March 21, 2017

30. Government debt, when does it become a problem? (preview)

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In the seventies US government debt was less than 40 percent of GDP. Now, it’s over 100 percent. And the US is still to pass a change to the debt ceiling, which inhibits the government’s ability to spend more money. In this edition of the Debunking Economics podcast, Phil Dobbie asks Professor Steve Keen when government debt becomes a significant issue. Conventional economics suggests too much spending can raise inflation, which reduces the attractiveness of government bonds, making it more difficult to raise money. And what about a reduction in a country’s credit rating? Steve suggests we think in too linear fashion on the issue. But there is a simple fix if the probem ever gets insurmountable.

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