by Timothy Martin, WSJ:
Government debt in 20 industrialized countries stands at $44 trillion.
But it’s actually a lot more than that, according to a new report. After factoring in public pension and other retirement liabilities, the debt levels nearly triple to a staggering $122 trillion.
That’s the math according to a new report from Citigroup Inc report called, “The Coming Pensions Crisis,” which analyzed government pension liabilities from 20 countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development .
“It is really a ticking time bomb,” said Charles Millard, Citi’s head of pension relations and former head of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the U.S. safety net for private-sector pensions.
To put the unstated debt levels in perspective: The additional unstated $78 trillion in retirement-related debt is equivalent to a single year of global economic output.
Citi researchers measured government pension liabilities, a combination of Social Security and public-sector pension obligations, finding the average country was carrying retirement debt of 190% versus gross domestic product—well above a 100% threshold that many experts consider concerning.
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