The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand monetary sovereignty, do not understand economics. Cutting the federal deficit is the most ignorant and damaging step the federal government could take. It ranks ahead of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.
On December 17, 2010 Columnist Michael Schuman published an online article saying:
Chinese inflation hit 5.1% in November, the fastest clip since the pre-crisis boom months of 2008. Though much of the increase is in food (up 11.7% from a year earlier), the inflationary pressures are spreading to more aspects of the economy.
By hiking interest rates, the central bank would be increasing the interest burden on borrowers. That, in turn, could intensify a bad loan problem at China’s banks that many economists believe is an inevitable result of the lending boom.
So the Chinese have instead turned to an old favorite, price controls on certain staple foods.
Inflation is the loss in value of money compared to the value of goods and services. The cure for inflation is to increase the value of money and/or to decrease the value of goods and services.
The later is difficult for any government to accomplish, other than with price controls. Sadly, price controls have serious defects. They lead to reduced supply, while allowing demand to increase, which invariably causes pent up demand and black markets.
A second approach is for the government to buy, store then mete out supplies of oil, when prices rise. Because oil is the prime mover of inflation, this can be an effective anti-inflation plan, if the government has the discipline to do it. The plan falls apart when the government becomes reluctant to part with any of its suddenly-more-precious oil.
In all, increasing the value of money seem to be the best prevention/cure for inflation. That can be accomplished by decreasing the supply of money or by increasing the demand for money. Reduced government spending or increased taxation can reduce the supply. However, reducing the money supply not only leads to recessions and depressions, but involves very slow, uncertain and cumbersome processes.
In addition to the difficulty of knowing how much to increase taxes or to reduce spending, the even more difficult question is which taxes to increase and/or which spending to decrease. By the time politicians finish debating and voting on these highly political questions, the situation either may have passed or more likely, worsened appreciably.
Preventing/curing inflation requires agility and incremental response, for which interest rate modification is ideal. Raising interest rates can be done instantly and in tiny increments. It increases the demand for money, which increases the value of money – perfectly anti-inflationary.
China’s reluctance to strengthen its currency probably is tied to its false belief it must continue to build its export business, which relies in part on the weakness of the yuan. The function of exports is to bring money into an economy, but China, being Monetarily Sovereign does not need additional money coming in from outside its borders. It has the unlimited ability to create money.
China also may subscribe to the popular belief that low interest rates stimulate its economy. American history shows this belief to be false. See: Low interest rates do not help the economy. China also may believe high rates increase business costs, and so actually could foster inflation. However, in America at least, high rates have not corresponded with inflation. (See Item 12,) probably because interest is a minuscule part of most companies’ costs..
The Chinese government has the ability to be its nation’s own best customer. It does not need to rely on exports. This is a fact for all Monetarily Sovereign nations. China has the means to prevent/cure its inflation by raising interest rates. It needs only to understand its own powers.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind me of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”