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SHADOW OPEN MARKET COMMITTEE
Policy Statement and Position Papers

March 7, 1975

1.

Policy Recommendation of the Shadow Open Market Committee Meeting, March 7, 1975

2.

Position Papers




Monetary Policy and the Economic Decline - Karl Brunner, Universtiy of Rochester and
Universitat Bern
Monetary Policy and the Economic Decline, Revised 3/5/75 - Karl Brunner, Universtiy of
Rochester and Universitat Bern
Quest for a Stabilizing Monetary Policy - Beryl W. Sprinkel, Harris Trust and Savings Bank
Proposal for a Federal Reserve Annual Monetary Plan - Beryl W. Sprinkel, Harris Trust and
Savings Bank
Economic Prospects Through 1975 - Robert J. Genetski, Harris Bank
(Revised) The Real Oil Crisis - Wilson E. Schmidt, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University
The Case Against Credit Allocations - Thomas Mayer, University of California, Davis
Comments on Future Fiscal Policy Actions - Robert H. Rasche, Michigan State University

Policy Reccomndations of the Shadow Open Market Committee Meeting
March 7, 1975

The economy is now in the second quarter of a sharp business contraction following three quarters of mild contraction.

The worsening is due to a sharp dece-

leration in the growth of the money supply from June 197.U to February 1975 • At
its meeting today., the Committee considered policy actions designed to reverse the
business decline without reviving inflationary pressures.
Monetary Policy
The problems we face have been made much worse by recent Federal Reserve monetary actions»

From December 1971 to June 1973* the money supply grew at an annual

rate of 8.1* per cent.
already at work.

This excessive growth rate reinforced inflationary tendencies

The 3-percentage point reduction in the monetary growth rate to

5«5 per cent ±n the year ending June 197k was sufficient to produce the mild recession we experienced in the first three quarters of 197h$ and to achieve a gradual
dampening of inflation.

Had the Federal Reserve maintained the $.$

per cent growth

rate in the year ending March 1975, the prospects of restoring full employment and
gradually reducing inflation would be much better.
be much less severe.

The current recession would

Instead, the Federal Reserve cut the growth rate of the money

supply a further U percentage points from June 197 h to February 1975 to only 1.5
per cent.

It is this drastic decline in monetary growth that accounts for the steep

rise in the unemployment rate, the steep decline in industrial production, and the
current generally depressed economy.
There can be no doubt that the Federal Reserve did not intend to be so restrictive.

The published record of the Federal Open Market Committee tells us so. The

question is why the Federal Reserve has failed so miserably to achieve the target
ranges of monetary growth it has set month after month since June 197 lw




2
Federal Reserve spokesmen describe current policy as "easy" and tell us the
economy is "liquid."

They cite falling loan demand as responsible for the

failure of demand deposits to grow.

Interest rates have fallen in recent

months but not because the Federal Reserve has actively pushed them down.
fell because a receding economy lowered the demand for credit.

They

Similarly, the

decline in the discount rate followed the decline in market rates and contributed
no expansive stimulus.

Even with falling credit demand, an expanded flow of

reserves to banks raises monetary growth.
size and have shown no increase.

Excess reserves are negligible in

Banks expand their assets in one way or

another in response to large injections of reserves.

They typically add to

their portfolio of securities when loan demand is weak.

Whether a bank purchases

a security or extends a loan of similar magnitude, demand deposits increase.
The fact is that it is the Federal Reserve's own operating procedures that
account for the recent anomalously low rate of monetary growth.

The Federal

Reserve sets a money supply target growth rate but its actual operations are
carried out with a Federal Funds target rate.

If the Federal Funds rate is

pushed by market forces to a lower level than the target, the trading desk at
the New York Federal Reserve Bank resists the pressure by reducing the growth
of reserves below the level that would achieve the target money supply growth
rate.

This is what typically happens under Federal Reserve operating procedures

in a recessionary period.

In a boom period, the Federal Funds rate is pushed

by market forces to a higher level than the target, so the trading desk expands
the flow of reserves above the level that would achieve the target money supply
growth rate.

The basic problem with the Federal Reserve1s procedure is that it

tries to stabilize market interest rates, and sacrifices control of the money
supply.




3
We strongly urge the Open Market Committee to discontinue setting target
ranges for the Federal Funds rate.

The Federal Reserve should concentrate on

achieving the target growth rate of the money supply.

To do that, the trading

desk should be instructed to provide banks with a flow of reserves adequate to
achieve the target growth rate.

The market will adjust to whatever interest

rate emerges.
We renew the recommendation made at our September meeting that the
growth rate of money be held at 5-1/2 per cent. However, growth should not
start at that rate from the current low level. We recommend that the money
stock be brought to the level it would have reached in March 1975, if our policy
had been followed.

A one-time increase in money —

currency and demand deposits

—

to $290 billion should be announced and provided by April 15. This increase
would put the money growth rate back on the path leading the economy toward full
employment at lower rates of inflation than in recent years.
Fiscal Policy
Our current estimate is that the Treasury will issue between $75 and $80
billion of debt during calendar 1975. Treasury borrowing must be financed
by domestic private saving, by the Federal Reserve and foreign purchases.
These same sources must also finance the growth of capital and the production
of new housing.
If there is a large increase in the growth rate of money —
cent permanent average in calendar 1975 —

the Federal Reserve will finance

$10 to $12 billion of the federal government deficit.

This will amount to an

addition of approximately $25 - $30 billion to the money supply.
accelerate in 1976 and 1977.




to an 8 or 10 per

Inflation will

If the growth rate of money is kept in the 5.5 per cent

4
range we recommend, more of the federal government deficit must be financed by
domestic saving and by foreigners. This method of financing the federal government deficit reduces the amount of real saving that becomes available to finance
housing and private capital formation.

We favor the free flow of capital.

If

the free flow of capital in 1975 results in a capital inflow, we welcome it
irrespective of its source.
The policy of crowding out private capital and housing to finance budget
deficits is not attractive, but it is the least unattractive of the choices
before us.

In recommending this alternative, we emphasize that interest rates

may and probably will rise to clear the market for credit.

The Case Against Credit Allocation
The restricted volume of lending that is left to finance housing, plant
and equipment, and inventories may stimulate Congressional efforts to impose
credit allocations on banks.

Credit allocation is not a solution but a source

of new difficulties. We strongly support the Federal Reserve in its opposition
to credit allocation.

Such allocations would attempt to shift credit in ways

that are most unlikely to improve the market*s decisions about where credit
should flow, and would not succeed in significantly changing the way credit is
actually allocated except in the short run.

The Balance of Payments
Before August 15, 1971, a U.S. balance of payments deficit was a serious
matter, but with the United States floating , none of the published balances
•
makes sense. The Department of Commerce should drop all of them.

All data should

be continued but no balances should be struck. We urge that the balance of payments




5
statistics be published without reference to deficits and surpluses.

The

exchange rate change is a better measure, a more readily available measure,
of the pressures on the value of the dollar.
The Federal Reserve defends its concern for the level of interest rates
on the ground that the dollar depreciates when capital flows abroad as a
result of falling interest rates here.

This should not be a concern.

The

floating rate permits us to adopt whatever monetary policy we want, when we
want it without regard to the state of the balance of payments or the exchange
rate.

It gives us freedom to determine our own level of employment, prices

and output.

Prospects for Dampening Inflation and Promoting Recovery
As noted, the large budget deficit to be financed in 1975 is likely to push
interest rates up later in the year and attract foreign lenders, so the Federal
Reserve's current concern will diminish.

The Federal Reserve in this situation

must guard against two dangers: (1) implementing monetary growth rates at 8 or
10 per cent, or higher, to finance the budget; (2) delaying or retarding the rise
in interest rates and thereby increasing the growth rate of money above the target
level it sets.

If it does not guard against these dangers the Federal Reserve

will, as in the past, be the main engine of inflation.
We will not achieve full employment, stable growth, and stable prices unless
we stop shifting from excessive to inadequate to excessive monetary growth rates.
By continuing stop and go policies, we guarantee that past experience will continue.
High inflation will be followed by recession and recession by higher inflation.




6
If the Federal Reserve begins now to put money growth back on the path of
a 5,5 per cent rate, we can look forward to recovery by the last quarter of
1975 and a sustained dampening of inflation.

Long-term stability will require

ultimately reducing the monetary growth rate to a lower level consistent with
the growth of real output.




Allan Meltzer

Carnegie-Mellon University

Karl Brunner

University of Rochester

Homer Jones

St, Louis, Missouri

Thomas Mayer

University of California

A, James Meigs

Claremont College

Robert Rasche

Michigan State University

Wilson Schmidt

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Anna Schwartz

National Bureau

Beryl Sprinkel

Harris Bank & Trust Company, Chicago

William Wolman

Business Week

MONETARY POLICY AND THE ECONOMIC DECLINE

Karl Brunner
University of Rochester and
Universitat Bern

Position Paper Prepared for the 4th Meeting of the Shadow Open
Market Committee




-

March 7, 1975

The last meeting of the SOMC occurred at the edge of a precipitous
decline in economic activity.

The current decline will be substantially

larger and longer than all the previous post World War II recessions.
The largest economic downswing since 1937/38 unavoidably favors memories
of the early 1930's. The ghosts of 1930 could even usefully direct our
attention to important and still unresolved policy problems. The mismanagement of monetary policy by the Board of Governors of the Federal
Reserve System converted the downswing of 1929/30 into the Great Depression.

The basic misconceptions guiding policymaking in the 1930fs

unfortunately still affect in a somewhat modified form recent Monetary
policies.

The U.S. economy entered this winter a crucial period of

great anxiety and the course of monetary policy will decisively influence
the length of the downswing, the timing of recovery and the future path
of inflation.
The position paper presented one year ago for the 2nd meeting of
the SOMC commented on Senator Proxmire's letter to the Chairman of the
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Chairman's
reply.

Senator Proxmire directed the Chairman's attention to the

critique advanced by the SOMC and others. Congressional concern about
the management of our monetary policy substantially widened in recent
months.

The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency introduced a

resolution requiring the Fed to raise monetary growth over the near
future above the levels recently observed and also maintain over the
long-run a growth path consistent with a stable price level. The new




2.
Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency attempted to
legislate credit controls and direct the Fed to lower interest rates on
long term securities*

These Congressional initiatives raise a funda-

mental issue concerning the nature of monetary control and confronts
the Fed with serious questions about its responsibilities.
Two different but related problems require thus the attention of
the SOMC;
control.

the proper course of policy and the institution of monetary
Section I submits my recommendation after surveying recent

monetary trends and policy.

Section II examines the Senate Committee's

proposal and considers the Fed's implicit denial of monetary control
expressed in interpretations about recent events published in the media.

I.

Recent Monetary Trends
Tables I to III summarize the major patterns.

Table I presents

monetary growth from year to year between corresponding months in
successive years. We note a persistent decline in this monetary growth
by just about 50% from (6/72-6/73) to (12/73-12/74).

This longer-run

decline was essentially due to an acceleration in the currency ratio
and the time deposit ratio

k

t moderated by a slowing decline of the

adjusted reserve ratio (r + 1).

The monetary base grew over the 12

month spans at a comparatively even rate. The increase in currency and
time deposit ratio were thus allowed to lower monetary growth by the
full extent of their negative contribution.

It should be noted that this

deviation of monetary growth from the path followed by the base was
larger and lasted longer than projected in my position paper prepared
for March 8, 1974...




TABLE I. ANNUAL RATE OF CHANGE (in Percentage) OF MONEY STOCK
M 1 BETWEEN CORRESPONDING MONTHS IN SUCCESSIVE YEARS AND THE
CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY THE PROXIMATE DETERMINANTS.

Period

M

6/72- 6/73
12/72-12/73
12/73-12/74

8.36
5.96
4.15

B
7.96
7.31
8.31

k

t

- .29
- .98
-2.55

-2.16
-2.38
-3.03

(r+1)
2.88
1.94
1.29

d
-.01
.07
.13

M » money stock, B = monetary base, k = currency ratio, t = time deposit
ratio, (r+1) = adjusted reserve ratio, d = Treasury deposit ratio.

TABLE II. ANNUAL RATE OF CHANGES (in Percentage) OF MONEY STOCK
M BETWEEN SUCCESSIVE 3 MONTH PERIODS

Period
3/73- 6/73
7/73-10/73
2/74- 5/74
7/74-10/74

M
9.63
1.55
6.82
2.61

B
7.07
5.88
8.71
7.49

k

t

.57
-2.39
-1.67
-3.25

-2.06
-2.56
-3.11
-2.32

(r+1)

d

3.42

.63
.04
.16
.28

.58
2.74

.42

The dates are located in the middle month of each three month period.
The data used in the computations were seasonally adjusted.




TABLE III. ANNUAL RATE OF CHANGE (in Percentage) OF MONEY
STOCK M, BETWEEN NON-OVERLAPPING FOUR WEEK PERIODS.

Period

M

6/26/74
7/31/74
8/28/74

9.56
- .23
3.25

B
,12
5.
8.
.36
.22
1.

10/27/74
12/11/74
1/22/75

- .58
9.98
-9.41

3.
.93
.52
14.
.42
1.

t

r+1
2,
.09
.42
-5.
7.
.86

k
2.
,51
-1.,06
-4.,93

-1..65
.62
-3.
-1.,73

1.50
1.50

2.
.79
-3.
.87
3.
.95

.22
-3,
-1,
,01
.03
-6.

-2..52
.55
-8,
.91

-1.56
- .21

d

4

The data used in the computations were seasonally adjusted.




.82

.18

3.
Table II provides some information about shorter run movements
within a 12 month period.

The data show monetary growth and the con-

tribution made by proximate determinants between non-overlapping
successive three month periods. The monthly dates in the table refer to
the center month of a three month period.

The first row states the

peak reached in the summer of 1973. The large swings in monetary growth
from the summer 1973 to the fall of 1974 were dominated by the variations
in currency ratio

k

and the adjusted reserve ratio (r + 1).

The

negative contribution of the currency ratio to monetary growth reached
in the fall 1974 a record level. The increase in the currency ratio
lowered from (June-August) to (September-November) the money stock,
by itself alone, by 3.25% p.a. This was reenforced by a falling contribution from the adjusted reserve ratio and also the monetary base.
The last table describes the shortest run movements between
non-overlapping successive four week periods. The weekly dates in the
table indicate the terminal week of the later four week period used in
the comparison.

The first row shows the situation just before the

last meeting of the SOMC. Monetary growth had collapsed to slightly
below zero.

The positive contribution of the base was more than offset

by the negative contribution from currency and time deposit ratio and
the Treasury's management of its tax and loan accounts at commercial
banks.

The following phase lasting to the middle of last December

substantially moderated the negative contribution of the currency ratio
and actually reversed the contribution made by the time deposit ratio.
This movement is consistent with the general projection made in the last




4.
position paper.

The large acceleration of the monetary base was however

particularly important. The growth rate of the base increased from
about 4% p.a. to 14.5% p.a. over the fall period.
collapsed completely in the subsequent period.
base declined from 14.5% to about 1.5% p.a.

This acceleration

The growth rate of the

The radical retardation of

the base was reenforced by a dramatic reversal in the movement of
currency ratio and time deposit ratio not included in my general projection made last September.

The increase in the currency ratio lowered

by itself from the middle of December to late January the money stock by
about 6% p.a.

Such patterns have not been observed for many decades

and do conjure up pale ghosts of the early 1930fs. The large deceleration
of the base by about 90% inspite of the expanding currency drain pushed
monetary growth to a low of almost minus 10% p.a. in January.
The information in table III suggests that the acceleration of the
money stock in the fall and the subsequent deceleration just about
cancel each other.

This is confirmed by a survey of the data over the

past 13/14 months. The money stock increased from January 1974 to
June 1974 by about 8% p.a. and the base by about 7% p.a.

From June

1974 to the last week of January 1975 the money stock expanded on the
other hand by a negligible margin. An approximate 4% rise in the base
from June 74 to January 75 was offset by an approximately 4% downward
drift of the monetary mulitplier as a result of repeated increases
in currency and time deposit ratio.

It is remarkable however that

over the period experiencing the worst increase in the currency ratio
the monetary base decelerated with dramatic proportions.




It barely

5.
increased from the end of December until late February.

The decline

in the growth rate of the base noted above was determined by a reversal
in the movement of Federal Reserve Credit.

This magnitude rose by

almost $4 billion in the late fall (early November to late December)
inspite of a decline in bank borrowing of about $.8 billion.

Federal

Reserve Credit fell on the other hand by about $1.5 billion from the
end of December to the middle of February.

The reduction in bank

borrowing contributed only about $.4 billion to this fall.

The Federal

Reserve thus lowered its net purchases of securities by almost $6
billion between late fall and early 1975, inspite of the FOMC's
decision of December 1974 (as reported by the Chairman to Congress)
to maintain monetary growth between 5%-7% p.a.

This decision was

well conceived and consistent with the SOMC's recommendation made in
September 1974. But the Fed failed to execute its plan.

This failure

cannot be attributed to a vague array of imaginary villains "out there
in the financial markets". The Fed reversed its own behavior and
contradicted its own instructions. Net open market purchases of about
$4 billion over November-December were replaced by net sales of about
$1 billion over January-February.

This failure of Federal Reserve

policy is serious and regrettable.

It prolongs and amplifies an

already substantial economic downswing quite unnecessarily.
The weakening economy combined with the inherited rate of inflation motivated the SOMC last September to recommend a maintained
monetary growth of about 5.5% to 6%.




This recommendation implied

6.
that the money stock for January 1975 should be around $285 billion.
We note thus with interest that the acceleration of the money stock
achieved over the fall (early October to end of December) actually
realized the desired level of $285 billion in early January.

Continued

growth along the track proposed would have dampened the ongoing downswing and raised the probability for a turnaround in activity this
summer.

The Fed's disregard of its own decision delays the recovery

by months.
We still should insist at this stage on an immediate return
to the monetary growth proposed in our last recommendation.

This implies

that the money stock for March 1975 be raised to around $290 billion
or about $15 billion above the level realized in March 1974. The
proposal thus involves a large increase (by about $8 billion relative
to early February) of the money stock to the desired level, an increase
distributed over a few weeks. Once on track, the Fed should maintain
for the balance of the year a growth rate of about 5.5% to 6% p.a.

It

is noteworthy that my recommendation is quite compatible with Senator
Humphrey's suggestion that the money stock should grow at 8%~10% p.a.
over the next six months. The path laid out by the proposal implies a
growth rate from Early February to August of about 10 5% p.a.

The sub-

stantial "front-loading11 implicit in our recommendation involves in my
judgment a necessary correction required by the current trend in economic
activity and the recent mistakes in policy.




