Can the Economy Grow Faster without Increasing Our Debt?


As I have been saying over and over on this blog for several years, America’s two major fiscal and economic problems are:

  • Slow Economic Growth, averaging just 2% since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009.
  • Massive Debt. Our public debt, on which we pay interest, is now $14 trillion or 76% of GDP, the highest it has been since the end of WWII.

President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on the issue of slow economic growth and will surely work with the Republican Congress to institute various tax and regulatory reform measures needed to speed up growth.

capture15But during the campaign Mr. Trump also introduced a specific tax reform plan which would lead to an estimated $4.4 trillion in new debt over the next ten years. Such a very large amount of new debt is highly undesirable and hopefully will be rejected by Congress.
In fact, as described by the Tax Foundation, there are some very good ways to use tax reform to improve growth without increasing debt. Fox example:

  • Allowing the full and immediate expensing of capital investments will grow the economy by 5.4% at a cost of $881 billion over ten years.
  • Lowering the top corporate tax rate to 20% will grow the economy by 3.3% at a cost of $718 billion over ten years.
  • Eliminating all itemized deductions except the charitable and mortgage interest deductions will slow economic growth by only .4% and increase tax revenue by $2,268 billion over ten years.

Conclusion. Just these three specific tax reform measures would grow the economy by about 8% while producing $600 billion in new tax revenue over a ten year period.  There are other ways as well of achieving similar growth and revenue levels.  The point is that the changes our country needs can be accomplished without increasing the national debt and perhaps even reducing it instead.

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