Bill Mitchell on the repeated follies of the SGP – comparing Germany then and France/Italy now

Bill Mitchell doesn’t mince words. In a very long and detailed post, he disects how the SGP and Excessive Deficit Procedures (EDP) have been used against Germany in the early 2000s and against France and Italy at the moment. It is worth your time to read it, because right now:

10/18 [Eurozone] nations [are] caught up in the ridiculous bureaucratic procedure, which only kills growth and prosperity.

And from his conclusion:

The history of the EMU to date has taught us that if Germany is unable to meet rules, then the rules will be altered. Otherwise, the rules will be used as a blunt weapon to devastate the employment base and living standards of weaker nations without the political clout of Germany.

The mindless Eurozone rules (German rules) have failed. It is time to move on and get over it.

It is time to abandon the project and release these nations and their people from the growth-sapping, poverty-inducing straitjacket.

In this context I think this paragraph is important:

This is why it is nonsensical to target a particular public deficit ratio (with respect to GDP) because it is so sensitive to private economic activity. The government cannot actually guarantee it will hit a particular outcome given that private spending essentially dictates the outcome.

The government is far better off targetting employment levels to ensure there are enough jobs available and to also work to ensure first-class public infrastructure is in place.

Whatever the fiscal outcome that emerges from that sort of quest will be appropriate, given the goal of government is to advance welfare rather than achieve some abstract financial ratio, which few people fully understand anyway.

But any of this will probably fall on deaf ears again.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s