(Bloomberg) -- The US will eventually be hurt by its financial problems, with the debt limit doing nothing to resolve chronic issues facing the country, said Peter Orszag, who will become chief executive officer of advisory firm Lazard Ltd. later this year.
“We’ve known for a long time that there is a long-term fiscal imbalance facing the United States,” Orszag said Wednesday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “So far it has not caused acute crises, but, instead, it’s one of those termites-in-the-foundation type of issue where eventually it will catch up with you.”
Rising medical costs along with an aging population, which puts pressure on both health-care and retirement programs, are at the heart of the imbalance, Orszag said, adding that he doesn’t think the US debt ceiling helps address the issues.
“We keep taking this risk with our creditworthiness that is really unnecessary,” he said. “Even those who say somehow it helps impose fiscal discipline, I don’t think it does very much of that at all.”
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Orszag, who currently heads financial advisory at Lazard, will succeed CEO Ken Jacobs in October. The announcement last week came a month after the firm unveiled plans to cut its workforce by 10%. The investment bank’s shares have fallen 17% this year.
--With assistance from Sonali Basak, Alix Steel and Tom Mackenzie.
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