major changes,” he noted. “That’s true that the deep hole we have for ourselves is much worse than politicians want to talk about, so they keep kicking the can down the road, hoping that somehow it will go away, but it cannot go away without economic growth and that cannot happen until we stop the endless wars and stop the endless programs for we promise people something for nothing,” he concluded.