7.
II

The Central Issue; Monetary Control
The failure of monetary policymaking experienced over the past

months dramatizes the relevance of Congressional concern.

The Senate

Resolution introduced by the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency
seems particularly appropriate at this time and deserves our fullest
support.

The Fed's behavior over the past months exhibits a dangerous

inclination to do actually the opposite of what it says it plans to do.
Its own behavior thus demonstrates at a critical time that a major
institution responsible for our macro-policies has really learned very
little since 1930. In a manner reminding observers of discussions in
the Fedfs policymaking body during the 1930's, Chairman Burns objects
(according to newspaper accounts of recent Congressional Hearings) to
"releasing the monetary brakes". This objection is particularly
addressed to the first paragraph of the Senate Resolution requiring an
increase in monetary growth beyond recent (almost) zero growth levels.
The Chairman fears apparently that a release of the brakes "produces
later a monetary explosion" whenever the private sector's credit demand
expands again.

This justification essentially denies the possibility

of monetary control and fails to appreciate a Central Bank's opportunities to control monetary growth.
The dangerous misconceptions guiding Federal Reserve policymaking
have been clearly revealed by several statements recently published
in the Press. These statements probably reflect more or less indirectly views and briefings made available by Federal Reserve officials
and are thus relevant material for our examination.




These statements

8.
essentially suggest the general undesirability or impossibility of
the kind of monetary control implicitly proposed by the Senate
Committee.
An editorial of the New York Times appearing on February 15, 1975
asserted that the Fed has definitely moved to raise the monetary
stimulus applied to a sagging economy.

The editorialist also com-

plained that "despite all these efforts11 (to expand the money stock)
"the money supply has been growing very sluggishly.

In the latest

three months it actually seems to have declined slightly11.

The

editorial emphasizes in particular that the money stock was "growing
too slowly to reverse the real decline in the economy".
good, but now we encounter the crucial point:

So far so

"It is far from obvious,

however, that this is the fault of the Federal Reserve". And it is
"far from obvious" because banks used base money injected by the
System to "improve their liquidity position" and the public (business
and households) lowered their demand for credit. Moreover, with
interest rates already falling "it would be risky for the Fed to make
much greater injections of reserves into the monetary system".

Some

worsening of "the U.S. balance of payments deficit" is listed among
the risks.
Two days later appeared a column in the financial section of the
New York Times commenting on the "apparent easing by the Reserve"
which has been "seen".

It is noted that "the U.S. economy is mired

in its deepest recession since World War II. Additional "monetary
ease" seems thus in order.




But "the Fed remains stymied in its effort...

9.
to foster growth in the money supply11.

And we also read one day before

the editorial in another column of the financial section of the New York
Times that the money stock "decreased,..during the latest three months,
despite Federal Reserve efforts to make it grow faster11. And so we are
told again after 40 years, "the Fed can't push on a string11.
An article by Auerbach, a former official at the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York, published in the Sunday Times on February 16 reenforced
the general trend of ideas supporting a traditional Federal Reserve position.
We read that the Fed "demonstrated since early December, through actions
it has taken to ease monetary policy, that it wants to step up the money
supply growth rate". The approach according to Auerbach was "essentially
to lower short term interest rates". But declining demand for bank credit
and lower money demand make it apparently impossible for the Fed to
raise the level of monetary growth. And so Auerbach concludes that "not
unless interest rates are reduced to virtually zero levels, is it likely
that the Fed can succeed in stepping up the expansion of the money supply
simply by adding to bank reserves".
The basic pattern of these arguments is quite familiar and has
been propagated by the Federal Reserve authorities since the early 1930's.
The pattern involves two components:

first it is asserted that the Fed

has taken actions to raise monetary growth and stimulate the economy;
and secondly, the absence of any relevant observations supporting the
first assertion must be attributed to obstructions over which the Fed
has no control. And so we are told that "one cannot push on a string",
or "horses led to the trough may not drink", or one may quote suitable




10.
passages from Shakespeare.

Indeed, the slippery behavior of cups of

wine, the obstreperous behavior of horses and the low pushing quality
of strings seem the best established results of Federal Reserve attempts
at research conveyed to a broader public.

So we encounter an old game

with potentially dangerous consequences for the current environment.
The old legend of a well designed policy obstructed by reality was
already debunked by Laughlin Currie in his book on the U.S. money
supply published in 1934. He showed that the Fed never engaged in any
expansive actions during the year 1930. Nothing was achieved
because nothing was done.
The patterns shown in the previous section discussing recent
trends thoroughly rejects the allusions and allegations made in the
New York Times. We note foremost that there is no support for the
contention that the Fed actively shifted to foster monetary growth
and raise the level of monetary stimulus. Our data show on the
contrary that the Fed actively lowered monetary growth over the past
three months and substantially contributed to lower the money stock.
The money stock accelerated over the late fall when the Fed rapidly
expanded Federal Reserve Credit and monetary growth collapsed at the
turn of the year when Federal Reserve Credit declined and the base
decelerated from a growth rate of 14.5% p.a. to 1.5% p.a. A reversal
in open market operations from net purchases of about $5 billion in
November-December to net sales of $1 billion is more appropriately
described as a "pulling by the hair11 than a "pushing on a string".
We observe also in this context that the reduction in bank borrowing
was actually larger in November-December than in January-February and




11.
the contribution made in the latter period by the adjusted reserve ratio
still positive.

There is thus no shred of evidence that banks1 attempt

"to improve their liquidity position1 stymied the Fed's expansive actions.
A second order but still important factor in recent monetary growth,
the contribution made by the currency ratio, is totally disregarded in
the comments under consideration.
arguments advanced.

It has nothing to do with any of the

In particular, it did not result from falling

demand for credit or money.

Somewhere during the 1960fs the Fed

discovered the existence of a money demand and has used this entity
diligently for its purposes.

It has argued on frequent occasions that

the behavior of the money stock, and so monetary growth, simply reflects
the movement of credit demand and money demand.

Legends and bad

analysis die hard and so we repeat once more: Variations in these
demands are transformed into corresponding movements of monetary growth
under the institution of an interest target policy.

This is amplified

by the effect on the time deposit ratio of falling market rates of
interest induced by weakening credit demand.

The time deposit ratio

frequently expands under the circumstances and this process was
certainly operative in recent months. But the deceleration of the base
still exceeded the retardation in the contribution of the time
deposit ratio. Moreover, an interest target policy expresses the choice
of strategy by the Federal Reserve authorities. And it was precisely
the determined adherence to this ancient strategy which translated
downward pressures on interest rates produced by rapidly weakening
demand into a declining Federal Reserve Credit and a decelerating base.




12.
It should be clearly understood that interest rates did not fall
because the Fed actively pushed them down.
economy lowered the demand for credit.

They fell because a receding

This description of the relevant

circumstances extends to the discount rate. The discount rate followed
the market rates and contributed no expansive stimulus. The observation
of a persistent decline in bank borrowing at the Fed does not support
claims of an "expansive discount policy11.
An interest target policy misleads monetary authorities and many
spectators to believe that expansive (or restrictive) actions have
been initiated when nothing has been done or even worse, when actually
restrictive measures have been introduced.

A decline in interest rates

resulting from falling credit demand possesses no expansionary meaning
and simply reflects one aspect of the ongoing deflationary process.
Its interpretation as an expansive action by the Fed is a dangerous
illusion obstructing the useful application of actually expansive
policies.

One last point need be emphasized.

An accelerated injection

of base money raises monetary growth even with falling credit demand.
Interest rates will be lowered relatively and generate the required
increase in money demand.
the other.

Banks expand their assets in one way or

They can always expand their portfolio of securities in

response to large injections of base money. Most importantly, we
note that the evidence indicates a clear responsiveness of monetary
growth to movements of the base in many different periods and different
countries.

Even in the depths of the Great Depression the money stock

responded with comparatively little modification by the monetary




13.
multiplier to the momentous acceleration in the base from April 1933
onwards, and it also reflected immediately the hard deceleration of the
base in 1936/37 initiated by the Fed's policy measures.
Recent observations confirm a general pattern which has been
repeatedly observed over many different periods.

Changing credit

demand operating via variations in interest rates on the time deposit
ratio, the banks borrowing from the Fed or the adjusted reserve ratio
exert in the average over many decades a substantially smaller influence on monetary growth than changes in the base supplemented by a
changing currency ratio. The responsibility of the monetary authorities
thus remains and should not be obfuscated with irrelevant metaphors
and inadequate analysis. The Senate Resolution assumes under the
present circumstances a really crucial importance.

It offers an oppor-

tunity to remove obsolete procedures of policymaking and confronts the
Fed squarely with its central responsibility.

The relevance of the

intended Resolution is also strongly supported by a remarkable development among European Central Banks. The Deutsche Bundesbank, the Banque
de France, the Banco de Espana and the Swiss National Bank all accepted
the idea of monetary control and moved over the recent past to implement
such control over monetary growth.

The change in procedures and policy

conception has been motivated basically by a determined attempt to cope
with inflation and to improve the range of stabilization policies. This
European experience offers some useful lessons for our purposes. It
demonstrates the feasibility of monetary control under very different
arrangements.

But it also cautions us that passage of the Senate Reso-

lution will not be sufficient.




The divergence between the FOMC's

14.
decision of last December and the subsequent behavior of the Fed
indicates the nature of the problem.

Effective monetary control requires

suitable implementation and appropriate procedures.

The current procedures

are quite inadequate for the purpose. Monetary control will not function
until the desired growth rate over one quarter or two quarters has been
translated into a specific volume of net purchases to be executed by
the account manager over a shorter run in the near future with appropriate
revisions in the magnitude as new information accrues.
Effective monetary control also requires some adaptations of inherited institutions. The nature of these adaptations has been discussed
on several occasions. They include radical simplification of reserve
requirements, the manner of computing required reserves and the constraints
on liability conditions banks can offer. Lastly, there remains the
measurement problem.

We still hope that the committee constituted by the

Fed to study improvements in the measurement of the money stock will
arrive at some useful proposals.

This attempt has been used unfortunately

by Chairman Burns to obfuscate the problem of monetary control by introducing eight distinct measures of the money stock without any indication
of relevant analysis or comparative behavior. We suggest that for most
serious issues over the past 10 years, or even since the Fed emerged in
1914, all relevant measures of the money stock would have yielded the
same information for the policymakers and offered the same answers to
questions what to do.




Revised 3/5/75

MONETARY POLICY AND THE ECONOMIC DECLINE

Karl Brunner
University of Rochester and
Universitat Bern

Position Paper Prepared for the 4th Meeting of the Shadow Open
Market Committee




-

March 7, 1975

The last meeting of the SOMC occurred at the edge of a precipitous
decline in economic activity.

The current decline will be substantially

larger and longer than all the previous post World War II recessions.
The largest economic downswing since 1937/38 unavoidably favors memories
of the early 1930fs.

The ghosts of 1930 could even usefully direct our

attention to important and still unresolved policy problems.

The mis-

management of monetary policy by the Board of Governors of the Federal
Reserve System converted the downswing of 1929/30 into the Great Depression.

The basic misconceptions guiding policymaking in the 1930*s

still affect, in a somewhat modified form, recent monetary policies.
The U.S. economy entered this winter a crucial period of great anxiety
and the course of monetary policy will decisively influence the length
of the downswing, the timing of recovery and also determines our
opportunities to terminate inflation over the next two or three years.
The position paper presented one year ago for the 2nd meeting of
the SOMC commented on Senator Proxmire!s letter (dated in September
1973) to the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve
System and the Chairman's- reply.

Senator Proxmire focussed on the

critique advanced by the SOMC and others.

Congressional concern about

the management of our monetary policy substantially widened in recent
months.

The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency introduced a

resolution requiring the Fed to raise monetary growth over the near
future above the levels recently observed and maintain over the
long-run a growth path consistent with a stable price level.




The new

2.
Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency attempted to
legislate credit controls and direct the Fed to lower interest rates on
long term securities.

The Congressional initiatives address a funda-

mental issue concerning the nature of monetary control and confront
the Fed with serious questions about its responsibilities.
Two different but related problems require thus the attention of
the SOMC;
control.

the proper course of policy and the institution of monetary
Section I submits my recommendation after surveying recent

monetary trends and policy.

Section II examines the Senate Committee's

proposal and considers the Fed's implicit denial of monetary control
expressed in interpretations about recent events published in the media.

I.. Recent Monetary Trends
Tables I to III summarize the major patterns.

Table I presents

monetary growth from year to year between corresponding- months in
successive years.

We note a persistent decline in this monetary growth

by just about 50% from (6/72-6/73) to (12/73-12/74).

This longer-run

decline was essentially due to an acceleration in the currency ratio
and the time deposit ratio

t

adjusted reserve ratio (r + 1).

k

moderated by a slowing decline of the
The monetary base grew over the 12

month spans at a comparatively even rate.

The increase in currency and

time deposit ratio were thus allowed to lower monetary growth by the
full extent of their negative contribution.

It should be noted that this

deviation of monetary growth from the path followed by the base was
larger and lasted longer than projected in my position paper prepared
for March 8, 1974.




TABLE I.
M

ANNUAL RATE OF CHANGE (in Percentage)•OF MONEY STOCK

BETWEEN CORRESPONDING MONTHS IN SUCCESSIVE YEARS AND THE

CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY THE PROXIMATE DETERMINANTS.

Period

M

6/72- 6/73
12/72-12/73
12/73-12/74

B

8.36
5.96
4.15

7.96
7.31
8.31

k

t

- .29
- .98
-2.55

-2.16
-2.38
-3.03

(r+1)
2.88
1.94
1.29

-.01

.07
.13

M.= money stock, B = monetary base, k = currency ratio, t = time deposit
ratio', (r+1) = adjusted reserve ratio, d = Treasury deposit ratio.

TABLE II. ANNUAL RATE OF CHANGES (in Percentage) OF MONEY STOCK
M

Period
3/73- 6/73
7/73-10/73
2/74- 5/74
7/74-10/74

BETWEEN SUCCESSIVE 3 MONTH PERIODS

M
9.63
1.55
6.82
2.61

B
7.07
5.88
8.71
7.49

k

t

.57
-2.39
-1.67
-3.25

-2.06
-2.56
-3.11
-2.32

(r+1)

d

3.42

.63
.04
.16
.28

.58
2.74

.42

The dates are located in the middle month of each three month period.
The data used in the computations were seasonally adjusted.




TABLE III.
STOCK M

Period

10/27/74
12/11/74
1/22/75

ANNUAL RATE OF CHANGE (in Percentage) OF MONEY

BETWEEN NON-OVERLAPPING FOUR WEEK PERIODS,

M

- .58
9.98
-9.41

r+1

3.93
2.79
( 14.52X. -3.87
\ 1.42 \
3.95

-3.22
.•'"-1.01
\ -6.03

-2.52

.55

-1.56
- .21

-8.91

.18

The data used in the computations were seasonally adjusted.




3.
Table II provides some information about shorter run movements
within a 12 month period.

The data show monetary growth and the con-

tribution made by proximate determinants between non-overlapping
successive three month periods.

The monthly dates in the table refer to

the center month of a three month period.
peak reached in the summer of 1973.

The first row states the

The large swings in monetary growth

from the summer 1973 to the fall of 1974 were dominated by the variations
in currency ratio

k

and the adjusted reserve ratio (r + 1).

The

negative contribution of the currency ratio to monetary growth reached
in the fall 1974 a record level.

The increase in the currency ratio

lowered from (June-August) to (September-November) the money stock,
by itself alone, by 3.25% p.a.

This, was reenforced by a falling contri-

bution from the adjusted reserve ratio and also from the monetary base.
The last table describes the shortest run movements between
non-overlapping successive four week periods.

The weekly dates in the

table indicate the terminal week of the later four week period used in
the comparison.

The first row shows the situation just before the

last meeting of the SOMC.
below zero.

Monetary growth had collapsed to slightly

The positive contribution of the base was more than offset

by the negative contribution from currency and time deposit ratio and
the Treasury!s management of its tax and loan accounts at commercial
banks.

The following phase lasting to the middle of last December,

substantially moderated the negative contribution of the currency ratio
and actually reversed the contribution made by the time deposit ratio.
This movement is consistent with the general projection made in the last




4.
position paper.

The large acceleration of the monetary base was however

particularly important.

The growth rate of the base increased from

about 4% p.a. to 14.5% p.a. over the fall period.
collapsed completely in the subsequent period.
base declined from 14.5% to about 1.5% p.a.

This acceleration

The growth rate of the

The radical retardation of

the base was reenforced by a dramatic reversal in the movement of
currency ratio and time deposit ratio not included in my general projection made last September.

The increase in the currency ratio lowered

by itself from the middle of December to late January the money stock by
about 6% p.a.

Such patterns have not been observed for many decades

and do conjure up pale ghosts of the early 1930,s.

The large deceleration

of the base by about 90% inspite of the expanding currency drain pushed
monetary growth to a low of almost minus 10% p.a. in January.
the information in table 111 suggests that the acceleration of the
money stock in the fall and the subsequent deceleration just about
cancel each other.

This is confirmed by a survey of the data over the

past 13/14 months.

The money stock increased from January 1974 to

June 1974 by about 8% p.a. and the base by about 7% p.a.
pattern disappeared in June.

But this

From June 1974 to the last week of January

1975 .the money stock expanded by a negligible margin.
4% rise in the base from June T74 to January

f

An approximate

75 was offset by an

approximately 4% decline of the money multiplier as a result of repeated
increases in currency and time deposit ratio.

It is remarkable however

that over the period experiencing the worst increase in the currency ratio
the monetary base decelerated with dramatic proportions.




The base barely

5.
increased from the end of December until February 19.
The retardation of the base was determined by a reversal in the
movement of Federal Reserve Credit.

This magnitude rose by

almost

$4 billion in the late fall (early November to late December) inspite
of a decline in bank borrowing by about $.8 billion.

Federal Reserve

Credit fell on the other hand by about $1.5 billion from the end of
December to February 19.

The reduction in bank borrowing contributed

only about $.4 billion to this fall.

The Federal Reserve thus lowered

its net purchases of securities by almost $6 billion between late fall
and early 1975, inspite of the FOMC's decision of December 1974 (as
reported by the Chairman to Congress) to maintain monetary
tween 5%-7% p.a.

This decision was well conceived and consistent with

the SOMCfs recommendation made in September 1974.
execute its plan.

growth be-

But the Fed failed to

This failure cannot be attributed to a vague array

of imaginary villains "out there in the financial markets11.

The Fed

reversed its own behavior and contradicted its own instructions.

Net

open market purchases of about $5 billion over November-December were
replaced by net sales of about $1 billion over January-February.
failure of Federal Reserve policy is serious and regrettable.

