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ECON 201 University of Missouri-Kansas City The Deficit Myth Essay


The Deficit Myth Writing Assignment Choose ONE of the following prompts:

1. Explain the major arguments in The Deficit Myth, and then evaluate the book overall.

  • ○ “Explain” means to describe in detail, laying out the logic and/or evidence behind the claims being made, in a way that’s understandable to somebody who has not read the book. You should select three to five major claims from the book to explain.
    • They should be distinct and identifiable, eg. “deficits” is not a clear claim, but “increases in government deficits will not lead to reductions in private investment” is.
    • You should cite where these arguments and the logic supporting them can be found in The Deficit Myth, as described below.
  • ○ “Evaluate” means to provide analysis, assessment, or judgement, and can be done in a variety of ways.

■ Some examples: you could review whether you found an argument to be persuasive and why; you could situate an argument within its broader economic, political, or social context; or you could contrast the viewpoint with opposing arguments to highlight what is novel or surprising compared to the conventional wisdom.

2. Pick a policy issue that you care about, and apply the logic of MMT, as laid out in The Deficit Myth, to this issue.

  • ○ You can choose any policy issue that you care about. Some possible examples include Social Security, healthcare, infrastructure, deregulation, or racial equity.
  • ○ You’ll need to first briefly explain the principles of MMT that are relevant to yourissue. Be sure to cite where these arguments are in The Deficit Myth, asdescribed below.
  • ○ Then explain how these ideas are relevant to your chosen policy issue. This canobviously be done in a variety of ways.

■ Some examples: you might address what an MMT-informed perspective

would say about how to finance a particular policy; you could speculate about how MMT might reorganize the politics around an issue; or you might consider how MMT encourages us to rethink the goals of a policy.

○ Dr. Kelton already addresses many policy implications of MMT in the book. Youmay pick a policy that she wrote about, but you must 1) cite her claims, and 2) contribute something beyond what’s found in the book.

Your essay should be clearly organized with an introduction, a body section, and a concluding section. The introduction and conclusion need not be single paragraphs, but should not be longer than one page. The introduction should give the reader a brief overview of where the


Econ 201 – Professor Mathew Forstater and Sam Levey (TA) – Spring 2021 1

essay will go, and the conclusion should briefly recap and “tie it all together.” You may use section headings if you wish, but this isn’t required.

You do not need to cite any outside literature but you should use in-text citations from The Deficit Myth to make your case:

  • ● You should use short direct quotations with page numbers, such as: Kelton says that her view “fundamentally changes the way we conceive of what it means to deploy the federal budget in a fiscally responsible way” (p.61).
  • ● When you don’t quote verbatim, you should still reference the page numbers that claims appear on. For example you could write: Kelton offers a radically new way to understand fiscal responsibility (p.61). Another example: on page 82-83, Kelton rejects the conventional wisdom that the US government is financially dependent on China..Your writing process is entirely up to you, but you may benefit from making an outline prior to beginning the actual writing, so as to organize your thoughts.You should aim for 1000-1,200 words, but not less than 1000. Your essay should be double-spaced.



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