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The finances of the world’s biggest economy are showing increasing signs of distress. At the end of June, US borrowings stood at a record $14 trillion: more than the total for the eurozone as a whole. Is America bust?

Its debt burden is still a smaller proportion of its economy than many European countries (just under two thirds of GDP, as opposed to 115 per cent of GDP in crisis-stricken Greece, and over 70 per cent in Germany and France). But the US deficit is nowhere near its peak: the IMF estimates that, on present policies, debt will reach 95…

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