It's March 2026, and the President addresses the nation to announce draconian spending cuts. "To put it most simply, the bond market no longer trusts us," says the President.
Using a simple literary device -- putting readers in the middle of the financial crisis of 2026 -- Mankiw shows us what will happen if the US fails to get its debt under control.
"If only we had faced up to this problem a generation ago," the make-believe President tells the nation. "Americans would have come to rely less on government and more on themselves, and so would be better prepared today."