Skip to main content
Return to Brookings Papers on Economic Activity
BPEA Article

The Economic Consequences of Disappearing Government Debt



FEDERAL BUDGETARY DEVELOPMENTS in the United States of late have
been fast moving and nothing short of outstanding: The latest projections
of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) peg the federal surplus for fiscal
year 2000 in excess of $230 billion, around $50 billion more than its
forecast of just six months earlier. For a generation accustomed to mounting
government obligations and dire warnings of adverse macroeconomic
consequences, a surplus in 2000 amounting to 2.4 percent of nominal
GDP—the largest since 1948—would seem to imply a changed economic


Get daily updates from Brookings