Skip to main content

Austerity, Not Uncertainty, Is the Scary Part of Fiscal Shutdowns

There is a general consensus that annual fiscal policy fights hurt the economy’s recovery. Many people, however, get the story quite wrong. It has nothing to do with 'uncertainty'; rather, it's the unfortunate fact that the brouhaha, in the final instance, leads to smaller budget deficits, i.e. 'austerity', significantly diminishing the level of effective demand.
It’s austerity that is reliably damaging to recover efforts, not uncertainty. And each year’s fiscal drama has tended to produce another dose of austerity. The very large reduction in the budget deficit between 2009 and 2012, combined with the extraordinarily slow pace of recovery over this same time period is not a coincidence. This should be a lesson to evidence-based policymakers: You should be much more worried about accepting more austerity as the price of ending the fiscal drama than any damage caused by the drama itself.
See rest here .


Popular posts from this blog

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…