|Rather than making money harder to get, the U.S. government needs to focus on the other side of the demand vs. supply inflation equation.|
By Ellen Brown | Original to ScheerPost
July 27, 2022
In prescribing cures for inflation, economists rely on the diagnosis of Nobel laureate Milton Friedman: inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon—too much money chasing too few goods. But that equation has three variables: too much money (“demand”) chasing (the “velocity” of spending) and too few goods (“supply”). And “orthodox” economists, from Lawrence Summers to the Federal Reserve, seem to be focusing only on the “demand” variable.
The Fed’s prescription is to suppress demand (borrowing and spending) by raising interest rates. Summers, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary who presided over the massive post-2008 bank bailouts, is proposing to reduce demand by raising taxes or raising unemployment rates, reducing disposable income and thus people’s ability to spend. But those rather brutal solutions miss the real problem, just as Summers missed the crisis leading up to the 2008-09 crash. As explained in a November 2021 editorial titled “Too Few Goods – The Simple Explanation for October’s Elevated Inflation Rates,” we don’t actually have too much consumer money chasing available goods . . .
|Solving Today’s Price Inflation|
That could be done again, assuming there is political will. Some pundits predict that the Fed will back off its aggressive interest rate hikes when the carnage from that approach becomes painfully evident, but it seems to be a phase we have to go through to convince policymakers that the Fed’s current tools are not able to curb the price inflation we have today. We need to stimulate local development with a national infrastructure and development bank like China’s; and for that, Congress needs to pass an infrastructure bank bill.
Four such bills are currently before Congress. Only one, however, is capable of generating the nearly $6 trillion that the American Society of Civil Engineers says is needed over the next decade for U.S. infrastructure investment. This is HR 3339: The National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2021, which would effectively be self-funded on the American System model – a critical feature given that the federal debt is at record levels. The bank would be capitalized with federal debt acquired in debt-for-equity swaps – federal securities for non-voting bank shares paying a 2% dividend. This capital would then be leveraged at 10 to 1 into low-interest loans, essentially at cost. The bank would be anti-inflationary, by bringing supply up to meet demand; would not require new taxes but would rather increase the tax base, by increasing GDP; and would require only a small Congressional outlay for startup costs, which would quickly be repaid. For more information on HR 3339, see the National Infrastructure Bank Coalition website.
|Ellen BrownEllen Brown is a regular contributor to ScheerPost. She is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of thirteen books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book is Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age and her 400+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.|