Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Next Financial Crisis Is Already Here! John Lewis 99% Profits CRASH - Retail Sector Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Why Is Apple Giving This Tiny Stock A $900 Million Opportunity? - James Burgess
3.Gold Price Trend Analysis - - Nadeem_Walayatt
4.The Beginning of the End of the Dollar - Richard_Mills
5.Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Hindenburg Omen & Consumer Confidence: More Signs of Stock Market Trouble in 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
7.Precious Metals Sector: It’s 2013 All Over Again - P_Radomski_CFA
8.Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk - Ellen_Brown
9.Gold Stocks Forced Capitulation - Zeal_LLC
10.The Post Bubble Market Contraction Thesis Receives Validation - Plunger
Last 7 days
BrExit War - Tory Party About to Replace Theresa May for NO DEAL BrExit - 16th Nov 18
Aspire Global Makes Significant Financial Strides - 16th Nov 18
Gold Oil and Commodities …Back to the Future ? - 16th Nov 18
Will Oil Price Crash Lead to “Contagion” for the U.S. Stock Market? - 15th Nov 18
How NOT to Be Among the MANY Stock Investors Fooled by This Market Myth - 15th Nov 18
Tory BrExit Chaos Cripples UK Economy, Wrecks Housing Market Confidence - 15th Nov 18
Stocks Could End 2018 With A Dramatic Rally - 15th Nov 18
What Could Be the Last Nail in This Stock Bull Markets Coffin - 15th Nov 18
Defensive Stock Sectors Outperforming, Just Like During the Dot-com Bubble - 15th Nov 18
Buying Your First Home? Here’s How to Save Money - 15th Nov 18
US Economy Ten Points or Ten Miles to ‘Bridge Out’? - 14th Nov 18
US Stocks: Whither from Here? - 14th Nov 18
Know exactly when to Enter&Exit trades using this... - 14th Nov 18
Understanding the Benefits of Keeping a Trading Journal - 14th Nov 18
S&P 500 Below 2,800 Again, New Downtrend or Just Correction? - 13th Nov 18
Warning: Precious Metals’ Gold and Silver Prices are about to Collapse! - 13th Nov 18
Why the End of the Longest Crude Oil Bull Market Since 2008? - 13th Nov 18
Stock Market Counter-trend Rally Reaches .618 Retracement - 13th Nov 18
How to Create the Best Website Content and Generate Organic Traffic - 13th Nov 18
Why the Stock Market Will Pullback, Rally, and Roll Into a Bear Market - 13th Nov 18
Stock Markets Around the World are Crashing. What Not to Worry About? - 12th Nov 18
Cyclical Commodities Continue to Weaken, Gold Moves in Relation - 12th Nov 18
Olympus Tough TG-5 Camera Stuck or Dead Pixels, Rubbish Video Auto Focus - 12th Nov 18
5 Things That Precede Gold Price Major Bottoms - 12th Nov 18
Big US Stocks Q3 Fundamentals - 12th Nov 18
How "Free Money" Helped Create Sizzling Housing Market & REIT Gains - 12th Nov 18
One Direction More Likely for Bitcoin Price - 12th Nov 18
The Place of HSE Software in Today's Business - 12th Nov 18
Gold Asks: Are US Bonds Overvalued? - 11th Nov 18
Why the Stock Market Will Pullback Before Heading Higher - 11th Nov 18
GDX - Will you Buy This Hated Stock with Me? - 11th Nov 18
Christmas and Halloween LED Dynamic Projector Light Review - 11th Nov 18
Wall Street Veteran: Why I Don’t Lend to Family and Friends - 10th Nov 18
Stocks Breaking Higher, but Resistance Ahead - 10th Nov 18
Stock Market Was Supposed to “Crash Like 1987” - 10th Nov 18
SPX : The Incredibull Stock Market Plays On - 9th Nov 18
USD/CAD – The Moment of Truth Is Coming - 9th Nov 18
Is the Stock Market’s Rally “All Good To Go”? - 8th Nov 18
End in Sight for 'Unloved' Silver - 8th Nov 18
Outlook for Gold & Silver Precious Metals Sector is 'Positive' - 8th Nov 18
A Great Day for Metals as Platinum Price Breaks Out - 8th Nov 18
Future US Interest Rates, Financial Markets, and the FED - 8th Nov 18
Buying an Approved Used Land Rover From a Dealer - What You Need to Know! - 8th Nov 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Free Online Trading Session

Greece Debt Crisis, Krugman Strikes Again

Economics / Global Debt Crisis Apr 09, 2010 - 04:54 PM GMT

By: Peter_Schiff

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIn a commentary two weeks ago, I rebutted dangerously silly arguments put forward by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman about how the United States should pressure China to drop its support for the U.S. dollar (click here to view). Although there is far more happening in the world outside of Mr. Krugman's brain than within it, fresh drivel from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner compels me to turn my focus there once again.


