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Debt Wars

Summary:
The unprecedented fiscal spending that many governments unleashed in response to the COVID-19 crisis has fueled an increasingly heated debate over the risks posed by public debt. But the debate is far from new, and history holds important lessons that should inform it. Transcript Elmira Bayrasli: Welcome to Opinion Has It. I’m Elmira Bayrasli. The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t just a public-health crisis. It also pushed the global economy into the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.Archive Recording: We’re going to begin with the economic consequences of this escalating outbreak.Archive Recording: It’s put Wall Street into that steep slide and it’s threatening main streets

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The unprecedented fiscal spending that many governments unleashed in response to the COVID-19 crisis has fueled an increasingly heated debate over the risks posed by public debt. But the debate is far from new, and history holds important lessons that should inform it.

Transcript

Elmira Bayrasli: Welcome to Opinion Has It. I’m Elmira Bayrasli.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t just a public-health crisis. It also pushed the global economy into the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.

Archive Recording: We’re going to begin with the economic consequences of this escalating outbreak.

Archive Recording: It’s put Wall Street into that steep slide and it’s threatening main streets across the country now, from big companies to small mom-and-pop shops.

Archive Recording: Schools, work, even iconic institutions like Broadway and Disney world are shut down.

EB: To limit the fallout, governments opened the fiscal floodgates.

Archive Recording: To begin with breaking news at this hour, the US is now headed toward a wartime footing in the fight against the pandemic.

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Barry Eichengreen
Barry Eichengreen is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley; Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridge; and a former senior policy adviser at the International Monetary Fund.

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