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Why Does Bernanke Lie to Us? Why Can't He Just Admit What the Problem Is?
by John Carney | Senior Editor
John explains correctly (from the POV of MMT) that this is a "balance sheet recession" in the sense that the issue is excessive leverage as a hangover of the financial crisis and that the private sector continues to deleverage. The increased saving and deleveraging results in demand leakage, and debt-adversity creates reluctance to borrow. Moreover, the financial crisis has resulted in tighter credit, fewer qualified loan applicants, and a reluctance to borrow in the face of adversity or uncertainty.
All well and good. However, John cites Reinhart & Rogoff as a chief piece of evidence. But R&R is about public debt, whereas the issue is excessive private debt applying the analysis of Irving Fisher and Hyman Minsky. Moreover, R&R is a flawed study as many have pointed out.
Yeva Nersisyan, The Myths About Government Debt and Deficit as Told By Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff and More Reasons to Doubt Rogoff and Reinhart
Richard Koo, Paul Krugman, and the MMT economists, as well as Post Keynesians like John T. Harvey all cite private debt as the issue and say that the government's fiscal balance has to increase to make space for increased private desire to save in the face of the external sector saving as well. This means larger government debt, since deficits are required by law to be offset with tsy issuance.
While deficit doves warn that the budget must be balanced over the business cycle, MMT economists dismiss this as unfounded. See Scott Fullwiler on the intertemporal government budget constraint (IGBC) in "Interest Rates and Fiscal Sustainability."
So John is correct that Bernanke and the Fed are not coming clean, but the issue is private sector indebtedness and saving-deleveraging rather than public debt, either presently or in the foreseeable future owing to a supposed IGBC.