Bailoutspencerplattgetty

Steve Chapman has a sobering article on the bailout in Reason:

In the next three decades, the government's official debt is on track to triple. But at some point, the Treasury predicts, "the world's financial markets would likely cease lending to the United States."

Then what?

    David Henderson, a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and editor of The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, ticks off the options: We could close the budget gap by drastically cutting spending or raising taxes. The Federal Reserve could print a lot of money, reducing the real value of the debt and making it easier to pay off. Or the government could defaultin short, declare bankruptcy.

He thinks the failure of the bailout will force a reckoning now, rather than a worse reckoning later. I don't know. But I do think that anything that focuses the US on the insane debt already accumulated is a good thing.

(Photo: A trader gestures as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange September 29, 2008 in New York City. U.S. stocks took a nosedive in reaction to the global credit crisis and as the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the $700 billion rescue package, 228-205. Dow Jones Industrials fell as much as 700 points in midday trading. By Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

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