Front Matter

Front Matter

Martin Mühleisen, and Christopher Towe
Published Date:
January 2004
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    U.S. Fiscal Policies and Priorities for Long-Run Sustainability

    Martin Muhleisen and Christopher Towe, Editors


    Roberto Cardarelli

    Paula De Masi

    Iryna Ivaschenko

    Michael Kell

    Ayhan Kose

    Jim Prust

    Dominique Simard


    Washington DC


    © 2004 International Monetary Fund

    Production: IMF Multimedia Services Division

    Composition: Julio R. Prego

    Figures: Theodore F. Peters, Jr.

    Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    U.S. Fiscal Policies and Priorities for Long-Run Sustainability / Martin Mühleisen and Christopher Towe, editors; with Roberto Cardarelli … [et al.]—Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 2004.

    p. cm. — (Occasional paper / International Monetary Fund; 227)

    ISBN 1-58906-295-7

    Includes bibliographical references.

    1. Fiscal policy — United States 2. Budget — United States. 3. Social security — United States. 4. Energy policy — United States. I. Mühleisen, Martin. II. Towe, Christopher M., 1957- III. Cadarelli, R. (Roberto) IV Series: Occasional paper (International Monetary Fund); no. 227

    HJ2381.U8 2004

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    The following symbols have been used throughout this paper:

    • … to indicate that data are not available;
    • — to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist;
    • – between years or months (e.g., 2001–02 or January-June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months.

    “n.a.” means not applicable.

    “Billion” means a thousand million.

    Minor discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

    The term “country,” as used in this paper, does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice; the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states, but for which statistical data are maintained and provided internationally on a separate and independent basis.


    This paper presents an overview of recent U.S. fiscal developments and discusses possible implications of the sharp turnaround in the government’s fiscal position. Against this background, it also reviews key policy challenges that will need to be addressed to cope with the mounting pressures on public retirement and health care systems during the next decade. U.S. Fiscal Policies and Priorities for Long-Run Sustainability draws principally on background papers that were prepared for the IMF staff’s annual consultation discussions with the U.S. authorities in 2002 and 2003. Charles Collyns, Deputy Director of the Western Hemisphere Department, led the staff team and provided considerable guidance in compiling this volume. Anoop Singh, Director of the Western Hemisphere Department, also actively participated in the consultation discussions and directed the staff’s background work.

    The authors would like to thank the U.S. authorities for their cooperation and support during the policy discussions and technical meetings. They are indebted to Gustavo Ramirez and Victor Culiuc for first-rate research assistance and to Asegedech WoldeMariam for her excellent contribution to Section V. The authors are especially grateful to Alfred S. Go, Modupeh B. Williams, Joan F. McLeod-Tillman, and Mary Kelley for coordination and general assistance and to Archana Kumar of the External Relations Department for editing the paper and coordinating its production.

    The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the International Monetary Fund, the Executive Directors, or the U.S. authorities.

    Except where otherwise indicated, the paper reflects information available through end-September 2003.

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