Fiscal Policy and the Federal Debt

Bill White, who served as mayor of Houston from 2003 to 2009 and was deputy secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, tells the story of federal leaders who imposed clear limits on the use of federal debt for nearly two centuries until 2001, when elected officials broke the traditional link between federal tax and spending policies. For the first time in history, the federal government cut taxes during war, funded permanent new programs entirely with debt, and became dependent on foreign creditors. In America’s Fiscal Constitution: Its Triumph and Collapse, White outlines practical lessons learned from the nation's five previous spikes in debt.