This

It pro-

longs and amplifies an already substantial economic downswing quite
unnecessarily.
The weakening economy and the inherited rate of inflation motivated
the SOMC last September to recommend a maintained monetary growth of
about 5.5% to 6%.




This recommendation implied that the money.stock for

6.
January 1975 should be around $285 billion.

We note thus with interest

that the acceleration of the money stock achieved over the fall (early
October to end of December) actually realized the desired level of
$285 billion in early January.

Continued growth along the track proposed

by our recommendation would have dampened the ongoing downswing and
raised the probability for a turnaround in activity this summer.

The

Fed's disregard of its own decision delays the recovery by months.
We still should insist at this stage on an immediate return to the
monetary growth proposed in our last recommendation.

This implies that

the money stock for March 1975 be raised to around $290 billion or
about $15 billion above the level realized in March 1974.

The proposal

thus involves a large increase (by about $8 billion relative to early
February) of the money stock to the desired level, an increase distributed
over a few weeks.

Once on track, the Fed should maintain for the balance

of the year a growth rate of about 5.5% to 6% p.a.

It is noteworthy

that this recommendation is quite compatible with Senator Humphrey's
suggestion that the money stock should grow at 8%-10% p.a. over the
next six months.

The path laid out by the proposal implies a growth rate

from early February to August of

about 10.8% p.a.

The substantial

"front-loading11 implicit in the recommendation involves in my judgment
a necessary correction required by the current trend in economic activity
and the recent mistakes in policy.




7.
II

The Central Issue; Monetary Control
The failure of monetary policymaking experienced over the past

months dramatizes the relevance of Congressional concern.

The Senate

Resolution introduced by the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency
seems particularly appropriate at this time and deserves our support.
The Fed's behavior over the past months exhibits a dangerous inclination
to do actually the opposite of what it says it plans to do.

Its own

behavior thus demonstrates at a critical time that a major institution
responsible for our macro-policies has really learned very little since
1930.

In a manner reminding observers of discussions in the Fed's

policymaking body during the 1930ts, Chairman Burns objects (according
to newspaper accounts of recent Congressional Hearings) to "releasing
the monetary brakes".

This objection is essentially addressed to the

first paragraph of the Senate Resolution requiring an increase in
monetary growth beyond recent (almost) zero growth levels.

The

Chairman fears apparently that "a release of the brakes" produces later
"a monetary explosion" whenever the private sector's credit demand
expands again.

This justification denies the possibility of monetary

control and fails to recognize a Central Bank's opportunities to control
monetary growth.
The dangerous misconceptions still guiding Federal Reserve policymaking have been clearly revealed by several statements recently published in the Press.

These statements probably reflect more or less

indirectly views and briefings made available by Federal Reserve officials
and are thus relevant material for our examination.




These statements

8.
suggest that monetary control implicitly proposed by the Senate
Committee is either impossible or undesirable.
An editorial of the New York Times appearing on February 15, 1975
asserted that the Fed has definitely moved to raise the monetary
stimulus applied to a sagging economy.

The editorialist also com-

plained that "despite all these efforts" (to expand the money stock)
"the money supply has been growing very sluggishly.

In the latest

three months it actually seems to have declined slightly".

The

editorial emphasizes in particular that the money stock was "growing
too slowly to reverse the real decline in the economy".
good, but now we encounter the crucial point:

So far so

"It is far from obvious,

however, that this is the fault of the Federal Reserve".

And it is

"far from obvious" because banks used base money injected by the
System to "improve their liquidity position" and the public (business
and households) lowered their demand for credit.

Moreover, with

interest rates already falling "it would be risky for the Fed to make
much greater injections of reserves into the monetary system".

Some

worsening of "the U.S. balance of payments deficit" is listed among
the risks.
Three days later appeared a column in.the financial section of the
New York Times commenting on the "apparent easing by the Reserve"
which has been "seen".

It is noted that "the U.S. economy is mired

in its deepest recession since World War II. Additional "monetary
ease" seems thus in order.




But "the Fed remains stymied in its effort...

9.
to foster growth in the money supply".

And we also read one day before

the editorial in another column of the financial section of the New York
Times that the money stock "decreased...during the latest three months,
despite Federal Reserve efforts to make it grow faster".

And so we are

told again after 40 years, "the Fed canft push on a string".
An article by Auerbach, a former official at the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York, published in the Sunday Times on February 16 reenforced
the general trend of ideas supporting a traditional Federal Reserve position.
We read that the Fed "demonstrated since early December, through actions
it has taken to ease monetary policy, that it wants to step up the money
supply growth rate".

The approach according to Auerbach was "essentially

to lower short term interest rates".

But declining demand for bank credit

and lower money demand make it apparently impossible for the Fed to
raise the level of monetary growth.

And so Auerbach concludes that "not

unless interest rates are reduced to virtually zero levels, is it likely
that the Fed can succeed in stepping up the expansion of the money supply
simply by adding to bank reserves".
The basic pattern of these arguments is quite familiar and has
been propagated by the Federal Reserve authorities since the early 1930!s.
The pattern involves two components:

first it is asserted,that the Fed

has taken actions to raise monetary growth and stimulate the economy;
and secondly, the absence of any relevant observations supporting the
first assertion must be attributed to obstructions over which the Fed
has no control.

And so we are told that "one cannot push on a string",

or "horses led to the trough may not drink", or one may quote suitable




10.
passages from Shakespeare.

Indeed, the slippery behavior of cups of

wine, the obstreperous behavior of horses and the low pushing quality
of strings seem the best established results of Federal Reserve attempts
at research conveyed to a broader public.

So we encounter an old game

with potentially dangerous consequences for the current environment.
The old legend of a well designed policy obstructed by reality was
already debunked by Laughlin Currie in his book on the U.S. money
supply published in 1934. He showed that the Fed never engaged in any
expansive actions during the year 1930.

Nothing was achieved

because nothing was done.
The patterns shown in the previous section discussing recent
trends thoroughly contradict the allusions and allegations made in the
New York Times.

We note foremost that there is no support for the

contention that the Fed actively shifted to foster monetary growth
and raise the level of monetary stimulus.

Our data show on the

contrary that the Fed actively lowered monetary growth over the past
three months and substantially contributed to lower the money stock.
The money stock accelerated over the late fall when the Fed rapidly
expanded Federal Reserve Credit,and monetary growth collapsed at the
turn of the year when Federal Reserve Credit declined and the base
decelerated from a growth rate of 14.5% p.a. to 1.5% p.a.

A reversal

in open market operations from net purchases of about $5 billion in
November-December to net sales of $1 billion is more appropriately
described as a "pulling by the hair" than a "pushing on a string".
We observe also in this context that the reduction in bank borrowing
was actually larger in November-December than in January-February. Moreover,




11.
the contribution made in the latter period by the adjusted reserve ratio
was still positive.

There is thus no shred of evidence that banks1 attempt

1!

to improve their liquidity position" stymied the Fedfs expansive actions.
A second order but still important factor in recent monetary growth,

the contribution made by the currency ratio, is totally disregarded in
the comments under consideration.
of the arguments advanced.

This factor has nothing to do with any

In particular, the sustained increase of the

currency ratio did not result from falling demand for credit or money.
Somewhere during the 1960fs the Fed discovered the existence of a money
demand and has used this entity diligently for its purposes.

It has

argued on frequent occasions that the behavior of the money stock, and so
also cf monetary growth, simply reflects the movement of credit demand and
money demand.
more:

Legends and bad analysis die hard and so we repeat once

Variations in these demands are transformed into corresponding

movements of monetary growth under the institution of an interest target
policy.

This result/amplified by the effect on the time deposit ratio of

falling market rates of interest induced by weakening credit demand.

The

time deposit ratio frequently expands under the circumstances and this process
was certainly operative in recent months.

But the deceleration of the

base still exceeded the retardation in the contribution of the time deposit
ratio.

Moreover, an interest target policy expresses the choice of

strategy by the Federal Reserve authorities.

The determined adherence to

this ancient strategy translated downward pressures on interest rates produced by rapidly weakening demand into a declining Federal Reserve Credit
and a decelerating base.




With a strategy directed to continue the growth

12.
rate of the base realized in the late fall, the money stock would have
continued to grow inspite of receding demand for credit by business.

It

should be clearly understood that interest rates did not fall because the
Fed actively pushed them down.

They fell because a receding economy

lowered the demand for credit.

This description of the relevant cir-

cumstances extends to the discount rate.

The discount rate followed the

market rates and contributed no expansive stimulus.

The observation of

a persistent decline in bank borrowing at the Fed does not support claims
of an "expansive discount policy".
An interest target policy misleads monetary authorities and many
spectators into believing that expansive (or restrictive) actions have
been initiated when nothing has been done or even worse, when actually
restrictive (expansive) measures have been introduced.

A decline in interest

rates.resulting from falling credit demand possesses no expansionary meaning
and simply reflects one aspect of the ongoing deflationary process.

Its

interpretation as an expansive action by the Fed is a dangerous illusion
obstructing the useful application of actually expansive policies.
One last point need be emphasized.

An accelerated injection of

base money raises monetary growth even with falling credit demand.
Interest rates will be lowered relatively and generate the required increase in money demand.
other.

Banks expand their assets in one way or the

They can always expand their portfolio.of securities in response

to large injections of base money.

Most importantly, we note that the

evidence indicates a clear responsiveness of monetary growth to movements
of the base in many different periods and different countries.

Even in

the depths of the Great Depression the money stock responded with




13.
comparatively little modification by the monetary multiplier to the
momentous acceleration in the base f^om April 1933 onwards, and it also
reflected quite rapidly the hard deceleration of the base in 1936/37
initiated by the FedTs policy measures.
Recent observations confirm a general pattern which has been
repeatedly observed over many different periods.

Changing credit

demand operating via variations in interest rates on the time deposit
ratio or via the banks borrowing from the Fed and the adjusted reserve
ratio, exert in the average over many decades a substantially smaller
influence on monetary growth than changes in the base supplemented by a
changing currency ratio.

The responsiblility of the monetary authorities

thus remains and should not be obfuscated with irrelevant metaphors
and inadequate analysis.

The Senate Resolution assumes under the present

circumstances a really crucial importance.

It offers an opportunity

to remove obsolete procedures of policymaking and confronts the Fed
squarely with its central, responsibility.

The relevance of the intended

Resolution is also strongly supported by a remarkable development
among European Central Banks.

The Deutsche Bundesbank, the Banque de

France, the Banco de Espana and the Swiss National Bank all accepted
the idea of monetary control and moved over the recent past to implement
such control over monetary.growth.

The change in procedures and policy

conception has been motivated basically by a determined attempt to cope
with inflation and to improve the range of stabilization policies.
European experience offers some useful lessons for our purposes.

This

It

demonstrates the feasibility of monetary control under very different
arrangements.

But' it also cautions us that passage of the Senate Reso-

lution will not be sufficient.




The divergence between the FOMC!s

14.
decision of last December and the subsequent behavior of the Fed
indicates the nature of the problem.

Effective monetary control requires

suitable implementation and appropriate procedures.
are quite inadequate for the purpose.

The current procedures

Monetary control will not function

until the desired growth rate over one quarter or two quarters has been
translated into a specific volume of net purchases to be executed by
the account manager over a shorter run in the near future with appropriate
revisions in the magnitude as new information accrues.
Effective monetary control also requires some adaptations of inherited institutions.

The nature of these adaptations has been discussed

on several occasions.

They include radical simplification of reserve

requirements or in the manner of computing required reserves.

All

prohibitions on interest payments on deposits (demand and time) should
also be removed.

Lastly, there remains the measurement problem.

We

still hope that the committee constituted by the Fed to study improvements
in the measurement of the money stock will arrive at some useful proposals.

This attempt has been used unfortunately by Chairman Burns to

obfuscate the problem of monetary control by introducing eight distinct
measures of the money stock without any indication of relevant analysis
or comparative behavior.

We suggest that for most serious issues over

the past 10 years, or even since the Fed emerged in 1914, all relevant
measures of the money stock would have yielded the same information for
the policymakers and offered the same answers to major questions.




QUEST FOR A STABILIZING MONETARY POLICY
by
Dr. Beryl W. Sprinkel
Executive Vice President and Economist
Harris Trust and Savings Bank
Chicago, Illinois
INTRODUCTION
I have long been of the view that the public, through its
elected officials in Congress, should have a more active role in
monitoring and formulating monetary policy. With the consent of the
Committee, I would like to submit for the record an article entitled
"Proposal for a Federal Reserve Annual Monetary Plan," written by me
on August 29, 1968 and published December, 1968 in a Compendium
prepared by the House Committee on Banking and Currency.

I argued

then, and still believe, that the Federal Reserve should be required
to submit to responsible committees of Congress a periodic review of
its performance, along with a monetary plan for the future, and that
the ensuing discussion freely be made available to the public which
will inevitably reap the benefits or costs of said policies. On
February 5, 1975, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Domestic
Monetary Policy of the House Banking and Currency Committee, I made
a similar proposal.
In 1968, as now, monetary policy formulation and execution
were enshrouded in well meaning but costly secrecy, in contrast to
fiscal policy which was, and is, subjected to intensive public scrutiny

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those
of his employer.
* Testimony presented on Concurrent Resolution on monetary policy before
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Washington, D.C.
February 26, 1975.



^2-

and debate. Now is the propitious occasion for amending the serious
flaw in monetary policy formulation and execution.
RATIONALE
Let me briefly make my case*

Many of us believe, based on

extensive empirical research, that monetary policy as reflected by
growth in the money supply, is the principal or at least a major
determinant of changes in national income and gross national product.
It therefore follows that rapid monetary growth will induce, with a
suitable lag, a rapid growth in expenditures on goods and services.
If the rise in spending is in excess of the capacity of the economy
to produce goods and services, inflation will ensue. Conversely,
severe monetary restraint will precipitate slow growth in spending
and recession with all its attendant costs. A proper monetary policy
can and should avoid the extremes of serious inflation and recession
and contribute to the achievement of stable non-inflationary growth.
What are the facts?

In my opinion, since 1965 monetary

policy has been excessively stimulative, thereby contributing in a
major way to the recent double digit inflation.

Also, it has often

been highly erratic, thereby causing volatile economic performance
in financial markets and national income creation.

In recent years

the record has worsened rather than improved as knowledge concerning
monetary effects increased.

For example, in the four years ending

last June, annual growth in M^ averaged nearly 7%, a rate far in
excess of the ability of the economy to absorb without experiencing
serious inflation.




Since mid-year 1974 annual monetary growth has

3plummeted to about 1%, a rate which will deepen the recession and
impede recovery.

In the past two months monetary restraint has been

especially severe as M^ declined at an annual rate of about 5%.
THE CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION
The proposed Congressional Resolution offers the best hope
for returning to a stabilizing monetary policy.

I support the

view that in the near term action should be taken "to increase the
money supply at a rate substantially higher than in recent experience
and appropriate to actively promote economic recovery." Otherwise,
this recession will be needlessly long and severe.

I also support

the view that the Federal Reserve should "maintain long-run growth
of the money supply commensurate with the economy's long-run potential
to increase production, so as to effectively achieve the goals of
maximum employment and stable prices."

In operational terms, it is

my view that in the short run, growth in M^ should be about 6%, but
after recovery is well under way every effort should be made to
gradually reduce the secular growth in Mj^ to about 3%, a rate consistent
with non-inflationary growth.

These numbers are meant to be suggestive

and should not be incorporated in the resolution.
I also fully endorse the directive that "the Federal Reserve
shall consult with Congress at semi-annual hearings before the
Committees on Banking about its money supply growth targets and other
monetary policy actions required in the upcoming six months."
ELABORATION
Let me add three brief points.

(1) Not only should monetary

growth be moderate but it should also be relatively stable compared




_4to recent experience.

(2) I urge the Congress to explore with the

Federal Reserve the linkage between monetary policy target formulation and its execution.

In my judgment, major errors in monetary

policy execution result f rora the persistent attempt of the Federal
Reserve to estimate the federal funds rate that will yield the
desired growth in money rather than from a deliberate attempt to
promote volatile monetary expansion. During periods of rapid growth
in credit demands as occurred last spring, an attempt by the Federal
Reserve, to restrain increases in the federal funds rate results in
money supply overshoot. Conversely, the recent weakness in private
credit demands which placed downward pressure on the federal funds
rate resulted in monetary growth shortfall.

There is no stable

relation between the level of short-term interest rates and monetary
growth.

In implementing policies, the Federal Reserve can control

either short-term interest rates or monetary aggregates, not both.
Although the relation between growth in the monetary base, subject
to control by Federal Reserve authorities, and the money supply is
not perfect, it is much to be preferred.

In other words, Federal

Reserve authorities should attempt to promote stable and moderate
monetary growth by operating directly on the monetary base, not the
federal funds rate.

(3) Finally, it is my view that monetary policy

and execution would be improved if the Federal Reserve released the
minutes of the policymaking Open Market Committee immediately after
the meeting rather than delaying their publication for ninety days.
Under such a scheme, there would be no opportunity for competitive
advantage and the practice should contribute to improved performance
of capital markets and the financial system.




~5-

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, the process of devising a better means for
achieving a stabilizing monetary policy should not be a partisan
issue.

It should be noted that if Congress is to expand its monetary

role, it is incumbent on the Banking Committees to exert a beneficial
influence.

Currently, many analysts fear that large deficits in

years immediately ahead will generate enormous pressures to increase
the money supply substantially.

If that occurs, renewed double digit

inflation and accompanying instability in financial markets are
inevitable.

To avoid this result, the money supply should only grow

"commensurate with the economy's long-run potential to increase production."

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve must retain sufficient iniative

and jurisdiction to enable it to exert an independent influence.
Better structured cooperation between the Administration, the Congress
and the Federal Reserve should improve coordination between monetary
and fiscal policies.

The proposed Congressional Resolution probably

can be improved over time. Presently it offers the best available
hope for achieving a better monetary policy in these uncertain times.




PROPOSAL FOR A FEDERAL RESERVE *
ANNUAL MONETARY PLAN
^
Dr. Beryl W. Sprinkel
Vice President and Economist
Harris Trust and Savings Bank
Chicago, Illinois

August 29, 1968

Economic Policy and Government Responsibility
The Employment Act of 1946 charged the Federal Government with
the responsibility for

the promotion of maximum employment, production,

and purchasing power.

