Whilst the numbers are far vaster than those that affect this country, one must remember that we have about a sixth of the population of the US (and they have six times our GDP). Britain's debts are also growing at a dangerous rate.
Interestingly, for both the US and ourselves, the issue seems to be the huge costs of social security. And how do we solve these problems?
Well, one can raise taxes. However, you then run the risk of constraining growth and actually ending up with less revenue: it requires considerable skill to get all taxes at the right point on the Laffer curve.
Second, you can cut social security spending.
One of the most significant sentences in Walker's assessment is the assertion that, "we cannot grow our way out of this." Because of the rising costs of the liabilities and the interest associated with the debts, unless the government raise taxes or cut spending, there will come a point (in 2040, in these US projections) when the government will barely be able to service the interest on the debt, let alone meet the required extra spending.
Is Britain in a better situation? I would say that it is, but barely. As such, it will be interesting to see whether the Tories really are able to "share the proceeds of growth"—leaving aside the issue of whether there will actually be any growth to share.
One thing is clear: successive governments—both here and in the US—have been woefully profligate and I can't help wondering if this is not, in a great part, down to our very system of democracy.
After all, every politician wants to be elected and is thus tempted to offer lower taxes to those who work, and higher benefits to those who don't. It is the natural way; you may not be able to please all of the people all of the time but, in order to get elected, politicians need to have a damn good stab at it. I believe that they cal it, "trying to occupy the Centre Ground."
And what is becoming quite clear is that, since they have been doing so (broadly speaking, since the idea of social welfare became the norm), successive governments have been promising the moon on a stick, but with no real idea of how they are going to pay for their pledges.
It is the ultimate in short-termism: some politicians will be aware of the problem but they are just holding on tight and hoping that the crash doesn't come within their lifetime—or, at least, not in their Parliamentary lifetime.
Something has to be done. But what? Our whole system of politics—this democracy that we are so proud of—is so fundamentally flawed that no one is actually going to take responsibility.
Until the crunch comes.
And every politician—or, to be more accurate, every political party—must be praying that they aren't holding the parcel when the music stops.