Possible Macroeconomic Consequences of Large Future Federal Government Deficits

25 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2009 Last revised: 22 Feb 2010

See all articles by Ray C. Fair

Ray C. Fair

Yale University - Cowles Foundation; Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 19, 2010

Abstract

This paper uses a multicountry macroeconometric model to analyze possible macroeconomic consequences of large future U.S. federal government deficits. The analysis has the advantage of accounting for the endogeneity of the deficit. In the baseline run, which assumes no large tax increases or spending cuts and no bad dollar and stock market shocks, the debt/GDP ratio rises substantially through 2020. The estimates from this run are in line with other estimates. Various experiments off the baseline run are then done. If the dollar depreciates, inflation increases but the effect on the debt/GDP ratio is modest. It does not appear that the United States can inflate its way out of its debt problem. If U.S. stock prices fall, this makes matters worse since output is lower because of a negative wealth effect. Personal tax increases or transfer payment decreases of three percent of nominal GDP solve the debt problem, at a cost of a real output loss of about 1.6 percent over the next decade. The Fed's ability to offset these losses is modest according to the model. Introducing a national sales tax is more contractionary than is increasing personal income taxes or decreasing transfer payments.

Keywords: Federal deficit, Federal debt

JEL Classification: E17

Suggested Citation

Fair, Ray C., Possible Macroeconomic Consequences of Large Future Federal Government Deficits (February 19, 2010). Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1727. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1479663 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1479663

Ray C. Fair (Contact Author)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States
203-432-3715 (Phone)
203-432-6167 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://fairmodel.econ.yale.edu

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance ( email )

Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
203-432-3715 (Phone)
203-432-6167 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://fairmodel.econ.yale.edu

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