October 2010, Dean Baker

Recently governments, economists, and international financial institutions have been debating the merits of further fiscal stimulus to combat the Great Recession versus fiscal austerity or “adjustment” – that is, higher taxes and/or lower government spending – to combat budget deficits. Some supporters of austerity have gone as far as arguing that fiscal adjustment could restore economic growth. These analyses are being touted to oppose increased stimulus to boost the economy. This paper examines the arguments for austerity and demonstrates that current economic conditions in the United States do not support the case for fiscal adjustment.

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