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Should you worry about the national deficit?

Governments around the world have spent unprecedented sums — trillions of dollars — to combat the economic impacts of coronavirus. In the United States alone, the national deficit surpassed $3 trillion this year. That’s three times larger than in 2019 and some $2 trillion more than the White House projected back in February. But just what does rising government debt mean for our future? A new crop of economists – adherents to Modern Monetary Theory – have a bold proposition: Don't worry about it. In a modern economy, they argue, deficits are no bogeyman. And they're certainly no excuse to halt state spending on things like education and healthcare. Take Japan, for instance, where the national deficit is a soaring $12 trillion and counting. But others are far more wary. They warn that unless political leaders balance the books, soaring federal debt will undermine the nation's economic future and compromise national security and sovereignty. So, we ask, are rising national deficits cause for concern?

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