So foresees the Joint Operating Environment 2010 report released this week by the U.S. military, at least absent urgent and massive change. The JOE sees American government indebtedness, which is going to get far worse with the entitlements crisis on the near horizon, as putting our national security at serious risk. The report says that not even the most optimistic projections of economic growth can make up for the government’s revenue needs in the coming years. Say the military analysts: “Projected revenues from taxation in most plausible economic scenarios are far below that which is necessary to meet current and assumed commitments by the federal government.” What’s more, the report warns, the deepening trade deficit only makes matters worse. Excerpt:
The foregoing issues of trade imbalance and government debt have historic precedents that bode ill for future force planners. Habsburg Spain defaulted on its debt some 14 times in 150 years and was staggered by high inflation until its overseas empire collapsed. Bourbon France became so beset by debt due to its many wars and extravagances that by 1788 the contributing social stresses resulted in its overthrow by revolution. Interest ate up 44% of the British Government budget during the interwar years 1919-1939, inhibiting its ability to rearm against a resurgent Germany. Unless current trends are reversed, the U.S. will face similar challenges, anticipating an ever-growing percentage of the U.S. government budget going to pay interest on the money borrowed to finance our deficit spending.
Take a look at this country-by-country comparison on current trade balances from the CIA World Factbook. Look at who’s No. 1, then observe who’s last on the list.