This Act also created the Council of Economic

Advisers and the Joint Economic Committee, new governmental units responsible
for administration and review of economic policies*
Committee was to

The Joint Economic

(1) make a continuing study of matters relating to

the Economic Repsrt of the President; (2) study means of co-ordinating
programs in order to further the policy of the Act/ and (3) file an annual
report with the Senate and the House,
The language of the Act was sufficiently broad to permit each
unit to develop over time in a way that would facilitate the attainment
of the Employment Act objectives. The passage of the act implies that an
early, and,incidentally, continuing, purpose was the development of a
centralized focus of economic information and analysis. The passage and
administration of the Act implies the objective of developing and enunciating
a co-ordinated program of policies to be taken by the many arms Of Government
in order to maintain economic stability.
There are many aspects of Government policies which directly
or indirectly influence the attainment of the objectives of the Employment
Act.

However, most of them may be subsumed under the broad categories of

monetary and fiscal policies.

For purposes of this paper fiscal policies

Published in Compendium on Monetary Policy Guidelines and Federal Reserve
Structure, Pursuant to H.R. 11...Subcommittee on Domestic Finance of the
Committee on Banking and Currency, House of Representatives, 90th Congress,
Second Session, December 1968)



~2~
are concerned with the economic impact of Government spending, taxing
and debt management decisions*

Monetary policies are concerned with

the economic impact of Federal Reserve decisions influencing the quantity, cost and availability of money.

Current administration of the

..Employment Act results in an annual presentation of the economic policy
plans of the President and their review by various Congressional committees including the Joint Economic Comr^ttee, which conducts an annual
critical review of the President's Economic Report,

This report deals

primarily with the fiscal plans of the Administration.

No similar

monetary plan is presented by the Federal Reserve System and hence
no Congressional review is conducted of the plans and administration
of monetary policy even though monetary change has a major impact on
income, employment and prices.

It is the thesis of this paper that

the objectives of the Employment Act of 1946 -would be more readily
achieved if machinery was devised under the broad authority of the
Employment Act for the annual presentation by the Federal Reserve System
of its monetary plan followed by a critical review by the Joint Economic
Committee and other interested Congressional committees.
Federal Reserve Responsibility
The original purposes of the Federal Reserve System, as
expressed by its founders, were to give the country an elastic currency,
to provide facilities for discounting commercial paper, and to improve
the supervision of banking.

From the beginning, and especially since

the Employment Act of 1946, it was recognized that the particular
original purposes were in fact parts of a broader objective; namely^ ,{to
help counteract; inflationary and deflationary movements, and to share in




~3~
creating conditions favorable to sustained high employment, stable
values, growth of the country, and a rising level of consuiirption11. *
In other words, it is now generally recognized and agreed that it is
the major responsibility of the Federal Reserve System to contribute
to the achievement of the Employment Act objectives.
Yet it is also argued that the Federal Reserve should remain
independent

of the existing Administration.

This concept .represents

a particular application of the practice of applying a system of checks
and balances within the U.S. form of government.

Independency means

that the Federal Reserve System has some autonomy in formulating and
executing monetary policy.

It does not mean that the need for co-ordination

of monetary policy with other economic policies is removed.

And, in

fact, an informal group of basic economic policy-makers currently maintain close contact with each other and the President.

This group

includes the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, the Secretary of
the Treasury, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget and the Chairman
of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Although the latter three officials

are forced by law to submit their plans for the ensuing year to public
scrutiny and possible amendment, such public disclosure is not required
of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System.
Furthermore, there is little evidence that the advice of the
Joint Economic Committee is even considered in the formulation of monetary policy.

For each of the past two years both the majority and

minority reports of the Joint Economic Committee asked for greater
^The Federal Reserve System, Purposes and Functions, Fifth
Edition, Chapter 1, page 1.




_4stability in monetary growth.

This advice followed the development of

a highly erratic and frequently destabilizing monetary policy and was,
in turn, followed by the same policy.

For example, following the excel-

lent economic results dating from 1961 to mid-1965 when a fairly stable
monetary growth of 3% was maintained, volatility has increasingly become
the practice.

By mid-1965 the economy had at long last achieved approxi-

mate full employment of labor and capital resources.

If expansionary

economic policies were appropriate for an underemployed economy, as
is generally agreed, then less expansionary policies were appropriate
for a period characterized hy full employment of resources and developing
inflationary pressures. Yet beginning mid-1965 the budget shifted to
a larger deficit position as the Vietnam war accelerated and monetary
growth also accelerated.

During the ensuing nine months the money

supply grew at a 6% annual rate, double the prior rate of growth.

How-

ever from the sprina of 1966 to the fall of that year, the money supply
contracted at a 2% annual rate.

Severe monetary restraint, accompanied

by ceiling rates on savings institutions, resulted in serious ndisintermediation," a collapsing housing market, and a near domestic monetary
panic.
Beginning in the fall of 1966 and extending through 1967
the money supply grew at a 6.5% annual rate.

In the first instance

the move to an easier money policy was undoubtedly for the purpose
of cushioning a weakening private economy brought on by the prior
tight money policy.

But the policy of ease extended well past the

point in time when a recession was a reasonable possibility.

In.fact

the rate of monetary growth, continues to rise even up to the present time,
despite serious inflationary pressures.




In the past year the money supply

-5has increased 6.5%; the rate of growth rose to 7.6% in the past six months
and accelerated to 10.8% in the last three months.
Although the Federal Reserve System is very reluctant to specify
its guides to actions as well as its policy objectives, it appears
fairly clear that the continued pDlicy of excessive ease represented
an attempt to prevent a sharp rise in interest rates.

If so# the attempt

was unsuccessful since interest rates v/ere recently near the highest level
since the Civil War. Many believe the present high level of interest
rates is in fact due to the very easy money policy existing most of the
time since mid-1965. These policies resulted in accelerating inflationary
pressures and consequent discounting of inflationary fears in the level
of interest rates.
Monetary Policy and Economic Performance
The evidence is becoming increasingly clear/ as emphasized
by the Joint Economic Committee, that volatile monetary growth inevitably
results in volatile economic performance.

Unfortunately there are

serious and largely unpredictable lags between monetary change and
eventual economic change. Therefore, a growing number of observers
argue that more stable monetary growth is desirable. Yet currently
there is little evidence that the Federal Reserve System shares this
objective.
Although in the early post-war period the economics profession
generally argued that monetary change was a minor factor influencing
economic activity, views have in recent years changed markedly.

The

prevailing view is now that monetary change is a dominant factor influencing
subsequent economic performance*

This change in view is probably due to

the voluminous research o i money compiled by such careful students
r




~6~
as Clark.Warburton, Milton Friedman, Anna Schwartz, Karl Brunncr, and
Allan Meltzer, and most recently Frank de Lceuw and Edward Gramlich
who prepared an econometric study under the sponsorship of the Federal
Reserve System.
Proposal for an Annual Monetary Plan
The submission of a carefully developed annual monetary plan
by the Federal Reserve would offer many potential advantages to the
various arms of Government as well as to interested private citizens.
Perhaps the fundamental result would be the possibility of estimating
the combined monetary-fiscal impact of planned economic policy.
The new unified budget makes possible a reasonable estimate of the effect
of Government spending plans on the allocation of resources between the
public and private sector of the economy.

It is not possible to make

a useful estimate of the fiscal impact of the budget unless you argue
the method of financing is irrelevant, a position that appears indefensible.
It is true that a method of financing section of the unified budget
does make estimates of the portion of the projected deficit to be financed
by changes in cash balances and the portion to be purchased by the public,
commercial banks and Federal Reserve banks.

It gives little insight

into the critical question of whether the deficit will be financed by
new money creation or savings.

The method of financing will be greatly

influenced by monetary policy.

Knowing how much Government debt the

Federal Reserve plans to purchase will not answer the question since
other Federal Reserve actions could readily offset or augment the deficit
financing impact.

Although the maintenance of Federal Reserve "independence"

may well be desirable, there can be no substitute for knowing Federal




_7~
Reserve plans for money and credit .expansion or contraction if a
reasonable estimate of the monetary-fiscal impact of: economic policy
is to be achieved.
Furthermore, the submission of a monetary plan by the Federal
Reserve open to public scrutiny and debate offers some hope of an improved
monetary policy.

Although much monetary expertise resides within the

Federal Reserve System there is little evidence that other Government
agencies and private analysts are devoid of appropriate knowledge.

The

relucteince of the Federal Reserve System to emphasize the importance of
more stable monetary growth for the achievement of economic stability suggests,
in the light of much evidence assimilated by private economists, that some
improvement of Federal Reserve plans might well result from exposure and
analysis.
Some private observers

argue that the Federal Reserve System

has demonstrated a pervasive tendency to react in an ad hoc manner
to short-run economic changes. Concentration upon somewhat longer
range monetary objectives, at least once a year, might well reduce the
erratic and volatile performance of monetary policy.

If the above

objectives could only partially be achieved it follows that such a
monetary plan might well contribute significantly to the attainment of
the objectives of the Employment Act.
Undoubtedly, there will be several objections raised to the
above proposal.

For example, Federal Reserve officials might complain

that their independence of action would be severely restricted.

Such

a result appears unlikely since the Federal Reserve would be solely
responsible for presenting their proposed plans. There would, of course,




-8be the necessity of co-ordinating Federal Reserve plans with other
economic policies^ but such is desirable under present circumstances.
Only through careful co-ordination can desirable overall results be
achieved.

Although the Federal Reserve System might be induced to

modify plans as a result of public exposure and critical analysis,
this would be done only if improvement was to be expected.
Some might argue that it would be difficult to specify with
precision the variables to be manipulated and controlled.

It is

certainly true that monetary authorities now disagree as to the best
measure of. monetary policy change.
diverse variables

Preferred measures now include such

as free reserves, interest rates, bank reserves, the

money supply, the money supply plus time deposits, etc. Debate will
undoubtedly continue until empirical evidence definitely establishes
the best measure or measures.

However the plan submitted by the Federal

Reserve System could emphasize whatever variable or variables they consider
most appropriate.

At a minimum^ the public would be better informed as

to what variables the Federal Reserve believes is most relevant.

Out-

side research might be of aid in perfecting the objectives of policy,
if disagreement with stated objectives developed.
It might be argued that since the future cannot be known
with certainty it would be impossible to make projections of relevant
monetary variables.

But the same objections apply to budget projections

which must be based on what appears to be the most likely set of future
events.

Since the future will not be exactly as projected this means

that a stabilizing monetary and fiscal policy must be appropriately
adjusted.

Contingent monetary plans could readily be prepared as must




..9~
now be done with the Federal budget. There is no reason for believing
that planning for fyture monetary contingencies would limit flexibility
to change as the future unfolds.
Means o£ Implementation
It would appear appropriate fpr the Federal Reserve to present
its monetary plan subsequent to the presentation of the Federal budget
and the President's Economic Report. Consequently monetary policy could
be formulated to provide the appropriate counter or reinforcing pressures
needed to achieve economic stability.

If there appeared to be incon-

sistency in the dual monetary-fiscal plan, Congressional committees,
especially the Joint Economic Committee, would have an opportunity to
critically evaluate and offer suggested changes. Since it is contemplated that more frequent amendments of the Federal budget will be
presented to Congressional committees it might well prove desirable to
also request more frequent adjustments of the monetary plan than once
a year.
Summary and Conclusion
It has been argued that an annual monetary plan presented by
the Federal Reserve System v/ould enhance the performance of the U. S.
economy and aid in achieving the objectives of the Employment Act.
Presently, fiscal plans are submitted to public scrutiny and critical
debate.

But monetary policy is enshrouded in secrecy and plans are not

available for critical debate until well after the event. It is to be
hoped that open debate of the above proposal will result in its improvement and subsequent adoption.




g ^ S HARRIS
litlSi

BA1

^5<

February 4,

1975

Economic Research Office

ECONOMIC PROSPECTS THROUGH 1975
By most measures, the current recession is among the most
severe since the 1930s. Although there has been a great deal of
expectation and speculation about initiating stimulative measures,
no such policies have yet been put into effect. Owing to the lags
involved between implementing stimulative policies and the impact
on business activity, a continued dov/nturn is forecast for the first
half of 1975. The unemployment rate is expected to move up to the
8% area during the first quarter and to remain in the 8% - 9% range
for the balance of the year.
While business activity in real terms is projected to fall
during the first half, the speed of the decline will be less thtan at
year-end. Industrial production, which fell by an estimated 1% between
October and January, will decline about 2% - 3% more before the economy
hits bottom. Part of the rationale for a slower decline is first,
while monetary growth continues to be weak, the increase during the
past four months has been greater than during the July to September
period. This shift should mean that, at worst, there is no further
deterioration in sales and incomes growth and, at best, there could
be some modest improvement. Second, the rate of inflation has been
reduced significantly at the wholesale level and there are growing
signs that consumer price increases are also easing. Slower inflation
with no further deterioration in sales and. income growth would mean
an easing in the pace of the downturn.
Prospects for a recovery in the second half are largely
dependent on an immediate shift to more stimulative monetary and
fiscal policies. On the fiscal side, the forecast assumes that'
Representative Ullman's tax policies are approved. This would
include a $6 billion rebate on personal income taxes for 1974 (an
impact of $24 billion at an annual rate in the second quarter) .
Also, an $8 billion per year permanent tax cut for individuals
is assumed to take place starting in the third quarter. For
corporations, tax cuts are assumed to total almost $4 billion for
the entire year with about $3 billion attributed to an increase in
the investment tax credit to 10% and just over $1/2 billion attributed
to applying the lower 22% corporate tax rate on the first $35,000 of
corporate income instead of the current $25,000 limit;
In the area of energy taxes, the forecast assumes that none
of these are approved by Congress and that the President's import
duties are repealed. These moves suggest that the Federal budget
deficit for calendar 1975 will approach $65 - $70 billion.
Monetary policy is assumed to be expansive with a
growth of about 7% at an annual rate between the first and fourth
quarters. This rate of increase suggests that the Fed resists
some of the pressure for excessive stimulus. It also implies
that interest rates may reverse their downward trends somewhat
earlier than mid-year.



-2Inflation
The deepening recession and increased unemployment
has resulted in growing signs that inflation is slowing. The
last remaining stronghold of inflation is in the prices for
services, where price increases remain in the double-digit range.
Further pass-through of energy-related price hikes for utilities
as well as the labor intensive character of many services suggests
that inflation in this area will recede slowly. Nonetheless/ substantial downward pressure on commodity prices is likely to bring
about a significant reduction in inflation during 1975. By the
latter half of the year, price increases are forecast to slow to
annual rates of between 5% and 6%.
Personal Income
Personal income growth has slowed from the 9% - 10% a
year range over the past three years to increases of only 2% at
an annual rate in the closing months of 1974. Further job losses
and moderating wage demands are expected to hold the growth in
personal incomes to 3% at an annual rate during the first quarter
of this year.' After-tax income will get a huge boost in the second
quarter, assuming the $6 billion tax rebate is approved, and the
pick-up in personal income in the last half of 1975 combined with
a permanent tax cut gives a further lift to incomes. From the first
quarter through to the fourth, after-tax income growth averages about
8%, or about 2% - 3% greater than the rate of inflation.
Consumer Purchases
The prospect of a reversal in real take-home pay is likely
to raise consumer confidence and boost sales of durable goods from
the depressed levels of the fourth quarter. Furthermore, the price
reductions or rebates on new cars will also stimulate sales. In the
fourth quarter sales of domestically produced autos averaged 6.1
million units (seasonally-adjusted annual rates). During the first
20 days of January the rate was down to 5% million units. However/
the factors mentioned above are expected to boost sales to between
6.5 and 7.0 million units in the first quarter and an average annual
rate of 7.5 to 8.0 million for the remainder of the year.
Purchases of other consumer durables such as furniture
and appliances have been extremely weak, in part because of the
depressed housing sector. Although the boost in real take-home pay
that is forecast to begin in the second quarter will serve to boost
consumer durables other than autos to some extent, significant
sales increases in this sector are unlikely before the latter half
of the year. By that time housing completions should begin to rise
and expenditures for all durables will improve.




-3lusiness Fixed Investment
The deepening recession has cut capital spending plans to
only 5% above 1974- Even this appears optimistic in the face of a
rapid increase in unused capacity. Although a boost in the investment
tax credit may serve to increase capital spending by 1976, its ettect
in the current year is expected to be negligible. Overall, capital
spending is forecast to decline moderately over the next four quarters
in both real and current dollars.
Government
Huge budget deficit figures totaling $87 billion for fiscal
1975 and 1976 were announced by Treasury Secretary Simon, and it is
conceivable that Congressional initiatives will push this total even
higher. The major positive element on the budget side is that tax
cuts, not spending increases are being used to provide the bulk of
the fiscal stimulus. Large tax cuts and huge deficits are likely to
force Congress to hold spending increases to a modest amount.
Profits
In spite of the sharp decline in business activity during
the fourth quarter, preliminary indications suggest that operating
profits (pretax profits and IVA) remained fairly stable. Inventory
profits were about $20 billion lower (annual rate) than in the previous
quarter and so reported pretax profits fell by about $20 billion.
The apparent stability in operating profits for the fourth quarter
may be a statistical fluke or an aberration. Such profits were expected to decline sharply in the fourth quarter as well as during the
first half of 1975 before rebounding later in the year.
Even allowing for a substantial decline in pretax operating
profits during the first half, the forecast assumes only a 4.6% decline
in 1975 from 1974. (Reported profits show a larger decline because of
a much smaller gain in inventory profits than during the previous year),
Since the corporate tax liability drops significantly — the result of
lower inventory profits combined with a tax cut — after-tax operating
profits show a significant year-over-year increase.
Financial Markets
A continued tight monetary policy over the past seven months
has depressed business activity. Loan demand, which showed little
change in December, is declining in January. The drop in loan demand,
combined with attempts by the Fed to increase the money supply has led
to a substantial drop in most short-term interest rates during the past
month. Commercial paper rates ( 4 - 6 months) fell from 9% at the end
of December to 6^% at the end of January. The prime rate fell from
XOhf/o to 9% - 9^f/o during the same period. As loan demand continues to
eaken and as the Fed tries more aggressively to stimulate monetary
growth, short-term rates should continue to fall with the prime dropping




-4~
to around 7%. A turnaround in short-term rates would normally not be
expected until business activity began to improve. However, the "huge
financing needs of the Treasury is likely to provide upward pressure
on short-term rates in the second quarter. The extent to which the Fed
will attempt to offset this pressure with a sharp increase in monetary
growth is a key unknown at this time. The forecast assumes that the
short-term interest rates reach a low point in the second quarter and
then move slightly higher in the latter half of the year.
Long term rates have shown general declines over the past
two months with double A utilities yielding just over 9% at the end
of January compared to about 10% in the fourth quarter* These yields
are now consistent with an expected future inflation rate of about
6% per year. The deepening recession and the probability of a significant improvement in inflation in 1975 may heighten expectations
that long-term inflation could be less than 6%. If this occurs then
long-term rates could drop in the months ahead. However/ the memory
of double-digit price increases and the prospects of inflationary
budget deficits are likely to keep the declines in long-term rates
from dropping below the 8% - 9% range.
Summa ry
Although economic policies have yet to become stimulative,
such a move is imminent. Even so, the lags involved between stimulus
and impact suggest that the economy will not.bottom out until mid-1975
or the third quarter. Owing to the substantial amount of unutilized
capacity now on hand/ the economy is capable of a strong recovery in
real terms over the next several years.
Robert J. Genetski
Associate Economist
mm
Tables attached

