A Little Dynamic Scoring of the House Budget

In a recently released report the Congressional Budget Office calculated how debt reduction with the House Budget Resolution (which just passed the House today), would affect GNP in the United States. The CBO took the spending and tax parameters from the House Budget Committee staff and computed the resulting deficit and debt. They then compared the debt path under the House budget with the debt path under their “extended alternative fiscal scenario, which is their description of current law and its most likely extensions. They then estimated the effect of the different debt levels on economic output. This is a “little” dynamic scoring in the sense that other positive effects of lower marginal tax rates and other incentives in the House budget plan are ignored.

Nevertheless, CBO reports that the reduced level of debt has large positive economic effects. I created the following “fan charts” to illustrate this.

The fan charts represent the range of uncertainty as reported by CBO. If you take the midpoint of the fan charts, you will find that GNP is 19 percent greater in 2040 under the House plan and the gap continued to grow after that. That is about $5.6 trillion per year and growing. The difference is three times the maximum annual loss of output under the Great Recession, but it continues year after year.

The difference in the federal debt as a fraction of the economy under the two scenarios is shown in the next chart. While CBO projections go through 2050 under the House plan, the CBO does not report numbers greater than 200 percent of GDP in the alternative fiscal scenario. In the chart, I estimated the actual percent by extrapolating the 2011 Long Term Scenario and showing the little star. But no matter how you look at it, the effect on the debt and thus the economy is huge.

About John B. Taylor 117 Articles

Affiliation: Stanford University

John B. Taylor is the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He formerly served as the director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where he is now a senior fellow, and he was founding director of Stanford's Introductory Economics Center.

Taylor’s academic fields of expertise are macroeconomics, monetary economics, and international economics. He is known for his research on the foundations of modern monetary theory and policy, which has been applied by central banks and financial market analysts around the world. He has an active interest in public policy. Taylor is currently a member of the California Governor's Council of Economic Advisors, where he also previously served from 1996 to 1998. In the past, he served as senior economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1976 to 1977, as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 to 1991. He was also a member of the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers from 1995 to 2001.

For four years from 2001 to 2005, Taylor served as Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs where he was responsible for U.S. policies in international finance, which includes currency markets, trade in financial services, foreign investment, international debt and development, and oversight of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He was also responsible for coordinating financial policy with the G-7 countries, was chair of the working party on international macroeconomics at the OECD, and was a member of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. His book Global Financial Warriors: The Untold Story of International Finance in the Post-9/11 World chronicles his years as head of the international division at Treasury.

Taylor was awarded the Alexander Hamilton Award for his overall leadership in international finance at the U.S. Treasury. He was also awarded the Treasury Distinguished Service Award for designing and implementing the currency reforms in Iraq, and the Medal of the Republic of Uruguay for his work in resolving the 2002 financial crisis. In 2005, he was awarded the George P. Shultz Distinguished Public Service Award. Taylor has also won many teaching awards; he was awarded the Hoagland Prize for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the Rhodes Prize for his high teaching ratings in Stanford's introductory economics course. He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his research, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society; he formerly served as vice president of the American Economic Association.

Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1984, Taylor held positions as professor of economics at Princeton University and Columbia University. Taylor received a B.A. in economics summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1973.

Visit: John Taylor's Page, Blog

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