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The Ticking Debt Bomb: Why the U.S. International Financial Position is Not Sustainable

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For the last few years, most of the economic news in the United States has been glowing. The U.S. economy has grown at a healthy 4% average rate since 1997, with virtually full employment and almost negligible inflation, thus returning to macroeconomic conditions not experienced since the early 1960s. Two-and-a-half years after Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of "irrational exuberance" on Wall Street, the New York stock market continues to climb to unparalleled heights. Meanwhile, more and more observers claim that we are now in a "new economy" that is immune to the forces that caused inflation and recessions in the past. Yet in the midst of this celebratory environment, certain indicators regularly cast a pall over these otherwise sunny times.