Monday, July 15, 2019

MMT Link Roundup

Fiscal policy to the rescue in the Eurozone

Over the past few years, the economic literature and prominent scholars have paved the way for expansionist fiscal policy. In the US, Modern Monetary Theory proposes to finance a Green New Deal and full employment by increasing the deficit and using the central bank to pay off debt by printing more money. MMT is attracting more and more attention in Europe, including among populist parties, but also beyond, and will certainly be part of the conversation in upcoming elections.

When stock markets fall on good jobs data and easy money is the norm, we are in the midst of a Mad Hatter’s tea party

There’s always Keynesian-style fiscal stimulus to fall back upon, of course, if economic recession strikes. Nowadays, it has a new name, modern monetary theory, which argues that governments can spend their way out of trouble and never default on debt as long as it’s denominated in their own currency.

This puts Asia’s biggest economies including China and Japan in a relatively good position, as by far the bulk of their government debt is denominated respectively in renminbi and yen. But unless one assumes a massive public-sector bailout of private-sector obligations, this is scant comfort.

Will AOC Be the Next Fed Chair if the Dems Win in 2020? (Not really: it's a joke.)

How to Pay for Major Progressive Programs: Add New Money to the System

In Japan, it is a hot topic; and in China, it is evidently taken for granted: the government can generate the money it needs simply by creating it on the books of its own banks. Leaders in China and Japan recognize that stimulating the economy is not a zero-sum game in which funds are just shuffled from one pot to another. To grow the economy and increase GDP, demand (money) must go up along with supply. New money needs to be added to the system; and that is what China and Japan have been doing, very successfully.


Defend Fed independence. You might need it someday.

Both supply-siders and MMT adherents justify [rejection of central bank independence] by arguing that monetary policy is a tool of public policy that should not be controlled by a technocratic committee of economists any more than foreign policy should be controlled by generals. . . .

The Fed was set up this way so that it could take a long-term view without being influenced by the next election or the whims of the party in power. . . .

[Central bank independence] also removes a powerful tool that governments have for making policy. . . . I am willing to swallow this bitter pill because the same institutional structure that prevents supply-side economics from being fully implemented also constrains MMT.

MMT is risky because it overlooks the long-term costs of increased government spending. . . .

If a Democratic president embraces MMT, it will be crucial for an independent Fed to make sure that the potential costs of those policies are transparent, not papered over and left for future generations.

However, Smith says, "MMT waves away concerns about inflation." No, no, no, a thousand times, no! Get this right! MMT waves away concerns about sovereign default. MMT scholars consider inflation to the primary downside risk to fiscal policy.

The Stupid! It Burns!

America is insolvent, broke, deep into the red

More Talk About MMT

The second way [besides taxes] is much more appealing, to some: Simply print as much money as the program calls for, and then spend it.

That's the basic idea behind MMT. Remember, everything's made up, and the money doesn't matter.You see, advocates of MMT insist that because fiat currency is ultimately a creation of the state, governments can and should print as much of it as needed to fund massive public works, guarantee government jobs for the unemployed and much more. And since a government can never run out of money, the theory says, it can never default on its debts. Deficits are meaningless.

Anyone who's studied macroeconomics knows that unfettered money printing on this scale is a recipe for runaway hyperinflation. Look at Weimar Germany in the 1920s, or Zimbabwe a decade ago. Today, Venezuela is facing a head-spinning inflation rate of 10 million per cent, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Trump Mocks ‘Young Bartender’ AOC, Green New Deal

The Green New Deal
— which would cost taxpayers untold trillions of dollars — has a few rather extreme ways to combat climate change, like rebuilding or upgrading every single building in the U.S. to be more energy efficient, building trains across the oceans to eliminate air travel and banning nuclear energy within 10 years, just to name a few crazy key points.

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