Public Debt in the USA: How Much, How Bad and Who Pays?
In terms of the ratio of its public debt and public deficit to GDP the United States lies in the middle of the pack of industrial countries. The period since 1980 is the only peacetime period outside the Great Depression to see a sustained increase in the debt-GDP ratio. The budgetary retrenchment planned by the Clinton administration is likely to prove insufficient to achieve a sustainable path, although the remaining permanent primary (non-interest) gap is small: between 0.1% and 1.0% of GDP. The maximal amount of seigniorage revenue that can be extracted at a constant rate of inflation is not far from the recent historical value of less that 0.5% of GDP. Subtracting net public sector investment from the conventional budget deficit is likely to overstate the government revenue producing potential of public sector investment. Public debt matters when markets are incomplete and/or lump-sum taxes are restricted. Future interest payments associated with the public debt are not equivalent to currently expected future transfer payments. Even ignoring the distortionary character of most real-world taxes and transfers, and holding constant the government's exhaustive spending programme, the `generational accounts' do not therefore constitute sufficient statistic for estimating the effect on aggregate consumption of the government's tax-transfer programme. Solving the immediate budgetary problems would still leave the much more serious macroeconomic problems of an undersized US Federal government sector and an inadequate US national saving rate.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|Date of creation:||Jul 1993|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anand, Ritu & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1989. "Inflation and the Financing of Government Expenditure: An Introductory Analysis with an Application to Turkey," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 17-38, January.
- Barro, Robert J, 1974.
"Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
- Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "From Deficit Delusion to the Fiscal Balance Rule: Looking for an Economically Meaningful Way to Assess Fiscal Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 9-30 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Laurence Kotlikoff, 1993. "From deficit delusion to the Fiscal Balance Rule: Looking for an economically meaningful way to assess fiscal policy," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 17-41, December.
- Laurence Kotlikoff, 1993. "From deficit delusion to the Fiscal Balance Rule: Looking for an economically meaningful way to assess fiscal policy," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 17-41, December.
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1989. "From Deficit Delusion to the Fiscal Balance Rule: Looking For an Economically Meaningful Way to Assess Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 2841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 263-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Buiter, W.H., 1988. "Some Thoughts On The Role Of Fiscal Policy In Stabilisation And Structural Adjustment In Developing Countries," Papers 312, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
- Buiter, Willem H., 1988. "Some Thoughts on the Role of Fiscal Policy in Stabilization and Structural Adjustment in Developing Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 260, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Willem H. Buiter, 1988. "Some Thoughts on the Role of Fiscal Policy in Stabilisation and Structural Adjustment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 2603, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
- Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christophe Chamley & Herakles Polemarchakis, 1984. "Assets, General Equilibrium and the Neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 129-138.
- CHAMLEY, Christophe & POLEMARCHAKIS, Herakles, "undated". "Assets, general equilibrium and the neutrality of money," CORE Discussion Papers RP 554, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-274, June.
- Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1990. "Suggestions for a New Set of Fiscal Indicators," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 79, OECD Publishing.
- Buiter, Willem H. & Corsetti, Giancarlo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "`Excessive Deficits': Sense and Nonsense in the Treaty of Maastricht," CEPR Discussion Papers 750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Buiter, W.H. & Corsetti, G. & Roubini, N., 1992. "Excessive Deficits: Sense and Nonsence in the Treaty of Maastricht," Papers 674, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
- Jeffrey A. Frankel & Michael P. Dooley & Donald Mathieson, 1986. "International Capital Mobility in Developing Countries vs. Industrial Countries: What do Saving-Investment Correlations Tell Us?," NBER Working Papers 2043, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)