There is a possibility that the government’s aggressive stimulus spending and zero interest rates could backfire, saddling the U.S. economy with heavy debt, high unemployment and a
“lost decade,” like Japan experienced in the 1990s, a growing number of economists and lawmakers fear.

“It seems to me we are on the exact same path that the Japanese took in their ‘lost decade,’ of running up huge government debts, of not stimulating growth and at the end of the decade, having this massive debt,” Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), told the Associated Press.

David Wyss, chief economist at Standard and Poor’s, agreed that the recovery is likely to be “very sluggish,” although he doesn’t believe the problems that Japan experienced will be as severe in the U.S. due to a growing and younger labor force. In addition, Japan’s crisis was fueled by corporations borrowing against property at much higher rates than the individuals did against their own homes in the United States.

And the U.S. national debt of $12 trillion is only half that of Japan’s.

In addition, taking a lesson from Japan’s playbook, the G-20 has warned that the U.S. and other governments should continue to keep stimulus measures in place until a full-blown recovery takes hold.

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