Daily Archives: January 2, 2013

Functional Finance and the Debt Ratio—Part IV

By Scott Fullwiler

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [...] [Part 5]

This five part series will explore at length (warning!) and in detail (another warning—wonk alert!) the MMT perspective on the debt ratio and fiscal sustainability.  While the approach suggests a macroeconomic policy mix and strategies for both fiscal and monetary policies that most neoclassical economists currently believe are unsustainable, ultimately the MMT preference for a significant role for fiscal policy in macroeconomic stabilization is shown to be consistent with traditional neoclassical views on fiscal sustainability.

This fourth part integrates the content of the first three parts with the functional finance strategy for fiscal policy.  Warning again—this part is the longest and most detailed of the four. Continue reading

Brad DeLong Has Me Worried

By Stephanie Kelton

Brad DeLong is worried.  And now I’m worried.  He’s worried about “unfunded tax cuts,” which, he says, are “bad juju” in the long run.  I don’t mean to pooh-pooh his juju, but what the heck is an “unfunded tax cut”?

 

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The Strange Reality of Fiat Money

By J. D. Alt

It is time to come to terms with the fact that U.S. dollars are what economists call “fiat money”. Having acknowledged this—and it’s difficult not to accept it as true since the U.S. abandoned the gold-standard over forty years ago—it might be worthwhile to give some consideration to what “fiat money” actually is and the peculiarities of how it works. Continue reading

Austerity’s Irrationality: The Age of Economic Anorexia

By Michael Hoexter

Rational public debate about the economy and government’s role in the economy is currently in extremely short supply.  In a debt-deflation, a weak economy saved from Great Depression-level misery by half-way, inadequate government action, government spending is now blamed categorically for the ills of the economy by the aggressive austerity campaign that has captured the political discussion in major capitals.  Previous flaws in the economic theory of the state and theory of money, typically consigned to the realm of different economic “tastes” or moral persuasions, are now revealed to be catastrophic gaps in most economists’ and the public’s understanding of the basics of the capitalist economy.  The predatory austerity campaigners, many originating from within the financial industry, have turned what should have been an era of greater clarity about government’s critical role in the economy into a scapegoating of government for ills perpetrated for the most part by components of the financial sector or by the subservience of the public sector to the financial sector.  Austerity policies when implemented are the equivalent of ‘economicide’ as they strangle government’s ability to spur lagging demand for real goods and services as well as government’s role in steering the economy to deal with challenges that the private sector can’t or doesn’t want to face on its own.

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America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff – Part 3

By Michael Hudson

[Part 1] [Part 2] [...]

Quantitative easing as free money creation – to subsidize the big banks

The Federal Reserve’s three waves of Quantitative Easing since 2008 show how easy it is to create free money. Yet this has been provided only to the largest banks, not to strapped homeowners or industry. Ben Bernanke’s helicopter only flies over Wall Street to drop its money. An immediate $2 trillion in “cash for trash” took the form of the Fed creating new bank-reserve credit in exchange for mortgage-backed securities valued far above market prices. QE2 provided another $800 billion in 2011-12. The banks used this injection of credit for interest rate arbitrage and exchange rate speculation on the currencies of Brazil, Australia and other high-interest-rate economies. So nearly all the Fed’s new money went abroad rather than being lent out for investment or employment at home. Continue reading