By Mark Whitehouse Jan 4, 2013 1:51 PM CT
Looks like Keynesian theory woulda pulled us out of this recesson a lot sooner if we didn't get on this austerity kick that the Republicans seem to favor whenever a Democrat is in office.
<Sharp spending cuts and tax increases have long played a central role in the International Monetary Fund's prescriptions for governments in financial distress -- most recently for the struggling members of the euro area. Now, officials at the world's primary arbiter of fiscal prudence are recognizing that such austerity can do a lot more damage than previously thought.>
<In a paper presented today at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, two IMF officials -- chief economist Olivier Blanchard and economist Daniel Leigh -- elaborated on the findings and their implications. The paper contains the boilerplate statement that it "should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF." Nonetheless, given its authors, it provides a good indication of the zeitgeist at the fund.>
<The upshot: Fiscal multipliers can be a lot higher in times of distress than in normal times. The logical conclusion is that Europe's austerity policies were founded on faulty assumptions and should be eased -- something Bloomberg View has advocated. To some extent, that has happened in recent months with the loosening of demands on Greece and with European leaders' tentative discussions of fiscal transfers to stimulate growth in stricken economies.>
IMF Officials: We Were Wrong About Austerity - Bloomberg