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Nobody who has even a passing acquaintance with economics could fail to realise that Western governments are highly indebted. Current generations have been consuming at the expense of future generations. However, just how indebted are we? The government measures how much it has borrowed to meet past spending commitments, but it does not measure how much money it needs to meet all the future pensions and healthcare promises it has made to tomorrow s older generations. Furthermore, no funds have been set aside to provide for these costs. Governments are allowed to produce accounting information in such a cavalier fashion, using methods that would be illegal for private sector companies. Fortunately, though, scholars have been able to examine the detail of government policy and the financial commitments of future governments in order to determine just how indebted we are. This IEA publication brings such calculations to life by showing by how much spending will need to be cut and taxes raised in order to make the government s fiscal position sustainable. This work should be of interest to politicians, to students and teachers of economics and, indeed, all who are interested in public policy and the sustainability of Western economies.
Many appreciate that the federal government's finances are shaky. However, few realize how bad they really are. As we approach a time when entitlement outlays dominate federal spending, this book recommends shifting to a new, forward-looking method of analyzing our fiscal position.
Experts discuss fiscal reforms intended to address the U.S. debt problem, examining entitlements, federal budgetary processes, and individual and corporate income taxes. The United States and other advanced economies in the Eurozone and elsewhere face severe fiscal problems. The United States is on an unsustainable dynamic path; absent corrective fiscal policies, federal deficits and debts relative to gross domestic product will continue to increase dramatically. In this book, experts consider possible fiscal reforms aimed at addressing the debt problem, focusing on entitlement programs, budgetary issues and processes, and individual and corporate income tax reform. The contributors address such topics as the interaction of rising health care costs and the level of federal expenditures; alternative methods for evaluating the fiscal health and sustainability of Social Security; the effectiveness of budgetary constraints imposed on the states, including balanced budget amendments and debt ceilings; approaches to curtailing individual tax expenditures and methods for increasing the progressivity of the tax system; and the effects of traditional base-broadening, rate-reducing corporate income tax reforms. Contributors Henry J. Aaron, James Alm, Rosanne Altshuler, Daniel Baneman, Joe Barnes, Robert J. Carroll, Ruud A. de Mooij, John W. Diamond, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Jane G. Gravelle, Peter R. Hartley, Vivian Ho, John Kitchen, Edward D. Kleinbard, John Mutti, Thomas S. Neubig, Mark V. Pauly, Rudolph G. Penner, Andrew J. Rettenmaier, Shanna Rose, Joseph Rosenberg, Daniel Smith, Eric Toder, Alan D. Viard, Roberton Williams, George R. Zodrow
Many of us suspect that Social Security faces eventual bankruptcy. But the government projects its future finances using long outdated methods. Employing a more up-to-date approach, Jagadeesh Gokhale here argues that the program faces insolvency far sooner than previously thought.
To assess Social Security's fate more accurately under current and alternative policies, Gokhale constructs a detailed simulation of the forces shaping American demographics and the economy to project their future evolution. He then uses this simulation to analyze six prominent Social Security reform packages--two liberal, two centrist, and two conservative--to demonstrate how far they would restore the program's financial health and which population groups would be helped or hurt in the process.
Arguments over Social Security have raged for decades, but they have taken place in a relative informational vacuum; "Social Security" provides the necessary bedrock of analysis that will prove vital for anyone with a stake in this important debate.
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