rogoff248_ Jemal CountessGetty Images for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation_debt Jemal Countess/Getty Images for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation

The End of Magical Debt Thinking

Until recently, any suggestion of fiscal prudence was quickly dismissed as “austerity” by economists on the left. But with higher interest rates fast becoming the new normal, the idea that any economic problem can be solved with more government borrowing has become untenable.

CAMBRIDGE – For over a decade, numerous economists – primarily but not exclusively on the left – have argued that the potential benefits of using debt to finance government spending far outweigh any associated costs. The notion that advanced economies could suffer from debt overhang was widely dismissed, and dissenting voices were often ridiculed. Even the International Monetary Fund, traditionally a stalwart advocate of fiscal prudence, began to support high levels of debt-financed stimulus.