ERRATA:




Forecast tables dated January 29, 1975 have several
errors pertaining to personal income taxes, disposable
income and the saving rate for the third and fourth
quarters of 1975. Please ignore those tables and use
the attached which are dated January 31, 1975.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
(3ILLIOWS OF DOLLARS— SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ANNUAL HA'

)
JANUARY 31,1975

FORECAS T

ACTUAL
•M7I
GUOJ3 HATL PRODUCT
CUtUTANT DOLLAR GttP
•CH
PRICE DEFLATOR
*CH

74:2

74:3

74:4

75:1

~5:T

75:3

75:4

AMtlUAL
1971

ANNUAL
1972

ANNUAL
1973

ANNUAL
1974

ANNUA]
1975

1054.9
8*0

1158*0
9*8

1294*9
11*8

1396.7
7.9

1471*2
5*3

801*1
3.9

746*3
3*3

792*5
6.2

839.2
5*9

821*1
-2.2

794.0
-3.3

1*6361 1.6731 1.7207 1*7768 1.8130 1*6410 1*8670 1*8900
13.7
9*4
12*3
11*9
8.4
6.3
5*8
5.0

1.4133
4.5

1*4610
3*4

1*5429
5*6

1*7017
10.3

1*8528
8.9

1358*8 1383*8 1416*3 1428*0 1436.0 1453.0 1481.5 1514.1
9.7
7.6
4.8
8.1
9.1
4.5
3*3
2*3
830*5
-7.0

827.1
-1.6

623.1
-1*9

803*7
-9.1

792*1
-5.7

789.2
-1.4

793.5
2*2

840*7
8*5

869.1
14*2

901.3
15.7

896.8

-2^0

912.5
7*2

932*5
9*1

950.5
7*9

966.6
7.8

667.1
8*0

729.0
9.3

805*2
10*4

877.0
8.9

941.0
7.3

DLRALLES
%CH

123*9
-1.3

129*5

19.3

136.1
22.0

121.5
-36.5

124*0
8.5

128*5
15*3

132*5
13*0

136*0
11*0

103*9
13*8

118*5
14.0

130.3
10.0

127*7
-2.0

130.2
2.0

I40NDURABLES

364.4
14.•>

375.8
13*1

389.0
14.8

391.5
2*6

397*0
5*7

406*0
9*4

413*0
7.1

420*6
7*6

278*4
5.6

299*7
7.6

338.0
12*8

360*2
12*5

409.2
7.6

SERVICES
VCH

352*4
5.9

363*8
13*6

376*2
14*3

383*8
8*3

391.5
8.3

398*0
6.8

405*0
7.2

412*0
7*1

284*8
8*5

310.9
9.2

336*9
8*4

369*1
9*5

401.6
8.8

210*5
-22,6

211*7
2*3

205*8
-10*7

207.6
3*5

196.0
-20.5

186.5
-18.0

191*5
11*2

198*0
14*3

153*7
12.8

179.4
16*7

209*3
16.7

208*9
-0*2

193.0
-7.6

145*2
9*6

149*4
12*1

150*9
4*1

152.7
4.9

151*0
-4.4

149.5
-3.9

148*0
-4*0

148*0
0*0

104.6
4*0

116*6
11*7

136*7
17*1

149*6
9.4

149*1
*0.3

PRODUCERS DUR EQUIP
%CH

93.9
5*7

97.2
14*8

99*9
11.6

98.4
-5.9

,99.0
2.5

98*0
-4*0

97*0
-4*0

97*0
0*0

66.7
3.5

75*7
13*6

89*7
18*6

97.4
8*5

97*7
0*4

BUSINESS STRUCTURES
tCH

51*3
17*2

52*2
7.2

51*0
-8*9

54*3
28*5

52.0
-15.9

51*5
-3*8

51*0
-3*8

51.0
0.0

37*9
4.9

41*1
8.4

47*0
14*3

52*2
11.1

51*4
-1.6

RhSXOENTXAL STRUCTURES,
%CH

48*4
-33*5

48.8
3*3

46*2
-19.7

40*5
-40.9

35*0
-44*2

34.0
-10*9

38*0
56*0

45*0
96*7

42.9
37*3

54.0
26*0

57.2
6*0

46.0
-19.7

38.0
-17*3

16.9

13*5

8.7

14*4

10.0

3*0

5*5

5*0

6*3

8*6

15*4

13.4

5*9

11*3

-1*5

-3.1

1*2

0*0

0.0

0.0

0*0

-0*1

-6*0

3*9

2*0

0*0

296*3
14.7

304**4
11.4

312*3
10*8

322*4
13*6

327.5
6.5

334*0
H.2

340*0
7.4

347.5
9*1

234*3
6.7

255*7
9*1

276.4
8*1

308.8
11*8

337.2
9*2

111*5
11*9

114.3
10*4

117.2
10*5

122*8
20*5

123*0
0.7

124.5
5*0

126.0
4*9

129*0
9*9

97.7
1*5

104.9
7*3

106*6
1*6

116*5
9*3

125*6
7*9

MILITARY

75*8

76*6

78.4

83*5

83.0

83*5

84*0

86*0

71.2

74.8

74*4

78*6

84*1

OTHER

35.7

37.7

38*8

39.3

40.0

41*0

42*0

43*0*

26*5

30*1

32*2

37.9

41*5

184*8
16*4

190*112*0

195*1
10.9

199.6
9*6

204*5
10.2

209.6
•0*1

214*0
8.9

136*6
10*8

150.8
10*4

169*8
12*6

19**4
• 13*3

211*6
10*0

CONSUMPTION EXPENDITURES
^CH

Ii4V&SV«nt:NT EXPENDITURES

tea
JOIVAZS FIXED EXPEND
VCH

INVENTORY CHANCE
NET EXPORTS
GOVT PURCHASES
tCt
ir
FEDERAL

tcu

STATE * LOCAL
VCH

t*Utcri.\AC*K CHAIiCtfl AY AT1UM* &ATHS;
Digitized•Hi*:FRASER
for


PRFLIKIWARY OATA FOR 7 4 * 4

218.5
8*7

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
(BILLIONS OF D O L L A R S — S E A S O N A L L Y ADJUSTED ANNUAL R;

PAGE 2

FORKCALIT

ACTUAL
74:1

)

74:2.

74:3

74:4

7b:l

75:2

75:3

75:4

ANNUAL
1971

ANNUAL
1972

ANNUAL
1973

ANNUAL
1974

ANNUAL
1975

107.7
5.0

105.6
-7.6

105.8 105.9
0.8
0.4

98.5
-25.2

98.0
-2.0

102.0
17.4

107.0
21.1

78.7
13.7.

92.2
17.2

105.1
14.0

106.2
1.1

101.4
-4.6

INV VAL ADJ (IVA)

-27.7

-33.4

-51.2 -29.8

-20.0

-10.0

-12.0

-12.0

-4.9

-7.0

-17.6

-35.5

-13.5

PRETAX PROFITS*
%CH

135.4
48.3

139.0
11.1

157.0
b2.8

135.7
-44.2

118.5
-41.8

108.0
-31.0

114.0
24.1

119.0
lb.7

83.7
12.9

99.2
18.6

122.7
23.7

141.8
15.6

114.9
-19.0

TAX LIABILITY
%CH

52.2
23.7

55.9
31.5

62.7
58.3

53.9
-45.5

42.9
39.1
-59.. 8 -31.0

41.3
24.1

43.1
18.7

37.5
7.8

41.6
10.7

49.8
19.9

56.2
12.8

41.6
-2b.0

AFTER TAX PROFITS*
J
iCH

83.2
66.9

83.1
-0.5

94.3
65.8

81.8
-43.3

75.6
-27.1

72.7
24.1

75.9
18.7

46.1
17.5

57.6
25.1

72.9
26.5

85.6
17.4

73.3
-14.4

1112.5 1134.6 1168.2 11H6.4 1195.0 1209.0 1232.0 1258.0
8.7
12.4
2.9
4.8
7.8
8.2
6.4
4.9

864.1
6.9

944.9
9.4

1055.0
11.7

1150.4
9.0

1223.5
6.4

PRETAX PROFITS* & IVA
*Cti

PERSONAL INCOME

68.9
-31.0

TAX & NONTAX PAYMENT
'*CH

161.9
5.1

168.2
16.5

175.1
17.4

177.8 .182.1
61.5
10.0

117.6
0.9

142.4
21.1

151.3
6.3

170.7
12.8

174.2
2.1

DISPOSABLE INCOME
%CH

950.6
4.9

966.5
6.9

993.1 1008.7 1015.7 1051.3 1054.2 1075.9
11.5
6.4
2.8
14.8
1.1
8.5

746.5
7.9

802.5
7.5

903.7
12.6

979.7
8.4

1049.3
7.1

PERSONAL OUTLAYS
%CH

866.3
7.9

894.9
13.9

927.5
15.4

923.2
-1.8

939.5
7.3

959.9
9.0

978.3
7.9

996.9
7.8

685.9
7.9

749.9
9.3

829.3
10.6

903.0
8.9

968.6
7.3

PERSONAL SAVINGS
%CH

84.3
-20.9

71.6
-48.0

65.b
-29.5

85.5
188.6

76.2
-3£.9

91.4
106.6

75.9
-52.5

79.0
17.3

60.5
7.6

52.6
-13.1

74.4
41.6

76.7
3.1

80.6
5.1

8.9

7.4

6.6

8.5

7.5

8.7

7.3

8.1

6.5

8.2

7.8

7.7

EMPLOYMENT
VCli

85.826 85.970 86.346 85.804 84.500 84.200 84.200 84.500
0.8
0.7
1.8
-2.5
-5.9
-1.4
0.0
1.4

79.097
0.6

81.699
3.3

84.432
3.3

85.986
1.8

84.350
-1.9

LA:J03 YORCE

$0,532 90.637 91.359 91.812 91.700 91.700 91.900 92.200

84.093
1.6

86.535
2.9

88.735
2.5

91.085
2.6

91.875
0.9

5.9

5.6

4.9

5.6

8.2

9.435
2.7

9.699
2.8

9.940
2.5

9.549
-3.9

9.413
-1.4

SAVING RATE(%)

*iCH

177.8
6.3

179.3
3.4

157.7
-40.1

7.2

2.9

0.5

3.2

2.0

-0.5

0.0

0.9

1.3

5.2

5.1

5.5

6.5

\7»9

8.2

8.4

8.4

PRODUCTIVITY*
%CH
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
-iCH
AOUSi SUPPLY
*CH

9.677
-7.7
1.249
-6.5
273.1
5.9

9.621
-2.3
1.255
1.8
278.0
7.4

9.533
-3.6
1.254
-0.1
280.5
3.7

9.367
-6.8
1.216
-11.7
282.9
3.5

9.373~ 9.373
0.3
-0.0
1.150 1.140
-20.0
-3.4
265.0 290.0
3.0
7.2

9.424
2.2
1.150
3.6
295.0
7.1

9.481
2.4
1.165
5.3
300.0
7.0

1.067
0.0

1.151
7.9

1.254
9.0

1.243
-0.8

1.151
-7.4

230.7
7.0

245.6
6.4

263.8
7.4

278.6
5.6

292.5
5.0

INCOME VELOCITY OF MONEY
*CH

4.976
-1.4

4.9?8
0.2

5.049
5.8

5.047
-0.2

5.039
-0.7

5.022
0.9

5.047
2.0

4.572
0.9

4.715
3.1

4.909
4.1

5.013
2.1

5.029
0.3

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE{%)

•NOTE:

PROF

5.010
-2.2

> FOR 74:4 A R E ESTIMATES; PRODUCTIVITY IS CALCULATED




CONSTANT DC

GNP PER WORKER

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
(BILLIONS OF DOLLARS—SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ANNUAL RATES)

PAGE 3

FOR EC A! »
LT

ACTUAL
74: 1

74:" 2

74: 3

745 4

75; V""isTi'T"

75: "3

75: 4

1359.
8.8

1384.
8.3

1416.
8.2

1428.
6.3

1436.
5.7

1453.
5.0

1482.
4.6

1514.
6.0

CONSTANT DOLLAR GNP
%CHYA

830.5
-0.3

827.1
-1.2

823.1
•2.1

803.7
-5.U

792.1
-4.6

789.2
-4.6

793.5
-3.6

801.1
-0.3

I-RICL DEFLATOR
V.CHYA

1.636
9.1

1.673
9.6

1.721
10.5

1.777
11.8

1.813
10.b

1.841
10.0

1.867
8.5

1.890
6.4

840.7
7.6

869.1
8.8

901..3
10.4

896.8
8.9

912.5
8.5

932.5
7.3

950.5
5.5

968.6
8.0

DURABLES
tCHYA

123.9
-6.4

129.5
-2.0

136.1
2.8

121.5
-2.3

124.0
0.1

128.5
-0.8

132.5
-2.6

136.0
11.9

L'ONDURABLES
%CKYA

364.4
12.7

375.8
13.0

389.0
13.1

391.5
11.2

397.0
8.9

406.0
8.0

413.0
6.2

420.6
7.4

SERVICES
%CKYA

352.4
8.1

363.8
8.9

376.2
10.6

383.8
1U.5

391.5
11.1

398.0
9.4

405.0
7.7

412.0
7.3

210.5
5.8

211.7
3.3

205.8
-1.5

207.6
-7.5

196.0
-6.9

186.5
-11.9

191.5
-6.9

198.0
-4.6

145.2
11.3

149.4
10.2

150.9
8.6

152.7
7.6

151.0
4.0

149.5
0.1

148.0
-1.9

148.0
-3.1

PRODUCERS DUR EQUIP
%CHYA

93.9
9.3

97.2
8.7

99.9
9.7

98.4
6.3

99.0
5.4

98.0
0.8

97.0
-2.9

97.0
-1.4

BUSINESS STRUCTURES
%CHYA

51.3
15.0

52.2
13.0

51.0
6.5

54.3
10.1

52.0
1.4

51.5
-1.3

51.0
0.0

51.0
-6.1

RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES 48.4
-17.3
*CHYA

48.8
-16.9

46.2
-20.5

40.5
-24.4

35.0
-27.7

34.0
-30.3

38.0
-17.7

45.0
11.1

16.9

13.5

8.7

14.4

10.0

3.0

5.5

5.0

11.3

-1.5

-3.1

1.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

GOVT-PURCHASES
%CHYA

296.3
10.1

304.4
11.4

312.3
12.8

322.4
12.6

327.5
10.5

334.0
9.7

340.0
8.9

347.5
7.8

FEDERAL
%CHYA

111.5
4.8

114.3
7.6

.117.2
11.3

122.8
13.3

123.0
10.3

124.5
8.9

126.0
7
-5

129.0
5.0

MILITARY

75.8

76.6

78.4

83.5

83.0

83.5

84.0

86.0

OTHER

35.7

37.7

38.8

39.3

40.0

41.0

42.0

43.0

184.8
13.7

190.1
13.8

195.1
13.7

199.6
12.2

204.5
10.7

209.5
10.2

214.0
9.7

218.5
9.5

CROSS NATL PRODUCT
WHYA

CONSUMPTION EXPENDITURES
tCHYA

INVESTMENT EXPENDITURES
tCHYA
NONCES FIXED EXPEND
tCHYA

INVENTORY CHANGE
NET EXPORTS

STATE & LOCAL
*CKYA


http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/
NOTF,: PERCENTAGE CHANG&S AT ANNUAL RATES;
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

PRELIMINARY DATA FOR 74:4

PERCENT CHANGES FROM PREVIOUS YEAR

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
(MILLIONS OF DOLLARS—SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ANNUAL RATES)
ACTUAL

PAGE 4

FORECAST

74: 1

74: 2

74: 3

74: 4

75: 1

75: 2

75: 3

7D: 4

107.7
3.7

105.6
0.6

105.8
0.6

105.9
-0.5

98.b
-8.5

98.0
-7.2

102.0
-3.6

107.0
1.0

IMV VAL ADJ (IVA)

-27.7

-33.4

-51.2

-29.8

-20.0

-10.0

-12.0

-12.0

PRSTAX PROFITS*
iCHYA

135.4
12.5

139.0
11.3

157.0
28.0

135.7
10.6

118.5
-12.5

108.0
-22.3

114.0
-27.4

119.0
-12.3

TAX LIABILITY
%CHYA

52.2
6.7

55.9
9.8

62.7
25.7

53.9
8.8

42.9
-17.8

39.1
-30.1

41.3
-34.2

43.1
-20.0

AFTER TAX PROFITS*
%CHYA

83.2
16.4

83.1
12.3

94.3
29.4

81.8
11.8

75.6
-9.1

68.9
-17.1

72.7
-22.9

75.9
-7.2

1113.
9.8

1135.
9.2

1-168.
9.4

1186.
7.9

1195.
7.4

1209.
*6.6

1232.
5^5

1258.
6.0

TAX & NONTAX PAYtlENT
%CHYA

161.9
12.4

168.2
14.3

175.1
13.6

177.8
11.2

179.3
10.8

157.7
-6.2

177.8
1.5

182.1
2.4

DISPOSABLE INCOME
%CHYA

950.6
9.3

966.5
8.3

993.1
8.7

1009.
7.4

1016.
6.8

1051.
8.8

1054.
6.2

1076.
6.6

PERSONAL OUTLAYS
%CHYA

866.3
7.7

894.9
8.8

927.5
10.3

923.2
6.6

939.5
8.4

959.9
7*3

978.3
5.5

996.9
8.0

PERSONAL SAVINGS

84.3

71.6

65.6

85.5

76.2

91.4

75.9

79.0

28.9

2.9

-10.5

-4.4

-9.6

27.6

15.7

-7.6

8.9

7.4

6.6

8.5

7.5

8.7

7.2

7.3

85.83
3.1
90.53

85.97
2.2
90.64

86.35
1.9
91.36

85.80
0.2
91.81

84.50
-1.5
91.70

84.20
-2.1
91.70

84.20
-2..5
91.90

84.50
-1.5
92.20

3.3

2.5

2.7

2.1

1.3

1.2

0.6

0.4

5.2

5.1

5.5

6.5

7.9

8.2

8.4

8.4

PKUUUCTIVITY*
•iCMYA
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
UTtiYA

9.677
-3.3
1.249
1.5

9.621
-3.4
1.255
0.5

9.533
-3.9
1.254
-1.0

9.367
-5.1
1.216
-4.3

9.373
-3.1
1.150
-7.9

9.373
-2.5
1.140
-9.1

9.424
-1.1
1.150
-8.3

9.481
1.2
1.165
-4.2

UOi.rlY SUPPLY
%CHYA

273.1
6.0

278.0
6.0

280.5
5.5

282.9
5.1

285.0
4.4

290.0
4.3

295.0
5.2

300.0
6.0

4.978
2.2

5.049
2.6

5.047
1.1

5.039
1.3

5.C10 5.022
0.6
-0.5

5.Q47
-0.0

PrfETAX PROFITS* & IVA
SCiiYA

Pi-RbONAL INCOME
%CHYA

%CHYA
SAVING RATE(%)
EMPLOYMENT
%CHYA
LABOR FORCE
*UiYA
UI^-iPLOYKENT RATE(%)

INCOME VELOCITY OF HONEY 4 . 9 7 6
WKYA
2.6

*;iOTE:
JFITS FOR 7 4 : 4 ARE ESTIMATES; PRODUCTIVITY I S CALCU'



PERCENT CHANGES FROM PREVIOUS YEAR

^ AS CONSTANT DOLLAR GNP PER WORKER
D

REVISED
THE REAL OIL CRISIS: /BRIEFING PAPER BY WILSON
E. SCHMIDT FOR THE SHADOW OPEN MARKET COMMITTEE
MEETING OF MARCH 7, 1975*
I, Introduction
There is an oil crisis-

Governments are beginning to implement

solutions and propose policy changes to solve the oil crisis, a 1-1/2 year
old change in the relative price of oil.
These solutions, included in the energy plan and in the continued
deform of the international system, are virtually certain to reduce our
economic well being. That is the real oil crisis.
II.

