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October 31, 2004

Economists' Voice: Gale Orszag: My New Standard Short Reference on the Deficit

Gale and Orszag is very well written: it has become the standard thing I pass out (or point people to) when they ask me why the budget deficit is bad:

The Budget Outlook: Projections and Implications: by William G. Gale, Brookings Institution; Peter R. Orszag, Brookings Institution: Under reasonable projections, the unified budget deficits over the next decade will average 3.5 percent of GDP. Compared to a balanced budget, the unified budget deficits will reduce annual national income a decade hence by 1 to 2 percent (or roughly $1,500 to $3,000 per household per year, on average), and raise average long-term interest rates over the next decade by 80 to 120 basis points. Looking out beyond the next decade, the budget outlook grows steadily worse. Over the next 75 years, if the tax cuts are made permanent, this nation’s fiscal gap amounts to about 7 percent of GDP. The main drivers of this long-term fiscal gap are, in order, the spending growth associated with Medicare and Medicaid, the revenue losses from the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and increases in Social Security costs. The nation has never before experienced such large long-term fiscal imbalances. They will gradually impair economic performance and living standards, and carry with them the risk of a severe fiscal crisis.

SUGGESTED CITATION: William G. Gale and Peter R. Orszag (2004) "The Budget Outlook: Projections and Implications", The Economists' Voice: Vol. 1: No. 2, Article 6. http://www.bepress.com/ev/vol1/iss2/art6.

Posted by DeLong at October 31, 2004 01:53 PM