Sunday, November 17, 2013

Will Federal Government Debt Decline In 2014?

As the number of people on unemployment insurance declines, federal government expenditures will decline.  Increasing payrolls will increase federal government income tax revenue.  Will these two trends lead to a decline in federal debt in 2014?
4-week moving average of initial claims (blue; left) and federal debt (red; right).

Total non-farm payroll employment.
However, stagnant wages and a smaller worker to retiree ratio may depress federal tax revenue and increase the level of debt needed to finance entitlement spending -- especially Medicare and Medicaid.  This could also cause real-estate prices to stagnate, which in turn could depress state and local tax revenue.  Though, the lower demand (for stuff) due to stagnant wages and a larger (less active) retiree population could have a kind of cancelling effect.

Medicaid (W729RC1A027NBEA) and Medicare (W824RC1A027NBEA) as percent GDP.
Year-over-year change: household real-estate assets per capita (blue); personal income per capita (red).

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