The announcement by the British finance minister, George Osborne that the Conservative government will legislate to force governments to run annual surpluses on their budgets has provoked an explosion of debate among economists, particularly the Keynesian school.
Outlining plans for a law that forces the Treasury to run a surplus in “normal times”, Osborne said: “With our national debt unsustainably high, and with the uncertainty about what the world economy will throw at us in the coming years, we must now fix the roof while the sun is shining.” The chancellor also argued that the discipline imposed by a new law would support future generations who faced being saddled with sky-high debts.
Now Thomas Piketty, David Blanchflower and 75 other economists signed an open letter that was published in the British newspaper, the Guardian, to condemn this proposal (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jun/12/osborne-plan-has-no-basis-in-economics). According to these economists, such a measure was…
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