- Populist politicians are turning to Modern Monetary Theory
- Fiscal stimulus has not led to significant inflation during the last decade
- MMT is too radical to be adopted in full but the allure of fiscal expansion is great
- Asset markets will benefit over the medium-term
A recent post from the Peterson Institute – Further Thinking on the Costs and Benefits of Deficits – follows on from the Presidential Lecture given by Olivier Blanchard at the annual gathering of the American Economic Association (AEA) Public Debt and Low Interest Rates. The article discusses a number of issues which are linked to Blanchard’s speech: –
- Is the political system so biased towards deficit increases that economists have a responsibility to overemphasize the cost of deficits?
- Do the changing economics of deficits mean that anything goes and we do not need to pay attention to fiscal constraints, as some have inferred from modern monetary theory (MMT)?
- You advocate doing no harm, but is that enough to stabilize the debt at a reasonable level?
- Isn’t action on the deficit urgent in order to reduce the risk of a fiscal crisis?
- Do you think anything about fiscal policy is urgent?
Their answers are 1. Sometimes, although they question whether it is the role of economists to lean against the political wind. 2. No, which is a relief to those of a more puritanical disposition towards debt. The authors’ argument, however, omits any discussion of the function of interest rates in an unfettered market, to act as a signal about the merit of an investment. When interest rates are manipulated, malinvestment flourishes. They propose: –
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…