Debt Deal Delusions: Debt to Gross Domestic Product Ratio


The compromise "is a positive step toward reducing the future path of the deficit and the debt levels,” Steven Hess, senior credit officer at Moody’s in New York, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “We do think more needs to be done to ensure a reduction in the debt to GDP ratio, for example, going forward." Bloomberg, Aug 2 (Image: Okko Pyykko)

How many times have you read or heard about the magic numbers concerning the ratio of national debt to gross domestic product (GDP)? This was trotted out by both sides of the debt ceiling debate as a fact: if the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 90%, the results will be dire. Therefore, our current situation calls for a crisis reaction and extreme measures to get below the magic number.