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Home > Catalog > Taxes, Spending, and the U.S. Government's March towards Bankruptcy
Taxes, Spending, and the U.S. Government's March towards Bankruptcy
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Details

  • Page extent: 262 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.39 kg
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Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521689588 | ISBN-10: 0521689589)

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$39.99 (P)

What's in a word? Plenty, when it's a word such as “taxes,” “spending,” or “deficits” that pervades Washington political debate despite lacking coherent economic content. The United States is moving toward a possible catastrophic fiscal collapse. The country may not get there, but the risk is unmistakable and growing. The “fiscal language” of taxes, spending, and deficits has played a huge and underappreciated role in the decisions that have pushed the nation in this dangerous direction. This book proposes a better fiscal language for U.S. budgetary policy, rooted in economic fundamentals such as wealth distribution and resource allocation in lieu of “taxes” and “spending” and in the use of multiple measures (such as the fiscal gap and generational accounting) to replace misguided reliance on annual budget deficits.

Contents

Part I. Labels and Consequences: The Failure of our Fiscal Language: 1. Fiscal language and the fiscal crisis; 2. Taxes, spending, and the size of government; 3. Fun and games with budget deficits; Part II. The Why and How of Long-Term Budgeting: 4. What are we talking about when we talk about budget deficits?; 5. Long-term measures in lieu of the budget deficit; 6. Fiscal gap politics; Part III. Labels and Policies across Budget Categories: 7. Benign fictions? Describing social security and Medicare; 8. Tax expenditures; 9. Welfare, cash grants, and marginal rates; Part IV. Conclusion: 10. Some modest proposals.

Reviews

“The words “fiscal policy” normally provoke only yawns from educated readers. But any indifference to the ticking time bombs that threaten the financial soundness of the modern social welfare state should be rudely interrupted by Daniel Shaviro's lucid and disturbing account of our long-term problem. With devastating accuracy he exposes the financial timidity and accounting double-talk that infects members of both political parties and makes a reasoned plea for corrective action—before it is too late.” -- Richard Epstein, University of Chicago

“Daniel Shaviro has performed an important public service by showing how our thinking about the federal budget has not kept pace with advances in economic analysis. Although we are now in the age of the Internet, we are still using horse-and-buggy budgetary terms and presentations. The result is that both policymakers and the public are misinformed and ill-informed about the looming fiscal crisis when the baby boomers retire. When that day comes, it is essential that everyone has a better understanding of the nature of the budgetary problem and options for dealing with it. "Taxes, Spending, and the U.S. Government's March Toward Bankruptcy" is a big step in providing that understanding.” --Bruce Bartlett, Nationally syndicated columnist

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