WSJ on wealth

christian a. gregory chrisgregory11 at
Thu Jan 20 08:25:54 PST 2000

----- Original Message ----- From: Jordan Hayes <jmhayes at> To: <lbo-talk at> Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2000 9:34 AM Subject: Re: WSJ on wealth

> > How do retirement savings change the picture?
> Many people in the US have "low savings" because they think -- and
> I believe rightly -- that they are covered in terms of "having
> savings" by having retirement savings.

Sure. But do you mean these aren't counted in the macro accounts about US savings? How would these change that?

> So when people compare the "savings rate" with another country's rate
> (specifically Japan) they are being disingenuous. You have to ask: why
> is "high savings" important? Then you have to ask: what's the best
> way to accomplish this goal?
> /jordan

I wasn't saying that high savings were inherently good. I was addressing the macro point that Doug subsequently made: that the low savings rate made sustained foreign borrowing necessary to keep the spending boom going. And, that were the US any other country, its debt and current account positions would spell disaster.

Since you brought it up, though, what role do you think debt played in the Japanese bubble that it does not play in the US at present?


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