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Economist Calls Entitlements A Massive Ponzi Scheme And Says US Is Actually $211 Trillion In Debt

Published: September 6, 2011
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Source: Business Insider

In an interview with NPR, former Reagan economic adviser Laurence Kotlikoff said the U.S.'s "true indebtedness" amounts to $211 trillion.

That's more than 15 times the $14 trillion official figure.

"We're focused just on the official debt, so we're trying to balance the wrong books," Kotlikoff said, naming Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the skyrocketing unofficial figure.

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...

Why are these guys thinking about balancing the budget?...They should try and think about our long-term fiscal problems.

His comments were reminiscent of a Bloomberg editorial he wrote last year, where he called entitlements "a massive Ponzi scheme."

From the interview:

We've got 78 million baby boomers who are poised to collect, in about 15 to 20 years, about $40,000 per person. Multiply 78 million by $40,000 — you're talking about more than $3 trillion a year just to give to a portion of the population...That's an enormous bill that's overhanging our heads, and Congress isn't focused on it

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