Tag Archives: fiscal affairs

Thanks To “Tax Notes”

By Simon Johnson

In my post this morning on dynamic scoring and how to turn the United States into something closer to Greece, I requested that the publication Tax Notes bring an article by John Buckley out from behind their paywall (“Dynamic Scoring: Will S&P Have Company?,” published February 28, 2012.)

The publishers have now done so, for which I would like to thank them – this is a public service that is greatly appreciated.  I don’t know how long the article will remain in the open access part of their website, so I strongly advise anyone who cares about the fiscal future of this country to read it now (and tell your friends).

“Dynamic scoring” of U.S. budget proposals would be a disaster. Continue reading

When Did Republicans Become Fiscally Irresponsible?

By Simon Johnson, co-author of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, The National Debt, and Why It Matters To You, available April 3rd

The United States has a great deal of public debt outstanding – and a future trajectory that is sobering (see this recent presentation by Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office). Yet the four remaining contenders for the Republican nomination are competing for primary votes, in part, with proposals that would – under realistic assumptions – worsen the budget deficit and further increase the dangers associated with excessive federal government debt.

Politicians of all stripes and in almost all countries claim to be “fiscally responsible.” You always need to strip away the rhetoric and look at exactly what they are proposing.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget does this for the Republican presidential contenders. I recommend making the comparison using what the committee calls its “high debt” scenario. This is the toughest and most realistic of their projections – again, a good and fair rule of thumb to use for assessing politicians everywhere.

Under this scenario, Newt Gingrich’s proposals would increase net federal government debt held by the private sector to close to 130 percent of gross domestic product by 2021, from around 75 percent of G.D.P. this year. Continue reading