Comment on inflation (Part 2)

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Bloomberg has an article about MMT titled Ignored for Years, a Radical Economic Theory Is Gaining Converts.

Radical? The truth is only “radical” in a world of lies. Or as people like to say, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” (This quote is attributed to Orwell, but he never actually said it or wrote it.)

There’s nothing in the Bloomberg article you don’t already know, but I want to focus on one paragraph…

Those who push back against MMT say that money-printing puts countries on a path that eventually leads, in a worst-case scenario, to Zimbabwe — where money-printing debased the currency so badly that all the zeros could barely fit on banknotes. Or Venezuela, whose spending spree helped push inflation to 180 percent last year.

Notice that when people evoke Zimbabwe or Venezuela, people only mention “money printing” or “spending spree.” That is, they only talk about money. They ignore what money buys (namely goods and services).

When the Empire imposes sanctions on nations like Zimbabwe or Venezuela, the result is shortages, which cause inflation. This is intentional. Uncontrolled inflation can wreck an economy. Economists ignore such sanctions, so that economists can say, “See? Austerity is our only defense against inflation!”

Bullshit.

Inflation is a not caused by money printing or “spending sprees.”

Inflation is caused by a skewed ratio between [1] the supply of money, and [2] the supply of goods and services.

If there is a shortage of goods and services, then the people who provide goods and services can charge more money for them. As shortages of consumer goods worsen, people can charge more and more. That’s inflation. If it becomes severe, it threatens the economy. If the government tries to address the crisis by massively pumping money into the economy, the result is hyper-inflation. Society loses trust in the currency. The money ceases to be money – at which point governments usually resort to using a different currency, or an alternate means of settling accounts.

The point is shortages. The Empire’s sanctions cause shortages of consumer goods. When people falsely claim that “printing money causes inflation,” they deliberately ignore these shortages.

EXAMPLE:

Hugo Chavez’ revolution in Venezuela was semi-socialist, meaning it only nationalized some things, but left others in private control. Chavez liberated average people from their slavery beneath the rich elitists. This infuriated the elitists, and the Empire at large.

At first there the elitists and the Empire could do little about this. In April 2002 they mounted a failed coup. In December 2002 they shut down the national oil company (PDVSA) in order to deprive Venezuela of foreign currency. The top PDVSA bosses fired over 19,000 employees — but Chavez then fired the top PDVSA bosses and re-hired the employees.

The peasants had been liberated, and for a few years they had too much momentum for the elitists or the Empire to stop. However the Chavez Revolution had an Achilles heel: Venezuela’s lack of self-sufficiency.

Venezuela has the most oil of any country, but it is “heavy” oil (i.e. it has a lot of sulfur) and therefore requires special refineries.  Still, oil sales brought Venezuela plenty of foreign currency to buy imports with. So much foreign currency that Venezuela didn’t need to worry about being self-sufficient.

But what if oil prices fell? And what if the Empire imposed sanctions on Venezuela in order to cause shortages of consumer goods? And what if Venezuela’s rich elitists helped to make shortages even worse by hoarding consumer goods, and shutting down manufacturing? And what if Venezuela had a very active black market that exchanged bolivares for U.S. dollars, such that more and more bolivares were needed for the purchase of consumer goods? And what if the corrupt and criminal ratings agencies arbitrarily downgraded Venezuela’s sovereign bonds in order to make it harder for Venezuela to borrow foreign currencies?

The result would be shortages and inflation. And that’s exactly what happened. And what if the government did not take sufficient measures to ease the shortages and inflation? The peasants would become angry and frustrated, and would not vote in elections. But the middle classes and above would vote for the elitist opposition. This is why the elitists took control of Venezuela’s parliament in Dec 2015.

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The point is that Venezuela’s economic problems were not caused semi-socialism, or by money printing, but by shortages that were caused by

[1] Venezuela’s over-reliance on imported food and consumer goods.

[2] Venezuela’s over-reliance on oil as a means to get foreign currencies to buy imports with.

[3] Sanctions imposed by the Evil Empire (i.e. by the money masters and their puppet politicians)

[4] Shortages engineered by right-wing elitists inside Venezuela

Unless President Maduro and his cronies can find a way to ease the shortages of consumer goods, the revolution will die, and the peasants will return to slavery beneath the elitists and the Evil Empire.

So let me repeat: Inflation is a not caused by money printing or “spending sprees.” Inflation is caused by a skewed ratio between [1] the supply of money, and [2] the supply of goods and services.

Suppose the U.S. government increased its deficit spending, and made sure that the money went into the real economy, and not the financial economy? Would it cause inflation? No, because there are plenty of things to spend the money on. There are massive numbers of people looking for work, and massive amounts of work to be done (e.g. repairs and upgrades to the national infrastructure). So much work that the U.S. government could directly and indirectly create decent jobs for almost everyone who wanted one.

But we can’t have that, since the money masters want the peasants to suffer, in order to feel like gods above them. (Most of the peasants enjoy their suffering anyway. They cling to it.)

Anyway the Bloomberg article says

In an American election season that’s turned into a bonfire of the orthodoxies, one taboo survives pretty much intact: Budget deficits are dangerous.

Stop. When we speak of budget deficits, let’s always be careful to specify whether we are talking about [1] federal deficits, or [2] state and local deficits.

State and local deficits are not only dangerous; they are lethal. But for federal governments that create their own money, and whose currency is widely accepted, the lack of a budget deficit can be lethal.

Calls for governments to take over the relief effort are growing louder. Plenty of economists have joined in, and so have top money managers. Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio, head of the world’s biggest hedge fund, and Janus Capital’s Bill Gross say policy makers are cornered and will have to resort to bigger deficits.

There is no “cornered” about it. For governments that create their own money, and whose currency is widely accepted, austerity (i.e. smaller deficits) is entirely voluntary and gratuitous.

“There’s an acknowledgment, even in the investor community, that monetary policy is kind of running out of ammo,” said Thomas Costerg, economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York. “The focus is now shifting to fiscal policy.”

If banks will not lend, then there is nothing that central banks can do to stimulate the real economy. Central banks can only stimulate the financial economy (i.e. the financial markets). Everyone knows this, but the lying pundits and politicians pretend to not know it.

In short, for economic recovery we need the federal government to spend more money into the real economy. Again, everyone knows this, but the pundits and politicians pretend it is not true.

The U.S. dramatically loosen the purse strings after the 2008 crisis, posting a deficit of more than 10 percent of gross domestic product the next year. That’s since been trimmed to 2.6 percent of GDP, or $439 billion, last year. The Congressional Budget Office expects the gap to widen in the coming decade, as retiring baby-boomers saddle the government with higher social security and health-care costs. That’s the risk often cited by fiscal hawks.

Fiscal hawks are all 100% liars. And what is this garbage about “fiscal risk”?

fiscal risk

The Bloomberg quote above refers to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the “stimulus package”) in which the U.S. government pledged to spend an extra $831 billion between 2009 and 2019 on infrastructure, education, health, and energy, federal tax incentives, expansion of unemployment benefits, and other social welfare provisions.

However the following year the U.K.’s new Prime Minister, David Cameron, unleashed austerity mania, which quickly spread throughout the world like a deadly plague. So the stimulus was killed.

Deficit doves accept the long-term need to reduce federal deficits. But they point to record-low bond yields and say investors aren’t worried about deficits right now, so why not spend?

The purpose of deficit doves (e.g. Paul Krugman) is to snare people who don’t believe deficit hawks. The deficit doves say, “The hawks are right that we need to reduce the deficit, but we doves say it should not be done this minute.”

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There’s a peculiarly American enthusiasm for balanced budgets, according to Jim Savage, a political science professor at the University of Virginia.

Yes, because most people are idiots who pretend that the U.S. government is “bankrupt” even though they know the U.S. government can “print” infinite money. The idiots drop this pretense when they want to make war.

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3 thoughts on “Comment on inflation (Part 2)

  1. Yes inflation is always caused by a lack of goods and services. This was the problem in the Weimar Republic, France had seized the industry in the Ruhr and this reduced the productive capacity of the Weimar Republic. Currency speculators also began short selling the Reichsmark causing the exchange rate to collapse and making imports more expensive, which the country was heavily reliant on.

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