It is sobering to think that the US federal government was running a large budget surplus in 2000 and the gross debt ratio was 54pc of GDP.
A quarter of a century later the ratio is 120pc and vaulting past the 1945 peak. This is partly due to two big recessions and Covid, to be sure, but mostly due to three sets of unfunded tax cuts, two unfunded 21st-century wars and no serious effort to control ballooning middle-class entitlements.
David Kelly from JP Morgan says the US is looking at annual fiscal deficits of $2 trillion this year, next year, and as far as the eye can see. This is at a time of effectively full employment and what should be bumper tax revenues. The deficit could hit $3.5 trillion in the next downturn.
The US Treasury must roll over $8 trillion of existing debt and raise $2 trillion of fresh debt this fiscal year, even as the Fed tosses another $1 trillion onto the heap under its QT programme.
Investors have belatedly, and suddenly, woken up to the shocking implications of a structural budget deficit heading for 8pc of GDP even before any trouble starts. It is this that has driven up yields on US Treasuries by 100 basis points since July.
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