Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Devaluation Solution

As our obsession with what those at the top and the bottom make and keep contines to grow, those of us in the middle continue to suffer all of the collateral damage.  Take for instance a new study by the Brookings Institute that touts what a huge benefit the Affordable Care Act will be for those in the bottom 20% of income earners--possibly increasing their average incomes by 5-7% (if you count the federal subsidies to purchase health insurance premiums as "income").  But what the same study finds is that income across the other 80% of Americans will FALL as a result:

Keep in mind, these income projections do not take into account the expected increase in health insurance rates due to mandatory ACA coverages.  You may notice that the impact on those at the very top is less than that in the middle--showing that "redistribution of wealth" via government involvement is still dependent upon the largest section of the population (the middle class) to finance it.

And now our old Keynsian friend Paul Krugman is back demanding that monetary policy move toward promotion of inflation "in order to get the economy growing again".    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/oligarchy-and-monetary-policy/

Krugman's argument is that the government (and those on the lower end of the income and wealth scale) are saddled with too much debt--which is stifling the spending of more money throughout the economy.  But rather than move out of debt and free up more cash for spending in the future, Krugman and his Keynsian allies in Washington believe that flooding the economy with as much cash as possible now will de-value all of that debt.  And what better way to do that than with increased entitlement spending by the government and raising the minimum wage.  Poof--just like that, everyone is making more money!  Well, except for the majority of us who can't get lawmakers to just vote us a raise.  We end up with the higher prices at the gas pump and the grocery store. 

The Keynsians brag that an added benefit from higher inflation is that it devalues the assets held by those at the top--an extra bit of "revenge", if you will--which will be augmented by higher taxes and cuts to corporate profits.  That will teach them for being successful!!

But for those of us in the middle--with much more modest financial holdings--that devaluation effort will have a much greater impact.  Losing two to four percent of your buying power or asset values causes Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers to frown.  Losing that same two to four percent for Joe Middleclass means retirement is pushed off even further.  It's bad enough that we can't get even one percent on our savings, CD's or money market accounts--now you want to make it even more worthless to save money for the future.

I guess that is the price you pay to make things "fair".

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