Brian Riedl writes over at the National Review:
America’s debt burden is actually below the post-World War II average. In fact, it’s lower than at any time during the high-flying 1990s…A better measure is the federal government’s debt ratio, calculated as the total federal publicly held debt as a percentage of America’s annual income (the gross domestic product). The current debt ratio – 38 percent – is actually below the post-World War II average of 43 percent. America’s debt burden is low by historical standards.
Table B-79 of the Economic Report of the President 2004 reports Federal debt as a percent of GDP: both total debt and debt held by the public. Since the latter is robbing the lockbox, let’s note that total debt relative to GDP was 65.3% at the end of fiscal 2004 and is projected to rise to 67.5% by the end of this fiscal year. By either measure, the debt to GDP ratio fell from 1996 to 2001 and has risen ever since. Of course, this ratio had risen from its 1981 level of 32.5% to 67.3% by 1996 due to the Reagan fiscal irresponsibility that Bush43 is repeating and Riedl defends.
Rieldl notes that lending insitutitions look at debt relative to income. They might also look at the fact that this White House wants to lock in tax rates that would insure that Federal revenues excluding Social Security contributions would forever be less than 12% of GDP whereas non-interest Federal spending excluding Social Security payments are over 14% of GDP with no White House ideas of how to materially change this.
Riedl’s claim tortures all logic to make an incredibly bogus claim. Now why would he do that? Why would the National Review publish this?