Is It A Crisis?

There is a great deal of additional evidence in the last few months,
as we contended in our earlier meetings, that the international oil
problem is not nearly so severe nor dangerous as the early alarms and
rhetoric forecast.
A.

Cutting Down the Size of the Problem.
Over the year, the estimates of how much the oil producing countries

might accumulate by various dates has been substantially reduced.
In July, 1974 the World Bank staff estimated OPEC accumulations
at $653 billion by 1980 and $1206 billion by 1985. As they were expressed
in current dollars, not 1974 dollars, the figures were not entirely clear
•to the public. The $653 estimate in 1974 dollars would, for example,

^Professor Economics and Head of the Department of Economics, Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University. He served as Deputy Assistant
Secretary of the U. S. Treasury 1970-72. And currently he is a member
of the Advisory Committee to the Office of Management and Budget on Balance
of Payments presentation.




2

decline to about $400 billion.

Subsequently, the Vice President of the

World Bank, Hollis Chenery, has estimated the 1980 figures at $300 million.
Dr.
A high official of the U. S. Treasury,/Thomas Willett, puts the peak figure
at between $200 and $300 and leans toward the lower end.

Morgan Guaranty

Trust estimates the total OPEC accumulations at $179 in 1980.

Finally,

Ed Fried in a recent Brookings Institution study drops the figure (in
1973 dollars) to around $136 billion.

In short, the financial problem,

though still substantial, seems to be smaller.
B.

Effects on the United States of America.
The current discussion of the oil problem center on the effects

of rising oil prices on the level of employment, output, and prices in
the United States.
1.

Aggregate Demand.
For example, the Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, has

stated that the embargo and price increase in 1973 cost us one-half a
million jobs, one percent of our national output, added five percentage
points to the price index, and set the stage for a serious recession.

The

1975 Council of Economic Advisers report explains that oil imports transfer
purchasing power to foreigners and thus reduce the demand for domestic
goods.

The Democrats are seriously concerned about the effect of the

President's program on unemployment and on inflation and have proposed
an alternative which they believe to be superior.

A group of experts,

including such notables as Robert Roosa and Armin Gutowski, have
emphasized in the January issue of Foreign Affairs the deflationary impact
of the oil payments.

Long before the recession was acknowledged, in

January, 1974, Hobart Rowen of The Washington Post showed how the increase




3

in the price of oil imports was like a tax on Americans, deflating demand.
Fortunately, this reasoning is wrong.
/The reason is that nothing that the OPEC countries did to us
had any impact on the stock of money in the United States.

Since the

changes in the stock of money have been the controlling factor in changing
employment, output, and prices in this country for years, most of the
concern is misleading in the sense of directing our attention from the
real reasons for our problems, our own monetary policies.
The reason why the OPEC has had no effect on our stock of
money is that we are floating in terms of most foreign currencies.

In

the simplest terms, the monetarist position has been that the monetary base
(chiefly Federal reserve credit, currency, and gold) determirre-lrhe-ffleirretary
ba&e v and t h a t - 4 ^ ^ ^

determines the stock of money.

August 15, 1971, the dollar has been inconvertible into gold.

Since
As a

consequence, foreigners could not take any of our monetary base away from
us.

Therefore, they could^affect our money stock.

(We chose to increase

it by up valuing our gold, but this was slight.)
Putting it another way, with floating rates, the amount of
dollars that go out of the country must exactly equal the number of dollars
that come into the country.

Changes in exchange rates equate the supply

and demand for dollars on the foreign exchange market.

To be sure foreign

central banks still buy and sell some of our dollars, but these are voluntary
transactions.

Whatever dollars they buy, they have to leave here because

of August 15, 1971. Whatever dollars they sell, the buyer has to leave here.
The common error is to assume the Keynesian, fiscalist,
exportist, or perhaps, more correctly, mercantilist position that it is
the net level of exports of good and services, after deducting imports of




4

of goods and services, which determines of the foreign level of aggregate
nominal demand in the United States.

On that measure, OPEC was a disaster

for us. The value of our net petroleum imports rose from $7.5 billion in
1973 to $25.1 billion in 1974, taking $17.6 billion additional income out
of the country, roughly 17% of the actual increment in nominal 6NP between
1973 and 1974. Since we float, the money had to come back.
We have been roundly criticized abroad for letting interest
rates fall at home, causing capital outflows abroad which caused the dollar
to depreciate*

This underscores the point that the floating rate permits

us to adopt whatever monetary policy we want, when we want it without
regard to the state of the balance payments or the exchange rate.

It gives

us the freedom to determine our own level of employment, prices, and output.
This is not to say that the OPEC has had no effect whatsoever.
By changing relative prices, OPEC changed the willingness of Americans to
buy certain kinds of cars.

But it also caused the price of substitutes for

oil to rise so that we produced more coal than before, excluding the effects
of the strike.

These are the kinds of shifts that go on in any enterprise

economy where relative prices are permitted to change.
2»

Real Income.
The key effect of the OPEC action has been on the productivity

of the American economy through the four-fold increase in the price of
oil since October 1973.

It has worsened our terms of trade, or the ratio

of our export to import prices. A given volume of our exports buys a
smaller amount of imports than before.

Between the third quarter of 1973

(just before the oil price hike) and the third quarter of 1974, our terms
of trade worsened 17%. Since our exports of goods and services in 1974 ran




5

almost exactly 10% of our Gross National froduct, we suffered a 1.7%
decline in our real income through our international transactions.
Depending upon what one wishes to assume is our long-term, steady state
rate of growth, say 4%, this is only 5.1 months loss of real income.
It is important to note that this is a one-time loss of real
income.

It is wrong to say, as did the January Foreign Affairs group of

experts, that "... the full impact of continuing the present prices of oil
deliveries would be in effect to take, in gross payments from the consuming
countries as a group, the greater part of any real growth in their per
capita gross national product over the remainder of the seventies."
is not the gross out payments that count.
world.

It

They come back in a floating

It is the change in the terms of trade that count and these

obviously are much smaller.
3. The Balance of Payments.
The balance of payments problem of oil has preoccupied many.
Dr. Kissinger recently said, "Unless we pool our risks and fortify the
international financial system, balance of payments crises will leave all
economies exposed to financial disruption."

Not so, Mr. Secretary.

Most

of the world is floating.
Before August 15, 1971, a U. S. balance of payments deficit
was a serious matter.

Before that date, we had to pay out gold and other

primary reserve assets to any foreign government which wished to exchange
any of its surplus holdings of dollars for gold or such assets. That
always meant that foreign exchange could become infinitely expensive to
us if our government chose to impose exchange controls which prohibited
the purchase of foreign exchange for certain types of uses, e.g. luxury




6

imports, etc.
Under a floating rate system, there is no chance that foreign
exchange can become infinitely expensive.

There always will be some

supply at some price.
4. The Deficits.
Under the old system, it was terribly important for the U. S.
Government to publish deficits in the balance of payments to warn our
government of impending shortages of foreign exchange.

Perhaps the most

significant was the official transactions balance which sought to measure
how many surplus dollars central banks bought up to keep the dollar steady
in terms of their currencies, dollars they might use to purchase our gold.
Another was the net liquidity deficit which, roughly speaking, showed
how fast our net liquid liabilities to official and private holders
abroad were rising, liabilities which could drain our gold away.

And there

was the basic balance, combining the flows of exports and imports of goods
and services with long-term capital movements, which was supposed to show
the long-term trends in our balance of payments.

(It, of course, did not

really show the long-term trend because there was no satisfactory way to
measure the effect of the cyclical state of our markets abroad and at home
on the trade balance.)
world.

None of these balances make sense in a floating

The Department of Commerce should drop them along with the net

exports of goods and services discussed earlier.

They are misleading.

In 1974 we ran a deficit on official settlements of about $8 billion.
A very large part ~ the figures are not available to permit an estimate -were undoubtedly purchases of dollars by OPEC countries who made them not
to support the dollar but because the dollar assets purchased looked to them




7

to be good investments.
The exchange rate change does give us a better measure, a
quicker measure of the pushes and pulls on the value of the dollar.

Since

the start of the oil crisis, the effective rate for the dollar has appreciated about 2% through February 14 of this year.

From October 1973 through

January 1974 the effective average exchange rate for the dollar rose
sharply (9.6%), then it fell by 8.7% through May, then it rose by 6.8%
through September, and finally fell by 4.3% through February 14.
Because of the oft-repeated complaints that fluctuating rates
fluctuate too much, it is worth noting that these fluctuations are almost
within the new ranges agreed among countries on December 18, 1971. The rules
established then allowed a peso to range from 2.25% above to 2.25% below its
par value in terms of the dollar for a total movement measured against the
dollar of 4.5%.
sterling.

But, this meant that the peso could move by 9% against

For example, suppose sterling

was selling at 2.25% below its

par against the dollar while the peso was selling at 2.25% above its par
against the dollar.

Then suppose that the peso and sterling moved to

their other limits. The peso would be selling at 2.25% below its par
against the dollar while the pound would be selling at 2.25% above the
dollar.

The total shift in the exchange rate between sterling and pesos

would be 9%.
As for the effect of the oil crisis on the U. S. balance of
payments and thus on the dollar, it is yery difficult to estimate inasmuch
as key data for the fourth quarter are not yet available.

My best guess

is that the oil crisis washed over the year, as I said it would in our
meetings of March 8 and September 6, 1974. We do know from the Department




8

of Commerce that our trade deficit in oil rose by $17.4 billion.

Against

that we know that petroleum producers increased their liquid investments
here in 1974 by $10.2 billion.

We also know that through the first nine

months of 1974, investment income from the petroleum industry rose by an
annual rate of $3.1 billion.

Furthermore, we know that U. S. merchandise

exports to petroleum producers rose in 1974 by $3.5 billion, excluding
special category exports. On the other hand, net petroleum direct investment (net of petroleum producers here) rose for the first nine months at
an annual rate of about $3.1 billion.

The "hard figures" thus suggest

a net loss of $3.7 billion on petroleum account.
Against this, however, is the fact that the biggest share of
the OPEC money ($21 billion) earned in 1974 went into the Euro-currency
market.

A great deal of that money must have gone to American banks

overseas, which then meant that transfers to American banks at home of
these OPEC funds had to be made.

I understand that many, if not all, of

the majors have not paid for their so-called participation oil which
reflects the degree of nationalization which has been undertaken so far;
on the other hand, I do not believe that any of the majors have received
any payments in 1974 for compensation for nationalization.

These

nationalization deals are supposed to be completed in 1975. So I would
guess it was a wash.

But that is only a guess.

In respect to the balance of payments adjustment process
between the petroleum producers and the consuming nations, there has been
a recent change that may be of considerable significance.

Iran decided

to peg its currency, the rial, on the SDR instead of to the dollar.

The

significance of this for the adjustment process is that when the dollar




9

depreciates vis-a-vis the German mark, assuming no other changes, the rial
will appreciate vis-a-vis the dollar in an amount equal to 40% of our
depreciation vis-a-vis the mark.
as e\/ery

five days.

Adjustments could occur as frequently

If the Iranians do not simultaneously adjust the dollar

price of their oil, our balance of payments with them will tend to improve.
If other OPEC countries do the same, and the Kuwaiti's have proposed for
general discussion something that sounds a bit like the same idea, the change
may be of considerable importance.
C.

Effect on the Developed World.
Looking at the developed world as a whole, has there been a crisis?
First, since September, 1973, the international reserves of the

oil producers for which we have data rose by $11.4 billion to $47.4 billion
towards the end of 1974, that is it rose by $36 billion.

At the same

time total world international reserves rose by $60 billion.

In short,

more than enough reserves were created in 1974 to meet the reserves demanded
by the oil producers.

The rest of the world, as a group, gave up no interna-

tional reserves to pay for the high priced oil. While the 39% annual rate
of increase in world reserves portends serious inflationary pressures in
the future, it does mean

that the recent change in relative prices, called

the oil crisis, did not force general deflationary action because of balance
of payments problems.

And talk, by the Council of Economic Advisers, of

pressures on world capital markets seems unwarranted.
Second, despite the four-fold increase in the price of oil since
October 1973, the terms of trade, or the ratio of export prices received
to import prices paid, of the developed world declined by only 13% between
the third quarters of 1973 and 1974. This is tantamount to a decline in




10

the productivity of the developed world because a given volume of exports
from a rich country now buys a smaller amount of goods from the rest of
the world.

As exports of goods constitute about 11% of the 6NP of the

developed world, the net effect of the decline in the terms of trade
was the equivalent of a 1.4% loss in real output and income. This is
equal to four months real growth in 6NP on average between 1968 and 1972.
Third, the private banking system handled the problem of recycling
the oil producers reserve gains to the oil consuming nations with considerable dispatch and ease.

For the United States, we know that our liquid

liabilities to petroleum producers rose $10.2 billion in 1974; through
October 1974 alone, liquid claims on foreigners by U. S. banks rose by
$15.1 billion.

The Germany deposit banks increased their foreign assets

by $8.2 billion in 1974.
Fourth, the rate of increase of imports by the OPEC producers
has been much higher than probably anticipated by many of the gloom and
doom purveyors of a year ago. There are droves of merchants in OPEC
land.

The German Federal Railways has complained of a breakdown in its system because
of

of the mass/Middle East producers with petrodollars in their pockets.
Data from the International Monetary Fund display an import explosion.
Here are the increments in the imports of the oil exporters:

1970 to 1971,

$1.9 billion; 1971 to 1972, $2.5 billion; 1972 to 1973, $5.8 billion;
third quarter 1973 to third quarter 1974, $13.3 billion.

While world

imports grew from 1970 to 1974 by 166%, oil producers imports grew by
228%, most of it, obviously, in the last year.
Fifth, the country seemingly most heavily hit by the oil price




11

hike, namely Italy, appears to have weathered the storm and is returning
to better health which, of course, was never too good.
Sixth, the OPEC countries seemed to be spreading their investments
in a fairly diversified way across a large number of countries and markets
rather than concentrating them, as originally feared, in the United States
which would cause major exchange rate shifts.

Secretary Simon reported

his estimates for 1974: 35% to the Euro currency market; 18.5% to the U. S.;
12-1/2% to the U. K.; 9% to official or quasi official institutions in
developed countries other than the U. S. or the U. K.; 6% to the international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund; 4% to the LDC's; 15%, unknown.

Not surprisingly, the OPEC

countries are discriminating against Jewish investment bankers in the placement
of their surplus funds, though this has been denied.

Like any other kind

of discrimination, this undoubtedly costs the discriminator, reducing the
net interest income of the OPEC countries.
Seventh, as noted before, Iran has shifted to fixing its currency
in terms of the SDR.

This may help meet one of the central problems

identified by those who worry about the financial aspects of the change
in oil's relative price.

It is now well understood that the OPEC countries

have no choice but to return their earnings to the rest of the world, importing, making short, medium, and long-term investments, or providing aid.
(There are no banks on the moon.)

But many analysts have been concerned

that the OPEC countries might not return their excess earnings to each
individual country in proportion to that country's extra import bill for
oil.

Hence, while recycling is no problem for the world as a whole, there

could be a problem of reshuffling OPEC funds among countries.




Iran's shift

12

to SDR fixing helps meet this problem.

If the German mark appreciates

because, for example, it gets too much OPEC money, while the dollar
depreciates because it gets too little, the rial will appreciate in terms
of the dollar and depreciate in terms of the mark, helping to shift trade
patterns and perhaps investments in directions which assist in the
reshuffling process. This point is not especially important since the
reshuffling problem could be handled by interest rate shifts between the
capital-short, capital-long countries.
III.

But nonetheless it helps.

The Real Oil Crisis

Despite the extraordinary performance of the market over the last
year in handling the major transfers of purchasing power resulting from
the rise in the price of oil, there is real danger that the oil problem
will become a true crisis. The reason is that governments are beginning
to seek "solutions" for the problem; in implementing them, governments
may well make things worse.
The clearest evidence for this is that in January 1975, the members
of the International Monetary Fund refused to renew the pledge made in
June 1974 that "...in addition to observing its obligations with respect
to payments restrictions under the Articles of Agreement (of the International Monetary Fund) it will not on its own discretionary authority
introduce or intensify trade or other current account measures for
balance of payments purposes that are subject to the jurisdiction of the
GATT..."

Countries look at their current account positions, roughly their

net exports of goods and services, instead of their over-all balance of
payments which must balance in a floating world.




13

The governments proposed responses to the oil crises concern both the
financial and the real aspects of the oil problem.
A.

The Financial Proposals.
Governments have proposed and in some cases agreed upon measures

which make it harder to obtain adjustment in their balances of payments.
They have continued to deform the international monetary system through
changes in the International Monetary Fund which

in some cases clearly

and in other cases may reduce reliance on exchange rate flexibility and
even return us to fixed rates.
1. The Solidarity Fund.
The Administration proposes, as a safety net, a fund of $25
billion for two years outside of the International Monetary Fund to help
meet the reshuffling problem, i.e. helping out the OECD countries whose
balance of payments are in difficulty because of the oil problem.

