Focus on Budget and Debt

Focus on Budget and Debt

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In a November 3 commentary, Princeton historian Harold James defended fiscal consolidation during the Great Depression. He says fixed exchange rates were much more to blame for the economy’s problems.

On November 1, the Brookings Institution published new data on debt-to-GDP ratios in countries worldwide.

In an October 31 commentary, London School of Economics economist Peter Boone and MIT economist Simon Johnson were highly critical of efforts in Britain, France and the U.S. to cut public debts while essentially ignoring the run-up of private debt in the banking system, which they say is at the core of the economic crisis.

In an October 29 post, New York University law professor Daniel Shaviro predicted that the next budget crisis will be more severe than those of the 1980s and 1990s because the Republicans have lost all sense of responsibility.

An October 28 study from the Center for American Progress warned about the consequences of Republican plans to shut down the government and prevent an increase in the debt limit.

Also on October 28, the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative group, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a liberal organization, announced a joint proposal that would cut federal spending by $600 billion by 2015

An October 25 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research urges policymakers not to focus too much on either the need for short-run fiscal stimulus or long-term fiscal consolidation. Both are necessary, it says.

On October 20, the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a study that is highly critical the argument that fiscal consolidation is expansionary. It finds that in all the cases where this appeared to be the case, economic conditions were much different than they are today.

In an October 19 commentary, New America Foundation fellow Michael Lind was highly critical of a budget proposal published by Esquire magazine, which claimed to balance the budget by 2020.

The September issue of the National Tax Journal has an article by Syracuse University economist Len Burman on the possible macroeconomic effects of a U.S. debt default.

I last posted items on this topic on October 20.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here . Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.