Therefore, over the economic cycle the current budget (ie, net of investment) must balance or be brought into surplus.
The argument is that government borrowing has many disadvantages.
See: Problems of Government borrowing
The golden rule means that basically, borrowing is justified for 2 reasons:
- In a recession to increase AD (expansionary fiscal policy)
- To finance public sector investment, which can increase economic growth in the long term.
In practise, the golden rule open to manipulation and different interpretations. For example, by changing the start of the economic cycle to 2 years earlier, Gordon Brown was able to justify an extra £12 billion in borrowing
The chancellor Gordon Brown also has a sustainable investment rule. This states national debt should always be less than 40% of GDP.