Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.The Trump Reset, US Empire's Coming Economic, Cyber and Military War With China (2/2) - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Now Is the Time to Buy Gold - 5th Jan 17 - John Grandits
3.CIA Planning Rogue President Donald Trump Assassination? Elites "Manchurian Candidate" Plan B - Nadeem_Walayat
4.The Trump Reset - Regime Change, Russia the Over Hyped Fake News SuperPower (Part1) - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Most Popular Financial Markets Analysis of 2016 - Stock Market Crash Postponed Again - Nadeem_Walayat
6.No UK House Prices Brexit Crash 2016 Despite London Weakness, Forecast 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.President Trump Understands the NSA, CIA... LIE, America's Intelligence Agencies Crime Syndicate! -Nadeem_Walayat
8.President Donald Trump's 2017 New Year Message, BBC Fake News, Was 2016 a Dream? - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Major Stocks Bear Market Still Looms - Zeal_LLC
10.Biased 2017 Forecasts - Debt, Housing and Stock Market (1/2) - James_Quinn
Last 7 days
The Last Time This Happened, Biotech Stocks Plunged by 50% - 24th Jan 17
The Future of Pharma In The Age Of Trump - 24th Jan 17
How Bond Market Investors Were Fooled Twice - 24th Jan 17
Gold price to 2 month high as fiery Trump declares New American Order - 24th Jan 17
Why Gold Is Oddly Looking Bullish - 24th Jan 17
EURO, GBP, AUD, JPY, CAD C.O.T Reports - 24th Jan 17
United States Common Sense - 2017 - 23rd Jan 17
Is Dow 20,000 a Bridge Too Far? - 23rd Jan 17
The New Gold Rush Of 2017! - 23rd Jan 17
HBO HOMELAND Bet on HIllary Clinton Winning US Election and LOST - 23rd Jan 17
Stock Market New Highs For 2017? Yes, But When Do I Enter? - 22nd Jan 17
Active vs Passive Investing: And the Winner Is ... - 22nd Jan 17
The Epidemic of Bad Ideas - 22nd Jan 17
Gold Futures Prices Looking Bullish - 22nd Jan 17
Time for Crude Oil Price Drop below $50? - 21st Jan 17
AI and Robotics - We Are All Low-Skilled Workers Now - 21st Jan 17
The Trump RESET Starts on US Presidential Inauguration Day 2017 - What to Expect - 20th Jan 17
Will the CIA Assassinate Rogue President Donald Trump Like JFK? - 19th Jan 17
Bonds, Dollar, Stocks, Gold, Silver Major Markets at Turning Points - 19th Jan 17
Populism; the Danger? What About Debt? - 19th Jan 17
Gold Price 50-DMA Breakout - 19th Jan 17
Turkey, 'Axis of Gold' and End of US Dollar Hegemony - 19th Jan 17
The Most Important Market Chart on the Planet - 19th Jan 17
Trump Deficits Will Be Huge - 19th Jan 17
Stock Market Trading Patience Pays Off with CHK Using Momentum Reversals - 19th Jan 17
Gold - How to "Buy Low and Sell High" Like a Pro - 19th Jan 17
State of the Global Stock, Financial and Commodity Markets Report 2017 - 19th Jan 17
The Hunt for Russia's Next Enemy - 18th Jan 17
Returning Gold Bulls - 18th Jan 17
Biotech Breakthrough Could Create A $11.4 Trillion Opportunity - 18th Jan 17
Bitcoin and Gold - Outlook, Volatility and Safe Haven Diversification - 17th Jan 17
Stock Market Uptrend on Borrowed Time - 17th Jan 17
The One Stock to Retire On - 17th Jan 17
Trump anti-Communist Counter Revolution - 17th Jan 17
US Stock Market Update as the Trump Inauguration Approaches - 17th Jan 17
The American Crisis - Common Sense 2017 - 17th Jan 17
Obama Leaves, Hope Arrives, Will Stupid Stay? - 17th Jan 17
Damage Inflicted by Precious Metals Manipulation Is in the “Multi Billions” - Keith Neumeyer - 17th Jan 17
Gold Price Forecast 2017 Update - Video - 17th Jan 17
The Story of the U.S. Regime Change Plan in the Philippines - 16th Jan 17
Gold Price 2017 Trending Towards $1375 as Forecast - 16th Jan 17
'Deep State' CIA Director States We are Not NAZI's, Warns Trump Does Not Understand Russian Threat - 15th Jan 17
UK House Prices Forecast 2017 - Crash or Bull Market? - Video - 15th Jan 17

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

State of Global Markets 2017 - Report

The Fed Could Simply CANCEL $2 Trillion of U.S. Government Debt

Politics / US Debt Oct 12, 2013 - 12:32 PM GMT

By: Washingtons_Blog

Politics

Bipartisan Proposal Would Substantially Reduce Budget Crisis

Congressman Alan Grayson and former congressman Ron Paul are two of the fiercest warriors against an out-of-control Federal Reserve.

