11 June 2009

Arthur Laffer: 'Double Digit Inflation & High Interest Rates'

Some of you can go ahead and throw out the baby with the bath-water on this guy (Arthur Laffer) if you like, but to me, he's making a lot of sense.
Here we stand more than a year into a grave economic crisis with a projected budget deficit of 13% of GDP. That's more than twice the size of the next largest deficit since World War II. And this projected deficit is the culmination of a year when the federal government, at taxpayers' expense, acquired enormous stakes in the banking, auto, mortgage, health-care and insurance industries.

With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs -- such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid -- are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.

But as bad as the fiscal picture is, panic-driven monetary policies portend to have even more dire consequences. We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s.
Further down in the column, he suggests that the Fed contract the money supply by selling Bonds. Only they can't do it because the Obama administration is having to sell bonds to fund their outrageous expansion in government spending.

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