Fiscal Squeeze Imposes Needless Austerity

Oh yeah:

There are two kinds of markets: hiring labor to produce goods and services in the "real" economy, and transactions in financial assets and property claims in the FIRE sector. Governments can run budget deficits by financing either of these two spheres. Since President Franklin Roosevelt's WPA programs in the 1930s, along with his public infrastructure investment in roads, dams and other construction – and military arms spending after World War II broke out – "Keynesian" spending on goods and services has been used to hire labor or pay for social programs. This pumps money into the economy via the GDP-type transactions that appear in the National Income and Product Accounts. It is not inflationary when unemployment exists.

However, the debt that characterized the Paulson-Geithner bailout of Wall Street was created not to spend on goods and services, but to buy (or take liability for) mortgages and bank loans, insurance default bets and arbitrage gambles. The aim was to subsidize financial losses while keeping the debt overhead in place, so that banks and other financial institutions could "earn their way" out of negative net worth, at the economy's expense. The idea was that they could start lending again to prevent real estate prices from falling further, saving them from having to write down their debt claims to bring levels back down within the ability to be paid.

Michael Hudson: America's Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff, Part III– Why Today's Fiscal Squeeze Imposes Needless Austerity

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "The Bubble and Beyond."

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Mini-Biography: Vision for the Organization: (We must bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. The giving and sharing economy is the right system for running the whole household of Heaven and Earth.) Articles: (Thousands of online articles.) Employment: (2007 - Present: President: RLCC.) (1995 - Present: Independent contracting; Website developing; Writing.) (1993 - 1995: Factors International/Bradbury Hill International Finance.) Education: (City University, Olympia: Bellevue. Graduate Studies: Public Administration. Organizational Theory/Design.) (Arizona State University. BS, Political Science.) (Northern Arizona University.)
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