Mapping the world's opinions

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Do deficits matter?

For decades, politicians and economists have condemned deficits as evil. Today, there is a lively debate about whether deficits matter and whether there are advantages to running them. Most notably Modern Monetary Theory encourages the government to run deficits in order to achieve its objectives of full employment and investment.

Structurally high deficits are bad

High deficits that are due to structural (as opposed to temporary cyclical deficits) are bad. They lead to higher inflation and the crowding out of private investment.

High deficts financed by central banks are the cause of high inflations and hyperinflation

All high inflation and hyperinflation episodes are caused by high deficits that are financed by money creation. Explore

High deficits impose burdens on future generations

The first issue is generational equity, or concern about unduly benefiting current generations at the expense of future generations. The second issue is what macroeconomic effects deficits generally have. At one time, they were lauded by Keynesians as the cure for recession or even significant unemployment, based on the claim that they increased current consumer spending and thereby stimulated the economy. Today, the same causal claim leads many to condemn deficits as a cause of the low rate of national saving. The third issue concerns their effects on the size of the national government. Some supporters of limited government identify deficit spending as a major cause of undesirable government growth, and therefore advocate the adoption of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Source: Explore

Deficits are not bad as governments that issue their currency can't go bust

The government should use fiscal policy to achieve full employment, creating new money to fund government purchase. Deficits are not a problem, only inflation is. If inflation becomes a problem, the government can raise taxes and issue bonds to withdraw cash from the economy.

Governments that issue their own currency are not constrained by borrowing

As long as central banks can buy government bonds with newly created money, a government cannot default. Therefore deficits and debt are not important. Inflation might be a problem, but not deficits, and inflation can be countered with higher taxes. Explore

Moderate deficits are good, very high deficits lead to problems

Rather than a binary disagreement that deficits are good or bad, it is reasonable to conclude that small deficits are irrelevant to the broad economy, and only high deficits financed by central bank accommodation create inflation

Debt, broadly speaking, is money we owe to ourselves

Most debt that governments take on is owed to its own citizens. Debt is a liability, but every liability is someone else's asset. Debt involves a transfer from those who pay taxes to those who own bonds and the money stays in the economy. Explore
This page was last edited on Thursday, 27 Feb 2020 at 14:42 UTC