Fwd: Sandy Hager on America's Real 'Debt Dilemma'
- -------- Original Message --------
Subject: Sandy Hager on America's Real 'Debt Dilemma'
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2013 15:17:14 -0400
From: Jonathan Nitzan <nitzan@...>
America's Real 'Debt Dilemma'
by Sandy Brian Hager
Review of Capital as Power, 2013, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 41-62
ABSTRACT: In the wake of the current crisis there has been an explosive
rise in the level of the US public debt. These massive levels of public
indebtedness are expected to keep growing unless there are drastic
changes to existing budgetary policies. According to a recent series in
the Financial Times, the US now faces a 'debt dilemma' over whether the
country should bring its fiscal house in order through tax hikes on the
rich or cuts to entitlement programs. This apparent dilemma has sparked
a debate over which groups should bear the burden of debt repayment and
fiscal adjustment. However, one crucial question remains unasked: whose
powerful interests are served by the public debt? Mapping the share of
federal bonds holdings of and interest to the top 1%, my research
uncovers a staggering trend towards concentration over the past three
decades and shows that federal income taxes and transfer payments have
done little to offset this regressive distribution. Increases to the
public debt without progressive redistributive policies are likely to
aggravate an already explosive situation characterized by inequality,
while decreases to the privately held portion of the public debt are
likely to encounter resistance from the top 1%. This is America's real
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