Once again, larger deficits and higher debt-to-GDP ratios in rich countries have become fodder for fiscal hawks and bond vigilantes to warn of a looming crisis that will demand a return to austerity. But the case for such pessimism has no logical or historical basis.
Whatever stories Americans are told about the strength of the economy under President Joe Biden, they are not going to be persuaded to look past the issue of their own living standards. For most Americans, these have declined somewhat as price increases have outpaced wage growth.
The United States has built an economy based on global demand for advanced goods, consumer demand for frills, and ever-growing household and business debts. This economy was in many ways prosperous, and it provided jobs and incomes to many millions. Yet it was a house of cards, and COVID-19 has blown it down.
Kenneth Rogoff's criticism of Modern Monetary Theory assumes that MMT advocates don't care about budget deficits or the independence of the US Federal Reserve. But these assumptions are wide of the mark, and Rogoff himself sometimes undermines his own arguments.