The Great Debate

Why left should seek a fiscal deal

November 8, 2012

“I am looking forward to reaching out,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday night after he had won reelection, “and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.”

The consequences of Obama’s debt

November 2, 2012

This essay was submitted through the Romney campaign as a response to Lawrence Summers’ most recent column, “This election, Obama is the wiser economic choice.”

The sham of Simpson-Bowles

October 24, 2012

Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson deserve some kind of medal for creating the widely held perception that their plan for reducing the deficit and debt is anything other than a bad proposal.

Britain’s austerity experiment is faltering

March 28, 2012

It was the Welsh sage Alan Watkins who remarked that a budget that looked good the day it was delivered to the British Parliament was sure to look terrible a week later, and vice versa. The avalanche of new information dumped by the Treasury is simply too much to grasp at a single sitting, and governments tend to bury bad news in a welter of statistics. And so it proved with finance minister George Osborne’s budget served up last week.

To bridge the deficit, collect some taxes

January 12, 2012

By David Callahan

The views expressed are his own.

At a time when the U.S. government needs every dollar of revenue it can get, alarm bells should be sounding in Washington about a new IRS study showing that the Treasury is losing a fortune to tax evasion.

Italy’s fundamentals aren’t worse than usual

November 10, 2011

By James Macdonald
The views expressed are his own.

The markets have come to the conclusion that Italy’s debts are unsustainable in the long term. They are therefore demanding a higher risk premium to compensate for the risk that they might not be repaid in full. So runs the conventional wisdom. However, the situation is not that simple.

from Edward Hadas:

What is the morality of debt?

October 26, 2011

Debt is a moral matter. While most economic activity is concerned with the “is” of how things are (investment, consumption and so forth), debts are always entwined with an “ought” – to repay. In discussing controversial debts--for example government borrowing in the euro zone and the U.S.--the moral question should be addressed directly: should these debts be paid off in full, or is some forgiveness justified?

Take advantage of today’s low costs

August 3, 2011

By Robert H. Frank
The opinions expressed are his own.

Reuters invited leading economists to reply to Lawrence Summers’ op-ed on his reaction to the debt ceiling deal. We will be publishing the responses here. Below is Franks’s reply. Here are responses from Laura Tyson, Benn Steil, Russ Roberts, Donald Boudreaux and James Pethokoukis as well.

Three reasons conservatives should oppose a balanced budget amendment

August 1, 2011

By James Ledbetter
The opinions expressed are his own.

One of the crucial lubricants allowing Congress to resolve the debt-ceiling friction was, apparently, the inclusion of a provision to vote on a balanced-budget amendment. Assuming this version of the deal passes, then at some time between September 30 and December 31 of this year, both houses of Congress will be required to vote on a  ‘‘joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States.’’