Please consider the New York Times article A Call for Japan to Take Bolder Monetary Action
For years, proponents of aggressive monetary policy have offered this unusual piece of advice as a way to end Japan’s deflationary slump and invigorate the economy. Print lots of money, they said. Keep interest rates at zero. Convince the market that Japan will allow inflation for a while.
Japan’s central bankers long scoffed at such recklessness, which they feared would ignite runaway inflation. But now, the bank’s hand could be forced by an unlikely alliance of economists and lawmakers who have argued for Japan to take more monetary action after more than a decade of weak growth and depressed prices.
Championing their cause is the former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who is favored to return to the top job after nationwide elections next month. Otherwise deeply conservative, Mr. Abe surprised even his own supporters by calling for the Bank of Japan to be much bolder in tackling deflation, the damaging fall in prices, profits and wages that has choked Japan’s economy for 15 years.
In escalating remarks over the last week, Mr. Abe has said that he will press the Bank of Japan to act on government orders if his Liberal Democratic Party wins the Dec. 16 election and even rewrite Japanese law to reduce the bank’s independence.
In a speech in Tokyo on Thursday, Mr. Abe said he would call for the Bank of Japan to set an inflation target of 2 to 3 percent, far above its current goal of about 1 percent, with an explicit commitment to “unlimited monetary easing” — an open-endedness that has caused jitters among some economists. The bank’s benchmark interest rate should be brought back to zero percent from 0.1 percent, Mr. Abe added.
He went even further over the weekend, saying in the southern city of Kumamoto that he would consider having the bank buy construction bonds directly from the government to finance public works and force money into the economy, according to local news reports. That raises concerns, however, the bank may be called on to bankroll unrestrained spending on more roads and bridges that Japan does not need.
Economists cite several missteps by the central bank that have entrenched Japan’s deflationary mind-set and made consumers and businesses wary that the bank’s policies will stick. In early 1999, as the country’s economic woes deepened, the bank lowered a benchmark interest rate to virtually zero and said it would keep rates at zero until deflationary concerns disappeared. But an economic uptick in mid-2000 caused the bank to raise that rate to 0.25 percent despite protests from the government that the move was premature.
“Basically, it’s what the Bank of Japan should have been doing for the past 15 years,” he said. “A few percent of inflation is nothing to be worried about.”US Populist Position It’s not just Japan loaded up with populist fools. The US has its share of them as well. For example, Ellen Brown wants to end the Fed and put California politicians (state politicians in general) in charge of printing money to support “growth” as well as union causes. As I have said, the one thing worse than having a Fed in charge of monetary policy is having politicians in charge of monetary printing! For a discussion and an absurd video by Ellen Brown, please see Lawmakers Threaten to Take Over Monetary PolicyEconomic Nonsense Regarding Inflation, Consumption, Wages Kozo Yamamoto preaches widely believed economic nonsense.
US QE Example Take a look at the US. QE has put a floor (for now) on asset prices but it has not done a damn thing for wages. I discussed this at length with Lauren Lyster on Capital Account on November 3: Mish on Capital Account: Jobs, Real Wages, Income Distribution, Fiscal Stimulus