John Mauldin is President of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC (MWA) which is an investment advisory firm registered with multiple states. He also is a registered representative of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC, (MWS) an NASD registered broker-dealer. He is the author of Thoughts from the Frontline, a blog at Mauldin.
Recently, Mr. Mauldin wrote an article for his blog, and I wrote to him with a critique, as follows:
This note is sent to you in the spirit of helpfulness. Your article titled “The Center Cannot Hold,” quoting G. Cecchetti, M. S. Mohanty, and Fabrizio Zampolli contains several widely quoted, commonly believed myths. For example:
Myth: “Long before we get to the place where we in the US are paying 20% of our GDP in interest (which would be about 80% of our tax collections, even with much higher tax rates) the bond market, not to mention taxpayers, will revolt. The paper’s authors clearly show that the current course is not sustainable.”
Fact: Federal borrowing no longer (after 1971) is necessary nor even desirable. See: How to Eliminate Federal Deficits
Myth: “A higher level of public debt implies that a larger share of society’s resources is permanently being spent servicing the debt. This means that a government intent on maintaining a given level of public services and transfers must raise taxes as debt increases.”
Fact: Society’s resources do not service federal debt. See: Taxes do not pay for federal spending.
Myth: “And if government debt crowds out private investment, then there is lower growth.”
Fact: This also commonly is stated, “Government debt crowds out private borrowing” and government debt crowds out private lending.” There is no mechanism by which federal spending can crowd out investment, borrowing or lending. On the contrary, federal spending adds to the money supply, which stimulates investment, borrowing and lending. See: Why spending stimulates investment
Myth: “A government cannot run deficits in times of crisis to offset the affects of the crisis, if they already are running large deficits and have a large debt. In effect, fiscal policy is hamstrung.”
Fact: This is the strangest myth, since running deficits in a time of crisis is exactly what the U.S. government has been doing. It would be true of Greece and the other EU nations, but not of then U.S., Canada, Australia, China and other monetarily sovereign systems. See: Greece’s solution
Myth: “[...] the current leadership of the Fed knows it cannot print money.”
Fact: This myth is even stranger than the above “strangest” myth, since printing money is exactly what the Fed does. See: Unsustainable debt.
Myth: “As frightening as it is to consider public debt increasing to more than 100% of GDP, an even greater danger arises from a rapidly aging population.”
Fact: The famous federal debt/GDP ratio is completely meaningless – a classic apples/oranges comparison – that neither describes the health of the economy, nor measures the government’s ability to pay its bills nor has any other meaningful purpose. See: The Debt/GDP ratio
If you would like to see more common myths about our economy, go to: Common economic myths
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell