Planning and Paying for Full Employment

By Frank D. Graham; Abba P. Lerner | Go to book overview

FULL EMPLOYMENT WITHOUT PUBLIC DEBT, WITHOUT TAXATION, WITHOUT PUBLIC WORKS, AND WITHOUT INFLATION

By FRANK D. GRAHAM

RESPONSIBILITY for the creation and maintenance of full employment, along with a stable price level, must lie with the national government or its agencies, since no other organization possesses the powers necessary for the task.


GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENTAL ACTION

In order to meet its responsibility, the government must see to it that the total of expenditures on the national output is neither more nor less than that which is just sufficient to take off the market, at a stable price level, all of the goods and services that can be made available when the population is fully employed. If total expenditures (consumption plus investment) are allowed to go above this point, prices must rise (to no useful end), while, if total expenditures are allowed to fall below this point, there will be unemployment, or deflation, or both.

The government can always increase the total of national expenditures (private plus public) either by increasing public expenditures without any concurrent restriction of the expenditures of private persons, or, with no change in public expenditures, by inducing increased private expenditures through the remission of taxation or in other ways. The government can, on the other hand, always reduce total expenditures (private plus public) either by reducing public expenditures without any concurrent change in the expenditure of private persons or, with no alteration in public expenditures, by restricting private expenditures through an increase in the taxes levied on citizens or in other ways.

It is thus within the government's power to set the level of total expenditures (private plus public) wherever it will. It follows, as an inevitable consequence, that the government can set it at that opti-

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