Saturday, February 18, 2017

Simon from inside himself "here is the rub. If we really think there is no relationship between unemployment and inflation, why on earth are we not trying to get unemployment below 4%? We know that the government could, by spending more, raise demand and reduce unemployment. And why would we ever raise interest rates above their lower bound?"

Again it's so lapidary

here is the rub.

 If we really think there is no relationship between unemployment and inflation,

 why on earth are we not trying to get unemployment below 4%?

 We know that the government could, by spending more, 
raise demand and reduce unemployment.

 And why would we ever raise interest rates above their lower bound?




NOT ON SHORT CUT CORRELATIONS BETWEEN UE and product price inflation ! 

Wren Lewis embodies the whatever that swallowed him yes he flies up his own ass hole !

NAIRU bashing

"The NAIRU is the level of unemployment at which inflation is stable. Ever since economists invented the concept people have poked fun at how difficult to measure and elusive the NAIRU appears to be, and these articles often end with the proclamation that it is time we ditched the concept. Even good journalists can do it. But few of these attempts to trash the NAIRU answer a very simple and obvious question - how else do we link the real economy to inflation?

One exception are those that attempt to suggest that all we need to effectively control the economy is a nominal anchor, like the money supply or the exchange rate. But to cut a long story short, attempts to put this into practice have never worked out too well. The most recent attempt has been the Euro: just adopt a common currency, and inflation in individual countries will be forced to follow the average. This didn’t prove to be true for either Germany or the periphery, with disastrous results.

The NAIRU is one of those economic concepts which is essential to understand the economy but is extremely difficult to measure. Let’s start with the reasons for difficulty. First, unemployment is not perfectly measured (with people giving up looking for work who start looking again when the economy grows strongly), and may not capture the idea it is meant to represent, which is excess supply or demand in the labour market. Second, it looks at only the labour market, whereas inflation may also have something to do with excess demand in the goods market. Third, even if neither of these problems existed, the way unemployment interacts with inflation is still not clear.

The way economists have thought about the relationship between unemployment and inflation over the last 50 years is the Phillips curve. That says that inflation depends on expected inflation and unemployment. The importance of expected inflation means that simply drawing unemployment against inflation will always produce a mess. I remember from one of the earlier editions of Mankiw’s textbook he had a lovely plot of this for the US, that contradicted what I just said: it displayed clear ‘Phillips curve loops’. But it was always messier for other countries and it got messier for the US once we had inflation targeting (as it should with rational expectations). See this post for details.

The ubiquity of the New Keynesian Phillips Curve (NKPC) in current macroeconomics should not fool anyone that we finally have the true model of inflation. Its frequency of use reflects the obsession with microfoundations methodology and the consequent downgrading of empirical analysis. We know that workers and employers don’t like nominal wage cuts, but that aversion is not in the NKPC. If monetary policy is stuck at the Zero Lower Bound the NKPC says that inflation should become rather volatile, but that did not appear to happen, a point John Cochrane has stressed.

I could go on and on, and write my own NAIRU bashing piece. But here is the rub. If we really think there is no relationship between unemployment and inflation, why on earth are we not trying to get unemployment below 4%? We know that the government could, by spending more, raise demand and reduce unemployment. And why would we ever raise interest rates above their lower bound?

I’ve been there, done that. While we should not be obsessed by the 1970s, we should not wipe it from our minds either. Then policy makers did in effect ditch the NAIRU, and we got uncomfortably high inflation. In 1980 in the US and UK policy changed and increased unemployment, and inflation fell. There is a relationship between inflation and unemployment, but it is just very difficult to pin down. For most macroeconomists, the concept of the NAIRU really just stands for that basic macroeconomic truth.

A more subtle critique of the NAIRU would be to acknowledge that truth, but say that because the relationship is difficult to measure, we should stop using unemployment as a guide to setting monetary policy. Let’s just focus on the objective, inflation, and move rates according to what actually happens to inflation. In other words forget forecasting, and let monetary policy operate like a thermostat, raising rates when inflation is above target and vice versa.

That could lead to large oscillations in inflation, but there is a more serious problem. This tends to be forgotten, but inflation is not the only goal of monetary policy. Take what is currently happening in the UK. Inflation is rising, and is expected to soon exceed its target, but the central bank has cut interest rates because it is more concerned about the impact of Brexit on the real economy. That shows quite clearly that policy makers in reality target some measure of the output gap as well as inflation. And they are quite right to, because why create a recession just to smooth inflation.

OK, so just target some weighted average of inflation and unemployment like a thermostat. But what level of unemployment? There is a danger that would always mean we would tolerate high inflation if unemployment is low. We know that is not a good idea, because inflation would just go on rising. So why not target the difference between unemployment and some level which is consistent with stable inflation. We could call that level X, but we should try to be more descriptive. Any suggestions?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Nice health cost numbers :"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that health care costs in 2017 will average $10,800 this year. The average for cost for the ten percent of most expensive patients is $54,000. The average cost for the least expensive 50 percent is just $700"

‘Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency’ (PARA),

Mission design an adequate
State operated
      Limitless Debt Pig

Corporate debt needs a full circle public / private debt disposal system

Small state dilemma resolved by state account indexation to imperial dollar

"A feedback between the health of the financial sector and the exchange rate amplifies the effects of the crisis. The pres- ence of dollarized liabilities is crucial for this mechanism. Dollarized liabilities arise endogenously when domestic investors expect a currency crisis with sufficiently high probability and switch their deposits from domestic to foreign currency denomination."

Set up state run
dollar indexed deposit system 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How long can an underwater job force hold its breath ..if not long enough...

This narrative lacks a sense of the crucial time scale
human life lines

"for a country to gain a competitive advantage by lowering its exchange rate, it has to prevent the automatic tendency of international price arbitrage and corresponding flows of money to eliminate competitive advantages arising from movements in exchange rates. If a depreciated exchange rate gives rise to an export surplus, a corresponding inflow of foreign funds to finance the export surplus will eventually either drive the exchange rate back toward its old level, thereby reducing or eliminating the initial depreciation, or, if the lower rate is maintained, the cash inflow will accumulate in reserve holdings of the central bank. "

Think of china 2000 to 2009 

" Unless the central bank is willing to accept a continuing accumulation of foreign-exchange reserves,"

The BoC did just that 

 " the increased domestic demand and monetary expansion associated with the export surplus will lead to a corresponding rise in domestic prices, wages and incomes, thereby reducing or eliminating the competitive advantage created by the depressed exchange rate. "

No time soon my friend !

"Thus, unless the central bank is willing to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves without limit, or can create an increased demand by private banks and the public to hold additional cash, thereby creating a chronic excess demand for money that can be satisfied only by a continuing export surplus,"

That is not a rare  " unless "


" a permanently reduced foreign-exchange rate creates only a transitory competitive advantage."

Transitory by what
Geological time scales ?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

George tax equity off set credits

Imposing a confiscatory ground rent tax should not harm households with prior equity that dissolves with the imposition of the George tax
Issue  real value constant tax credit accounts
equal to the value of the equity at time of imposition

The account can fund any future George tax obligations on any property
Obviously they should be sale able in a market set up and regulated by the state