Federal Finances in the Coming Decade, Some Cumulative Possibilities, 1941-51

By Carl Shoup; Columbia University. Council for Research in the Social Sciences | Go to book overview

Chapter V
BORROWING AT HIGHER INTEREST LEVELS TO CHECK SPENDINGS

CREATING NEW MONEY VERSUS ACTIVATING IDLE MONEY

THE KIND of money that the government would get from individuals, insurance companies, and mutual savings banks under the borrowing programs considered above is very probably money that for the most part would have lain idle, or at least would have moved through the income circuit very slowly, if the government had not taken it. By far the greatest part would almost surely not have been spent in purchasing consumers' goods (food, clothing, automobiles, and so on), except possibly houses. The government would be activating idle money instead of creating and activating new money by borrowing from the commercial banks. Is there any reason to prefer one to the other? The immediate effect of the government's spending would be the same in either case, so far as the general level of prices is concerned. Indeed, the government may find itself unable to make an effective choice between the creation of new money and the activating of old. In trying to do the one, it may do the other. In borrowing from an individual, it may be leading him to sell some stocks or bonds that are then picked up, at once or later, by a bank, which expands its credit for that

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