Any

loans made would require two-thirds of the votes. Any loan of 200% of the
borrower's quota would require a unanimous vote.
be made at market rates and as a last resort.

Reportedly, loans would

The G-10 countries

agreed on the proposal in January.
It appears from the U. S. budget that our share of the $25
billion would be $7 billion .

But it is clear from both the state-

ment of Treasury officials and the budget document that it is not expected
to get much use, only $1 billion is expected to be expended in 1976 though
the total obligational authority requested is $7 billion.
One suspects that the purpose of the fund goes further than
just meeting financial problems because one of the conditions for participation is active conservation efforts.




In this way, it can be seen as a

14

part of a larger plan to buy European cooperation.
In part, the justification for the fund goes to the recent
doubts about the ability of the banking system to continue the recycling
job it has done.
The U. S. Government has become extremely concerned about
rising ratios of loans and deposits to capital among banks which is
attributed in part at least to the rise in credits provided by the United
States commercial banks to finance oil payments by other countries.
Associated with this is a hint in the United States and real pressure in the
United Kingdom for central bank control over the foreign exchange positions
of commercial banks.
The U. S. Government

has

misconceived

the problem.
If I pay more for gasoline, my demand deposit is reduced.
My money finds its way to OPEC countries which, because we are floating,
must leave the money in the United States.

If the OPEC countries buy

Treasury bills with my former cash, the money shows up in the U. S. Government's checking accounts with the commercial banking system.

Alternatively,

if the OPEC countries buy some real estate it shows up in the demand
deposits in the previous owner of the real estate.

Still further, if the

OPEC countries leave the money in time deposits or in checking accounts it
still remains in the United States.

The point is that the extra money

that I pay out for oil in no way changes the deposit-capital-equity ratios
of the American commercial banking system.

The real source of the problem

in the United States is the easy monetary policy which allowed banks to




15

increase their loans and demand deposits at very rapid rates, thus bringing about the allegably dangerously high deposit-capital ratios.

It is

not the Arabs but us that cause the problem.
One may object to the foregoing analysis by pointing out
that the American banking system in 1974 increased its claims on foreigners
by $15 billion through October with much of the money going to oil consuming
countries.

This is correct, but that expansion of these loans would have

been impossible but for the rise in the monetary base permitted by the
Federal Reserve System.

The great danger is that the Federal Reserve

System and the various inspecting agencies of the United States Government
will over-control the American banking system and under-control themselves.
The obvious cost of this solidarity fund is the risk we take
on defaults by the borrowing members.

Chairman Burns would have nothing to

do with the idea, presumably because of the risks involved.

More

importantly, it reduces the pressures on the OECD countries to adjust their
balances of payments through reliance on the float.
2.

The Oil Facility (The Witteween Fund).
The United States and the other members of the International
in January

Monetary Fund also agreed/to extend for one more year the special oil
facility which receives contributions from the oil producers (paying
them 7%).

The United States wanted to keep the fund down in size while

others, such as the British, wanted it to rise sharply to $10-$12 billion.
The final agreement was $6 billion.
Some important changes in the principles of operation of the
Fund may have been agreed in the course of the discussion.

In its first

year of operation of the oil facility, its lending seemed to be automatic,




16

based solely on oil import requirements and not on the general balance of
payments conditions of the country.

And it operated on a formula basis, up

to 75% of the increment in oil imports.
change.

These procedures may undergo some

More importantly, the United States pushed, and seemed to get

agreement, that more countries should make their currencies in the hands
of the IMF usable for lending by the IMF. A large number of countries
have not permitted the Fund to lend their currencies, including some of
the petroleum producers. This is understandable.

When their currencies

are used, they earn at most 2% interest from the Fund.

The petroleum pro-

ducers obviously would prefer to lend to the Witteween Fund at 1% than
provide their currencies that the Fund holds at a 2% return.
The loans made by the oil facility are guaranteed in SDR's and
thus the entire membership of the Fund takes the default burden.
principle, it is like the solidarity fund.

Thus, in

In both cases, we take about

one-third of the risk. Also, it reduces the need to shift exchange rates.
But there is an important political difference.

The Witteween Fund makes the

oil-producers look like nice guys. The solidarity fund makes the oilconsumers look self-reliant.

Also, the Witteween Fund reduces the pressure

from the LDC f s on the oil-producers on the oil price question while the
solidarity fund is limited to OECD countries, the rich.
3.

Subsidized Loans to the Most Adversely Affected Countries.
The Administration proposed the establishment, outside of the

International Monetary Fund, of a special trust fund to receive payments,
chiefly presumably from the petroleum producers, which could be used to
subsidize loans made by the International Monetary Fund to those countries
most seriously affected by the oil problem.




This, too, was agreed to by

17

the members of the International Monetary Fund.
This part of the proposal is clearly a mistake.
There is a long history of helping less developed countries'
with very low interest rate loans, e.g. the International Development
Association lends at three-quarters of 1%, the Export-Import Bank lends at
6%, the Agency for International Development loans at 2%, etc.

But

concessionary loans are never the most efficient way to help anybody.
A simple illustration proves this point.

Suppose that a less

developed country had been adversely affected by the higher price of oil
can borrow at home and invest at home at 10%. Suppose the oil producers can
invest in the U. S. at 5% and invest at home at 5%.

Further, suppose that

we want to raise the real income of the less developed country by one
dollar per annum for the next thirty years.
which we can do this.
year.

There are three methods by

We could give them an annual grant of $1.00 each

Or we could give them a loan of $100 at 9% (recalling that they

can reinvest funds at 10% at home), repayable in 30 years.

Or finally,

we could loan them $10.00 at zero interest rate for 30 years (again recalling that they can reinvest at 10%). The less developed country would be
entirely indifferent among these alternatives because each would add $1.00
per annum to its real income.

(All this assumes that the less developed

country would not default.)
However, the oil producer should not be indifferent.

The

annual grant costs him $1.00 per year, the $10.00 loan costs him 50<f
a year because he can invest funds at 5%.
at 9% is to his benefit for he gains $4.
option.




Only the larger and hard loan
It is clearly the preferred

18

If we turn the relative yields around so that the less
developed countries can invest and borrow the 5% while the petroleum
producer can invest and borrow at 10% it turns out that the annual grant is
the preferred device to help the less developed adversely affected countries.
For example, the annual grant of $1.00 per year for 30 years costs him
exactly $1.00 per annum. A $100 loan at 4%, which would yield a net gain
of $1.00 per annum for thirty years for the less developed country, would
cost him $6.00 per annum.

And a $20 loan at a zero interest rate (which

again would yield a $1.00 additional income to less developed countries)
would cost him $2.00 per annum.

Clearly the annual grant is the preferred

device.
In summary, the soft small loan is never the efficient device
for helping countries overseas that we or any other country wish to assist.
4.

How Goes the Deform of the System?
The effort to move away from the floating system, which made

it possible to handle the oil crisis last year and return to fixed rates
continues.
There is some good news. The French, when they floated, said
it would be for six months.
about floating.

It is now a year.

The Greeks are thinking

But the Swiss are thinking about joining the snake.

The rest of the news is either bad or unclear.

Under the bad

in January
category

is the decision/to increase the quotas of members in the Inter-

national Monetary Fund by 32.5%.

The U. S. favored only a 25% increase.

This increases the borrowing power of the members of the IMF by
billion




$22

which reduces the need to shift exchange rates by an equivalent

19

amount.

It also, of course, adds to the world's monetary base, threatening

more inflation.
In deciding to increase the quotas of the members, it was
agreed that the proportion of voting power and quotas owned by the oil producers would double, that the LDC's should at least retain their
proportionate share (which means that the aid-link proposal is at rest if
not dead) and the rest of the world would negotiate how to absorb the 5%
share they will lose to the oil producers.

It was further agreed to

shorten the period between reviews of quotas, reducing it from five to
three years.
The United States is on record as not wanting to reduce its
share of the quotas, which is presently slightly over 36%. Our current
assets in the Fund (including SDR's) which can be automatically drawn are
$4.22 billion.

Further drawings on the Fund up to $8.2 billion would be

permissible under increasingly stiff conditions from the IMF. The total
amount of money is so small relative to the kind of balance of payments
problem we could have under a return to the fixed rate system, at one
point we ran a deficit at an annual rate of almost $50, that one wonders
if it might just be better to withdraw from the Fund if its members are
going to push us back to fixed rates.
No progress was made in the January meetings towards making
floating an equal option.

The original Outline of Reform stated that

it was agreed that the main features of the international monetary system
will include "...the exchange rate system based on stable but adjustable
par values and with floating rates recognized as providing a useful
technique in particular situations."




The January 16, 1975 communique

20

called for draft amendments to be drawn up for the "Provision for stable
but adjustable par values and the floating of currencies in particular
situations."

In short, floating is still the second best option, even after

the establishment of the guidelines for exchange rate management which we
discussed at our last meeting.
With respect to gold, it is not quite clear whether the IMF
moved towards or away from the float.

The general objective in much of the

deform discussion has been to reduce the role of gold and replace it with
the SDR as the centerpiece of the international monetary system.

The

United States Government's position is to turn gold into just another
commodity. One move the United States should consider is simply
no
to
longer/report gold as part of its monetary assets and shift their ownerAdministration
ship to the Government Services
/
. That would at least get gold
out of our system, if not the world system.
out of the system was made.

Progress in getting gold

It was generally agreed that the official

price of gold should be abolished and that obligatory payments to the
Fund should be abolished.

There was also agreement on the "...freedom

for national monetary authorities to enter into gold transactions under
certain specific arrangements, outside of the Articles of the Fund,
entered into between national monetary authorities in order to ensure that
the role of gold in the international monetary system would be gradually
reduced."
This last sentence is full of uncertainty.

Ever since Italy

borrowed in 1973 on the face of the oil crisis, putting up its gold as
collateral at a price far above the official price, it has been understood
that such procedures were permissible.




In Martinique, the United States

21

and the French went a step further and agreed that countries could value
their gold at other than the official price.
in all this.

In particular it has been seen as a device to go back to gold

at a higher fixed price.
rate system.

Several dangers have been seen

This, of course, would mean a return to a fixed

The French Prime Minister stated the Martinique agreement

was not an effort to devalue the franc in terms of gold and one of his
ministers confirmed this subsequently to Iran.

What "the specific arrange-

ments" are referred to in the key sentence were not revealed.

Hopefully,

they would include not fixing the price of gold in terms of currencies.
The United States has already shown the way in its auction of gold. And
IMF
the U. S. position was stated before the/meeting by Under Secretary Bennett
"...we would remove restrictions on governments buying gold but remove it
on the basis of some understanding that there will be no governmental
agreements to try to peg the price of gold and that no government will
increase its holdings of gold over the coming year or two by a substantial
amount."
5. The Problem of Foreign Control and Other Investment Fears.
There have been growing fears here and abroad that the OPEC
countries would take over important and large amounts of investments in the
United States and in other countries.
Arab led to a loss of deposits.

The purchase of a Detroit Bank by an

A Senate Banking subcommittee just began

hearings on the question of foreign penetration of American industry through
investment.
legislation.

The Federal Republic of Germany is considering restrictive
One American company wrote its stockholders opposing a take-

over which indirectly involved an OPEC country because it would hurt its
business with Jewish suppliers and customers.




Chairman Burns said it

22

might be all right for the oil producers to invest in Quaker Oats.
These reactions are not surprising.

American corporations

operating overseas for years have suffered opprobrium from the local press
and politicians.

It is a natural condition to oppose foreigners.

But,

from an economic standpoint, it does not make much sense to oppose the
inflow of foreign capital, especially for the United States.
The first reason is that if the Arabs behave as profit maximizers as do American entrepreneurs, then their behavior will be no
different from that of American owners of these assets.

Second, the total

amount of real assets in the United States is about jfo'Z? ^* • * \
'

lo

suppose that the funds to be accumulated by the Arabs constitute a
threat of control over the American economy viewed in the light of that
figure borders on the ridiculous.

The President made the right decision

when he let OPEC money into Pan American.
The ultimate truth is that this nation badly needs more
capital, foreign and domestic. As Dr. Paul McCracken recently said, the amount
of capital formation so far this decade is about 20% below what we should have
had, given the growth of the labor forces.
As Professor William Fellner has recently shown, since 1965,
the stock of real capital in the United States has risen 40% but the level
of profits after taxes, adjusted for under-depreciation and inventory gains
caused by inflation, fell from $38.4 billion current dollars to $32.9 billion
in current dollars.

Secretary Simon estimates that the retained earnings,

adjusted for inflation, of non-financial corporations fell from $20 billion
in 1965 to a negative $10 billion in 1974. The budget deficits of 1975
and 1976 will place enormous drains on our private capital markets, forcing a decline in private investment through higher interest rates or




23

expansion of the stock of money (and subsequent inflation).

In 1974, the

Federal government took ^ % of all the new capital coming on to the
market.

Its share is sure to grow.

We need to welcome foreign capital for

growth.
There is also considerable concern being expressed by
governments over the possibility of rising debt service and the inability
to repay the debts to the OPEC countries. These fears are quite
unwarranted when we consider the experience of the less developed world.
There it is often the case that 20 to 30 percent of the total import
requirements of less developed countries are financed by external borrowing and for periods of 10 to 20 or more years. The service on their debts
has often risen to as much as 20 or 25 percent of their export earnings,
and 3 to 4 percent of their GNP.

In the light of the less developed

countries experience, the problem of handling th.e debt service implied
by the accumulated assets of the OPEC countries appears to be really
quite small. U. S. payments of interest, profits, and dividends to
foreigners were, in 1973, 9% of our exports of goods and services, and
7/10 of V/o of our GNP.
Still another fear is that the OPEC funds will not be
invested in real assets.
earlier concern discussed.
following lines.

Curiously this is in exact opposition to an
The argument has some validity along the

It is feared that if,the OPEC does not invest in real

assets, then capital formulation in the oil importing countries will
decline. The rate of growth of GNP would, therefore, be slowed and this
will make it more difficult for the oil importing countries to repay the
debts in the future.




So far as it goes, the analysis is correct, but

24

it overlooks a simple fact that if the OPEC countries invest their proceeds
in the U. S. Government securities then the United States government can
lower taxes on the American people.

If, for example, the corporate tax

rate in the United States were lowered that would raise the rate of
return on capital in the United States, undoubtedly stimulating the rate
of capital formation and therefore bringing us faster rates of growth.
(This assumes, of course, that the money paid to the OPEC does not come
out of savings, but out of consumption.)
B. The Real Side of the Problem.
In his State of the Union Message, the President said:

"I am

recommending a plan to make us invulnerable to cut-offs of foreign oil.
It will require sacrifices.

But it will work."

According to Secretary

Simon we are now importing 40% of our total petroleum consumption.

By

1985, he says, the figure could rise to 50%. But the objectives are more
complex.

In the Fact Sheet distributed by the White House in support of

the President's Message, a number of arguments are offered which offer
broader justifications for the President's program.

The Fact Sheet states,

"Our reliance on foreign sources of petroleum is contributing to both
inflationary and recessionary pressures in the United States."

It refers

to high oil prices as causing a massive outflow of collars and a loss of
jobs.

It refers to the possibility of the economic collapse of European

and Asian countries as a result of tremendous balance of payments deficits.




24A

1.

Petroleum Import Fee.
The President has proposed a rising fee on petroleum imports

as a means of restricting domestic consumption of oil.
The balance of payments problem of oil imports was underscored
three times by the Secretary of the Treasury in his Memorandum to the
President of January 14, 1975 in support of his conclusion that petroleum
was being imported in such quantities as to threaten to impair our national
security, justifying the proposal of a fee on crude oil imports.

But we

are floating.
The U. S. Government seems to have forgotten one of the major
achievements of the Executive and Legislative branches since 1969, namely
the inconvertibility of the dollar and the floating of the bulk of the
the value of
1
world s currencies. (Only 25% of/U. S. trade is with countries that
consistently fix their currencies on the dollar.)
As explained earlier, international transactions do not present
us with balance of payments problems, do not effect our employment, and do
not change our price level.




The change in oil prices has caused a minor,

25

one-time change in our real income.
He might have argued that the petroleum import fee would, by
restricting U. S. demand, improve our terms of trade.

But this argument

would be hard to make stick because the United States imports only 13% of all
of world production of oil, giving us relatively little bargaining power
unless the imposition of the petroleum import fee were made conditional
on similar actions by many other oil importers.
The puzzling aspect of the petroleum import fee proposal
is that it is coupled with a supposedly equivalent excise tax on
domestic oil and on domestic natural gas plus an excess profits tax which,
even with the deregulation of natural gas and domestic oil, would seriously
blunt the protective effect of the import fee.

In short, if we want to

reduce our dependence on foreign oil, one would assume that we would wish
to give preference to domestic sources of energy.

If I understand Secretary

Simon's testimony correctly, the actual average price of domestic
petroleum would fall as a result of the President's program.

At the

same time the petroleum import fee and the domestic excise taxes raise
prices to consumers.

Thus the effort seems to be to reduce imports through

reducing total consumption alone, not by raising domestic production through
market mechanism.

Hence, if only consumption is reduced, the percentage

of foreign oil in that consumption is not changed.

Opportunities for

reducing foreign dependence appear lost in this part of the proposal.
The Administrator of the Federal Energy Administration, Mr.
Fred Zarb, appeared to explain why when he told a group of independent
petroleum producers that they were in business in 1973 when oil was
selling between $3 and $4 and the President's proposed base price




26

effectively doubles their returns over 1973 levels.

But that reasoning

won't quite sell. The relevant comparison is with the prices prevailing
domestically now, which on average have been higher than the ones proposed
after all taxes by the Secretary of the Treasury.
The Administration understands that there is substantial
elasticity of demand for petroleum.

It apparently has yet to learn

that there is substantial elasticity of supply as well. As Mr. Zarb said,
"In the first crucial years, there are only a limited number of actions
that can increase domestic supply."
One final point must be made absolutely clear.

If we must

restrict imports, the tariff is far superior to the quota as proposed by
the Democrats.

Both the tariff and the quota raise the price to consumers.

But the tariff revenue goes to the U. S. Government, which might use it to
reduce our taxes, but the higher domestic price resulting from the quota
is virtually certain to go to the OPEC producers, even with sealed bids.
Being a cartel, they will just raise the price to absorb the extra price
charged by domestic distributors.
2.

