Saturday, November 07, 2009


clipped from

In my latest NEWSWEEK column, I suggested that the unthinkable had become thinkable: some advanced society—say, the United States, Spain, Italy, Japan, or Great Britain—might someday default on its government debt. It wouldn't pay its creditors all they were owed or wouldn't pay them on time. Just a few days later, and completely coincidentally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a report that, without saying so, added credence to this unsettling hypothesis. (Click here to follow Robert J. Samuelson).

But the central conclusions, buttressed strongly by all the statistics, are simple enough: the economic and financial crisis has dramatically increased the deficits and debt of most countries, and many wealthy countries are in worse shape than major developing nations.