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Debt Wars

The unprecedented fiscal spending that many governments unleashed in response to the COVID-19 crisis has fueled an increasingly heated debate over the risks posed by public debt. But the debate is far from new, and history holds important lessons that should inform it.


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Elmira Bayrasli: Welcome to Opinion Has It. I’m Elmira Bayrasli.


The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t just a public-health crisis. It also pushed the global economy into the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.

Archive Recording: We’re going to begin with the economic consequences of this escalating outbreak.

Archive Recording: It’s put Wall Street into that steep slide and it’s threatening main streets across the country now, from big companies to small mom-and-pop shops.

Archive Recording: Schools, work, even iconic institutions like Broadway and Disney world are shut down.

EB: To limit the fallout, governments opened the fiscal floodgates.

Archive Recording: To begin with breaking news at this hour, the US is now headed toward a wartime footing in the fight against the pandemic.