Mark Faber: social obligations will lead Western states to default

The United States’ top credit rating is at risk, with its triple 'A' status warned it may be downgraded if the economy grows at a slower pace than expected, says ratings agency Moody's.

The US is predicted to have a $1.5 trillion deficit in 2010, which could be a real problem for the country’s seemingly insatiable appetite for borrowing. Outspoken investor and writer Marc Faber doesn’t give America much time before it goes bust.

“Maximum within 10 years time more than 35% of tax revenues will have to be used to pay the interest on the government debt and then you are in trouble – because then there will be not enough money out of the budget to pay for other stuff. I’m convinced the US government will go bankrupt, but not tomorrow. And before they go bankrupt, they’ll print money, and then you get high inflation rates, you have a depression and eventually they’ll go to war.”

The investment guru also says the cracks in the system are starting to spread, naming other countries that could follow suit.

“Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain… I think, eventually, they will all default – because if one defaults, then the next would say why should we pay and will also default. The obligations of Western governments are far too high; they won’t be able to pay.”

Faber, author of “Gloom Boom and Doom Report”, suggests the governments raise the retirement age to 70 years old and cut on social spending, but he believes even that won't be enough.