This is a little technical, courtesy Niels Jensen , Managing Partner of Absolute Return Partners based in London, courtesy of John Mauldin. Thanks John, your work is much appreciated:
"So when we are told that the bailout cost, although large, is still manageable, it is only half the story.
The loss of tax revenue is another nail in the coffin and could lead to a dramatic – and unpredicted - rise in public debt. Have you heard any mention of that from your government?
At this point I need to introduce something as alien as the "flow-of-funds accounting identity"3:
Δ(G-T) = Δ(S – I) + ΔNFCI4
I rarely throw formulas at you for the simple reason that it scares many readers away. I urge you to stay with me for a bit longer, though, because this formula is critical in order to understand how the government response to the current crisis is likely to impact interest rates longer term. The equation states that any change in fiscal stimulus (Δ(G-T)) must equal the change in private sector net savings (Δ(S-I)) plus the change in net foreign capital inflows.
Translation: If our government stimulates the economy through public spending, as it is currently doing in spades, we must either save more or we have to rely on foreigners being prepared to invest in our country. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The key question, as our economic adviser Woody Brock points out, is what will cause this equation to hold true? It is quite simple. We will save more if we get paid more to do so (through higher interest rates) or if we are so scared of the future that we stop spending and start investing instead.
Foreign investors are no different. Now, with the trillions of dollars being spent around the world to shore up our financial system, the fear factor alone is not going to be enough. Higher – possibly much higher - interest rates will be required to ensure sufficient savings.
Obviously, there is another option at the government's disposal. The central bank can monetize some or all of the deficit by buying the bonds issued by the government. This line of action will keep Δ(G-T) down; hence the need for increased private savings (and/or capital inflows) drops accordingly. The problem with this approach, as an old Danish saying states, is that it is like wetting your pants to stay warm. Monetization executed on a big scale is highly inflationary in the long run, inevitably driving bond yields higher.
The good news is that we are very unlikely to loose control of inflation in the short run. The economy is simply too weak for that to happen.
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