Michael J. Pries, associate professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, discussed “Our Growing National Debt and What it Means for our Future” on Thursday, Nov. 21, as part of The Hesburgh Lecture Series presented by The Notre Dame Club of Greater Jacksonville and the JU Public Policy Institute.
The federal government’s recent deficits have reached levels not seen since World War II, and the debt grows by an average of more than $3 billion per day. Forecasts of where the debt is headed, based on current policy, show the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio climbing to unprecedented levels in the coming decades.
Dr. Pries’ lecture examined several aspects of the debt and fiscal forecasts. First, what are the economic and demographic forces behind the gloomy projections, and how do Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid contribute to future deficits? Second, if the path we are on is not altered, and the projected debt levels come to fruition, what will be the impact on our economy and on our standard of living? Finally, what are the policy options for restoring fiscal balance?
Dr. Pries joined the Notre Dame Department of Economics and Econometrics in 2007. His primary field of research is macroeconomics, with a focus on labor markets. His current research focuses on amplification and persistence of shocks to the labor markets, and on cross-country differences in labor market performance. He teaches macroeconomics at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and in the past has taught a course in financial markets. Pries has published in the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economic Studies, the Review of Economic Dynamics, and the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford, in 1999, and B.A. in Economics, Summa Cum Laude, from Notre Dame, in 1993.