In today's column, Krugman analyzes the Greek debt crisis, arguing that the best solution for Athens would be to simply inflate away its debt burden with printing press money. Krugman laments that this sensible option is being foreclosed by the monetary priggishness of the German heavyweights in the European Union, who are 'foolishly' seeking to prevent inflation and impose fiscal discipline.

His theoretical justification is put forward in a familiar Keynesian recipe: deficit spending leads to inflation and growth, which leads to greater employment and rising GDP, which makes debt payments much easier to bear in relative terms. He laments that Greece does not control its own currency and is therefore unable to pursue such a policy on its own accord. He implores U.S. policy makers, who do control their own monetary policy, to take heed of the danger and avoid such a course.

In simple terms, Krugman believes that inflation is the best cure for burdensome debt problems. To prove his arguments, he points to the course followed by the Unites States in the decade after the Second World War. In 1946, due to unprecedented military spending during the war, U.S. public debt as a percentage of GDP came in at a staggering 122 percent - which is even higher than the 113 percent currently weighing on Greece.

Krugman endorses U.S. policy at the time which, he claims, concentrated on fostering growth instead of taking measures to drastically cut the post-war debt. He notes that by the end of 1956, the federal debt had not diminished in nominal terms, but had become much easier to bear because of the decade of GDP growth that inflationary policies had created.

He neglects to mention that during the five years from 1945 to 1949, federal spending dropped by 58% and taxes fell by 12%. Meanwhile, the budget deficit fell by 66% in 1946 and was in surplus from 1947 to 1949. [i] In other words, although we did not pay down our nominal debt in the decade after the war, we did succeed in massively shrinking government and the burden that it places on society. Could it be that this had something to do with the post-war boom, or should we give all the credit to the monetary policy? (It is important to point out that our national debt did initially decline from 1945 to 1949, but the extra spending necessary to finance the Korean War reversed that trend.)

Also, after the war ended, American factories quickly retooled production from military hardware to consumer goods. The products not only created a domestic boom in living standards, but were also in high demand in war-ravaged Europe. The late 1940's and 1950's produced some of the largest U.S. trade surpluses (in relative terms) in our history.

Today, government spending is rising at the fastest pace on record (not fast enough for Krugman) and our trade deficit is growing as well. In 2011, the government is forecast to spend $3.8 trillion.[ii] To truly replicate post-war fiscal policy, in the next four years: federal spending would have to be slashed by $2.1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, tax revenues would have to be lowered from $2.4 trillion to $2.1 trillion, and the federal budget would have to record a $650 billion surplus. [iii][iv] Since Krugman would never support these spending and tax cuts, he must feel that similar success can be achieved solely through the monetary policy of inflation.

In his column, Krugman warns that the biggest danger of the austerity measures necessary for Greece (and the United States) to pay down debt organically is the deflation that would ensue. Like most of his academic peers, Krugman believes that falling prices are the economic equivalent of kryptonite, guaranteed to bring low even the mightiest economy.

He is wrong. We need deflation. As a result of a phony boom in assets, prices levels are still too high relative to the earning power and productivity of American workers. Falling prices will cushion the blow of recession (by allowing people to buy more with their paychecks and savings) and will eventually encourage people to spend when prices fall low enough. Deflation is the only way to save us from the much greater horror of inflation, or hyper-inflation, which Krugman argues is not actually that bad.

Inflation can't save us from lower real wages and falling living standards, it will simply change the manner in which we are impoverished. With deflation, workers' wages fall; with inflation, consumer prices rise. Deflation hurts, but inflation can spiral out of control, especially with an Administration addicted to spending.

In Paul Krugman's world, deep structural problems can be solved simply by printing currency. I wonder whether he thinks all the Americans in debt should be given little basement printing presses to counterfeit away their troubles.

Krugman's advice will appeal to his fans in government and academia, but won't help the average American. If we dare to follow his lead, a Greek tragedy will be played out in American garb.

[i] FY2008 Budget of the United States Government. "Historical Tables". Accessed: 2010 04 09.
[ii] FY2011 Budget of the United States Government. "Summary Tables". Accessed: 2010 04 09.
[iii] FY2010 Budget of the United States Government. Accessed: 2010 04 09.
[iv] 2010 04 09. United States GDP 2009 (current prices). World Economic Outlook Database.

For a more in-depth analysis of how the weaknesses in the U.S. economy could threaten dollar-based investments, subscribe to The Global Investor, Peter Schiff's free online newsletter. Click here for more information.

Regards,
Peter Schiff

Euro Pacific Capital
http://www.europac.net/

More importantly make sure to protect your wealth and preserve your purchasing power before it's too late. Discover the best way to buy gold at www.goldyoucanfold.com , download my free research report on the powerful case for investing in foreign equities available at www.researchreportone.com , and subscribe to my free, on-line investment newsletter at http://www.europac.net/newsletter/newsletter.asp

Peter Schiff Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

karkelkhan
09 Jun 10, 13:17
Peter Schiff is right again

Peter Schiff is right, as always. Giving the nobelprice to Krugman made that price worth shit.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules