Robin Brooks, nekdanji ekonomist na Goldman Sachs in IMF, je zgodaj letos začel na twitterju s “Campaign against nonsense output gaps” (CANOO). Torej s kampanjo proti nesmiselnim ocenam proizvodne vrzeli, na katerih temeljijo še bolj nesmiselni “recepti” Evropske komisije (EK) glede tega, kakšno fiskalno politiko bi morale voditi posamezne članice EU. Ocene prizvodne vrzeli so popolna metodološka sramota, toda kljub temu jih nekateri dogmatiki ali škodljivci s pridom zlorabljajo, nekateri zato, ker nič ne razumejo, drugi pa v politične namene. Pri nas so slednji v povezavi s prvimi denimo sprožili politično kampanjo za oceno ustavnosti proračunskih dokumentov za 2019.
V spodnji sliki Brooks plastično ilustrira eno izmed dimenzij nesmiselnosti ocen proizvodne vrzeli. EK je za letos (2019) tako Nemčiji kot Italiji ocenila proizvodno vrzel v višini +0.3% BDP (tprej da bo letos dejanski BDP za 0.3% nad potencialno možnim), pri čemer pa je realni italijanski BDP za 10% nižji kot leta 2007, nemški pa za 12% višji kot 2007. Torej Italija je glede na Nemčijo izgubila dobro petino realnega BDP, vendar bi morala letos enako močno kot Nemčija zavirati javne izdatke, ker naj bi se (glede na nesmiselne ocene proizvodne vrzeli) njeno gospodarstvo pregrevalo.
Cela zadeva v zvezi s proizvodno verzeljo in na njej temelječem fiskalnem pravilu ni samo popolna bedarija, je kriminal, ki ga dogmatska vladajoča klika v Bruslju pod taktirko Berlina izvaja nad članicami EU. V ozadju je preprosta ideološka, neoliberalna uberželja: z zlorabo teoretičnih ekonomskih konceptov doseči prisilno zniževanje javnih izdatkov, s čimer bi lahko upravičili kasnejše znižanje davkov. In v tej ideološki bitki, ki se skriva za kobajagi nevtralnimi tehničnimi pravili, ima evrokratska klika številne domače petokolonaše, domače izdajalce.
Še nekaj koristnega zgodovinskega branja na to temo. Bill Mitchell:
His observations are not novel in any way although the average commentator is oblivious to the way in which the economic technocrats in this neoliberal period has perverted the ideas of output gaps and macroequilibrium unemployment rates to bias policy interventions towards austerity.
How better to justify high and persistent mass unemployment rates which can easily be reduced through fiscal policy than to deny the solution.
If we artificially separate so-called ‘structural’ determinants from ‘cyclical’ determinants, claim the former are invariant to fiscal interventions, and then redefine the mass unemployment as ‘structural’ then QED.
If you then further claim that the ‘structural’ determinants can be reduced by wage cutting, pension cutting, privatisations, deregulation of all manner of things, income support cutting, outsourcing and all the rest of it, then QED.
You not only justify through appeal to the authority of your sophistry, putting fiscal policy back in the drawer, but you also give a perceived ‘technical’ imprimatur to a range of pernicious microeconomic policy changes that the IMF love to inflict on workers, pension recipients and the most disadvantaged.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the top-end-of-town are banking the spoils as national income is redistributed towards profits away from wages and government transfers to the poor.
That is what this issue is really all about.
For example, the so-called – Output Gaps Working Group – is:
… mandated to ensure technically robust and transparent potential output and output gap indicators and cyclically adjusted budget balances in the context of the Stability and Growth Pact.
It receives input from the IMF and the OECD.
So the Dark Side comes together!
The Group is a subset of the European Commission’s Economic Policy Committee, which “contributes to the Council’s work of coordinating the economic policies of the Members States and of the Community and provides advice to the Commission and the Council.”
So taken together, this part of the European Union economic structure is an important part of the overall machinery that disciplines fiscal policy at the Member State level.
It is austerity-central.
If you examine their output in the period since the GFC began you will see that they consistently inform European officials that fiscal deficits in the Eurozone are mostly ‘structural’ in nature rather than cyclical.
This prognosis, not only defies any grasp of reality, but also provides the ‘technical’ justification for the Commission bullying Member States around during their fiscal policy deliberations to ensure deficits are low or non-existent, irrespective of the carnage that that austerity bias has caused.
Sometimes, this bias becomes so absurd that you wonder what void these characters operate in.
Remember back in 2013 when the European Commission was claiming that the Spain’s output was just 4.6 per cent, even though the unemployment rate was 27 per cent.
How did they justify that?
Simple, they assumed that the NAIRU (Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment) has risen to 23 per cent from 8 per cent in 2010.
In other words, they were trying to say that ‘full employment’ was consistent with an unemployment rate of 23 per cent and that attempts to use fiscal policy to reduce the 27 per cent actual unemployment back down to the pre-crisis levels of 8 per cent would be futile and cause accelerating inflation.
Obviously, the Commission was trying to get all and sundry to believe if the Spanish people were unhappy with a ‘full employment unemployment rate’ of 23 per cent, then the solution was obvious – hack into government spending, regulations, ownership, income support schemes, etc.
At no time did the Commission provide any coherent evidence that within a 2-3 year time span there had been massive ‘structural’ shifts in the Spanish economy that could possibly justify their sudden revisions of the NAIRU from 10 per cent to 23 per cent.
Almost anyone with a brain could understand that their NAIRU and Output gap estimates were politicised and part of the depoliticisation process that operates in the European Union to ensure its neoliberal credentials are maintained and implemented, irrespective of the damage they cause to the lower income cohorts across Europe.
Vir: Bill Mitchell