Putting The Cart On Top Of The Horse, Or Why Heaping Fiscal “Stimulus” Upon “Stimulus” Is Suicide For America

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden

Every time someone mentions fiscal stimulus (and specifically the failure thereof), the conversation, after repeated empirical demonstrations that said stimulus virtually always ends in tears, will veer to the Economics 101 textbook definition of the savings-investment identity, in which Investment = Private Saving + Government Saving + Current Account (the simplistic argument goes that a surge in Government Savings, i.e. austerity, means a plunge in net investment as the private sector is unable to step up), which more than anything, seeks to provide the last possible goalseeked explanation of why Keynesian assumptions still work in post-modern monetary environments, in which monetary policy has passed into the twilight zone of global central planning (i.e., money printing is rampant and thus textbook definitions of “savings” in a ZIRP environment are completely irrelevant). The irony, as so often happens, is that those who invoke this identity (which John Hussman has done a very admirable explanation of here) mix apples and oranges, and use, incorrectly, a monetary flow concept to explain what is fundamentally a production efficiency and labor (and post facto: consumption) phenomenon. That many of said proponents also make the gross mistake in assuming that in some perverse post-Keynesian universe a reserve currency issuer (however temporary, because there is no such thing as permanent reserve) can issue an infinite amount of debt, which by implication would result in the grotesque lim interest rate=0 as debt issuance ->infinity is inconsequential: this may work in a black box vacuum, but most certainly does not work in a globalized world in which currency, and yes, binary reserve status (consisting of 1s and 0s), is fungible with a keystroke (ref: the historic August 22 start of Renminbi futures trading which the CME today disclosed the margin requirements for). What this lengthy preamble tries to say is that feeding the government monster is, contrary to what Krugman and other Keynesians will tell you, in the current regime of coincident monetary irrigation, an exercise in futility. Perhaps nobody does a better job to explain said futility than Bill Buckler in his latest edition of The Privateer, which we urge everyone, and most certainly the POTUS who just requested more fiscal stimulus, to read in order to take a step back from theoretical, and wrong, textbook formulations and to see the stimulus forest for the burning trees.

The Rest…HERE

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