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Economists say U.S. debt grew $11 trillion in one year

Published: Thursday, Aug. 9 2012 10:09 a.m. MDT

In this Sept. 13, 2011, file photo the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, led by co-chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., meets on Capitol Hill in Washington to hear testimony about the national debt from the Congressional budget director.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

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The U.S. government’s fiscal gap grew by $11 trillion over the past year, which is 10 times larger than the reported official deficit, according to Bloomberg.

Calculations from Laurence Kotlikoff, an economist at Boston University, and Scott Burns, a personal finance columnist, calculated the fiscal gap based on the Congressional Budget Office’s realistic long-term budget forecast.

“Last year, it was $211 trillion,” said Kotlikoff and Burns in their guest column for Bloomberg. “The $11 trillion difference — this year’s true federal deficit — is 10 times larger than the official deficit and roughly as large as the entire stock of official debt in public hands.”

The authors recommend a permanent 64 percent increase in all federal taxes, as well as a 40 percent cut to benefits like Social Security and Medicare.

“Governments, like households, can’t indefinitely spend beyond their means,” Kotlikoff and Burns said.

The two co-authored “The Clash of Generations,” a book that calls for changes in the U.S. tax, health care and Social Security systems.

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com

TWITTER: @joeyferguson

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