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Deficit: Why Should I Care?, Second Edition

Book Description

At the turn of this century, the American national debt stood at just under $6 trillion and the deficit at a "mere" $86 billion. Today, the national debt has topped $15 trillion, and the yearly deficit for 2012 is projected at a whopping $1.2 trillion. This new, second edition of Deficits: Why Should I Care? updates all the statistics, charts, and forecasts, while adding a new chapter on how global economies now, for better or worse, affect the U.S. debt and the annual budget deficit. It also includes a new appendix detailing how the U.S. political parties view the debt issue.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department's Annual Report on the Public Debt, the debt is estimated to hit $19.6 trillion by 2015. The federal government has borrowed roughly 40 percent of its total budget for the last several years, a trend that could leave the U.S. in an economic crisis. Astronomical interest payments, a debt burden to your children and grandchildren, and an increased reliance on foreign creditors are just a few of the problems. Although the U.S. has experienced soaring unemployment, stagnant production, and a crippled housing market, foremost on many economists' minds are rising deficits and ballooning debt. Others feel fears of the national debt are overblown or pale in comparison to today's economic problems.

This clear, concise book will give you the need-to-know on the debt. You will learn:

  • How to calculate deficits and the national debt

  • The history of U.S debt and its recent unparalleled growth over the years

  • How and why the government borrows money

  • The economic arguments for, and against, accruing a debt

  • Could we become like Greece if we don't cut our deficit?

  • The impact of the debt on interest rates and inflation

  • The impact of the debt on the value of the dollar and U.S. economic power

  • This book also answers key questions: Can the government go bankrupt? Why have there seemingly been no repurcussions of the large debt to date and is that likely to change? When the interest on the debt becomes higher than the revenue of the government, what happens? And many more practical insights into the government debt controversy. Business professionals, parents, retirees, and students are all concerned about the debt. This quick read will provide an understanding of the ramifications of the rising debt and what the consequences may be.

    What you'll learn

  • Why the debt now could be a problem when people have been crying wolf about it for for the last 40 years

  • How the world economy affects the U.S. debt and deficit

  • What the government can do to reduce the debt and the implications—especially for such programs as Medicare and Social Security

  • The long-term implications of the debt

  • Methods and tactics for balancing the budget

  • When accruing a debt makes sense and when it does not

  • Action steps for monitoring the debt

  • Who this book is for

    Deficit: Why Should I Care? is written for the busy business professional, concerned parent, retired worker, or student. While academic and theoretical texts on the subject lack brevity, this book will help you understand the seriousness of the debt issue in a clear, concise format. This work has been condensed into eight need-to-know chapters, each containing the key points necessary for understanding this complex economic issue affecting the economic future of all Americans. Whether you are a businessperson concerned about the economy, a parent anxious about the debt burden of your children and grandchildren, a retiree fretful about programs like Social Security, or a student who needs additional information to supplement a textbook, this is the book for you. The appendix provides a website selection covering government agencies, economic sources, and academic sites to assist you in finding the most up-to-date information on the debt drama.

    Table of Contents

    1. Title Page
    2. Dedication
    3. Contents
    4. About the Author
    5. About the Technical Reviewer
    6. Acknowledgments
    7. Introduction
    8. Chapter 1. Crash Course on the National Debt
      1. Government-Provided Goods and Services
      2. Financial Management, Government Style
      3. Deficits and Business Cycles
    9. Chapter 2. A Huge Credit Card
      1. History of the Debt
      2. Who Owns the Debt?
      3. Marketable Securities
      4. Nonmarketable Securities: Savings Bonds
      5. Foreign Investors
      6. Interest Payments
      7. Summary
    10. Chapter 3. Primer on the Current Global Economy
      1. Our Interconnected World
      2. The Impact of Weakening Economies
      3. Potential Global Recession
      4. Trade Downturns
      5. World Financial Markets
      6. Economic Growth Is the Key
    11. Chapter 4. Deficit and Debt Projections
      1. Fiscal and Monetary Policy
      2. Macroeconomic Goals of Fiscal Policy
      3. Tools of Fiscal Policy
      4. History of Fiscal Policies
      5. U.S. Record Debt
      6. Summary
    12. Chapter 5. Do Deficits and the Debt Matter?
      1. Recent Deficit Issues
      2. Projected and Historical Trends of Debt
      3. Widespread Concern
    13. Chapter 6. Deficits Do Not Matter
      1. Public Goods Are a Priority
      2. Deficit Spending: A Useful Tool During a Crisis
      3. Reasonable Deficit-to-GDP Ratio
      4. Ricardian Equivalence Suggests Deficits Don’t Matter
      5. It Isn’t Necessary to Pay Down the Debt
      6. Treasuries Are a Savings Vehicle
      7. Treasuries Provide a Common Index
      8. Treasuries Are Essential to Monetary Policy
    14. Chapter 7. Deficits Do Matter
      1. Foreign Share Expands
      2. Potential Downgrading of U.S. Debt
      3. Global Crisis Illustrates Dangers of High Debt
      4. Exorbitant Interest
      5. Crowding Out
      6. Economic Panic
      7. Limited Flexibility
      8. Burden to Future Generations
      9. Promoting Fiscal Irresponsibility
      10. Summary
    15. Chapter 8. Get a Handle on the National Debt
      1. The Basic Formula to Curb Deficits
      2. Balance the Budget
      3. Eliminate Pork Projects
      4. Empower States
      5. Debt Ceiling a Useful Tool
      6. Reform Entitlement Programs
      7. Conclusions
    16. Appendix A. Voice Your Opinion on the Debt
      1. Make a Monetary Contribution
      2. Become an Educated Taxpayer
      3. Vote
      4. Contact Your Senator or Congressman
    17. Appendix B. Websites for Debt and Deficit Information
      1. Government Agencies
      2. Private Organizations
    18. Appendix C. Political Party Views of the Debt
      1. Political Parties’ Plans to Reduce the Debt and Deficit
      2. Philosophical Underpinnings
    19. Bibliography
    20. Index