Does public debt impose a burden? Explain.

Government debt or public debt refers to the amount or money that a central government owes. This amount may be borrowings of the government from banks, public financial institutions and from other external and internal sources. Public debt definitely imposes a burden on the economy as a whole, which is described through the following points.

1. Adverse effect on productivity and investment

A government may impose taxes or get money printed to repay the debt. This however reduces the peoples’ ability to work, save and invest, thus hampering the development of a country.

2. Burden on younger generations

The government transfers the burden of reduced consumption on future generations. Higher government borrowings in the present leads to higher taxes levied in future in order to repay the past obligations. The government imposes taxes on the younger generations, lowering their consumption, savings and investments. Hence, higher public debt has negative effect on the welfare of the younger generations.

3. Lowers the private investment

The government attracts more investment by raising rates of interests on bonds and securities. As a result, a major part of savings of citizens goes in the hands of the government, thus crowding out private investments.

4. Leads to the drain of National wealth

The wealth of the country is drained out at the time of repaying loans taken from foreign countries and institutions.

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