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Do Budget Deficits Matter?

Controversies over the effects of fiscal policy on the economy have been at the heart of the policy debate surrounding the chronic deficits of the 1980s, the sharp rise in official budget surpluses in the late 1990s, and the equally sharp decline in the fiscal outlook recently.

This panel discussion, the first in an ongoing series on macroeconomic issues sponsored by the Brookings Institution, will examine a variety of questions regarding the effects of deficits on the economy: Do budget deficits matter? Under what circumstances and what time horizons are they good, bad, or neutral? How important are they to strong economic growth?

Following their remarks, panelists will answer questions from the audience.





Eric Engen

Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute


Rudolph G. Penner

Senior Fellow and the Arjay and Frances Miller Chair in Public Policy, The Urban Institute

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