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Fiscal Policy, Monetary Policy and the Mechanics of Modern Clearing and Settlement Systems

Brett Fiebiger

Review of Political Economy, 2016, vol. 28, issue 4, 590-608

Abstract: Thomas Palley, Eric Tymoigne and Randall Wray recently debated neo-Chartalism in this journal. This article argues that the mechanics of modern clearing and settlement systems is important to understanding this debate. In the neo-Chartalist framework taxes and bond issuance function as part of monetary policy; it is an alternative method for draining reserves to obtain the overnight target rate. Abba Lerner’s Chartalist framework is much clearer on public finance, noting that the federal government can use alternative financing methods to pay for expenditures. Palley’s concerns with central bank ‘money financing’ and inflation are unpersuasive. The Old Keynesian ‘budget restraint– high-powered money relation’ offers limited insight into modern clearing and settlement systems. The article concludes that policymakers should embrace Lerner’s advice and view ‘money printing’ as a normal policy instrument to support functional finance.

Date: 2016
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