For that reason, Corbyn’s QE looks like one of those ideas that is superficially attractive because it seems to kill two birds with one stone, but on reflection turns out to be a bad idea. If we want to keep an independent central bank we do not want the government putting the bank under pressure to do QE because the government wants more investment, and if that does not happen we do not want the central bank deciding whether extra investment happens.
And that’s a lefty talking there.
And there’s a problem here too:
Suppose that a NIB is created, not on the back of QE but using more conventional forms of finance. (If the government wants to encourage it, just directly subsidise that finance with conventional borrowing. Don’t be put off doing so by deficit fetishism.) Suppose we also like the concept of helicopter money – not for now, but for the next time interest rates hit their lower bound and the central bank wants more stimulus. In those circumstances, it might well make sense for helicopter money to be used not only to send cheques to individuals, but also to bring forward investment financed by the NIB, or public sector investment financed directly by the state. If those investment projects could get off the ground quickly, and crucially would not have happened for some time otherwise, then what I have elsewhere described as ‘democratic helicopter money’ would make sense.
Shovel ready projects, eh? Now where have we heard that phrase before?