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The new budget outlook: policymakers respond to the surplus


  • Alan D. Viard


Economic events and policy changes have unexpectedly moved the federal budget into surplus. If current policies are maintained, surpluses are expected to continue for twenty years, although deficits are expected to return after 2020. Congress and President Clinton are considering proposals to reduce the projected surpluses through tax cuts or spending increases. In this article, Alan Viard describes the recent budget events and the new budget outlook. He analyzes the effects of the proposed tax cuts and spending increases, finding that they are likely to reduce national saving and lower future output. He concludes that the desirability of this outcome depends on value judgments about the needs and rights of current and future generations.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan D. Viard, 1999. "The new budget outlook: policymakers respond to the surplus," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q II, pages 2-15.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedder:y:1999:i:qii:p:2-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald Lee & Jonathan Skinner, 1999. "Will Aging Baby Boomers Bust the Federal Budget?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 117-140, Winter.
    2. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1998. "Administrative Costs in Public and Private Retirement Systems," NBER Chapters,in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 403-456 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 315-407.
    4. Maarten Allers & Jakob De Haan & Flip De Kam, 1998. "Using Survey Data To Test for Ricardian Equivalence," Public Finance Review, , vol. 26(6), pages 565-582, November.
    5. Campbell, John Y. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1991. "The response of consumption to income : A cross-country investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 723-756, May.
    6. Barclay, Michael J. & Pearson, Neil D. & Weisbach, Michael S., 1998. "Open-end mutual funds and capital-gains taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 3-43, July.
    7. Hayashi, Fumio & Altonji, Joseph & Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "Risk-Sharing between and within Families," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 261-294, March.
    8. Burtless, Gary, 1997. "Social Security's Long-Term Budget Outlook," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 399-412, September.
    9. Gruen, David W R, 1991. "What People Know and What Economists Think They Know: Surveys on Ricardian Equivalence," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(56), pages 1-9, June.
    10. Burtless, Gary, 1997. "Social Security's Long-Term Budget Outlook," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 399-412, September.
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    Budget ; Budget deficits;


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