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Restoring Fiscal Sustainability in the United States

Listed author(s):
  • Patrick Lenain
  • Robert P. Hagemann


  • David Carey


The United States faces challenging budgetary prospects, as do most other OECD countries. The federal budget deficit widened considerably during the recession, reaching about 10% of GDP in both 2009 and 2010, reflecting the operation of automatic stabilizers and the policy response to the crisis. Consequently, public debt now stands at its highest level since the early–1950s. The Administration has proposed the objective of stabilising the debt-GDP ratio by 2015, which is realistic in scope and ambition, though it requires fiscal tightening measures which are yet to be identified. In the next decade, the effects of population ageing on entitlement spending will be increasingly felt and the fiscal situation could deteriorate significantly in the absence of structural reforms of pension and, especially, health-care programmes. États-Unis: Rétablir la stabilité budgétaire Comme la quasi-totalité des autres pays de l'OCDE, les États-Unis sont confrontés à des perspectives budgétaires difficiles. Le déficit du budget fédéral s'est considérablement creusé au cours de la récession, pour atteindre environ 10 % du PIB tant en 2009 qu'en 2010, du fait du jeu des stabilisateurs automatiques et des mesures prises par les pouvoirs publics face à la crise. En conséquence, la dette publique s'établit maintenant à son plus haut niveau depuis le début des années 1950. Le gouvernement a proposé de viser une stabilisation du ratio dette/PIB d'ici à 2015, ce qui représente un objectif ambitieux mais réaliste, même si sa concrétisation passe par un durcissement de la politique budgétaire dont les modalités restent à préciser. Au cours des dix prochaines années, le vieillissement de la population fera de plus en plus sentir ses effets sur les dépenses correspondant à des droits à prestations, et la situation budgétaire risque de se dégrader nettement en l'absence de réformes structurelles du système de retraite et, surtout, du système de santé. La récente réforme du système de santé vise à freiner cette croissance des dépenses. La réforme sera plus efficace en réalisant des économies budgétaires à condition que les futures administrations et congrès ne remplacent pas les dispositions de la présente loi.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 806.

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Date of creation: 25 Oct 2010
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:806-en
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