Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Niall Ferguson to Paul Krugman: You’re Still Wrong About Government Spending

Looks like some editorial hypocrisy building up over at Yahoo Finance as now Lyster is promoting an assertion opposite Blodget who recently asserted that "Krugman won" over there.

Lyster tees it up for Ferguson here who asserts:  "Krugman’s pro-government spending thesis not only fails to address the core problems facing the U.S. and Europe today but also has dire consequences for individuals living in these economies" .... “The headlines have done a disservice to Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart,”.

Video and short write up at Yahoo Finance here.


Ralph Musgrave said...

If anyone wants to waste their time looking at what’s going on in Ferguson’s tiny little brain, see these articles by him:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f90bca10-1679-11df-bf44-00144feab49a.html#axzz2RyJMbzw0 and

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/270e1a6c-9334-11df-96d5-00144feab49a.html#axzz2RyJMbzw0 and


Bill Mitchell tore a strip off the first article, as did I. See respectively:



JK said...

All of this emphasizes how important it is to appreciate that currency issuing government "borrowing" is not the same as household and business borrowing. We really need a new word for the former. So long as we call them both borrowing, then the power a familiarity (when I borrow I have to pay it back) will obtruct popular understanding.

Mike Norman said...

And let's not forget this about Lyster.

Tom Hickey said...

Well, when govts "borrow" by issuing bonds they do have to pay back the principal and interest, i.e., redeem their securities with reserves, including interest accrued as due.

The difference is that govts can create reserves ex nihilo and no one else can. All govts that issue currency can do this, but only currency sovereigns that float their currencies and don't borrow in foreign currency can do this without risking default, although their policy space is constrained operationally by domestic price stability and currency stability.

What this means is that a currency issuer borrowing is different from currency user borrowing in that currency. The currency issuer doesn't have to obtain currency from currency users unless it choices to limit its policy space in that way, e.g., by a rule requiring expenditure to be offset specifically by taxes.

F. Beard said...

And let's not forget this about Lyster. Mike Norman

It's more likely that the mining rate of gold LIMITS the average real economic growth rate to that rate for nations stupid enough to be on a gold-standard.

Mother Nature as our guide? I'll take the Old and New Testaments instead since they contain all the info needed to design ethical, sane money systems.

y said...


"We really need a new word for the former"

how about "asset swap"?

JK said...


I think "Assets Swap" isn't good. We need to keep the lay-people in mind. How about as a derivation of asset swap… "Exchange" ?

Currency Users borrow money.

Currency Issuers exchange money.

Exchange what for what? Funny you should ask!...

Detroit Dan said...

I have always like the "checking account" (for money), "savings account" (for Treasuries) terminology...

Dan Kervick said...

Well, you could also use "liability swap", which is just as accurate as asset swap. But it carries some of the same negative connotation. A financial liability is a debt. But the classification of government-issued currency as a liability is really more of a convenient bookkeeping convention than a meaningful designation. The currency is only a government liability in that it can be used to offset tax obligations, and these tax obligations are classified as government "assets". But that designation is just as meaningless. The government has a bottomless money well and doesn't need the taxes, and so the dollars it collects are not assets in any meaningful sense.

The government issues two main kinds of liabilities: the non-interest bearing, non-maturing ones and the interest-bearing maturing ones. The interest-bearing, maturing ones are government commitments to deliver some of the non-interest bearing, non-maturing ones on a particular schedule.

Sometimes the government issues some of the interest-bearing, maturing liabilities and trades them for some of the non-interest bearing, non-maturing liabilities.

No matter how it is described and sliced however, the complex operational framework the government has set up to divide up the various tasks obscures their essential simplicity and integration.

paul said...

Niall Ferguson is a paid shill. He's part of the echo chamber that drowns out the voices of reason.