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The United States has accumulated over $70 trillion in unreported debt, an amount nearly six times the declared figure, according to a new study by University of California-San Diego economics Professor James Hamilton.
Much of the current debt load is a direct result of the Great Recession of 2008, which saw an unprecedented effort on the part of Washington to rescue the US economy from financial ruin.
These numbers are so huge it is hard even to discuss them in a coherent way,” he said before providing a caveat on the US demographic situation. “The US population is aging, and an aging population means fewer people paying in and more people expecting benefits. This reality is unambiguously going to be a key constraint on the sustainability of fiscal policy for the United States.
"If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That's the fiscal gap," Kotlikoff said in an interview with National Public Radio. "That's our true indebtedness."