Monday, February 15, 2016

Monetary and Fiscal Policy Failures -- Japan

Textbook macroeconomic policy is failing, everywhere.  Japan is the clearest example.  GDP has fallen four of the last seven quarters during an orgy of quantitative easing, negative interest rates, increased government spending -- all things that have simply made matters worse.

The absurd idea that the harmful effects of excessive government regulation and interference in the private sector can be undone by macro policy is a theme echoed by policymakers in Europe and the US.  It hasn't worked anywhere and Japan is perhaps the clearest test case, but Europe and the US are pretty good examples as well.

You cannot effectively outlaw private, free market activity and expect your economy to thrive because you are tweaking central bank balance sheets or adjusting tax and spending levels.  People need the freedom to start new businesses, expand old businesses, and to deploy capital and hire labor without a mountain of restrictions, mandates, penalties, and government interference.

We have passed a critical point in the large developed economies.  Government interference and mandates have reached the level that inhibits economic growth.  Japan's economy is contracting, Europe's has stalled for a decade, now the US is entering European stagnation mode.  The end game will be the situation that Japan finds itself in -- a contracting GDP.

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