from the New York Times
[click here for full NYT article]
2 Top Economists Differ Sharply on Risk of Deflation
RHLJ: Consumer savings, crazily enough, is one of the big causes of the slow growth. Americans are saving a lot more than they have in a long time--but that also means that they are spending less. And the U.S. economy is heavily dependent on consumer spending. There's the rub.
The split between the chief economists, whose work helps inform trading strategies recommended to investors by their firms, echoes a broader and sometimes fiercer debate among academic economists and commentators about the threat posed by deflation and what the government’s response should be.
According to the deflationistas, as they are nicknamed, a new round of stimulus spending by Washington is urgently required to stave off a Depression-like cycle of falling prices and wages that is difficult to reverse once it is set in motion.
Inflationistas, by contrast, worry more about the effect that additional government borrowing could have on the recovery. With the budget deficit expected to hover around $1 trillion a year for the next decade, they say, interest rates could eventually surge, making borrowing — and goods — more expensive. A double dip, they say, is highly unlikely.
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