James M. Buchanan and the Corrupting Quality of Public Indebtedness
34 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2018
Date Written: December 14, 2018
This paper explains that James Buchanan’s theory of public debt entailed more than the shifting of cost forward in time from the current generation of taxpayers to future generations of taxpayers. The possibility of such shifting is dubious, for public debt really entails a shifting of cost among a current set of taxpayers. Beyond this cost shifting, public debt engenders a corruption of the meaning of contract through elevating public law to a position of superiority to the institutional processes of private law. In contrast, genuine liberal governance requires public ordering to proceed concordantly with private ordering.
Keywords: James M. Buchanan; public debt; budgetary process; macro policy as shell game; Ricardian equivalence; action level vs. system level; private ordering; public ordering
JEL Classification: D72, D78, E62, H61, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation