The Public Purse: A Government Budget is Not a Family Budget – and Why This Matters

Stephanie Kelton

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Stephanie Kelton discusses budgeting

Part of the lecture series between between UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) and the British Library on Rethinking Public Value and Public Purpose in 21st Century Capitalism, this lecture explores a new way of understanding our economy. 

Drawing on her experience as the Chief Economist on the US Senate Budget Committee, Stephanie Kelton gives a beginner’s class on public deficits and what (almost) everyone is missing in the debate over the government’s budget. Is the government’s budget really just like a family budget? (Teaser: It’s not!) What is the purpose of budgeting anyway? Is it to balance spending and revenue, or is targeting a balanced budget the wrong goal altogether? Is the British government living beyond its means? 

Stephanie outlines a new way of understanding deficits, debt, taxes, the relationship between the public and private sectors, and what our economy could look like. Turning the public budget into a participatory, mission-oriented endeavor is critical to restructuring public services and public investment and building the kind of economy that will deliver a cleaner, safer, more secure future for all.

This event has taken place, but you can watch a film of it below.

Stephanie Kelton is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Stony Brook University. She served as the Democrat’s Chief Economist on the US Senate Budget Committee (2015) and as Senior Economic Advisor to the Bernie2016 presidential campaign. She is Chair of the Board at Economists for Peace  Security and a Founding Fellow at the Sanders Institute.

In 2016, POLITICO recognized her as one of the 50 people across the country who is most influencing the political debate.

Her forthcoming book, The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of a New Economy, will be published by Public Affairs in 2019.

She is a regular commentator on national radio and broadcast television and a columnist at Bloomberg View.

Stephanie consults with policymakers, investment banks and portfolio managers across the globe. Her research expertise is in Federal Reserve operations, fiscal policy, social security, international finance and employment policy.

In association with the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Name: The Public Purse: A Government Budget is Not a Family Budget – and Why This Matters
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546