Saturday, 2 March 2013

End February Links

# The "Nation's Finances" - this annoys me too.
# Is it cos wur Scots
# More on long term slow growth or stagnation from Acemoglu & Robinson: The end of low hanging fruit, and a response from Tyler Cowan. This article is related, and brilliant: Be afraid, very afraid, of the tech crisis, and this has some great charts: Is economic growth really ending?
# Discussion of helicopter money: Simon Wren-Lewis, Martin Wolf, Chris Dillow and Macroeconomic Resilience. I do not accept the helicopter money is equivalent to money financed fiscal expansion, as a matter of definition. Money financed fiscal expansion sounds good: we're in a depression so let's print money and use it for low carbon infrastructure investment. Great, I'm all for it. But that's not helicopter money. Helicopter money is more akin to money financed tax give-aways: print some money and give to the government, who can then cut taxes by an equivalent amount. But unless it's lump sum taxes that are cut (and we don't have any of those to cut) then distributional issues make helicopter money different. Helicopter money, at least as far as it's defined in my head, is money printing which is distributed on a per capita basis. This is much better than money printing that is used to fund an income tax holiday, which necessarily gives more to those on high incomes.
# I really like this back of the fag packet macro plan that solves all society's problems 
# I'd love to spend the time to get into heterodox macro (e.g. Robert Vienneau and Steve Keen), and pin down exactly what I agree and disgree with. I won't have this time in the near future but meanwhile I can fully understand what Noah Smith says, I instinctively agree with it (as a naive criticism of the potential for forecasting using e.g. Steve Keen's Minsky model), and I record this link as something useful to maybe come back to: Is the business cycle a cycle?
# Andy Wightman's submission in support of LVT to replace business rates quotes extensively from `Mirrlees Review' of taxation. The January 2013 issue of the Royal Economic Society newsletter (these newsletters only appear to be available online with a huge timelag) also discusses this review. Whilst the RES discussion is perfectly interesting, they don't focus on the LVT recommendations at all, which kind of makes the point from the review that Andy highlights: "The economic case for a land value tax is simple, and almost undeniable. Why, then, do we not have one already? Why, indeed, is the possibility of such a tax barely part of the mainstream political debate, with proponents considered marginal and unconventional?"
# The final verdict on George Osborne as Chancellor

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