Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Brian Romanchuk — Let's Talk About Debt, Baby

Gerard MacDonell wrote "The debt debate is relevant now" a couple of weeks ago. In it, he argues that debt sustainability in the United States is a relevant issue now, not an academic issue a couple of decades out. He realises that economists in the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) school will disagree, and he explains why he disagrees with the MMT view. I am in the MMT camp, and I suspect that I do not violently disagree with Gerard's view on the current state of the cycle. I would side-step his concerns about "fiscal sustainability," and instead argue a slightly-modified version of his argument: fiscal policy is relevant now (and it always is). However, political economy matters. That is, I do not think we can discuss fiscal policy in the dry technocratic terms our elites prefer to use; we need to accept that fiscal policy is inherently political. "Debt sustainability" is best labelled "political sustainability of debt." Given the drift in the Debt Ceiling debate, "(political) sustainability" is an issue that may hit in a matter of months....
Bond Economics
Let's Talk About Debt, Baby
Brian Romanchuk

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