The $13 Trillion Question: Managing the U.S. Government's Debt

The $13 Trillion Question: Managing the U.S. Government's Debt

by David Wessel (Editor)
The $13 Trillion Question: Managing the U.S. Government's Debt

The $13 Trillion Question: Managing the U.S. Government's Debt

by David Wessel (Editor)

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Overview

"The underexamined art and science of managing the federal government's huge debt.

Everyone talks about the size of the U.S. national debt, now at $13 trillion and climbing, but few talk about how the U.S. Treasury does the borrowing—even though it is one of the world's largest borrowers. Everyone from bond traders to the home-buying public is affected by the Treasury's decisions about whether to borrow short or long term and what types of bonds to sell to investors.

What is the best way for the Treasury to finance the government's huge debt? Harvard's Robin Greenwood, Sam Hanson, Joshua Rudolph, and Larry Summers argue that the Treasury could save taxpayers money and help the economy by borrowing more short term and less long term. They also argue that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve made a huge mistake in recent years by rowing in opposite directions: while the Fed was buying long-term bonds to push investors into other assets, the Treasury was doing the opposite—selling investors more long-term bonds.

This book includes responses from a variety of public and private sector experts on how the Treasury does its borrowing, some of whom have criticized the way the Treasury has been managing its borrowing.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780815727057
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Publication date: 12/07/2015
Pages: 135
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

" David Wessel is director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution and a contributing correspondent to the Wall Street Journal, where he was an editor, columnist, and reporter for thirty years. "

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface Robin Greenwood Samuel G. Hanson David Wessel ix

1 The Optimal Maturity of Government Debt Robin Greenwood Samuel G. Hanson Joshua S. Rudolph Lawrence H. Summers 1

Comment Janice Eberly 28

Comment Brian Sack 33

2 Debt Management Conflicts between the U.S.: Treasury and the Federal Reserve Robin Greenwood Samuel G. Hanson Joshua S. Rudolph Lawrence H. Summers 43

Comment Mary John Miller 76

Comment Paul McCulley 79

Comment Stephen G. Cecchetti 81

Comment Jason Cummins 83

3 A New Structure for U.S. Federal Debt John H. Cochrane 91

Comment Darrell Duffie 139

4 Concluding Observations Lawrence H. Summers 147

Contributors 155

Index 157

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