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Krugman Declares “Mission Accomplished,” Maginot Line Completed

Krugman Declares "Mission Accomplished," Maginot Line Completed

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

The triumph of financial engineering based on an analysis of the past. 

Conscience of a Liberal
The story so far, in one picture

By Paul Krugman
November 3, 2009

World industrial production in the Great Depression and now:

Jesse here. This chart is a bit deceptive because it compares two periods of time based on the start of the crisis. It would be interesting to compare the two crises from the start of the Fed’s expansion of the monetary base. As I recall, the early 20th century Fed did not react this way until 1931 and did so in two stages. Ok, Ben was quick out of the starting gate, and in a big way. Score one for the Fed. They are quick on the draw.

And there is little hazard that Ben will tighten prematurely out of fear of inflationary forces, having learned at least that lesson which is obvious enough as well.

It would be unjust to not note that the 1930’s Fed suffered a bit under multiple chairmen, and the difficulties of an entirely different type of commercial banking structure and the restraints of a gold standard. The challenge instead in this era of fiat currency will be to avoid the ‘zombification’ of the economy, the appearance of vitality with none of the self-sustaining growth.

Before this Administration declares "Mission Accomplished" and high fives its victory, they may wish to consider that they have done the obvious quickly in one dimension, but have done very little to change the dynamics of what created the crisis in the first place, choosing instead to support the status quo to a fault.

There are three traits that make a nominal bounce in production fueled by a record expansion in the monetary base a success: sustainable growth without subsidy, sustainable growth without subsidy, and sustainable growth without subsidy.

Our forecast is that Ben and Team Obama are failing badly because they are fighting the last war, in the almost classic style of incompeteng generals who lost the early stages of the Second World War because they were using the game plan from the First.

 

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