IMF: The Fiscal Situation in Advanced Economies

The IMF has released three major studies on the fiscal situation in advanced economies.

The summary is here, while the papers are available at:

Post-Keynesian Fiscal Policy

Jeff Sachs writes on fiscal policy in the FT: you can read the article here.

A Frugal Policy is the Better Solution

Jeffrey Sachs joins forces with George Osborne to make the case for a frugal fiscal policy in this FT article.

Deficits and Discounting

It is good to see the fiscal policy debate ramping up in advance of the December budget. One aspect of the debate that has received a good deal of attention – not least from the Minister for Finance himself – is the problem of compounding debt service costs. This concern is understandable given the scary arithmetic involved. But it is not something usually emphasised by economists and I think is distorting the debate.

An Bord Snip Nua report

The two volumes can be found here: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

An initial glance through suggests that it’s all meat and little padding. It will be for others to frame the wider implications of what is being proposed.

There can be no doubt that the decisions that will be taken on public spending in the coming months will shape our society for a long time to come. Let the debate begin. And let’s get the balance of analysis and polemic right!

Update: OK, enough is enough. The volume of disparate comments — over a hundred now on this strand — tells me that some specialization is needed here, so I am opening five new strands to facilitate a more coherent discussion of sub-issues.

One strand, then, on each on the three biggest areas by spend (Social Welfare, Health, and Education) one on specific issues in the remainder and one on the strategic and structural aspects.

No doubt some contributors will also be drafting substantive posts on particular aspects, and on the overall implications of the report and reaction to it.