We have a complex economic system, and predicting the time of it's failure isn't possible. However, the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates low and buying a lot of Treasury notes. Interest rates are low in large part due to the Federal Reserve creating money to cover the needs of the Treasury. The Federal Reserve is determined to keep interest rates low.
Tom,The problem of debt, is it's an economic self destruct device. When a country has too much debt, it's currency collapses or massive cuts are imposed with little thougt to their consequence.The riots in Greece are over 50% cuts to promised pension payments. If Medicare cut payments by 50% and Social Security cut benefits by 50% along with VA and other government pensions, we'd have riots here too.Both parties are guilty, but the current administration is in a class by itself. I agreed with Nancy Pelosi years ago when she stated the Bush 440 billion dollar deficits weren't acceptable. Unfortunately 1.3 trillion dollar deficits ARE acceptable to Pelosi under Obama. IMO $440 billion was acceptable, multi trillion dollar deficits into the indefinite future will crash our currency.Ever see a trillion Deutsch mark note? I have, it was printed on one side to save ink. It didn't buy anything, people took them to market and even with thousands of trillion mark notes couldn't purchase anything. The economy had broken catastrophically due to hyper inflation.We should be wary of dismissing debt as an issue. Politicians love debt, because it allows them to spend money they don't have without directly taxing anyone. The resultant inflation happens later, after elections.I can't find a trillion mark note online, but here is a link to an image of a 500 billion mark note - http://snyderstreasures.com/images/paper/currency/500MillionRMDR1Feb24F.jpg as with the trillion printing was on one side only.
Tom the reason the authors call unfunded government entitlements obligations instead of liabilities is due to the fact that there is no contractual reqirement to pay. Our government could vote to repeal all entitlement programs tomorrow. As such, they aren't liabilities, but obligations under current law. There exists no legally enforceable contract to maintain entitlement funding beyond current law. What entitlements we have, and what they provide, can be reformed or repealed at any time by any Congress. No company has this power.