Have economists made themselves irrelevant? If you have any doubts, have a look at the current issue of the magazine, International Economy, a slick endorsed by former Federal Reserve chairmen Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan, by Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, by former Secretary of State George Shultz, and by the New York Times and Washington Post, both of which declare the magazine to be “ahead of the curve” … //
… Is anyone surprised that not a single proponent of the “let them eat cake school” mentions cutting military spending? Entitlements, despite the fact that they are paid for by earmarked taxes and have been in surplus since the Reagan administration, are always what economists put on the chopping bloc.
Where do the two schools stand on inflation vs. deflation? We don’t have to worry. Martin Feldstein, one of America’s pre-eminent economist says: “The good news is that investors should worry about neither.” His explanation epitomizes the insouciance of American economists.
Feldstein says that there cannot be inflation because of the high rate of unemployment and the low rate of capacity utilization. Thus, “there is little upward pressure on wages and prices in the United States.” Moreover, “the recent rise in the value of the dollar relative to the euro and British pound helps by reducing import costs.”
As for deflation, no risk there either. The huge deficits prevent deflation, “so the good news is that the possibility of significant inflation or deflation during the next few years is low on the list of economic risks faced by the U.S. economy and by financial investors.”
What we have in front of us is an unaware economics profession. There may be some initial period of deflation as stock and housing prices decline with the economy, which is headed down and not up. The deflation will be short lived, because as the government’s deficit rises with the declining economy, the prospect of financing a $2 trillion annual deficit evaporates once individual investors have completed their flight from the stock market into “safe” government bonds, once the hyped Greek, Spanish, and Irish crises have driven investors out of euros into dollars, and once the banks’ excess reserves created by the bailout have been used up in the purchase of Treasuries.
Then what finances the deficit? Don’t look for an answer from either side of The Great Stimulus Debate. They haven’t a clue despite the fact that the answer is obvious.
The Federal Reserve will monetize the federal government deficit. The result will be high inflation, possibly hyper-inflation and high unemployment simultaneously.
The no-think economics establishment has no policy response for economic armageddon, assuming they are even capable of recognizing it.
Economists who have spent their professional lives rationalizing “globalism” as good for America have no idea of the disaster that they have wrought. (full text).