skip to Main Content

Fiscal insanity – cutting the deficit only to get a larger one

Being a researcher is interesting and frustrating. But it almost always takes one on a ride that is unpredictable, which is part of the fun. Sometimes, you hit a dead-end (often = frustrating). Other times, you end up somewhere that you never planned but which is instructive in itself (= interesting). Yesterday, my blog was about financial market criminals that seem to escape prosecution. The insulation from prosecution of white collar criminals is not confined to the financial markets. Today, the basic message is that if a nation engenders growth the budget deficit will likely fall and the benefits of the growth will be higher employment, higher national income and improved material living standards. The opposite is the case when a nation contracts. The irony is that the nation will still probably have a budget deficit, but in this case it will be accompanied by stagnation. The first deficit is good and virtuous the second bad and irresponsible (from the perspective of the government fiscal policy stance). So even if you are obsessed with reducing deficits, the best way is to engender growth. The dumbest thing a government can do if it wants a lower deficit is to impose fiscal austerity. There are a lot of dumb governments out there. The problem is they are aided and abetted by criminal types who know full well it is dumb to cut net public spending but pressure governments to do so as long as the space for spending on them expands.

Read More
Back To Top