Reply To: MMT congruent with the free market or an impetus for central planning


I like to study MMT more than Keynesian economics. The MMT’ers are the most obnoxiously loud of any economic school, so obviously hard to ignore. Their school seems to be based on the equation for GDP…… which is a misleading indicator anyways.

I’m no expert, but here are the obvious points that they make:

-Government spending is good. Sometimes they say “deficits are very necessary”.
-Lower taxes to stimulate growth + the above
-Governments can NOT default on debts if they are denominated in their currency
-Fiat money has never experienced hyperinflation.
-Following the 1st and 2nd rule above will not cause inflation.

Now my turn to point out the obvious flaws in MMT.

1. Gov’t spending could be productive…. but it just proves that it more often than not isn’t. This is b/c of the huge numbers of unproductive employees, among other things. Spending 1 trillion on producing goods vs spending 1 trillion on regulatory agencies draws a clear distinction. When you increase the number of goods in supply, costs go down. When you only increase the velocity of money, costs go up. Depending on gov’t spending is doomed to fail every time. We can spend 1 Billion to build a factory and produce goods….but let’s say the money is in the private sector’s hands. The private sector hires as few employees as possible, and produces as many goods as possible for the 1 Billion. In the hands of the government, they may favor employing as many people as possible, thus producing the goods as inefficiently as possible, (no tools etc). Fewer goods are produced. Society as a whole is poorer.

2. MMT’ers correctly note that taxes should fall, but ignore the similarities between taxation and dilution via printing money. If the private sector has $100 and the government imposes a %50 tax, then half of the purchasing power is now int he government’s hands. If there are $100 in the private sector and the government prints $100, then again the government now has %50 of the purchasing power. They get away with this obvious fallacy b/c people like Stephanie Kelton just say “We just need efficient government spending, of course it would be bad to print money and waste it.” Logic does not follow. Their entire economic theories rely on these ridiculous assumptions.

3. Often you will see an MMT’er tell you that a government can’t default on a debt issued in it’s own currency….. and they ALL literally act as if they are the first person to ever utter this statement. It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to have come to that same conclusion…… and I heard this long before I ever heard of MMT. Greenspan said it explicitly many years ago. The heart of MMT is that people will continue to accept payment in said currency.

4. Mike Norman has uttered this statement. I am not sure if it is true. But even if it is, It wouldn’t mean anything. Almost all of human history money was either barter or paper backed by something tangible….. Having something real to give currency purchasing power does not give it a better chance of becoming hyperinflationary. Most importantly to note, hyperinflation is an option.

Now about interest rates and the fed.

Increasing the interest rate on the bonds will lower the dollar value of the bonds. This represents less willingness to purchase said bonds and the price has to become lower for the market to clear. There is no way around what is coming. Creditors to the government will be wiped out. They can (per above) print money to meet obligations, but the purchasing power promised will not be delivered. Or if sound monetary policy were allowed to persist, the creditors would simply receive partial payment at best….. but paid in dollars of now higher value(still less p. power than promised).

The Fed would increase the rate due to employment reaching 6.5 percent or lower and inflation reaching 2.5 percent or higher (their words). I personally believe that a lot of inflation is already baked in the cake. As Mises said, it sometimes takes years for some goods and services to adjust to the “altered money relation”. If inflation hits 2.5 percent, it could continue to climb even after halting inflationary policy. I believe this to be the true testing point. What will the fed REALLY do? Bernanke and all of the top 3 prospective replacements to his position are anti-deflation zealots. QE will last far longer than they are telling us it will.

If the Fed immediately vanished, we would have a depression in short order. Interest rates would skyrocket.