Public Finance

Download Debt, Democracy and the Welfare State: Are Modern by R. Hannesson PDF

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By R. Hannesson

Why is it that govt debt within the built international has risen to global struggle proportions in a time of peace? this may principally be attributed to governments protecting welfare bills past what tax sales permit. yet will those governments chorus from doing what's valuable for financial progress for worry of wasting their voters?

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Extra info for Debt, Democracy and the Welfare State: Are Modern Democracies Living on Borrowed Time and Money?

Example text

In Belgium economic growth was appreciably higher in the 1960s than after the energy crisis of 1973. Public expenditure and consumption both continued to increase until the early 1980s, but after that expenditures declined while consumption stagnated. Government debt was built up rapidly from the 1970s to a very high level: 120–130 percent of GDP in 1994; the data sources do not quite agree. After that it was wound down, but has increased somewhat after the financial crisis. The development in the Netherlands is quite similar to neighboring Belgium.

If the insurance policy was forfeited, as it would be after a few arrears, the entire value was lost. The industrial insurance industry vigorously opposed the old age and widows’ benefits of Lloyd George’s proposed insurance scheme because they realized that it would enable the widows to avoid the pauper’s funeral. Sometimes the death benefit insurance would have more sinister consequences: Charles Booth (President of the Royal Statistical Society 1892–4 and later Privy Councillor) testified concerning the common working-class accident of smothering infants while asleep, “overlaying” it was usually called.

Politicians in democratic countries ignore the wishes of the electorate at their peril. A solution to the dilemma of increasing public services without raising the necessary tax revenues to pay for them is to borrow money. In countries with their own currency politicians can use their central banks for this purpose. Alternatively, they can borrow money from private lenders. They find the necessary intellectual alibi in economists who tell them that government finances are something entirely different from the finances of private households, an illusion we discussed in an earlier chapter.

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