Fiscal Policy

The U.S. federal government budget has run a deficit–it has spent more than it collected in revenues–every year but five over the past five decades. Under a deficit, the federal government needs to borrow in order to pay for government programs. The national debt is the accumulation of this borrowing, together with the associated interest owed to investors; it stood at over $31 trillion as of October, 2022.

The decisions governments make concerning taxation, borrowing, and spending–and the consequences of these policies for government deficits and debt–have profound and wide-ranging effects. They impact incentives and economic performance; growth; social welfare; and financial stability, among others. Our memos and podcasts address concerns about debt; the efficacy and distributional effects of tax policies and the social safety net; demographic implications for government finances; tax evasion; and state and local finance; among other topics.