Letter to the Editor printed in the Financial Times 11th May 2011
From Mr Ralph Musgrave.
Sir, According to Martin Wolf, Lawrence Summers (Barack Obama’s former chief economic adviser) is not sure whether an “expansionary fiscal contraction” is expansionary (“Why British fiscal policy is a huge gamble”, April 29). But it is worse than that: the economics profession is not even sure how expansionary an expansionary fiscal policy is, because of crowding out. This would be funny if the consequence were not millions of homes repossessed worldwide and lives wrecked.
I suggest that the solution to this farce is to abandon the distinction between fiscal and monetary policy, as advocated by Modern Monetary Theory. Under this regime, government simply creates new money and spends it (and/or reduces taxes) in a recession. Conversely, when inflation looms, government reins in money via extra tax (and/or reduced public spending) and “unprints” it, or extinguishes it. As to government debt, that becomes near irrelevant: it can gradually be whittled down to near zero and be left at that level.
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mer O’Siochru is a qualified architect and valuation surveyor. She was a founder of Feasta and served on its executive committee for many years. She is director of EOS Future Design which designs and develops sustainable systems and settlements. She also manages the Feasta-led Smart Tax Network which is funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to develop tax policies in areas related to the environment. She lives in Dublin.