30 Pump Primer: • List the three options for Expansionary Fiscal Policy that should increase AD and reverse the recession, but will cause the budget balance to decrease. • List the three options for Contractionary Fiscal Policy that should decrease AD and reverse the inflation, but will cause the budget balance to increase.
Module Long-run Implications of Fiscal Policy: Deficits and the Public Debt 30 • KRUGMAN'S • MACROECONOMICS for AP* Margaret Ray and David Anderson
Biblical Integration: • Christians are called to be good stewards of the "things" given unto us. A budget is a good way to ensure you are spending and saving your money wisely. How we spend and save our money is a testimony to others, so we need to make sure it is done wisely. (Eph.5:15; 1 Tim 6: 15- 17)
What you will learnin thisModule: • Why governments calculate the cyclically adjusted budget balance • Why a large public debt may be a cause for concern • Why implicit liabilities of the government are also a cause for concern
The Budget Balance • We hear a lot about the federal, or your state, government’s attempts to balance a budget. If there is a surplus, this is usually considered to be a good outcome. If there is a deficit, this is cause for concern. • Before we decide whether something normatively “good” or “bad”, let’s analyze the particulars. • ?
The Budget Balance as a Measure of Fiscal Policy • The budget balance is the difference between the government’s tax revenue and its spending, both on goods and services and on government transfers, in a given year. • That is, the budget balance—savings by government—is defined by: SGovernment= T −G −TR • Where Tis the value of tax revenues, Gis government purchases of goods and services, and TRis the value of government transfers.
The Budget Balance as a Measure of Fiscal Policy • A budget surplus is a positive budget balance and a budget deficit is a negative budget balance. • How does this relate to fiscal policy discussed in previous modules?
The Budget Balance as a Measure of Fiscal Policy Case 1: Recessionary Gap Expansionary fiscal policy is in order (3 options): • Cut taxes. • Increase transfers. • Increase government spending. • These three policies should increaseADand reverse the recession, but will cause the budget balance to decrease. This means either a smaller surplus or a bigger deficit.
The Budget Balance as a Measure of Fiscal Policy Case 2: Inflationary Gap. Contractionary fiscal policy is in order (3 options): • Increase taxes. • Decrease transfers. • Decrease government spending. • These three policies should decreaseADand reverse the inflation, but will cause the budget balance to increase. This means either a bigger surplus or a smaller deficit.
The Budget Balance as a Measure of Fiscal Policy But, changes in the budget balance don’t always perfectly reflect changes to fiscal policy. Two important reasons why it is more complicated. • Two different changes in fiscal policy that have equal-size effects on the budget balance may have quite unequal effects on the economy. .
The Budget Balance as a Measure of Fiscal Policy Example: If government spending increases by $1000, it will have a larger impact on real GDP than a tax decrease of $1000. The budget balance would change by $1000 in each case, but the impacts would be different. • Often, changes in the budget balance are themselves the result, not the cause, of fluctuations in the economy.
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance • Strong relationship between budget balance and business cycle
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance • Cyclically adjusted budget balance
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance The budget deficit almost always rises when the unemployment rate rises and falls when the unemployment rate falls. Why? Is it a deliberate result of expansionary fiscal policy? Not necessarily. Recall the automaticstabilizers discussed in earlier modules. These are programs built into our tax and transfer system that work to reduce the swings of the business cycle.
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance Several things happen to the budget balance when the economy heads into a recession. • Tax revenues decline because incomes and profits are declining. • Transfer payments, like welfare assistance, begin to rise as more people find themselves unemployed and struggling. These changes happen without any deliberate fiscal policy changes and the budget balance declines.
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance On the other hand, Several things happen to the budget balance when the economy is heading into an inflationary period. • Tax revenues rise because incomes and profits are rising. • Transfer payments, like welfare assistance, begin to fall as fewer people find themselves unemployed and struggling. These changes happen without any deliberate fiscal policy changes and the budget balance rises.
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance What we need is a way to separate out two effects on the budget balance: • The impact due to deliberate changes in fiscalpolicy. • The impact due to the current state of the businesscycle. To do this many governments produce an estimate of what the budget balance would be
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance The cyclically adjusted budget balance is an estimate of what the budget balance would be, if there was neither a recessionary nor an inflationary gap,
The Business Cycle and the Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance • It takes into account the extra tax revenue the government would collect and the transfers it would save if a recessionary gap were eliminated—or the revenue the government would lose and the extra transfers it would make if an inflationary gap were eliminated. • If we adjust for the effects of the business cycle, and the government is still running a deficit, then we might come to the conclusion that their fiscal policy decisions are not sustainable over the long run.
Should the Budget Be Balanced? • Would it be a good idea to require a balanced budget annually? Most economists don’t think so. • What if: the economy is in a recessionary gap. • • Falling tax revenue and rising transfer payments push the budget toward deficit. • • How would we balance this deficit? • We would need to increase taxes or decrease government spending. • • How would that impact the recession? It would worsen it!
Should the Budget Be Balanced? • What if: the economy is in an inflationary gap. • • Rising tax revenue and falling transfer payments push the budget toward surplus. • • How would we balance this surplus? • We would need to decrease taxes or increase government spending. • • How would this impact the inflationary period? It would worsen it.
Should the Budget Be Balanced? Most economists believe that the government should only balance its budget on average—that it should be allowed to run deficits in bad years, offset by surpluses in good years. Political pressures (who doesn’t like tax cuts?) make this difficult. So are there serious downsides to an unbalanced budget.
Deficits, Surpluses, and Debt Many politicians, voters, and cable news commentators seem to be worried about the growing debt in the U.S. economy. Let’s look at how economists evaluate this situation. When a government spends more than the tax revenue it receives—when it runs a budget deficit—it almost always borrows the extra funds. Governments that run persistent budget deficits end up with substantial debts.
Deficits, Surpluses, and Debt The national debt is the accumulation of all past deficits, minus all past surpluses. Public debt: government debt held by individuals and institutions outside the government. US federal government’s public debt was “only” $5.8 trillion, or 40% of GDP at the end of the 2008 fiscal year. $5,800,000,000,000 That’s a lot of zeroes! Is this a big deal?
Problems Posed by Rising Government Debt Two reasons to be concerned when a government runs persistent budget deficits. 1. When the government borrows funds in the financial markets, it is competing with firms that plan to borrow funds for investment spending. As a result, the government’s borrowing may “crowd-out” private investment spending, increasing interest rates and reducing the economy’s long-run rate of growth.
Problems Posed by Rising Government Debt 2. Today’s deficits, by increasing the government’s debt, place financial pressure on future budgets. Interest must be paid in the future, and this can take dollars away from other future obligations like education, the military, space exploration, etc.
Problems Posed by Rising Government Debt So out into the future, how can a government pay off the debt? • Borrowing to pay off your debt isn’t really an option. That’s like getting a new credit card to pay off the old credit card. Eventually, that is the road to personal bankruptcy. Nations have essentially declared bankruptcy in the past. It’s not pretty.
Problems Posed by Rising Government Debt • Increase taxes or cut spending. Probably the best solution, but isn’t very politically successful, especially when a nation has become accustomed to low taxes. • Printing money. Basically this means the Fed creates new money to pay the debts of the Treasury. This proves to be a fast track to serious inflation.
Deficits and Debt in Practice To assess the ability of governments to pay their debt, we often use the debt–GDP ratio, the government’s debt as a percentage of GDP. We use this measure, rather than simply looking at the size of the debt, because GDP, which measures the size of the economy as a whole, is a good indicator of the potential taxes the government can collect.
Deficits and Debt in Practice If the government’s debt grows more slowly than GDP, the burden of paying that debt is actually falling compared with the government’s potential tax revenue.
Deficits and Debt in Practice • Debt-GDP Ratio
Implicit Liabilities Implicit liabilities are spending promises made by governments that are effectively a debt despite the fact that they are not included in the usual debt statistics. In the U.S., promises to honor Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid amount to 40% of federal spending. Big deal? Maybe, because the American population is aging and these commitments will only get larger.