A Job Guarantee job creates the required extra productive capacity

Even though the US government has shutdown, the BLS is still open for data downloads. That is something. More on that data another day. Today I have been working on a formal academic paper (to be presented at a conference in December) which examines the concept of “capacity-constrained” unemployment. This concept says that capacity constraints may create bottlenecks in production before unemployment has been significant reduced (this would be exacerbated if there are significant procyclical labour supply responses). In this case any expansion in government demand may have insignificant real effects – that is, the real output gap is not large enough to allow all the unemployed to gain productive jobs. This argument is often use to attack the Job Guarantee. It can be shown that while private sector investment, which is government by profitability considerations can be insufficient (during and after a recession) to expand potential output fast enough to re-absorb the unemployed who lost their jobs in the downturn, such a situation does not apply to a currency-issuing government intent on introducing a Job Guarantee. The point is that the introduction of a Job Guarantee job simultaneously creates the extra productive capacity required for program viability.

The 1980 book – Profitability and Unemployment – Cambridge University Press) was the product of a series of Marshall Lectures that French economist Edmond Malinvaud presented at Cambridge University in 1978.

At the time, there was a robust debate about the rising unemployment rates around the world, following the OPEC oil shocks and the contractionary fiscal reaction by governments to the rising inflation that followed.

Malinvaud’s work is highly technical as was most of the debate.

The first issue was to ascertain the impact of aggregate demand and income rationing in a monetary economy on the product (goods and services) and labour markets. In other words, consumers could face binding rations by having their income constrained (by unemployment) and firms by facing sales constraints (due to a lack of demand).

One of my early articles (1985 with M.E. Burns) contributed to this literature – see Real Wages, Unemployment and Economic Policy in Australia. You can access a PDF version HERE.

In that paper, we considered the arguments of the orthodox economists who urge governments to restrain their expenditure and to wait for a prophesied supply-side recovery and stimulate that recovery by cutting real wages.

We rejected these arguments on two grounds. First, while the way in which a real wage reduction would actually take place is never really outlined in orthodox theory (bearing in mind that the real wage is the ratio of money wages set in the labour market and the price level set in the goods market – two separate arenas, each subject to its own influences and power relations), even within an orthodox framework, a real wage cut can damage employment given asymmetries in substitution responses. This related to the fact that firms will not immediately scrap existing capital (to increase the labour to capital ratio) if labour becomes cheaper. Why would they do that.

Second, more fundamentally, we showed that it is actual and expected aggregate demand that is the strongest influence on the level of activity and employment.

As a consequence, and running against the mainstream at the time, we made the case for demand expansion against real wage cuts as a solution to the growing unemployment. We showed that “whatever the level of wages relative to the general price level, providing spare capacity exists a ceteris paribus increase in expected demand would lead to a similar percentage increase in output and permanent employment”.

We noted two problems that might hinder expansion.

The first, (following Malinvaud’s book noted above) is that “it may be that capacity constraints will create bottlenecks in production before unemployment has been significant reduced (this would be exacerbated if there are significant procyclical labour supply responses). In this case any expansion in government demand may have insignificant real effects and the crowding out argument has some validity”.

Note, we were referring to “physical” rather than financial crowding out here. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) clearly acknowledges that an economy could be pushed to the point that all real resources are in use and so if one sector (say the government) wants to increase its share of total resource use then it must come at the expense of another sector.

The second, related to the “profitability of investment”. We argued that “(w)hile recovery need not be investment led it must quickly stimulate new investment so that its durability is guaranteed. the urgency of this depends on how much capital has been lost in the downturn through shedding, on the utilisation rates and the state of health of the retained capital. The thorny issue here if higher rates of return are required for new investment to occur, is whether careful expansion will guarantee this (via a cyclical recovery in profit margins) or whether higher profit rates must necessarily precede expansion”.

At the time, we concluded that neither issue was likely to be an important constraint on government expanding employment (and reducing unemployment) via stimulus spending.

Later in that paper (pages 18-20) we concluded that “a significant government budget deficit is involved, it would even be if stimulatory initiatives were not to be pursued because of a decrease in revenues and increase in expenditure consequent on the recession”.

We also noted that the “whole subject of the antagonism towards the budget deficit is interesting in its own right, particularly in a historical context … it should be made clear that the issue of government involvement has always had a political and moral component in addition to (and sometimes, in the absence of) economic considerations”.

Which one would suggest some 26 years later still is the case – for example, the closure of the US government!

We noted that “part of the deficit would be financed through monetary expansion and here would be less concerned than the Treasurer, who dismissed all opportunity of reasoned academic debate on matter with his characterisation “a source of world inflationary policy of having a non-financed deficit, that printing money …’”

Our final paragraph noted that:

… there is an onus on economists to choose which of the tools available is appropriate to a given situation. Thus there may be a simple and useful framework of analysis whereby doctors in the Antarctic on the basis of discolouration of extremities, can usefully be guided as to whether frostbite has occurred and a limb requires to be amputated. We would be critical of a doctor in the tropics of applying the same discolouration test to sufferers of sunburn. Perhaps the economic doctors who prescribed real wage decreases rather than demand stimulation would have been less willing patients if they made clear that the diagnosis rested on the beliefs ceteris paribus , the expected volume of sales has no independent effect on employment decisions and accordingly, at the current time with the current wage-price structure firms would not respond to a maintained increase in their orders received.

One could conclude that the same sort of reasoning still holds. First, before one starts dishing out remedies it is best to understand the nature of the system that is malfunctioning. So claiming that the US is heading down the Greek path is clearly nonsensical given the two nations operate within different monetary systems – the latter uses a foreign currency (the Euro) and the former issues its own currency.

Second, when proposing policy solutions a basic grasp of the evidence is required. A most basic principle in macroeconomics is that spending creates (and is equal to) national income, which in turn, requires inputs to generate it (via output) and that means employment.

In this blog, I consider the capacity constraint issue raised by Malinvaud (in the book noted above). He argued that it is possible that there will be insufficient capital available after a recession to allow the workers who are involuntarily unemployed to be subsumed back into the productive workforce.

This brings into consideration the way in which investment responds to a fall in aggregate demand. In turn, it requires us to consider questions of profitability, given that firms will not invest unless they expect the new productive capacity will generate an acceptable rate of return.

It is clear that extra investment occurs if firms see that the cost of providing an extra unit of capacity will be less than the expected revenue that flows from selling the extra output. Firms have to factor in both the likelihood that demand for the specific products involved will be sufficient in the future and that they can hire the extra labour to work on the new capacity to produce the output necessary to satisfy the expected increase in demand.

So firms form expectations of future demand (and realised sales) and invest accordingly. Fluctuations in investment drive the business cycle and the components of aggregate demand are interdependent via expectations and employment.

So given consumption is induced by faster growth which in turn responds to public spending and investment is dependent on, among other things, expectations of future revenue, you can quickly see the interdependencies.

It is clear that growth builds on itself. But when private spending is stagnant and expectations are very pessimistic what external force will change that? Why will investors once again assume the risk and start building new capacity?

In some of my work in 2002 (with Joan Muysken) – for example, here is a working paper you can get for free (subsequently published in the literature) – we developed a model based on the notion that investors facing endemic uncertainty make large irreversible capital outlays, which leads them to be cautious in times of pessimism and to use broad safety margins.

Accordingly, firms form expectations of future profitability by considering the current capacity utilisation rate against their normal usage. They will only invest when capacity utilisation, exceeds its normal level. Thus, investment varies with capacity utilisation within bounds and therefore productive capacity grows at rate which is bounded from below and above. The asymmetric investment behaviour thus generates asymmetries in capacity growth because productive capacity only grows when there is a shortage of capacity.

This sort of model stands up very well to empirical scrutiny.

Please read my blogs – How do labour markets react to capacity utilisation changes? and Deficits should be cut in a recession. Not! – for more discussion on this point.

This is also the focus of Malinvaud. He showed that even with real wage flexibility (the Classical case) the economy can reach a stalled equilibrium (where nothing will change) with mass unemployment.

His book also attempted to outline how low investment during and after a recession reduces the capacity of economies to reabsorb the unemployed back into productive employment. So instead of there being demand-constrained unemployment, which is sometimes called Keynesian unemployment, Malinvaud claimed that mass unemployment could become capacity-constrained unemployment.

In the current environment, fiscal austerity may exacerbate this problem by eroding productive capacity. This has clearly been the case in many of the European nations.

The resulting shrinkage in productive capacity poses the question: is the existing idle capacity sufficient to allow the unemployed and the hidden unemployed (those that left the labour force as a result of a lack of job opportunities) to be re-employed.

If the answer to this question is no, then it is clear that any stimulus has to focus on increasing investment, that is, augmenting the productive capacity of the economy.

Capacity Constraints and the Job Guarantee

The issue of capacity constraints is often raised as an objection to the introduction of a Job Guarantee – where the government provides an unconditional open offer of a job at a fixed wage to anyone who desires to accept the offer.

The Job Guarantee, is thus demand-determined (the limits set by the last person to walk through the door in search of a job) rather than supply-determined (by budget constraints).

Many critics of the scheme claim that there is not sufficient capital available to facilitate such a scheme given that millions are now unemployed around the world.

In this blog – Investing in a Job Guarantee – how much? – I discuss the way in which we can assess the resource impact of introducing such a program.

One temptation when calculating whether a Job Guarantee is a viable part of a full employment strategy is to:

1. Calculate the real output gap – that is, the difference between potential real output (what the economy can produce given given capacity, including capital) and actual real output.

2. Make an assumptions about the productivity of the existing pool of unemployed – that is, how much extra real output each one would add if employed.

3. Calculate the extra output that would be generated if the unemployed were re-employed (allowing for a small percentage of frictional unemployment – say 2-3 per cent at most).

4. Compare that output with the real output gap (which reflects capacity constraints).

5. Conclude that the extra output that would be forthcoming exceeds the real output gap and that the economy has capacity-constrained unemployment that cannot be solved by a short-run stimulus package but requires longer-term investment in productive capacity (particularly in the private sector).

6. In other words, the Job Guarantee is incomplete as a solution to mass unemployment and traditional Keynesian stimulus of private investment is required.

My response will be outlined in a formal paper that will be delivered at this year’s – 14th Path to Full Employment Conference/19th National Unemployment Conference – which will be held in Newcastle, December 4-5, 2013 and all are encouraged to attend our annual gathering.

The calculation sequence outlined above is really about a generalised Keynesian-style stimulus that attempts to increase employment by hiring at market wages in the private sector.

As noted above, my work with Joan Muysken on investment irreversibility clearly shows that firms will be reluctant to invest in new productive capacity in the early stages of recovery if they are unsure that the demand growth will be robust and enduring and capable of supporting the extra productive capacity created.

It is thus entirely possible that the private sector can become capacity-constrained, which limits the scope for private sector employment expansion in the short-run after a deep recession.

Our work on hysteresis, where potential real output falls in a lagged fashion with declining real GDP is also consistent with this conclusion. The longer a recession is allowed to endure the more likely these impacts will be.

But in the case of a Gob Guarantee the situation is entirely different. The spending capacity of currency-issuing governments is not constrained by expectations of future aggregate demand in the same way that pessimism erodes the spending decisions of private firms who are guided by profitability considerations.

In other words, the Job Guarantee creates its own productive capacity as job is taken up by an unemployed person. As we show in various papers (see link to blog above for a summary), we have developed a fairly detailed understanding of the type of jobs that could be created under a Job Guarantee and we also have researched (in very practical ways) the extent of additional equipment (protective clothing etc) required; standard training resource requirements; the ratio of supervisory to operational staff required; purchase and rental costs of additional equipment, outlays on standard raw materials for given job descriptors; and extra administrative and operational outlays that would be required.

In short, a massive amount of very fine-grained information has been assembled by our research group on what resources would be required to mount a Job Guarantee program in Australia.

I (and others in the MMT camp) have also been involved in actual employment generation programs in various countries and have gained a massive amount of operational experience and knowledge of these sorts of issues.

There is also a detailed international literature on the topic that allows one to ascertain realistic parameters for capital and training costs and we have cross-matched this information with the data we gleaned from research in Australia.

The upshot is that we have devised three stylised JG employment categories, differentiated by their labour intensity and wage to non-wage cost rules:

  • Low capital intensity – 75/25 rule;
  • Medium capital intensity – 60/40 rule; and
  • High capital intensity – 50/50 rule.

For example, a 75/25 rule says that 75 per cent of total costs will be absorbed by wages with the remaining 25 being classified as “non-labour costs”. All other costs are included in non-labour costs, which take into account the wages of supervisors, administrative costs, materials used and capital depreciation.

These categories can then be linked to the range of jobs that are identified to meet unmet community need and which would be accessible to the most unskilled workers.

From our research, the majority of jobs identified as being suitable for low skill workers were in the low capital intensity areas of work, although this varied across the specific need areas (transport amenity; community welfare services; public health and safety; and recreation and culture).

The upshot is that the capital requirements are entirely realistic and would not involve even medium-term lags in implementation.

The government has both the financial and real capacity to invest in and procure the required capital in a timely manner. Pessimism, which constrains private sector investment in productive capacity in the early days of recovery, doesn’t enter the picture.

The issue then relates to the demand impacts of the extra employment on the economy and whether that would be inflationary. As I have shown in numerous blogs – (which just report in a less formal way on the academic research we do), there will always be a buffer employment ratio (proportion of total jobs that are in the Job Guarantee pool) which stabilises inflation.

Conclusion

While a private sector expansion may be capacity constrained, this issue does not apply to the introduction of a Job Guarantee, which can be designed to accommodate a range of viable capital-labour ratios.

The offer of a Job Guarantee job thus simultaneously creates the extra productive capacity required for program viability. More about this in December in the form of a formal paper.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2013 Bill Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    20 Responses to A Job Guarantee job creates the required extra productive capacity

    1. Neil Wilson says:

      “The issue then relates to the demand impacts of the extra employment on the economy and whether that would be inflationary”

      I agree that the issue is overblown and that the space is there.

      But even if that weren’t the case and the economy had deteriorated so much that it had no capacity to absorb the extra demand, then the question becomes ‘who will compensate these people for the failure of the system to provide for their needs’.

      The unemployed and those in poverty are there because of a systemic failure. Therefore as a matter of natural justice they should receive compensation for the situation the system forces them to be in.

      And therefore that would require reducing the spending power of the rich (less spending on fine new clothes and wine cellars), so that those at the bottom can have what they require (more value beans and mass produced clothes).

      I can absolutely guarantee you that once you start talking about compensating the poor by reducing the demand capacity of the wealthy, the required capital capacity for a Job Guarantee would magically appear.

    2. AJS says:

      Interesting points Neil – but to have an increase in net spending would it not be better to reduce/target the excessive savings/assets of the rich – not necessarily their spending, per se? Inheritance tax?

      Actually if the top 5% showed any intelligence about their long term self-interest, they would spend like crazy to stop accumulating disproportionate financial assets – on worthwhile legacy stuff like education. Fat chance.

      Rsp.

    3. Neil Wilson says:

      “but to have an increase in net spending would it not be better to reduce/target the excessive savings/assets of the rich”

      Savings are inert. Essentially the rich tax themselves when they save in excess of investment.

      If you have a capacity constrained economy (assuming such a thing exists), then if you defrost savings and turn them into spending you would simply stoke demand pull inflation.

      If the economy is ‘full’ then you have to redistribute *current spending power* from the haves to the have nots.

    4. Peter Shaw says:

      AJS and NW together touch on an aspect of the JG worth highlighting.
      The need is to prevent exclusion of those at the bottom of the income curve from the economy, in order to stabilise it. The JG has this focus.
      Hidden subsidies in common practice, such as artificially low VAT etc or personal tax exemptions, cannot do this.
      *How* the rich fund the JG is unimportant, only that they in aggregate do (to the extent needed). Anything undodgeable will serve.
      As NW notes, the response to any capacity limit is more of the same. Simple and to the point.

    5. Benson Njonjo Ndehi says:

      In 1944, US had an unemployment rate of 1.2%, an inflation rate of 1.7%, and a budget deficit of 22.7% of GDP. There was no JG program but the outcome was what’s desired by JG proponents. Instead of JG, why not just increase the deficit spending on farming, construction, repairs, cleaning, etc. until unemployment is less than 1.5%?

    6. Bill,

      Your article considers capital-labour ratios in relation to JG. Quite right. It’s an important issue.

      You suggest, far as I can see, solving the problem of inadequate capital equipment by creating JG schemes where the ratio of capital equipment to labour is low compared to that of a normal or regular employer.

      My answer to that is: why not subsidise the relevant people into work with existing or regular employers where capital to labour ratios are presumably higher than on JG schemes, and hence the output of the subsidised employees will be higher? Moreover, that gives JG people experience of regular jobs as opposed to JG jobs, and the empirical evidence (hardly surprising this) is that the subsequent employment record of those doing subsidised work with regular employers is better than those on JG type projects.

      A further argument for allocating subsidised employees to existing employers is that the ratio of skilled to unskilled employees on JG schemes is bound to well below normal or optimum. In contrast, if JG people are subsidised into work with EXISTING employers, the skilled to unskilled ratio will be nearer normal, hence again, output from subsidised employees will be higher.

      That of course raises the question as to why, given an inadequate stock of capital equipment, regular employers would be willing to take on subsidised employees when faced with extra demand, rather than simply raise their prices (causing inflation). There are two reasons, one is sort of microeconomic and the other macroeconomic.

      The micro reason: if the cost to the employer of the least productive employee is reduced via a subsidy, the employer will take on more labour relative to the employer’s stock of capital equipment (which helps solve the “capital-labour” problem you address).

      The macroeconomic point: as unemployment falls, it gets increasing difficult for employers to locate the types of skilled labour they want. So as an alternative they resort to out bidding each other for skilled labour, which is inflationary. However, if the price of relatively unsuitable job applicants is reduced (via a subsidy) then employers in the aggregate will take on more employees before inflation kicks in.

    7. I should have said above that my points apply REGARDLESS of whether the economy is coming out of recession or whether times are more normal. In contrast, Bill seems to concentrate on the “coming out of recession” scenario in the above article.

    8. Ikonoclast says:

      I hold to the position that all economic debate is now moot to some considerable extent. I mean that the economic debate is now of secondary importance as we need first to solve our other more pressing problem. This problem is the issue of our (attempted) endless growth coming up against the limits to growth. This position appeals to almost no-one in economics; not to the neoclassicals, nor to the Keynesians of various types nor to the MMT theorists. Economists, in the main, continue to want to do economics as if the economy were not a sub-system of the environment. Clearly, the economy, materially and enegetically, is a sub-system of the biosphere.

      Almost all economic debate is still centered on the premise of endless growth in a finite system. That is to say the debate, by and large, does not recognise the limits to growth. MMT proposes (and I agree in economic terms) that stimulating aggregate demand via a Job Guarantee, deficits and other measures, will go a long way to solving unemployment and the productivity gap. However, the Limits to Growth and sustainability issues are now so pressing that a Job Guarantee and other dirigist action would need to be completely focused exclusively on sustainability issues.

      Not only is private enterprise either unable or unwilling to employ everyone it is also unable or unwilling to address limits to growth and sustainability issues. Thus the central focus of government and government dirigist action must be on these issues. The growth focus outside of the industrial arena has to be on growing human services, education, knowledge, arts and crafts (low consumption of materials and energy compared to more TVs and more cars). The growth focus in the industrial arena has to be in renewable energy, mass transit and other renewable systems economic and biological (massive forestry re-planting programs for example) and there has to be a move away from consumer society so less McMansions,automobiles, motobikes, speedboats, flat screens, electronic “toys” etc.

    9. Fugue says:

      Ikonoclast, with respect I would say that isn’t the fault of economists. By that I mean that economists are fine to focus upon maximising productivity in a macro or micro sense without specific regard to wider concepts such as the environment. It seems to me that MMT is actually making an argument for a more productive macro environment than neo-classical theory. The ethical aspects are a bonus and the accumulation of capital explains the prevalence and persistence of neo-classical economics despite inefficiencies introduced in its application.

      The issue for government is that it has successfully made “the economy” the number one issue in every election in recent memory. As a result, any social policy can be cut to ribbons through economic arguments, as all economic arguments will naturally devolve into productivity and growth. Very few individual social policies can survive when the core focus is on how much they cost and whether they provide an economic benefit. Ergo, we wind up talking about investments in health in terms having a healthier workforce and the reduced costs of earlier medical interventions. We talk about education as an investment in a skilled workforce which increases productivity. When we talk about renewable energy? It comes down to a cost/benefit analysis versus coal, and thus we are racing to either put in place economic measures to discourage fossil fuels or get down the costs of renewables to make them attractive despite science screaming at us to forget the numbers and actually consider the health and future viability of the planet.
      Governments can use economic interventions to support social policies, but unless the narrative is moved away from debating in a purely economic sense, or conceding that an “economically inferior” solution does not automatically make an inferior solution, we will never get off that track.

    10. F. Beard says:

      With respect, a JG is bogus because:

      1) All that is really lacking is purchasing power in the right hands.
      2) Those who need more purchasing power are victims of the government-backed counterfeiting credit cartel.
      3) Therefore it is RESTITUTION* that is needed, not jobs per se though restitution would certainly increase aggregate demand.

      *Land reform and the redistribution of the common stock of all large corporations may also be justified since large land holdings and large corporations have probably gotten that way via the inherently unethical government-backed credit cartel.

    11. Some Guy says:

      With respect, F Beard, critics of the JG don’t understand what they are talking about. The JG, guaranteed public sector employment, is the only noninflationary way – thus the only true way – to put purchasing power in the rightest hands – those who are ready, willing and able to work for it, and who have been deprived of purchasing power by the very existence of the state’s money. The JG is “restitution” – that can, has and will work, will perform real restitution, unlike pie in the sky schemes, or the terrible idea of subsidizing private employment. The banks can destroy a lot, but behind them, more fundamental and more powerful, for good or bad, is the state, and its utterly irrational act of imposing state money on people without giving them a way to get it.

    12. F. Beard says:

      The JG, guaranteed public sector employment, is the only noninflationary way – Some Guy

      Wrong. If further counterfeiting (as opposed to 100% reserve lending) by the banks were forbidden, at least temporarily, that would result in vast deflation as existing credit is repaid with no new credit to replace it.

      We could take advantage of that deflation to provide metered restitution to the entire population with new fiat without increasing the money supply IF the metering were such that it just replaces existing credit as it is repaid. The restitution would continue till all banks deposits were 100% covered by reserves.

      It turns out that reform allows restitution and restitution allows reform.* Is this just a coincidence? No, because to the extent that deposits are not 100% backed by reserves in a government privileged banking system, someone has been cheated by what is essentially legal counterfeiting.

      *Otherwise we’ll never have the new reserves necessary for a vast exodus of accounts from the banks to a Postal Savings Service where most people belong leaving the banks for only entirely voluntary depositors to bear all risk along with the banks.

    13. F. Beard says:

      Please note that the 100% reserve requirement should be met with non-borrowed reserves ONLY.

    14. F. Beard says:

      The banks can destroy a lot, but behind them, more fundamental and more powerful, for good or bad, is the state, and its utterly irrational act of imposing state money on people without giving them a way to get it. someguy

      I agree that government money should be legal tender*, de facto as well as de jure, for government debts only. This means, btw, that the banks should be 100% private without a shred of explicit or implicit privilege. There are ethical forms of endogenous private money. Shares in Equity (common stock) is one such form that requires neither usury nor government privileges and which justly shares wealth and power.

      *Of course it could also be used for private debts if both parties agree.

    15. Ben Johannson says:

      Benson,

      You have suggested what Dr. Mitchell has termed “generalized expansion”, whereby government simply buys enough goods and services to create full employment. The problem with this approach is not only that it is ultimately unsustainable in terms of our environment, but can also be exceedingly wasteful as politicians find themselves heavily lobbied to direct those flows toward corporate cronies and other confidence men. What I find particularly appealing about the JG is that it will be directed by local communities for nonprofit work, rather than being diverted to profits as a broad spending program inevitably must.

    16. PZ says:

      Apart from uncertainty and profitability, investment cycles can also be balance-sheet constrained like in Japan where commercial real estate prices dropped 87% from the peak.

      Post-keynesian uncertainty centered macroeconomic theory excludes balance-sheet considerations. :(

    17. Some Guy says:

      Benson Njonjo Ndehi: In 1944, US had an unemployment rate of 1.2%, an inflation rate of 1.7%, and a budget deficit of 22.7% of GDP. There was no JG program but the outcome was what’s desired by JG proponents. In 1944, the USA’s spectacularly successful JG program, the WPA, had just been closed down, a victim of its own success, a terrible war, and worst of all, an elite of economic royalists who alone understood how dangerous it was to them and their stranglehold on power and progress. Low unemployment and low inflation are good things. A big deficit is not. By 1944, major deficit spending was beginning to have a tough time eliciting more production on the scale it had earlier.

      Instead of JG, why not just increase the deficit spending on farming, construction, repairs, cleaning, etc. until unemployment is less than 1.5%? A (deficit) spending program targeted at the unemployed doing such things IS a JG program. It’s just not being called a JG – which is not a good thing. Get everybody to understand the simplicity, irrefutable logic and effectiveness of the JG and the battle against economic misery and injustice is won.

    18. F. Beard says:

      Low unemployment and low inflation are good things. A big deficit is not. Some Guy [bold added]

      Not necessarily. For one thing, all budget deficits by the monetary sovereign should be financed with pure money creation and NO borrowing since as Professor Mitchell points out that is “corporate welfare.” So that eliminates unnecessary interest payments. For another, budget deficits are the NORM* for a monetary sovereign; the only question is how big they should be. Under present circumstances, budget deficits should be large since some fundamental injustice needs correcting and new fiat is required** for that correction.

      *One reason is a growing population or economy needs a growing money supply to avoid looting of the young by the old via risk-free money hoarding. Another is to provide the interest for loans.

      **Debt forgiveness is not adequate since the government-backed credit cartel has cheated non-debtors too (of honest real interest rates). Thus a universal distribution of new fiat ala Steve Keen’s “A Modern Debt Jubilee” is more just and is thus more politically doable too.

    19. F. Beard says:

      Get everybody to understand the simplicity, irrefutable logic and effectiveness of the JG and the battle against economic misery and injustice is won. Some Guy

      How dare you?! Injustice REQUIRES RESTITUTION not jobs per se!

      And your logic has been refuted (see my reply to you above) so it’s not irrefutable.

      Economic misery you say? How you ever been forced to do meaningless or negative work? There’s misery for you! It would be far better to make sure everyone has some land and other resources (including a BIG) to enable them to do the work THEY find meaningful.

    20. F. Beard says:

      Resources that, not coincidentally, have been stolen from the population via the government-backed banking cartel. So just restitution would lead to meaningful jobs.

      Let’s quit trying to save the banks from themselves and save ourselves and others from them!

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