Monday, August 01, 2011

The Economic Drag

by Bill McBride on 8/01/2011 03:25:00 PM

It looks like the spending cuts in the deal through the end of 2012 will be $22 billion, although there could be more after the special committee fails makes their recommendations later this year.

These spending cuts will only have a small negative impact on the economy, but we have to remember that the original stimulus is almost over - and that the payroll tax cut expires at the end of the year - as do the emergency unemployment benefits. Plus state and local governments are continuing to cut spending.

Brad Delong estimates:

A first guess: -0.4% off of fiscal 2012 real GDP growth, with an unemployment rate in November 2012 0.2% above the baseline.
That seems high based on the above spending cuts, but that is only part of the drag. I'll try to find some other estimate of the economic drag.

Floyd Norris writes in the NY Times that this could lead to a larger deficit Could This Deal Raise Budget Deficits
[T]his deal could manage to do the exact opposite of what it promises — raise the deficit.

... This could damage the economy enough to send tax receipts down again. Although you never would have guessed it from the rhetoric, tax receipts are at the lowest level in years, as a percentage of gross domestic product. Get a healthy economy and tax revenues rise while a lot of spending, on such things as unemployment benefits, goes away.
It is not just this deal, but the winding down of all the programs that will be a drag on the economy.

As far as confidence, I do think there will be some boost from the deal. Not because it reduces the deficit - that does nothing for confidence - but because the deal takes not paying the bills off the table.

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