The NYT Can't Find Any Economists to Talk About the United States' Debt Problem

Friday, 14 January 2011 06:22

That appears to be the case. The NYT had an article discussing the warnings about downgrading U.S. government debt from S&P and Moody's, both of whom rated hundreds of billions worth of mortgage-backed securities backed by subprime mortgages as investment grade. 

At one point the article notes that Moody's emphasized the deficit in the medium term, not the current deficit. It then tells readers that:

"For some economists, the failure to rein in the deficit now could spell trouble, not immediately but in 10 or 20 years."

However, the two people then cited are Peter G. Peterson, a wealthy investment banker, and David M. Walker, an accountant who has worked for organizations funded by Mr. Peterson. While both Mr. Peterson and Mr. Walker stressed the need to reduce the deficit, if the article had talked to an economist they might have pointed out that the projections of large long-term budget deficits are attributable to projections of exploding private sector health care costs. If per person health care costs in the United States were comparable to those in other wealthy countries the projections would show large surpluses rather than deficits.