There is a short section on private debt at the end, although they don't say much other than that deleveraging of private debt positions puts a drag on credit creation (obviously). They don't say much about how it figures into/correlates with dynamics of public debt, and state that they don't have wide and detailed enough data to do a general analysis. It's not an obligation to be paid via taxation, no, but it is certainly an obligation on the tax payers themselves. Who else owes all the money? Seems to me to have plenty to do with economic growth and trends in credit and spending - no? That is exactly a "governmental consequence." Moreover, bankruptcies associated with said defaults end up costing the government as well. You are correct that any given, individual default doesn't affect the government much, but a large-scale trend in private debt defaults, or just deleveraging, has big consequences on tax revenues. But, the issue here is not "governmental consequences." It is "impact on economic growth." The study in question does not deal with the question of government default or devaluation or any of that stuff: it asserts a negative correlation between high public debt loads and economic growth in subsequent years. And it seems to me that related trends in private debt may well have a lot to do with that. As it is, the study does not hypothesize any particular mechanism for how this correlation comes about (although they do say that bond market revolt is not required), so we're left to speculate. One possibility is that private debt trends tend to track government debt trends, and that private deleveraging tends to occur around the 90% of GDP threshold and so puts a drag on credit growth for some years afterwards. It would be interesting to know how trends in private debt do (or do not) enter into the correlation in question, but unfortunately such an analysis does not seem to be available to us. Right, they're only considering public debt. Well, they also say some stuff about external debt, but that doesn't seem to be relevant here. He's an "unemployment truther." My mistake: I should have said "a crank essay publicized by a goldbug website." I would suggest that starting your research process by searching for that kind of term is unlikely to get you to a balanced expert consensus, and instead is going to lead you mostly to crank blogs that already agree with you. It's easy to find any number of blogs and crank sites on the internet that agree with any position you care to name. That doesn't add up to serious support for those stances. You have to examine the various countervailing viewpoints and weigh their various merits if you want to arrive at a sensible, supportable perspective. Hogwash. Of course. But that doesn't mean that we can't identify predictions that lack statistical validity at the time. If you are trying to extrapolate recent trends into the future, it immediately raises the question of whether the trends in question have been quantified in a statistically valid way. Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. Even if you happen to get the result correct, that won't retroactively imply that the reasoning leading you to that conclusion was correct. Doubly so when the conclusion is set at the outset, and the reasoning is just a hash. But the point is more that people have little reason to credit predictions that lack in rigor and statistical validity in the here-and-now. If your predictions were convincing in the here-and-now, the expectations channel would ensure that they became reality in short order. The fact that such does not happen is definitive evidence that the preponderance of economic actors in the world today do not share your outlook. I have never made any such claim. You seem to think that the fact that I dispute your pretensions of prophesy implies that I advocate a similar prophetic certainty, just with the outcome reversed. I do not. There is a fairly wide range of outcomes that are plausible over the medium and long terms. Your wild speculations fall outside the envelope of reasonable expectations, and you fail to provide coherent, valid reasoning in support of them (which is inevitable - a sober, valid analysis would result in predictions that are significantly less specific and extreme). I don't think I've ever called Paul A. Samuelson a crank or crackpot. Unless you can point to some post where I say that, you need to retract this accusation and apologize for its inaccuracy. I do not see any prediction from him asserting that a run on the dollar is going to occur in the next couple of years. He says "at some point." That point being, apparently, when Europe and Japan and others are no longer content to recycle trade surpluses into dollar holdings. Moreover, his characterization of the effects of such differ greatly from yours. He predicts "global financial crisis" and foreign holders of dollar assets getting wiped out, rather than "USA + Europe die off and China surges ahead." I'd feel that you have no real grasp on what I do and do not believe or forsee - that you are imagining me to be some kind of mirror-image of yourself, who makes very strong predictions, just in the opposite direction - and that you are simply being spiteful. The "serious black clouds" you cite there consist of "gdp growth about 1% lower than it would otherwise be, for about 20 years." They do not predict anything like the apocalypse that you invoke. Frankly, I'm unsure why you think that the Debt Overhangs paper is so strongly behind your position, and so strongly contradictory to anything I've said. I've never said that high levels of debt are not problematic in the long run. Nor do the conclusions in that paper conform to your apocalyptic predictions. If I'd been saying "no amount of debt will ever cause any problem!" and you'd been saying "prolonged periods of high debt are correlated with a 1% reduction in growth for the following couple of decades," then this paper would be really decisive. But that is not the dispute at issue here. You are contending that high debt levels result in outright ruin in the short term, and I am saying that such is overblown and not supported by fact or reason. If anything, I'd say that the Debt Overhangs paper pretty decisively refutes your overblown, dramatic predictions about short-term disaster resulting from high debt. No, that does not follow. If you were content to stick to the same predictions that Samuelson actually made - that continuing these policies indefinitely will, eventually at some unspecified point, result in a run on the dollar, then you would have a point. But you have gone significantly farther than that, and such is where most of the crackpottery resides. Exactly. And it will be the coming and going of that date without the apocalypse you predict coming to pass, that highlights exactly how far off of the rails you went with that stuff. I note that Samuelson did not say anything about those factors, in any of the material you've provided.