Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 3 No. 2 (Spring 1989)


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Budget Deficits: Rhetoric and Reality

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Eisner, Robert. 1989. "Budget Deficits: Rhetoric and Reality." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 3(2): 73-93.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.3.2.73


Whatever the real or imagined ills of the economy, the news media, most politicians and a fair proportion of the economics profession are quick to point to the culprit: "the budget deficit." No matter that few appear to know or care precisely what deficit they are talking about or how it is measured. No matter that few bother to explain in terms of a relevant model just how government deficits may be expected to impact the economy. No matter that few offer any empirical data to sustain their judgments. I believe there are serious problems with our fiscal policy. These relate to fundamental national priorities and the provision of public goods, now and for the future. But the current size of the federal deficit is not "our number one economic problem," if indeed it is a problem at all.

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Eisner, Robert (Unlisted)

JEL Classifications

322: National Government Budgeting and Deficits
023: Macroeconomic Theory--General
122: Economic Studies of Developed Countries--North American Countries


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