WASHINGTON-The U.S. debt, $9.5 trillion in 2010, could reach $25.9 trillion by 2021 if not kept in check. This was the warning of Erskine B. Bowles, former White House chief of staff, and Alan K. Simpson, former Senator from Wyoming, who are co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, speaking at the Investment Company Institute's General Membership Meeting here.

"We want to bring the debt down to $16 trillion by 2021," Bowles said. "When Alan and I started this, we first thought we were doing it for our 15 grandkids. We then thought it was for our children, and soon realized we are doing this for us. If we do nothing, it will be a catastrophe that will make the financial crisis we just went through look like child's play. Availability of capital for businesses will be strained and interest rates will spike. The debt is the most visible fiscal crisis of this country, almost like a cancer that will destroy us from within.

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