EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

America's Real 'Debt Dilemma'

Sandy Brian Hager

Review of Capital as Power, 2013, vol. 1, issue 1, 41-62

Abstract: In the wake of the current crisis there has been an explosive rise in the level of the US public debt. These massive levels of public indebtedness are expected to keep growing unless there are drastic changes to existing budgetary policies. According to a recent series in the Financial Times, the US now faces a ‘debt dilemma’ over whether the country should bring its fiscal house in order through tax hikes on the rich or cuts to entitlement programs. This apparent dilemma has sparked a debate over which groups should bear the burden of debt repayment and fiscal adjustment. However, one crucial question remains unasked: whose powerful interests are served by the public debt? Mapping the share of federal bonds holdings of and interest to the top 1%, my research uncovers a staggering trend towards concentration over the past three decades and shows that federal income taxes and transfer payments have done little to offset this regressive distribution. Increases to the public debt without progressive redistributive policies are likely to aggravate an already explosive situation characterized by inequality, while decreases to the privately held portion of the public debt are likely to encounter resistance from the top 1%. This is America’s real debt dilemma.

Keywords: public debt; power; distribution; redistribution; bondholding class; inequality; top one per cent; United States (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/157909/1/b ... eal_debt_dilemma.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:caprev:157909

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Review of Capital as Power from Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics ().

 
Page updated 2020-04-28
Handle: RePEc:zbw:caprev:157909