New Economic Perspectives has just published the first part, Real Fiscal Responsibility I: Preliminaries, of an ongoing series by Joe Firestone.
It should be interesting to see how this series goes by starting from these two basic definitions from the article.
fiscal sustainability is the extent to which patterns of Government spending do not undermine the capability of the Government to continue to spend to achieve its public purpose, and
fiscal responsibility is fiscal policy intended to achieve public purpose while also maintaining or increasing fiscal sustainability.
Rather than assume any particular historically mandated action is fiscally responsible, he first defines fiscal responsibility and then attempts to determine what actions will be fiscally responsible. I think this is a very instructive approach if you can let go of your preconceived ideas of what is fiscally responsible. If you put your preconceived notions aside just as a thought experiment so that they won’t interfere with your ability to read what he is saying, I think that would be beneficial. If you don’t like where it ends up, you can always go back to pick up your preconceived notions, no harm done.