Fiscal Imbalance: A Primer
32 Pages Posted: 27 May 2016
Date Written: December 8, 2015
The concept of fiscal imbalance is familiar to economists but less so to policymakers, politicians, and the public. Yet understanding this concept is essential to rational discussion of government financial health. This paper provides a primer on government fiscal imbalance.
The material is not new, and the presentation does not aim at those familiar with the topic. Instead, the paper reviews key principles and fundamental implications; it targets those who are interested in understanding the true state of government financial health but puzzled by apparently conflicting claims about whether the major economies are going bankrupt. This primer does not resolve those conflicts, but by explicating the concept of fiscal imbalance, and reviewing the relevant facts, the discussion provides a framework for evaluating the competing claims.
Keywords: deficit, debt, fiscal balance, medicare, social security, excess spending
JEL Classification: H6, H62, H68, H55, H5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation