The final nail in the coffin of the Great Moderation is what’s known as the zero lower bound, which means that the Fed funds rate cannot be pushed below zero (since, if there were negative interest rates, people would just hoard cash). In other words, the Fed’s interest rate accelerator has a maximum setting. And, it turns out, pushing the pedal all the way to the floor isn’t always enough to keep the economy going. Free Money Worksheets
This is why income inequality is dangerous: it is a drag on aggregate demand. As inequality increases, as it has in the U.S., the drag grows commensurately. Stagnant wages mean that consumer borrowing must be steadily increased to keep the economy moving forward. Meanwhile, the fruits of growth flowing to the top mean a vast pile-up in savings and associated asset bubbles, and the recessions that follow are harder and harder to recover from. In other words, keeping an economy that suffers from galloping economic inequality pressurized and growing requires an economic policy regime that contains the seeds of its own destruction. And this leads us to where we are now: consumers today can’t stomach any more debt, interest rates have hit the floor, and a grinding, low-level depression is upon us. Welcome to 2014. Federal Grant Winners

For fiscal policy, increased government spending or decreased taxation is our accelerator; the opposite, austerity, is the brake. These work to add or subtract the amount of spending in the economy. For monetary policy, the federal funds rate can act as either an accelerator or a brake. U.S. banks are required to hold reserves at the Fed, which pays interest on them, similar to a normal checking account. For a bank to loan money to a real person, they must find someone willing to pay an interest rate above the Fed’s rate. So if the Fed jacks up the interest rate, it discourages lending, as banks are paid better to park their money at the Fed. Lowering the Fed rate does the opposite. The use of these tools is commonly expressed as a trade-off between unemployment and inflation. Try to push unemployment too low, and inflation will speed up as companies bid for scarce labor, pushing up wages and sending spending surging through the economy. Conversely, allow unemployment to get too high, and a collapse in spending can cause a collapse of prices, which will lead to more unemployment, which will lead to less spending, and so on. Federal Grant Timesheet Requirements
The third policy option is known as nominal gross domestic product targeting, the major proponent of which is the economist Scott Sumner. The idea is all about self-fulfilling expectations. Recall that the central bank owns the printing press, so it can create arbitrary quantities of dollars. By making a pre-commitment to keep the economy on a particular spending trajectory, self-fulfilling collapses in spending would not happen. Something similar to this policy seems to have kept Australia and Israel out of the Great Recession. But in order to sustain such a policy, the Fed might have to intervene in the economy quite frequently, and then the distributional consequences could be serious. Quantitative easing, for example, helps push up asset prices (the stock market has regained all the ground lost since 2009 and then some), which disproportionately benefits the wealthy. Free Money Machine
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