The debates between the deficit doves and the deficit owls continued at New Deal 2.0 (ND20) today. Jeff Madrick, a dove, gives us a post entitled: “Stimulate Now: On Inflation and Deficits.” In this post, I'll evaluate Jeff's views paragraph by paragraph.
”Some have suggested that if a country nears the point that it must consider default, that is, it can’t generate enough tax revenues to pay debt and meet other minimal commitments, then all it need do is create reserves if it has a sovereign (aka ‘fiat’) currency.”
Maybe Jeff is right that “some have suggested . . .” the above, but I've never seen anyone do that. The economists I read who write about the capabilities of Governments sovereign in their own currencies say that such countries can't be forced to default, that they can only do so voluntarily, and that if they do, it's only because their decision makers don't understand that they can't be forced into default by international markets any external authorities. Read below the fold...
New Deal 2.0 (ND20) is, well, more New Dealish than other web sites, so instead of the usual conflict between deficit hawks and deficit doves, we might see at, say, the New York Times. Here things are shifted to the left, and we see a debate between the deficit doves and the deficit owls. The doves and owls have posted there for awhile without really engaging one another. But recently, the appointment of Jack Lew as OMB Director and the Statement/petition by Sir Harold Evans called “Stimulus Now,” has ended an uneasy truce between these groups. Paul Davidson, Sir Robert Skidelsky, and Jamie Galbraith replied to the Evans petition with a refusal to sign it and an explanation of the deficit owl position. At about the same time, there was an exchange at Paul Krugman's blog between deficit doves sharing Paul's position on the deficit and deficit owls, who don't agree with the deficit dove prescription of short-term deficits until we get a strong recovery and then a “pivot” to deficit reduction eventually resulting in a surplus when times get really good. The deficit owl prescription is to increase Government spending on programs directed toward the public purpose, until all excess productive capacity in the US economy is used, and then cut back on less valuable spending, or raise taxes as necessary to avoid inflation. Deficit owls also believe that there is no need to worry about deficits as long as Government spending hasn't helped to created enough aggregate demand to use excess productive capacity, and that thereafter, aggregate demand needs to be cut either by reducing spending, raising taxes or both, not in order to reach some arbitrary deficit or surplus number, but rather to achieve the specific goal of avoiding inflation. Now, at ND20, blog posts have begun to appear where deficit doves and owls have been exchanging points of view. Read below the fold...
Paul Krugman, well-known for his opposition to the austerity concerns of the deficit terrorists and his advocacy of additional Government stimulus to lower unemployment and end the recession, just ignited a paradigm conflict which promises to clarify for many, the issues dividing “deficit doves” like Paul, from economists who take a Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) approach to economics, which holds Read below the fold...
AMID the legal battles between investors who lost money in mortgage securities and the investment banks that sold the stuff, one thing seems clear: the investment banks appear to be winning a good many of the early skirmishes.
But some cases are faring better for individual plaintiffs, with judges allowing them to proceed even as banks ask that they be dismissed. Still, these matters are hard to litigate because investors must persuade the judges overseeing them that their losses were not simply a result of a market crash. Investors must argue, convincingly, that the banks misrepresented the quality of the loans in the pools and made material misstatements about them in prospectuses provided to buyers.
Recent filings by two Federal Home Loan Banks — in San Francisco and Seattle — offer an intriguing way to clear this high hurdle. Lawyers representing the banks, which bought mortgage securities, combed through the loan pools looking for discrepancies between actual loan characteristics and how they were pitched to investors.
You may not be shocked to learn that the analysis found significant differences between what the Home Loan Banks were told about these securities and what they were sold.
The rate of discrepancies in these pools is surprising [to whom?]. The lawsuits contend that half the loans were inaccurately described in disclosure materials filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Paul Krugman agrees that “We're Not Greece.” But he only appears to have a glimmer of an understanding of the most important reason why this is so. We hope this commentary on his op-ed piece improves his understanding, and that of other deficit doves who appear to disagree with the deficit terrorists, but who in the end share their false basic assumptions about deficits, national debts, fiscal responsibility, and fiscal sustainability.
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, and the crisis in Greece is making some people — people who opposed health care reform and are itching for an excuse to dismantle Social Security — very, very happy. Everywhere you look there are editorials and commentaries, some posing as objective reporting, asserting that Greece today will be America tomorrow unless we abandon all that nonsense about taking care of those in need.
C'mon, Paul. You must know your latest column isn't all true, and what's true is nothing like the whole truth. Do you really believe we can fix it later?
What would work?
Wrong question. The right question is what does work. To answer that question, we might look at systems that pay at most half what we pay per capita, and all of which have better health outcomes: Canada (single payer). France (like single payer). The UK (socialized medicine). Taiwan (single payer). And so forth. Why aren't we doing that? More importantly, why weren't you building the case for it?
Paul Krugman has been awful on health care lately, but he certainly does have a good memory for Medicare, Republicans and the Clinton years. How refreshing to see a lefty pundit who actually tells the truth about them!
For example, Dr. Krugman remembers why Newt Gingrich's famous hissy fit actually happened.
Remember what the 1995 government shutdown was about: it was Newt Gingrich trying to force Bill Clinton to accept, yes, deep cuts in Medicare.