Monday, August 29, 2011

Raise Those Taxes, Spend That Money

There are two facts about our current economic situation that can no longer be denied: Our economy is in desperate need of government stimulus, and our political system won't abide any increase in our national deficit.

Taken together, the two points seem to bode poorly for the United States. But we shouldn't be too quick to assume a contradiction. Just because stimulus has traditionally been understood as a function of deficit-spending doesn't mean that's how it has to work.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Irving Fisher, Debt Deflation and Crises

It is the 100th anniversary of Irving Fisher’s 1911 book The Purchasing Power of Money. But, more important than that, it is a good time, during the current financial turmoil, to reconsider some of his theories again, in light of current events. And I think that some of his theories about variations in the purchasing power of money are very important today, have been underappreciated, and are worthy of considering anew.

In that 1911 book he described a theory of financial crises that tied them to over-borrowing during the expansion phase that preceded the crisis, and to the changes in the purchasing power of money that this expansion causes, then to the collapse in credit and the drop in the price level.

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