Mittwoch, 21. Januar 2015

Helicopter Money, Why Not?

S. Wren-Lewis stellt diese naheliegende Frage.

In seinem Beitrag fragt er sich, warum es (mehr oder weniger) akzeptiert ist, dass die Zentralbank über QE (indirekt) Steuergelder an den Finanzsektor weiterreicht, um mehr Nachfrage zu generieren, um ein Absinken von Inflation und Inflationserwartungen zu vermeiden; es gleichzeitig aber total verpönt ist, über die Implementierung von "helicopter money" überhaupt auch nur nachzudenken.
"Think about Quantitative Easing (QE). The central bank creates money to buy government debt in the market at a time when that debt is expensive, because it only does QE when interest rates are low. Suppose it just so happened that all this government debt that the central bank buys comes from pension funds. These funds sell their debt, take the money and keep it as money. After some time, the economy recovers, interest rates rise and the price of this government debt falls. The central bank no longer needs the debt, and it wants to reduce the money stock to get to the price level target, so it sells the debt back to the market, or more specifically to the same pension funds it bought it from. As the price of these assets has fallen, the central bank makes a loss. The pension funds gets back the debt they originally sold, but they have some money left. They have gained.

Good for them you might say - why should I care? Well the central bank is concerned that it has not got all its money back (it made a loss), and to control inflation it needs to take more money out of the system. It asks the government to recapitalise it, which the government does by raising taxes. What has in effect happened is that money has passed from the taxpayer to the pension fund.

My purpose in pointing this out is not to make some distributional point. Instead it is to note that QE in this case involves the central bank giving money away to pension funds. So why is this considered kosher, but the central bank giving the same amount of money (its loss on QE) directly to the public is considered deeply problematic? Why would it be thought completely wrong for the central bank to voluntarily give the same amount of money to the government so that they could help stimulate the economy by some fiscal means (a money financed fiscal stimulus)?"
Ich denke das Wort "freiwillig" ist hier sehr wichtig. Denn es macht klar, das hier die Zentralbank darüber entscheidet, wann das angebracht ist und wann nicht - und nicht etwa das Finanzministerium oder das Parlament. Aber dennoch wird das stärkste Gegenargument sein, dass dies langfristig die Unabhängigkeit der Zentralbank erodiert. Ich frage mich nur ... warum? Lasse mich aber gerne eines Besseren belehren ...

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