Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Puzzling Belief in Austerity

Thus, unless we believe that the long-term real borrowing costs for western Europe as a whole will be more than 5% per year – that nominal borrowing costs will be more than 7% year – spending cuts now to reduce the deficit are likely to erode rather than bolster the overall fiscal situation. They damage rather than restore confidence. They raise rather than lower the riskiness of the outstanding bond stock. And so they reduce rather than raise employment and production in the economy.
Credible plans and programs for long-run fiscal balance, yes.
Structural reforms to free-up enterprise and increase opportunity, yes.
Reworking the social-insurance state to make it cheaper and less wasteful, yes.
But spending cuts now to lay sacrifices on the altar of credibility in the hope of improving confidence and reducing the riskiness of the outstanding bond stock? No. The arithmetic simply goes the wrong way – unless you believe that Eurozone nominal bond yields will soon normalize to levels above 7% per year.


Merlin said...

I wonder what all these economists were doing before the crisis? Catherine de Medicis had Nostradamus,we have economists. Shamanism is back.

martinned said...

Like I said: We don't have a model...