Posted by WARREN MOSLER on August 15th, 2012
There’s a reason the hardcore budget balancer/deficit hawk does not last long under the microscope. Their numbers can’t add up, which leaves them with contradictory statements.
Why can’t they add up? The dollar is a ‘closed system’, what’s called a case of ‘inside money’ due to the fact that they all come from govt and/or its designated agents (apart from counterfeits).
This means the dollars in our pension funds, IRA’s, corporate reserves, cash in circulation, foreign central bank reserves, etc. all come from someone else spending more than his income.
Yes, the rest of the private sector can and does often spend a bit more than it’s income to supply those ‘saver’s dollars’ but most of it comes from the $15 trillion or so the US govt has spent in excess of its tax collections. That’s called federal deficit spending.
In fact, the US govt debt is equal to the net dollar denominated ‘savings’ of all the other sectors combined. To the penny. It can’t come from anywhere else.
That means any plan to balance the federal budget is also a plan that doesn’t allow global dollar savings to grow. This means the ‘automatic savings’ like dollars going into and compounding in pension funds, IRA’s, corporate reserves, cash in circulation, and foreign central bank reserves, etc. either can’t happen or are ‘supplied’ by equal private sector debt increases.
So a plan to reduce the deficit $10 trillion from current forecasts is also a plan that either causes private sector debt to increase by that much and/or causes pensions, IRA’s, corporate reserves, cash in circulation, and foreign central bank reserves to decrease by that much.
None of which is consistent with a growing economy, to say the least.
This means, any plan for long term deficit reduction that includes relatively high rates of growth is what can be called a financial optical illusion, that doesn’t hold up on close examination.
And that’s why all the budget balancers ultimately fail. Yes, their headline rhetoric can be casually convincing and even win local elections. But under serious scrutiny, it all falls apart.
But maybe this time it’s different.