America has grown desperate for smart ideas to revive a flagging economy. Sunday night in the Financial Times I read one of the most desperate: an op-ed by UCLA economist Roger Farmer arguing that the Federal Reserve should deliberately re-inflate a new asset price bubble to goose the economy. It’s a #slatepitch too far for me, but the conclusion is driven by two fairly reasonable arguments. One is that the economy continues to suffer from weak aggregate demand.The other is that reviving the economy through large-scale public works expenditures is likely to be ineffective and inefficient. The former is clearly correct—unemployment remains high and inflation low—and though the latter is somewhat controversial, I think it’s true.
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