Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: New Budget Measures for New Budget Priorities
Jagadeesh Gokhale, Kent A. SmettersISBN: 0844771678;
Many appreciate that the federal government's finances are shaky. However, few realize how really bad they are because most evaluations are based on what happened in the past--not what is likely to happen in the future. Although we are accustomed to hearing that today's federal debt held by the public amounts to $3.5 trillion, the important--but often overlooked--question concerns how much debt we will incur going forward. As we approach a time when entitlement outlays will dominate federal spending, Jagadeesh Gokhale and Kent Smetters recommend shifting to a new, forward-looking method of analyzing our fiscal position. Combining outstanding debt with future revenue shortfalls, they calculate the United States' "Fiscal Imbalance"--the amount of money that the federal government must have in hand today to sustain current tax and spending policies indefinitely--at a heart-stopping $44.2 trillion, considerably outstripping debt currently held by the public. Although policymakers...
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