Monday, July 30, 2012

What Are the Dangers of Too Much Debt?

Interest payments on U.S. government debt are three times spending in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars already, and that is with the lowest interest rate we have seen since the 1960s. A rise in interest rates would increase interest payments dramatically. What can the U.S. government do today to prevent a crisis from happening when interest rates go up?

Funding Government by the Minute

At the rate the federal government spends, it runs out of money on July 31. What programs should be cut to balance the budget and fund the government for the remaining five months of the year? Cutting NASA might buy two days; cutting the Navy could buy fifteen. It seems that balancing the budget may require more than just cutting government programs. What should be done?

Why Not Print More Money?

If the government can print money, why doesn't it just print money and hand it out? Economics Prof. Antony Davies explains that understanding why money was invented can explain why it is not useful for the government to print money to give away. Increasing the amount of money available for goods and services will only increase prices: this is inflation. If everyone has twice as much money but everything costs twice as much as before, are people better off? Having government print money will not increase wealth.

Will Higher Tax Rates Balance the Budget?

As the U.S. debt and deficit grows, some politicians and economist have called for higher tax rates in order to balance the budget. The question becomes: when the government raises taxes, does it actually collect a larger portion of the US economy?

Professor Antony Davies examines 50 years of economic data and finds that regardless of tax rates, the percentage of GDP that the government collects has remained relatively constant. In other words, no matter how high government sets tax rates, the government gets about the same portion. According to Davies, if we're concerned about balancing the budget, we should worry less about raising tax revenue and more about growing the economy. The recipe for growth? Lower tax rates and a simplified tax code.

Does Government Have a Revenue or Spending Problem?

People say the government has a debt problem. Debt is caused by deficits, which is the difference between what the government collects in tax revenue and the amount of government spending. Every time the government runs a deficit, the government debt increases. So what's to blame: too much spending, or too little tax revenue? Economics professor Antony Davies examines the data and concludes that the root cause of the debt is too much government spending.

Will Taxing the Rich Fix the Deficit?

The government's budget deficit in 2009 was $1.5 trillion. Many have suggested raising taxes on the rich to cover the difference between what the government collected in revenue and what it spent. Is that a realistic solution? Economics professor Antony Davies uses data to demonstrate why taxing the rich will not be sufficient to make the budget deficit disappear. He says, "The budget deficit is so large that there simply aren't enough rich people to tax to raise enough to balance the budget." Instead, it's time to work on legitimate solutions, like cutting spending.

America, have you forgotten history?

Budget Hero