Why the U.S. will never face a Greece-type meltdown

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry of Forbes.com has an excellent piece outlining why the U.S. will never face an economic meltdown akin to what’s happening in Greece.

If there’s one article of faith in Washington (and elsewhere), it’s the idea that the United States might get into a debt crisis if it doesn’t get its fiscal house in order.

This is not true.

The reason why it’s not true is because we live in a fiat currency system, where the United States government can create an infinite number of dollars at no cost to meet its obligations. A Treasury bill is a promise that the government will give you US dollars–something that the United States government can produce infinitely and at no cost.

That’s the reason why interest rates on United States debt have only gone down even as the debt has ballooned. That’s the reason why Great Britain has very low rates on its debt despite having very high debt-to-GDP. That’s the reason why Japan has an astounding debt-to-GDP ratio and still enjoys some of the lowest rates ever. Investors have bet for so long that there would be a run on Japanese debt and have ended up so ruined that in financial circles that trade is called “the Widowmaker”.

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