Reading Through the Rhetoric of Fiscal Policy

Originally published by: Wells FargoAugust 1, 2012

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Americans will head to the polls on Nov. 6 to elect the President of the United States, 33 U.S. Senators and the entire House of Representatives. Yet, it will be the differing proposals addressing the long-term budget deficit problem that will undoubtedly determine the winner among these candidates for these offices. In a series of three special reports, we will focus on the fiscal situation of the U.S. government. We will not be evaluating policy proposals in these reports, but rather, we will be presenting data on various aspects of the government’s financial accounts. The objective of these reports is to provide a primer on the U.S. fiscal situation that readers can use to evaluate campaign rhetoric about the subject.

In this, the first report of the series, we focus on the deficit and outstanding debt of the U.S. government. We put today’s deficit and debt in historical perspective, as well we also discuss long-term deficit and debt projections that have been undertaken by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In addition, we analyze various debt stabilization scenarios. Arithmetically, the deficit is simply the excess of spending over revenue. Therefore, in our second report, which will be released shortly, we will provide more detail on the spending side of the government’s accounts. Our third report will focus on the revenue side.

Click on the pdf link below to view the full report.

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