John Gapper, writing in the Financial Times, argues that Bitcoin enthusiasts need to grow up, and that Bitcoin itself needs to grow out of its obsessive adolescence.
Frances Coppola has a very nice piece in Forbes that takes on some of the continuing confusion over commercial bank reserves, central bank payments of interest on reserves and the relationship of both to commercial bank lending. She concludes with a ringing rejection of the frequently voiced claims that the Fed’s policy of paying interest on reserves inhibits bank lending, and that high excess reserve levels are an indicator of sluggish bank lending or bank hoarding:
Alan Blinder, writing in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, expresses enthusiasm about some recent hints at a possible change in the Fed’s policy on interest paid on excess reserves.
Paul Krugman has yet another pair of pieces up about real interest rates, inflation rates, monetary policy “tightness” or “looseness”, and the purported theoretical connection between these phenomena and US stagnation: stagnation in US growth, employment and wages. Read them and yawn.
Brad DeLong doesn’t like what Clive Crook is saying about Larry Summers.
Public investment in the US has hit its lowest level since demobilisation after the second world war because of Republican success in stymieing President Barack Obama’s push for more spending on infrastructure, science and education.
Driving home from work last night here in New Hampshire, I ended up behind a man in a tidy red pickup truck. The man had written a very elaborate message on the back of the truck, carefully arranged with block letter decals of the kind you use to put a name on a mailbox. I couldn’t read the entire message without tailgating, and some of the letters toward the end of the message were smaller, but here was the part I could read:
Lacy Hunt reports on three recent academic studies indicating that the Fed’s unconventional asset purchasing programs have failed. Antonio Fatas is “sympathetic to the argument that Quantitative Easing has had a limited effect on GDP growth”, but takes issue with some parts of Hunt’s analysis, and argues that the way Hunt analyzes the relationship between reserves and the money multiplier “is not consistent with the conclusions reached about the lack of effectiveness of monetary policy actions.” I believe there are problems with both Hunt’s analysis and Fatas’s analysis of that analysis. My best guess is that QE has had negligible macroeconomic effects. But some of the considerations Hunt and Fatas adduce in attempting to evaluate that question are red herrings, and don’t get us closer to an answer.
Americans during the past few decades have been in the grip of an especially strong dogma, the dogma of Market Fundamentalism. Falling in with the preachers and zealots of this charismatic sect, they have convinced themselves that their once lofty economic place in the world was primarily due to an American preference for miniscule government coupled with the visionary leadership of free-wheeling entrepreneurial heroes, latter-day secular saints who were able to set the economic agenda and pursue it unencumbered by regulatory ties.
As I write, American conservatism has gone mad: openly, disturbingly and resoundingly bats. There is no mistaking it. But the furious imprecations and cracked laughter of the lunatic conservatives echoing loudly down the halls of our sad American bedlam have helped obscure the fact that liberalism in the United States is moribund. While conservatives strive to tear down our rotten and unjust system and replace it with something even more terrifying, liberals offer nothing but a determination to patch up some of the superficial rot while approving the general injustice.