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This deficit has a present value of $222 trillion. This means that the federal government, today, must invest $222 trillion in market investments that will return about 5% per year for the next 75 years. No such investments exist, and the federal government does not have $222 trillion in reserve. The Federal Reserve system could print that, of course, but then that would only lead to hyperinflation.

In other words, by starting with the on-budget deficit, the five economists low-balled the problem. This makes it look as though the problem can be dealt with by Congress. It cannot, except by one technique, namely, default. They mention unfunded liabilities only briefly, and they offer no numbers.”

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