Showing posts from tagged with: United States Department of Commerce

QE era sees lowest nominal GDP increases since the 1930s

Posted by Tim Congdon in News Archive | 0 comments

Four years ago, at the worst point in the Great Recession, several leading American economic gurus said that the Fed’s easy monetary policy risked higher inflation which might imperil the recovery. In some of the early commentaries  from  International  Monetary  Research  (in  the  spring  and summer of 2009), I argued that these gurus – who included the revered Alan Greenspan and Martin Feldstein, a prominent adviser to President Reagan – were seeing ‘ghosts’. Also at that time Liam Halligan of Prosperity Capital Management used his column in The Sunday Telegraph to attack ‘quantitative easing’ (i.e., the large-scale creation of money by the state) as aggressive ‘money printing’ which would lead to a sharp rise in inflation. In a letter to the Financial Times published on 19tJune, I showed that the inflation jeremiahs had been wrong. The last five complete years (i.e., the five years  to  2012)  saw  the  lowest  increases  in  nominal  GDP  in  all  the  G7 economies since the deflationary 1930s. The jeremiahs of 2009 made a serious analytical  mistake.  They  thought  that  inflation  was  caused  by  excessive growth of the monetary base, not of the quantity of money broadly-defined to include all bank deposits. In future economic commentators should pay more attention to the quantity of money as such and de-emphasize the monetary base by itself.  

Is the UK deficit too high only because economic growth has stopped?

Posted by Tim Congdon in News Archive | 0 comments

A commonly-expressed view in the media is that Chancellor Osborne’s failure to curb the budget deficit is due to weak tax revenues, which in turn are to be explained by the economy’s weak supply-side performance. According to this analysis, the economy’s inability to generate more tax revenue is attributable to its more fundamental inability to increase output at all. Since supply-side remedies take a long time to work. Osborne is by implication not to blame for the persistence of budget deficits in the range of 5% - 10% of gross domestic product. In the note below I dispute this position. I show that in the last few quarters the Conservative-LibDem coalition government has let general government consumption rise faster than total national expenditure, which is dominated by the private sector. General government  consumption is not to be seen as equivalent to total public expenditure, which also includes capital expenditure and transfer payments [i.e., welfare expenditure, pensions, debt interest]. Nevertheless, a government genuinely committed cutting the  deficit would have made a better job at trimming public expenditure.  

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