As uncomfortable as it has been to watch, the unfolding drama in Greece has had one clear benefit: It has forced many other countries, including our own, to take a closer look at debt, as well as revenues, costs, growth rates, demographics and so on.
Fortunately the United States, compared to most European countries, doesn’t look too bad. Our economy has bounced back from the Great Recession far faster than others. Still, our national debt as a share of gross domestic product has leveled out at a rate somewhat higher than most European countries’. Between that and the unnaturally low level of current interest rates, an aging population and a likely pickup in health-care costs, economists are betting that the overall federal debt will resume its historic rise, leaving only about 5 percent of GDP available for all discretionary federal programs, including defense.