Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Inflation

John Oliver Doesn’t Understand How Stein’s Student Debt Policy Works

Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver recently ran a segment in which he slated Jill Stein’s proposal to eliminate student debt through quantitative easing:

His criticism seemed to suggest that the Federal Reserve is obviously irrelevant in this policy area:

It’s basically akin to saying, ‘I’ll make us energy independent by ordering the Post Office to invade Canada.’ No, Jill. That’s impractical, it’s a terrible idea, and you don’t seem to understand anything about it.

Oliver, who is usually quite perceptive and well-informed, gets this wrong, and he gets it wrong in no small part because monetary policy is complicated and difficult to understand, both in terms of the economics and in terms of the politics. So let’s talk about how Stein’s idea works.

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Donald Trump Gets Something Right: The US Can Avoid Defaults by Printing Money

Donald Trump is getting mocked on the internet for declaring that:

This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money. I hate to tell you. So there’s never a default.

Trump critics are crowing, accusing Trump of being ignorant of economics. There’s a lot of reason to think that Trump doesn’t know his economics (such as the outlandish tax plan he proposed). But this time Trump is right–the government really can avoid defaults by printing money. Here’s how.

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How Austerity Destroyed the British Empire

It’s rarely talked about during Britain’s contemporary debate over austerity, but British austerity has a major 19th century precedent, one that ultimately culminated in the decline and fall of the British Empire.

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Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party are the Best Choice for Canada

Canada has a federal election on October 19. Back in August, I wrote a post detailing why Stephen Harper needs to go–his austerity program and fixation on developing Canada’s mineral resources have resulted in chronic under-investment in Canadian infrastructure and social programs, and they have resulted in an unnecessary recession. But the Canadian election is a three horse race. Should Canadians choose the New Democratic Party (NDP) or the Liberal Party? Over the past month and a half, I’ve been pondering this quite a bit. Both the NDP and the liberals have interesting policy ideas, and there are good arguments to be made on both sides. But ultimately, I think that if you are going to vote in the Canadian election or know someone who is, the liberals are the better choice. Here’s why.

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The Stock Market Crash: What China and the US are Doing Wrong

Stock markets have been stumbling this week. To some degree, this is happening because corrections are needed, but one of the key reasons these corrections are happening right now is China. China’s stock market has been in a tailspin lately, and the Chinese government has taken a series of measures to prop up its stock market, all of which are only succeeding in making the situation much worse. Right wing commentators in the west are pointing at China and claiming that government intervention in the economy doesn’t work. This is a simplistic and reductive response–the problem is not that China is taking action, but that the specific actions that China is taking are the wrong actions.

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