Politics

How U.S. Government Paper Currency Began, and How Private Banknotes Ended

A couple months ago, in arguing that “The Fed should give everyone a bank account,” journalist Matt Yglesias cited what he took to be an instructive precedent: “Once upon a time, governments didn’t issue paper currency, and instead banknotes were printed privately by banks. But over time, we came to see this as a worthwhile […]

Politics

Digital Currency: Risk or Promise?—New Issue of the Cato Journal

(This editor’s note is cross-posted from the  Spring/Summer 2021 edition of the Cato Journal.) In 1996, Cato held its 14th Annual Monetary Conference, “The Future of Money in the Information Age.”  The proceedings, along with additional essays, appeared in a book with the same title in 1997.  In that volume, Alan Greenspan wrote, “To develop […]

Politics

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 14: Fear Itself (Conclusion)

(This post completes my three-part discussion of the “regime uncertainty” hypothesis, according to which the New Deal hampered recovery by causing businessmen to fear policy changes that might render their investments unprofitable.  Links to the previous posts about regime uncertainty, and to the other posts of my series on The New Deal and Recovery, occur […]

Politics

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 13: Fear Itself (Continued)

(This post continues my discussion of the “regime uncertainty” hypothesis, according to which the New Deal hampered recovery by causing businessmen to fear policy changes that might render their investments unprofitable.)   Insull’s Monstrosity The 1935 Revenue Act wasn’t the only measure that had businessmen and investors shuddering that August. Less than a week after […]

Politics

Carola Binder on Technopopulism and Central Banks

In her CMFA working paper, Carola Binder discusses a new approach for understanding why central bankers are pressured—by both politicians and the public—to deviate from their mandates. Further, Binder argues that this new approach “strengthens the case for limiting monetary policymakers’ discretion by implementing rule-based monetary policy.” To find out more, click the link here. […]

Politics

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 12: Fear Itself

“This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. …[T]he only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” —   FDR, in his first inaugural address. “There is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain.”—Thomas Hobbes, on the state of nature, in Leviathan. Not the Sum of […]

Politics

Fiscal Dominance and Fed Complacency

In his first speech as a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, Christopher Waller defended Fed independence and reassured his audience that “deficit financing and debt servicing issues play no role in our policy decisions and never will.”  His goal was to dispel the “narrative” that, with massive federal debt and fiscal deficits, […]