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Goldman Fires The Second Shot Across The QE3 Bow

Furthermore, Goldman also openly admits that in either fiscal case, the drag on economic growth will be substantial. "A number of studies have shown that adjustments focused primarily on spending cuts (“spending-based consolidations”) tend to be notably more successful at delivering such large consolidations than revenue-based ones. Building on work done by the IMF, we identify two reasons for this difference. First, spending-based consolidations are usually more persistent, as they are often combined with structural reforms. Second, spending cuts tend to be less damaging for growth than tax increases...A key factor behind this difference in success, however, is the response of monetary policy. While spending-based adjustments are typically accompanied by monetary easing, tax-based ones often see monetary tightening. Using a counterfactual experiment which “shuts down” the interest rate response, we show that the difference in growth damage between spending and tax-based adjustments narrows sharply..With the funds rate close to zero, our analysis implies that both spending and tax-based consolidations are likely to act as a significant drag on growth. Nonetheless, spending-based adjustments might still be the lesser of two evils, particularly if combined with entitlement reform and fiscal rules that come with a strong enforcement mechanism." Translation: the economy will slow materially regardless, but without monetary easing it will crash.

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