The US Deficit Habit: What are its causes and what lessons does history offer for breaking it?
The United States faces a future of fiscal unsustainability unless it can begin to get its public debt-GDP ratio under control within the next decade. This necessitates producing a new cycle of surplus budgets, but the US has only balanced its annual budget 12 times from 1930 to the present. This lecture examines why the US has a deficit habit, why it has failed to achieve prolonged fiscal responsibility despite the pledges of successive presidents and Congresses to do so, and what contemporary policymakers can learn from the past in the quest for balanced budgets.
Biography: Iwan Morgan is Professor of US Studies and director of the American Presidency Centre at the UCL-Institute of the Americas. He was previously Professor of US Studies at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. His research focuses on two area - the US Presidency - and US fiscal/economic policy. He has combined these two interests in publications like: Eisenhower versus the Spenders; Deficit Government: Taxation and Spending in Modern America; and The Age of Deficits: Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush (awarded the American Politics Group's Richard E. Neustadt Prize for 2010).