The word “deficit,” when applied to the Government financial accounting of a monetarily sovereign nation, that is, one that issues a non-convertible fiat currency, with a floating exchange rate, and no debts in a currency it doesn't issue, is a problem, because the label “deficit” when applied to such a Government doesn't mean what most people think it means. As Michel Hoexter points out: Read more about Government Financial Asset Addition = “Deficit”; Government Financial Asset Destruction = “Surplus”
On Monday, Dean Baker decided that Robert Samuelson needed a lesson in National Income Accounting. Dean said:
”National income really is very basic stuff. It gets taught in every intro econ class. Anyone writing on economics should know it inside out. They should be able to do it blindfolded, with one hand tied behind their back, and standing upside down.
In a beautifully simple post that should crystallize everything for you, Professor Stephanie Kelton of the University of Missouri at Kansas City crystallizes the logic of the Sectoral Financial Balance Model for President, Obama, the Catfood Commission, the deficit hawks and doves and you and me. She says:
In a 'closed economy' (one without foreign trade), the government's budget position is, by accounting logic -- the negative of the private sector's (firms and households combined) position. Thus, a public sector DEFICIT is equal to the private sector's SURPLUS. To the penny.
So, in a closed economy, a Federal Government budget deficit adds to private sector financial assets, while a Government surplus represents a leakage and subtracts financial assets from the private sector. Or more briefly, Government deficits make private individuals richer; Government surpluses make private individuals poorer. Read more about Stephanie Kelton and the Catfood Commission: “I know which scenario benefits me. Do you?”
Warren Mosler has an important forthcoming book called The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds, which is, fortunately, available right now in a pre-publication version for reading and commenting from Warren's site. Read more about Jamie Galbaith's “Foreword” To Modern Money: A Commentary