By Stephanie Kelton
Like all good Central Bankistas, Charles Evans (Chicago Fed) and Dennis Lockhart (Atlanta Fed) insist that if the Fed isn’t achieving its stated (employment and inflation) objectives, then it just isn’t doing monetary policy the right way. The flip side of the Central Bankista position is that whenever the macro data are more-or-less consistent with Fed targets, it must necessarily mean that central bankers have gotten it right. Nothing else, least of all fiscal stimulus/austerity, could possibly deserve credit (or blame) for whatever is happening at the macro level. It’s heads monetary policy succeeded, tails monetary policy failed. It also explains why Paul Volker’s policies are still widely credited for bringing an end to double-digit inflation, while President Carter’s deregulation of the natural gas industry (which finally brought energy prices down) doesn’t even merit a footnote in the textbooks.
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By J. D. Alt
In his 12/8 Washington Post column, Ezra Klein says, “Projected deficits are driven by two factors: health-care-costs and old people.” He goes on to suggest, quite logically it seems, that in order to pay for all the health-care services elderly American’s are going to require, tax rates will to have to be raised so high they’ll begin “doing real damage to the economy”, or deficits will “grow to the point that they cause a fiscal crisis.” Continue reading
By Marshall Auerback
US Q4 2011 GDP growth was slightly disappointing, and the mix was terrible as the growth was mostly due to inventories. I took issue with that report, arguing that the weakness was due to statistical distortions in the government spending data and the PCE services data. With that disappointing Q4 GDP report, expectations for quite weak economic growth in this year’s first half were encouraged.
But today’s employment data blows the weak consensus outlook out of the water. The economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January and the unemployment rate dropped to a near three-year low of 8.3 percent, indicating last quarter’s growth carried into early 2012.