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Mountains of DebtCrisis and Change in Renaissance Florence, Postwar Britain, and Postwar America$
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Michael Veseth

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780195064209

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195064209.001.0001

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The New Mountains of Debt

The New Mountains of Debt

Chapter:
(p.171) 8 The New Mountains of Debt
Source:
Mountains of Debt
Author(s):

Michael Veseth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195064209.003.0009

The United States federal government began to experience increasingly severe symptoms of fiscal crisis as the 1980s progressed. Unable to achieve fiscal balance through normal means, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act provided for arbitrary and automatic budget cuts as a last resort. This chapter examines some of the ways that government, in reacting to fiscal crisis and the new mountains of debt, has influenced or accelerated the pattern of structural change in the economy. Three aspects of fiscal crisis have had particularly significant impacts on the economy: the growth of the public debt since the 1970s, the revision of the income tax in 1986, and the reform of the social security system in 1983. The chapter contains case studies of these three events that chronicle their effect on the economy and their impact on the United States' current and future living standards.

Keywords:   United States, fiscal crisis, Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, public debt, structural change, income tax, social security, living standards

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