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You can't balance the sovereign budget in the middle of a depression. If you try, the only result will be crashing your GDP to a level where the tax base erodes sufficiently to restore the sovereign deficit required for the private sector to deleverage.

Obviously, you can raise taxes on the rich, even during a depression. It's actually not a bad time to do it, provided that you have a big enough soapbox to shock doctrine it through. But it won't balance your budget. It will only enable you to make sure that the deficit goes towards building useful infrastructure rather than lining the pockets of your oligarchs. For the purpose of real economic planning, that's a great thing. For the purpose of paying German bondholders, whose bonds mature in less than three years, it doesn't really matter one way or the other.

And this is all Macro 202 (actually, if you look closely at the accounting identities, it's Macro 101 - but most textbooks not to emphasise it). Even the Chica(r)go cultists get this, although they like to pretend otherwise.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 7th, 2011 at 09:52:56 AM EST
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