Still, once i read Bill Gross attacking negative interest rates, i am made by it question. I am a free market economist, and as much as i am concerned, the interest is a cost. The correct interest rate is the one which equates quantity supplied and volume demanded. If the supply of apples is so great set alongside the demand that market clearing requires that individuals be paid to haul them away, then this is the least bad option.
With interest levels, however, the relevant coordination is saving and investment. Saving is that part of income not allocated to consumer services and goods. And investment is shelling out for capital goods. If the interest that leads to saving and investment matching up is significantly less than zero, then that is the “right” interest rate.
Now, I certainly would concur that if there are federal government plans that discourage investment, repealing them may be beneficial then. Which should raise investment demand and so raise the interest rate that coordinates saving and investment. But I don’t observe how using monetary plan to keep nominal rates of interest high, above zero even, is ever helpful.
And make no mistake–the Fed’s plan of repaying interest to banking institutions for holding reserves is an insurance plan aimed at keeping nominal rates of interest up. Situations where some real rates of interest need to be less than zero for a few period of time seem entirely plausible to me. Since I don’t see continual inflation as desired, that means that some nominal interest rates should sometimes be less than zero. Situations where all real interest rates should be persistently negative seem pretty implausible to me. In fact, I think excessive concentrate on a reliable state, or worse, for those of the “Austrian” bent, taking into consideration the evenly-rotating economy, misses the true point as to why negative nominal rates of interest are sometimes coordinating.
It is the brief and safe ones which should sometimes be negative. It is pretty unlikely that the long and dangerous ones (or the expected rate of return on the normal real capital investment) should be negative. Because negative interest rates imply that the wealthy can earn no income from merely holding wealth–postponing consumption–when this occurs.
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And I question if the issues we hear from people like Bill Gross are not gripes about the necessity to make risky commitments to earn capital income. The “capitalists” are promoting their “class” fascination with creating an overall economy where they can earn a riskless real rate of come back. But really, (as usual) I blame the Fed. And, of course, their new Keynesian enablers. The Fed likes to change interest rates, so new Keynesian macro is approximately manipulating interest rates.
They are seeking to keep inflation and unemployment low. So new Keynesian macro is a kind of social executive about manipulating interest rates to optimize an objective function of deviations of inflation from target and real output from potential. Bill Gross can say that negative rates of interest shall fail to create jobs.
Isn’t that what the Fed says it is wanting regarding low interest? What the Fed can do and should be trying to do is control total spending on output. Nominal GDP is minimal bad measure probably. Keeping spending growing at a slow, steady rate is the least bad goal.
There is justification to believe that a drop, or even a slowdown, of shelling out for output will lead to the “destruction” of jobs. Or, more exactly, a tremendous slowdown in new hires, which leads to net decreases in total employment and an instant run-up of the unemployment rate. If that has happened, there is justification to think that a fast reversal and recovery of spending will lead to a rapid upsurge in new hires and a reduction in the unemployment rate.
There have been three recessions which have occurred with the Fed’s policy of inflation targeting, this means no catch-up and reversal. The recoveries have been very gradual and slow. Fed thinking was different through the Great Unhappiness little. Sure, the deflation was wanted by them to get rid of, but they wanted prices to stabilize at the new low level. Having prices recover would be “inflation.” Stagnation for years. Maintaining or time for an appropriate path of shelling out for output should never be grasped as wanting to create careers or even control inflation.