by craig on March 6, 2009 9:43 am in UK Policy
Run out of money? Just print some more! “Quantitive easing” is scarcely new, even if now done electronically rather than with ink and paper. In current economic circumstances the obvious economic effect – inflation – is likely to be muted. I have never seen deflation before and few alive in the UK have. Stagflation, yes. Enough quantitive easing and we can eventually get back to stagflation. Meantime, thanks to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for bringing us a new experience.
But while the inflationary effect is likely to be overwhelmed by deflation, the redistributive effect of quantitive easing will be alive and kicking. By inventing more money, there is an effect – not as simple as it sounds but very real – of reducing the value of existing money, to the detriment of those who have some, and redistributing value to those who get the new money.
This is the Zimbabwe solution, where Mugabe’s regime prints ever more zeros denominated notes, which of course go massively disproportionately to the military and regime members. They have the additional advantages of being able to change them at a hugely advantageous “official” excahnge rate open only to them.
And in Brown’s Zimbabwe solution, who are the equivalent of the regime members, those who benefit from the game at the expense of you and me? Why, exactly the same beneficiaries who have already received over £15,000 from every man, woman and child in the country in various rescue measures and guarantees – the banks!
Yes folks, the 75 billion, and perhaps 150 biilion, of newly invented money is to go to the banks, in return for some pretty worthless bonds, in the hope that somehow the banks will lend it out responsibly to businesses and “Kickstart” the economy. As opposed to pay it out in massive bonuses to themselves, use it to hide their incredible bundles of “toxic debt” and invest it in dubous financial instruments, which is how they have wasted all the huge amounts of taxpayer cash they have been fed so far.
Brown’s blind faith in the baking system which he deregulated and allowed to go rotten, is the modern “trickledown economics”. The government hopes if they pump enough money into the banks, it will trickle out again and do something useful. The main useful thing they hope it will do is reinflate the bubble of our ludicrously inflated property market. In fact that would not be useful at all. If you have been the victim of a pyramid scam, it is not a good idea to try to repair your finances by joining another one.
Brown’s fawning Washington trip attempted to show him leading the World in economic recovery. In fact there are big differences between Brown’s plans – under which 95% of “economic rescue” financing is pumped straight to fatcat bankers – and Obama’s $719 billion rescue package which involves a great deal of direct job creation by old fashioned Keynsian public works. The “pork barrel” elements of tacking on pet projects to get Obama’s bill through Congress was not especially unhelpful in this instance.
It would be far, far better to let the UK banks go bust. Firstly the bastards deserved it. A system where the fatcats take the profits and you and I fund their losses is completely unacceptable. It is worth noting that even in the Royal Bank of Scotland the UK retail banking operation was highly profitable as a stand alone operation, so these elements could be rescued.
It would have cost the government less to give everyone their bank deposits back than it has cost to try to save the rotten corrupt structures.
Instead, a family of four now has a national debt share of £140,000, and increasing by £5,000 a month. Yet the only jobs saved have been those of City – not retail, they were profitable anyway – City bankers, plus their lap dancers and cocaine suppliers. Meanwhile ordinary people are starting to lose their jobs by the drove.
In Dundee, the twelve employees of Prisme Packaging were told this week they were immediately redundant, and there was no cash to pay statutory redundancy payments. Gordon Brown and the Bank of England strangely didn’t offer to print any money for them.