Strategic Analysis | March 2003

The US Economy

A Changing Strategic Predicament

Right through the boom years prior to 2001, the American economy faced a strategic predicament in that the main engine of growth (credit-financed private spending) was unsustainable, from which it followed that the whole stance of the government's fiscal policy would have to be radically changed if the New Economy were not to become stagnant. The boom was indeed broken, because private expenditure fell relative to income. The potentially dire effects on the level of activity were mitigated by a transformation in the fiscal policy stance, accompanied by a radical change in attitudes toward budget deficits, which suddenly became respectable. This analysis argues that a new strategic predicament is on the horizon as a result of the exceptionally large and growing balance of payments deficit.

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