Leaders around the world have compared their efforts to bring the novel coronavirus under control to fighting a war. The similarities may not end when the battle to tame the virus has been won, and the debts accumulated by governments have to be repaid.

In the U.S. and elsewhere, government debt is set to soar this year, reflecting lower tax revenue and the cost of financial aid to businesses and households during lockdowns. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that U.S. government debt will reach 131% of annual economic…

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