My View on Angus' "Cheap Dollar" Post
Wow, there is quite a bit here to comment on. Angus said some things about the dollar....
1. There are some things I know more about than Angus. Not many things, and not much more, but some. Social choice theory, Hayek's later books, campaign finance law. But the intersection of monetary theory and trade? Please. Not only does Angus understand this better than I do, he understands it better than almost anyone. So, on the merits, and given that he is making quite a simple point, I would defer to him.
2. Besides, on the merits, I agree with him on the main point, completely. Who gives a crap about the dollar? Why should we care what currency the rest of the world uses? The dollar is big enough, and the U.S. is big enough, that the rest of the world can switch if it wants. Besides, money is by and large a veil, though "when the veil flutters, real output sputters." That just means that you need something stable, limit discretion of the Fed, and then go back to making stuff and selling it. Seignorage is basically theft, anyway. Let it go.
3. I'm not sure the actions of the Fed "helped avert catastrophe," as Angus claims. But in a comparative sense, compared to 1933-1936? You bet: catastrophe then, caused by Fed, no catastrophe now, possibly helped by Fed (though Fed did cause problem in first place; see below). Bernanke did NOT contract the money supply and force everyone with upside down balance sheets to liquidate. So, Angus said, "Unlike the Fed of the 1930s..." and he points out that the weakness of the dollar is at least partly because of "vanishingly low interest rates." I just don't see anything to disagree with there.
4. Now, one could easily criticize Angus for being a big Fed-lover, and wanting to have Greenspan's baby. After all, it was Greenspan who suppressed interest rates artificially, and inflated the housing and asset bubble. Yet Angus has consistently defended Greenspan, right. Oh...wait...that's not right, as even a casual reading of previous posts can show (commenters: Google is your friend. Read before you say stupid stuff). There's this, and then there's this, and (I could go on). Angus has hammered the Federizer Bunnies consistently for years.
5. Finally, BOTH of us have consistenly hammered Porkulus. That canard ("You support the stimulus?") is not even worth considering.