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.
|Date of creation:||Jul 1993|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
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.:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979.
"Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows,"
NBER Working Papers
0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- B. Douglas Bernheim, 1988.
"Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
2330, 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.
- Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1990. "Suggestions for a New Set of Fiscal Indicators," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 79, OECD Publishing.
- Barro, Robert J., 1974.
"Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?,"
3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Chamley, Christophe & Polemarchakis, Herakles, 1984. "Assets, General Equilibrium and the Neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 129-38, January.
- 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.
- Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-74, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:791. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.