I don‘t like to dwell on this topic since I would have thought that after the massive deficits. following the last financial crisis, the amount of quantitative easing which is what I called greater monetization of the debt by the central bank and the total absence of inflation as a problem ever since then- which is now twelve years- that the out of date monetarist anti deficit argument could be shelved for the near to medium future so long as we had high unemployment and a trend to falling prices.But there continue to be claims that we are endangering our society by following this prudent policy. Konrad Yakabuski has written another opinion piece asserting this argument.( The Bank of Canada keeps making the rich richer, August 1, opinion . The Globe and Mail) In this piece he claims that ‘‘politicians and academic economists‘‘ insist that the central banks anti deflation pro growth strategy has artificially kept the economy afloat in the short term but in the long term will only boost the stock market and be unsustainable.
The current ratio of debt to GDP is well below what it reached at the end of World War II
Whenever the Federal Government seeks to support the economy it has to use one of the following methods or set of them to do the job. It can spend money that covers the cost of its programs and have a balanced budget as opposed to a surplus. This is slightly stimulative provided the government does not create a sinking fund to retire the debt in the future. To be more stimulative it needs to run a deficit to counter recessionary forces in the economy. Both by replacing lost incomes in order to stimulate consumption and by changing investor expectations about the future rate of return on investment projects. These projects can be funded by private firms, the government itself from tax revenues or supplemented by the central bank purchasing of government treasury bills and bonds. Since the Federal government issues its debt in Canadian dollars it is a sovereign monetary authority with respect to the Canadian economy so long as the debt is issued in Canadian dollars. If inflation is low as it currently is there is no risk of currency depreciation by the actions of speculators. Furthermore the Bank of Canada has currently lowered interest rates close to zero. This also acts as a stimulant to investment both by the private and public sectors. This is an excellent time for infrastructure investments for example, or investments in our health care or investments in our social policy and education system.
Debt monetization or q.e. is also stimulative to the extent it permits greater investment than what might have occurred in its absence. Some analysts who understand that Keynes originally thought of and entitled his General Theory as a Monetary theory of Production, like Abba Lerner may also argue that the greater monetization will also permit more high powered money to be created and less of the savings done by the private sector and individuals to be depleted by short term debt reduction. More on this later.