Plunging deep into debt may have staved off a global catastrophe, but that debt now threatens to hinder growth and reduce living standards for a generation.
[Related content: Barack Obama, economy, financial crisis, politics, Jim Jubak]
By Jim Jubak
Check 'em off. President Obama's first 100 days: done.
Now get ready for the hard part: the next 1,000 or so days.
That's about how long the United States and the rest of the world have to turn the anemic economic growth that now seems likely into the kind of strong economic growth we need to pay down the huge pile of debt we've created in our efforts to stave off a global financial meltdown.
Without growth higher than is now projected, the burdens of this crisis will linger for a generation in the form of lower living standards and higher interest rates, taxes and inflation. And, unfortunately, the world's economic experts know even less about creating stronger growth -- without creating a bubble -- than they do about fixing a global credit crunch and a deep recession.
Projections don't look good It's not that stopping the global financial crisis was easy. Or that the world banking system is fixed and the world economy is on the road to a turnaround. Despite considerable progress, it remains very much a work in progress.
It's just that the next part is even harder. Most of the world's economies -- the United States', the United Kingdom's and Japan's, in particular -- have dug themselves very, very deep holes in an effort to end the economic and financial crises. Strong economic growth, for a decade or so, offers the only comfortable way out of the hole. Alternatives such as runaway inflation or Draconian cuts in living standards have major, what shall we say, disadvantages.