|Description||"Debt and Taxes"
Data show that the US national debt has risen substantially in recent years. Most economists agree that growth in government debt should be curtailed and that eventual debt reduction is a good idea. But how urgent is the problem of government debt? The argument of this lecture has four parts. The first reviews data on debt and some basic concepts and definitions. The second explains how an economist looks at debt in general and government debt in particular. The third asks whether the US is near a debt "tipping point," a level of debt so high that debt reduction becomes very difficult if not impossible. The fourth considers the "slow-growth" tipping point suggested by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff and reviews the recent controversy surrounding the Reinhart-Rogoff findings.