Paul has campaigned to dissolve the Fed for 35 years, and wrote an entire book called “End the Fed“. Grayson has repeatedly slammed the Fed, and absolutely demolished it … to its face. Paul and Grayson also co-sponsored a bill to audit the Federal Reserve. (Their desire to rein in the Fed is supported by numerous top economists.)


So when the two of them support a Fed-related solution to the “government shutdown” crisis, I listen.

Congressman Grayson writes:

A simple solution to the impasse is as follows: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke should simply cancel the Treasury debt that it owns. The government can just forgive the government’s debt.

This wouldn’t solve the debt problem entirely. The Federal Reserve doesn’t own all U.S. government debt; it owns only roughly $2 trillion of it. (Well $2,076,927,000,000.00, as of last Wednesday, but who’s counting?)

NPR has a helpful graphic showing the various holders of U.S. government debt, including the Fed:

Source: NPR

Congressman Grayson continues:

Yet canceling this debt would give the government substantial room under the debt ceiling to manage its finances. It would end the debt ceiling standoff in Congress, and it would prevent a default.

The debt held on the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve can be canceled without any significant consequence, because it is a bookkeeping artifact corresponding to the money supply. In essence, the government owes this money to itself. If I owe money to myself, I can cancel that debt at will and without consequence, essentially taking it out of my left pocket and putting it in my right pocket.

Last year, the Federal Reserve declared a “profit” of roughly $91 billion, much of which came from interest payments from the U.S. Treasury. The Federal Reserve then quickly remitted nearly all of this profit right back to the U.S. Treasury.

The Federal Reserve does this every year. Reducing or eliminating this unearned “profit” actually will provide a more realistic view of federal finances.

Grayson gives credit to Paul for coming up with the idea:

I am a Democrat, and known as a progressive. But this idea was put forward a few years ago not by me, or by a member of my party, but by Republican Representative Ron Paul.

He thinks, as do I, that the Federal Reserve‘s dramatic expansion of its balance sheet is simply a way of financing the government by printing money. The Fed isn’t really “buying” Treasury bonds, it is just letting the government finance its deficit by adding to the money supply.

Indeed, Paul introduced a bill in 2011 which would have led to the cancellation of $1.6 trillion in federal debt held by the Fed.

Grayson continues:

While canceling the Treasury debt held on the Federal Reserve balance sheet might be considered unorthodox, it is no more unorthodox than the quantitative easing that has added much of this debt to the Fed’s balance sheet.

Indeed, quantitative easing – the radical program the Fed has engaged in for years, which doesn’t help the economy, benefits the the super-elite and hurts the little guy, and more than offsets any savings from budget cuts in other areas – is largely performed through buying U.S. debt … $45 billion each month.

Grayson concludes:

In any event, preventing a financial meltdown, with its attendant risks of interest rate and price spikes as well as staggering employment losses, is certainly central to the Federal Reserve‘s mandate of ensuring price stability, maximum employment and moderate, long-term interest rates.

Bernanke could alleviate the debt ceiling crisis simply by canceling the debt held on the Fed’s balance sheet.

This may sound like a fringe idea. But the Financial Times noted in an article last year entitled “Will central banks cancel government debt?”:

It is obvious that governments are struggling to find the correct balance between controlling public debt … and boosting the rate of economic growth. The former objective requires more budgetary tightening, while the latter requires the opposite. Is there any way around this? One radical option now being discussed is to cancel (or, in polite language, “restructure”) part of the government debt that has been acquired by the central banks as a consequence of quantitative easing (QE). After all, the government and the central bank are both firmly within the public sector, so a consolidated public sector balance sheet would net this debt out entirely.

***

Adair Turner, the chairman of the UK Financial Services Agency, and reportedly a candidate to become the next governor of the Bank of England, made a speech last week that said more unorthodox options, including “further integration of different aspects of policy”, might need to be considered in the UK. Two separate journalists (Robert Peston of the BBC and Simon Jenkins of The Guardian) said that Lord Turner’s “private view” is that some part of the Bank’s gilts holdings might be cancelled in order to boost the economy. Lord Turner distanced himself in public from this suggestion on Saturday. However, the notion will now be widely discussed.

***

Similar proposals have however been widely debated by economists in the past. This goes back at least as far as the works of Abba Lerner in the 1940s on “functional finance” and the role of fiat money. More recently, the Modern Monetary Theorists have reawakened Lerner’s ideas.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/

Washington’s Blog strives to provide real-time, well-researched and actionable information.

We at Washington’s Blog have an insatiable curiosity for new discoveries, new information and new insights.

Despite our passion for what’s new, there are themes that we keep reporting on year after year, as they reflect a bigger picture which remains fairly constant, or the root causes of our problems which have still not been addressed, or potentially powerful solutions which have still never been tried.

© 2013 Copyright washingtonsblog - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife