The Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) approach to economics must be starting to make some waves, because today, Paul Krugman, followed his earlier attack on it and his debate with Jamie Galbraith and others last summer, with another swing at MMT. The debate last summer was an extensive one at Paul's blog site at the New York Times, and, in addition, there were a number of posts at other sites replying to Paul. The debate was a classic in the developing conflict of views between the “deficit doves” (represented by Paul) and the “deficit owls” (represented by Jamie Galbraith and other MMT writers).
Given the earlier debate, you'd expect that Paul's second try at MMT would reflect a bit of learning on his part, and also a characterization of the views of MMT practitioners that is a little more fair than he provided in his first attempt. This post will analyze Paul's new attack and assess how much he's learned. But first, I'll review the earlier debate. Read more about Paul Takes Another Swipe at MMT
Today, Frank Rich uses the F word:
The Obama administration seems not to have a prosecutorial gene. It’s shy about calling a fraud a fraud when it occurs in high finance.
So, why won't Krugman deploy the same sophisticated analytical tools and name some fraudsters?
Come on. You know the litmus test for success just as well as I do:
Bankster CEOs in orange jumpsuits doing the perp walk on the teebee for accounting control fraud. Read more about Angelides Commission cover-up plods on
Bloomberg. Could there be a reason why our elite keeps "losing" records of stuff? Could the reason be -- and this link, from Bill Black, is an absolute must read -- to conceal criminal behavior? Read more about Lehman: The dog ate my trading records
Paul Krugman got a lot of attention among leftward tweeters today for following Glenn Greenwald down the road of writing about the de-evolution of the United States into a de-developed nation, because of the irresponsible preference of its ruling elite for lower taxes rather than infrastructure and essential services, and also because of impac Read more about Inflation-Adjusted Bonds? You Must Be Kidding, Paul
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 more about Deficit Doves Vs. Deficit Owls at ND20: Part Two
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 more about Deficit Doves Vs. Deficit Owls at ND20
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 more about Paul Debates Jamie and MMT
Sometimes, there's still news in the Times. Gretchen Morgenstern reports:
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.
Half? I'm shocked. [Shocked that figures for fraud are so low, that is. See Fitch's study in 2009: "[T]here was the appearance of fraud in nearly every file we examined."] Read more about Day 7 of the "Why Won't #Krugman Post On Bill Black?" Watch