Public finances: One crunch after another

The financial crisis is battering public finances on several fronts

CALLS for co-ordinated fiscal stimulus to lift the world out of recession were joined at the weekend by Larry Summers, Barack Obama’s top economic adviser. Such co-ordination has been absent up to now, though that could change at the meeting of G20 leaders in London in early April. But there has been plenty of fiscal stimulus, led by America’s $787 billion package, as many governments seek to offset a collapse in private demand. There are worries not only about how much these measures cost up front but their longer-term effects on government finances.

The direct costs of such packages are indeed large. The IMF reckons that for G20 countries stimulus packages will add up to 1.5% of GDP in 2009 (calculated as a weighted average using purchasing power parity). Together with the huge sums used to bail out firms in the financial sector (3.5% of GDP and counting in America, for example), these are immediate ways in which the crisis is affecting public finances across the world. But they are not the only ones. ...


[Source: The Economist: News analysis - Posted by FreeAutoBlogger]

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