The Floor Price.
Secretary Kissinger, in another major element in the program,

is proposing agreement among consuming nations on a floor price for
petroleum below which the price of oil would not be allowed to go.

The

justification for this is that the investment in the domestic consuming
countries to reduce dependence on imported oil will not be forthcoming if
the local producers have to run the risk that the outside world price
might come down.

Dr. Kissinger sees a possible bargain:

a guaranteed

floor price for foreign oil producers for a definite period of time in
exchange for a reduction in the current price.
been suggested.


One is $7.70.

Various floor prices have

27

Another source put it at a range of $7 to $11. The President of the International Energy Agency suggests $4.50.
There are a lot of problems here.
governments to make such commitments?
domestic petroleum.

Neither Japan or Italy have

Could they afford to honor the agreement on the

floor price if the price should fall?
agreement?

Can one really expect foreign

Would it be possible to enforce the

After all, it is difficult to keep account of prices when

they are falling, what with discounts, etc.
The real issue, of course, is whether the United States and
other consuming nations should institutionalize the oil cartel.
a cost to the consumer if the price falls in the future.
a huge burden on the capital markets.

There is

And there will be

Dr. Kissinger put the figure at

$500 billion over the next 10 years in capital investments plus $10 billion
in research expenditures by the government plus whatever the private sector
may do in research.
3.

Indexing.
In discussing the main outlines of his plan for the solution

to the oil crisis, Secretary Kissinger held out the possibility that we
would be willing to consider indexing the price finally agreed upon
between the consuming and producing nations.
This idea, of course, follows logically from setting an
agreed price.

Neither the consumers nor the producers would want to be

unprotected from the ravages of general inflation or deflation.
were no agreed price, there would be no need for indexing.

If there

Private parties

always may agree to index their contracts each time they are renewed.




28

Of course, the basic objection to an agreed price, indexed
or not, is that it is certain to lead to a distortion in the world
allocation of resources. That is, when oil is in short supply, the price
cannot rise by more than the agreed price plus the index; when it is in
long supply, it cannot fall to adjust supply except as permitted by the
index. The relative price of oil could not change with supply and demand.
4.

The International Energy Program.
The Administration last year entered into an agreement with

a number of OECD countries (not including France

) that each

would build up petroleum inventories equal to sixty (later 90) days of
imports.

(We have already achieved that goal.)

It also entered into an

agreement that if a supply disruption occurs, each participating
country would receive its fair share as provided by the agreement.

If

approved by Congress, the President could, for example, require American
oil companies to divert oil to specific countries.
One clear cost of this agreement is that it requires that the
American oil companies be granted immunity from anti-trust action. As
Mr. Fred Zarb, Administrator of the Federal Energy Agency, stated "...it
would be virtually impossible to arrange an international allocation
system without such an immunity."

(Interestingly, the FTC has the companies

under charges for colluding.)
Another question is whether it would work.
has not proposed this agreement as a Treaty.

The Administration

Presumably it could

readily be overturned by the Congress once triggered.

The recent stiff

reaction of the Congress to limiting oil imports through petroleum fees
and to accepting the President's proposed targets for import cuts does not




29

suggest that it would react positively to this plan when it had to be
invoked if it cost us some oil. Are other governments likely to react
differently?

Of course, the other side of the argument is that the last

embargo against the United States and the Netherlands was widely subverted
by the oil companies. The United States Government did not publish data on
oil imports for several months during the embargo for very

obvious reasons.

5. The Uncertainties.
It is obvious from the above that the President's and the
Democrats programs involve some real costs for Americans.
My preferred solution is to stockpile because that appears
to be the cheapest method of meeting the problem of disruption.

If we could

pass a Constitutional amendment prohibiting price controls on energy, the
private market would do it for us.
But the major question is whether, viewed solely in terms of
U. S. national interest, the energy program is worth it. Of course, I prefer
it over having to go to war in the Middle East.

But there recently have

been some signs that the cartel is having trouble.
been permitted recently.

Some price shaving has

At least two countries are not prepared further to

reduce their output. Abu Dhabi just ordered a 40% increase in production
because its budget could not stand the lost revenue.
It is not altogether clear to me what the relative degree of
dependence between the producers and consumers is.

If, for example, it

is true that all the water in Saudia Arabia and all the electricity in
Kuwait depends technically on the production of oil, the consumers might
not be in so bad a bargaining position as they think.




Finally, it is not clear that the decision should be made just

in the light of energy.
The rest of the LDC's may be on the OPEC coattails now.
So, still another question is whether what we do with respect to oil will
have to be done with respect to some

other raw materials we import.

Already the export tax imposed by Jamaica on bauxite was raised from $2.50
to $11.02.

The coffee producers are seeking to form a cartel.

Perhaps

most importantly,Algeria, one of the oil producers, is leading the effort
(along with the French) to combine the discussions of the oil importers
with both oil exporters and other raw material producers.

It has been

suggested that if we are to gain concessions from the OPEC producers on
the oil price we will have to give concessions to the other raw material
producers.
discussions.

Some 110 LDC raw material producers are included in these
The United Nation's Conference on Trade and Development

is drawing up guidelines for 18 stockable commodities. The U. S.
Government has issued a report that durable, non-oil cartels are not
possible under present current world conditions. They lack a unifying
political objective and adequate foreign exchange reserves or income to
carry out an embargo. Where all this will come out cannot yet be seen.
But it does make it clear that the cost of any decision on oil could be
multiplied by problems with other raw material producers.




The Case Against Credit Allocations
Thomas Mayer
University of California, Davis
Congress i s currently considering l e g i s l a t i o n which would impose a system
of credit allocations on afcfeaswte** banks.

Yet there is a strong case to be

made against this b i l l and other proposals for credit allocations.

As will be

argued below a system of credit allocations would, in the long run, have l i t t l e ,
i f any, effect on the way credit i s actually distributed, and, insofar as i t
has a short run e f f e c t , this effect i s likely to be deleterious.

Moreover,

credit allocations would impose substantial costs on the economy, and are an
inferior tool to direct subsidies and e x p l i c i t taxes.

Do credit allocations improve on the market's judgment? It would be foolish to
claim that the decisions of the private market are always optimal.

But recognition

of the weaknesses of market allocations does not suffice to make a case for replacing
the free market with government controls.

Government controls have their own

i n e f f i c i e n c i e s , which may well exceed the i n e f f i c i e n c i e s of the free market.

Indeed,

past experience with government p o l i c i e s on resource allocations do not provide us
with any grounds for optimism.

The actual results of such p o l i c i e s are usually

far from what their supporters originally had hoped.

For example, farm price

support programs, which were intended to help destitute farmers in the Great
Depression, have actually provided most of t h e i r benefit to rich farmers.

Control

over natural gas prices which were to aid buyers of natural gas are about to
deprive many of these buyers of their supply of natural gas.

Regulation Q which

was to provide a breathing spell for hard-pressed t h r i f t i n s t i t u t i o n s has instead
provided them with a seemingly permanent crutch, and has had very bad side




2

effects, such as levying a regressive tax on small savers, and stimulating the
potentially destablizing Eurodollar market.
The characteristics of the credit allocation bill currently before Congress
provide little reason for thinking that such legislation would be more successful
than some of the previous unsuccessful attempts at improving resource allocations*
Thus the bill would channel credit away from "inflationary" uses without showing
a clear understanding of what is inflationary.

If we want to curb credit that is

inflationary we would have to curb "good" credit, such as mortgage credit.

Any-

thing that raises current demand relative to the current supply of goods and
services is inflationary.

And the longer is the life-span of a capital good,

other things being equal, the smaller is the volume of goods it currently places
on the market (since its output will take place over a longer span of time) and
hence the more inflationary it currently is. This would suggest that a credit
allocation program to fight the current inflation should discriminate against
such long-lived items as housing, public utility investment, etc.

This is

hardly what the proponents of credit allocations have in mind, or what credit
allocations are likely to do in practice.
A credit allocation program may also aim to discourage credit to big business
(as opposed to small business) and to consumers.

Insofar as lenders discriminate

in socially unjustified ways against small business a program of channeling credit
to small business may improve resource allocation.
crimination is not really known.
far from conclusive.

But the extent of such dis-

In fact, the evidence for its very existence is

Hence, a program of shifting credit from small to large

firms may easily go beyond merely offsetting any existing discrimination, and
may generate a net discrimination against large firms.

Insofar as this happens

there is a tendency for credit to be misallocated, and this would lower the




3

nation's p r o d u c t i v i t y .

If one does not know how far a car i s veering to the r i g h t ,

giving the s t e e r i n g wheel a sharp tug to the l e f t may not improve matters.
Another l i k e l y t a r g e t of c r e d i t a l l o c a t i o n s i s t o reduce consumer c r e d i t .
But t h e r e i s l i t t l e reason t o believe that lenders favor such borrowing
unduly, or t h a t such c r e d i t i s more i n f l a t i o n a r y than are other types of loans.
Moreover, using government regulations t o l i m i t the a v a i l a b i l i t y of c r e d i t to
consumers hardly f i t s the current consumerist mood.
Turning to the types of loans t h a t are l i k e l y t o be favored by a c r e d i t
a l l o c a t i o n system, there are loans t o small b u s i n e s s , which have already been
discussed, mortgage loans, and loans to s t a t e and local governments.

As far

as mortgage loans are concerned there e x i s t two arguments for saying t h a t t h e i r
volume i s i n s u f f i c i e n t . * One i s t h a t various government r e s t r i c t i o n s , i . e .
usury laws, Regulation Q, FHA and V i n t e r e s t c e i l i n g s and prohibitions of
A
variable i n t e r e s t r a t e mortgages, reduces the housing s e c t o r ' s a b i l i t y t o obtain
funds in periods of t i g h t money.
restrictions.

The answer t o t h i s problem i s to remove such

Insofar as t h i s cannot be done i t would be b e t t e r , for reasons

discussed below, to solve the problem by d i r e c t subsidies r a t h e r than by c r e d i t
allocations.
The other reason for saying t h a t the housing market obtains

insufficient

credit i s the claim t h a t there i s a special s o c i a l benefit to housing which
the private market does not take i n t o account, so t h a t i n s u f f i c i e n t housing,
particularly low income housing, i s constructed.
argument.

This i s a very questionable

It i s b e t t e r to help the poor by giving them a minimum income which

they can spend as they see f i t , r a t h e r than t o s u b s i d i z e , v i a c r e d i t a l l o c a t i o n s ,
one particular item they buy, housing.

Such a subsidy i s received not only by

the poor, but also by other consumers of housing, and i t s cost effectiveness




4

in helping the poor i s therefore extremely low.

But i f i t i s decided that

housing merits government support, then a direct subsidy i s again preferable
to credit a l l o c a t i o n s .
As far as state and local government borrowing i s concerned, there i s
l i t t l e reason to think that banks and other lenders discriminate against this
type of loan.

Nor does the empirical evidence suggest that state #nd local

government expenditures are strongly affected by tight money.

To be sure, one

might claim that t h i s type of credit demand i s especially worthy.

But i f this

claim i s accepted, the answer i s to subsidize state and local government
investment d i r e c t l y , rather than use credit allocations.
Beyond these considerations there i s a very important argument against
credit allocations.

Although credit allocations may be flexible in p r i n c i p l e - -

with the Federal Reserve having the power to change their direction and
magnitude—in practice, they are l i k e l y to be i n f l e x i b l e .

It seems to be the

case that once the government has given a special benefit to some groups this
benefit cannot easily be withdrawn when conditions change, but eventually i s
looked upon, at least by i t s recipients, as a natural right.

Hence, i f ,

because of certain conditions prevailing now, particular sectors are given
preferential access to credit, this preference i s likely to continue when.
i t i s no longer j u s t i f i e d .

This consideration i s similar to the argument against

imposing t a r i f f s to protect "infant industries. 1 1

Such industries try to cling

to their "infant" privilege until well into s e n i l i t y .
Can Credit Allocations Work? There i s l i t t l e question that a credit allocation
system, be i t a system of credit c e i l i n g s , or credit minima, or else a preferential
reserve requirements system, can work in the short run.
to be effective in the long run.




However, i t i s unlikely

This i s so for two reasons.

First, existing

5

financial institutions learn techniques of avoiding its impact.

In the past,

when we imposed consumer credit controls, lenders and sellers of durables
developed a number of ingenious loopholes, for example, raising both the tradein value of the old car and price of the new car, so that the trade-in met the
minimum downpayment requirement.

There is little reason to doubt that, over time,

lenders could develop similar schemes for eliminating a considerable part of the
effect of a credit allocations system.

In a number of countries which use

import licensing a market in import licenses has developed.

Credit allocations

are likely to lead to a similar thing.
Second, and more fundamentally, credit allocations are imposed on financial
intermediaries rather than on ultimate lenders.

If financial intermediaries are

constrained in the types of loans they make, their profitability is reduced, and
their interest payments to the ultimate lenders decline. This gives the ultimate
lenders an incentive to avoid the financial intermediary.

They can do this in

two ways. One is to reduce the loans they make indirectly through the financial
intermediaries, and to make loans directly to the ultimate borrowers.

The other

way is for new financial intermediaries to develop, which are not constrained
by credit allocations.

Or if only some intermediaries, such as banks, are

controlled, and others are not, these other intermediaries expand at the expense
of banks. A good example of this is what has happened with Regulation Q.

Large

lenders could make direct loans, and hence the federal Reserve had to give up
its attempt to control interest rates paid on large CD's. Moreover, to help
the small saver get out from under Regulation Q, money market funds are now
developing rapidly.

If credit allocations are imposed there will be a similar

development; new institutions whose credit decisions are not subject to control
will proliferate.

And as the Federal Reserve extends its authority to include

these institutions, still others will develop.




6

A third factor weakening the effect of credit allocations is that money
is fungible.

A borrower can borrow de jure for one purpose, and yet, in effect,

can finance a quite different activity with the funds thus obtained.
be the result of outright evasion, but it need not be.

This could

For example, if the

interest rate on mortgage loans is kept low by credit allocations a borrower
has an incentive to take out a mortgage loan, rather than, say, a business loan,
and then to use his own funds which are freed by the mortgage loan to undertake
business investment.

All in all, it is reasonable to expect that after a

transition period, during which the economy learns to cope with a credit
allocation system, there would be little effect on the types of investment
actually undertaken.

Disadvantages of Credit Allocations.

Since credit allocations are ineffective

in the long run, it may seem that while they do no good, they are also harmless.
But this is not the case; they have several serious costs and disadvantages.
One of these, obviously, consists of enforcement and compliance costs. A second
disadvantage is that those intermediaries that are subject to credit allocations
are put at a competitive disadvantage in bidding for funds, and tend to contract,
at least relatively.

Hence, a clearly inequitable burden is placed on their owners

and employees who may have to find new jobs, or at least are faced with a reduced
market for their skills.
Third, the development of new institutions is not costless.

Not only are

there physical costs to the creation of new unregulated institutions, but also
there is a (probably quite substantial) cost of learning as financial specialists
have to learn how to set up and manage new institutions, and as customers have
to become familiar with these institutions.

Fourth, financial intermediation

is reduced as the ultimate lenders escape credit allocations by making direct




7

loans. The making of such direct loans is less efficient than the use of
financial intermediaries, for otherwise the lenders would not have used financial
intermediaries in the first place.
Fifth, as new institutions develop the economy may become less stable.

For

example, the growth of the Eurodollar market, which was given a powerful impetus
by Regulation Q, has probably made the financial structure more vulnerable. To
be sure, in principle, the development of new institutions could also increase
the stability of the economy.

But this is not probable, because new institutions

are likely to arise in ways which free them, not only from credit allocations,
but also from other regulations.
Sixth, as new institutions develop the Federal Reserve has an incentive to
bring them under the regulations too. This means that some of the intellectual
energy of the Fed, which should be directed towards making monetary policy as
efficient as possible, is directed instead towards a new and never-ending
regulatory task.

Furthermore, as the Federal Reserve tries to bring new ways

of financing under the pervue of credit allocations, the net of controls spreads
further and further over the economy.

Economic freedom is diminished, and

government regulations proliferate.

Taxes and Subsidies as Alternatives to Credit Allocations.

If certain types of

investment are to be favored, and others to be inhibited, it would be better to
do this through direct subsidies and taxes rather than by credit allocation.

One

advantage of taxes and subsidies is that they are much more in the public view
than are the hidden implicit taxes and subsidies resulting from credit allocations.
Hence, there is a better chance that they will be removed when they are no longer
needed.

Second, a system of explicit taxes and subsidies would affect the overall

cost of certain activities, rather than the cost of just one particular input




8

into these activities, namely credit.

Credit allocations (unless they happen to

offset some market imperfection raising credit costs) give producers an incentive
to use too much capital relative to other factors.

A tax or subsidy system, by

placing the reward on the volume of output rather than on the use of a particular
factor of production (bank loans, or perhaps total borrowing) does not interfere
with the incentives to produce in the socially most efficient..way.

Summary.
points.

To sum up, the case against credit allocations consists of the following
First, although the way credit is distributed by the free market is not

ideal, credit allocations are likely to result in a worsening of, rather than an
improvement in, the way credit is distributed.
work only in the short run.

Second, credit allocations would

In the longer run the market would get around them.

Third, the techniques used to avoid credit allocations would reduce the efficiency
of the financial structure, and thereby impose substantial costs on the economy.
Fourth, i£ one wants to change the investment mix of the economy the way to do
this is by direct subsidies and explicit taxes rather than credit allocations.




Statement on Credit Allocation

Congress i s currently considering l e g i s l a t i o n (the Reuss b i l l ) which
would impose c r e d i t a l l o c a t i o n s (perhaps on a voluntary basis) on banks. We
b e l i e v e t h a t c r e d i t a l l o c a t i o n s would have an unfavorable impact on the economy,
and we s t r o n g l y support the Federal Reserve in i t s opposition t o t h i s l e g i s l a t i o n .
Our main reasons for opposing c r e d i t allocations are t h a t (1) such a l l o c a t i o n s
would attempt t o s h i f t the a l l o c a t i o n of c r e d i t in ways t h a t are most unlikely
t o improve on the free market's decisions about where c r e d i t should flow, (2) t h a t ,
i n any c a s e , they would not succeed in changing s i g n i f i c a n t l y the way c r e d i t i s
a c t u a l l y a l l o c a t e d except in the s h o r t - r u n , (3) t h a t they would impose s u b s t a n t i a l
costs cm t h e economy, arid (4) t h a t , i f Congress does desire t o change the a l l o c a t i o n
of r e s o u r c e s , a conventional tax or subsidy system i s a more e f f i c i e n t way to do
t h i s than are c r e d i t a l l o c a t i o n s .




Comments on the Future Fiscal Policy Actions
Robert H. Rasche
Michigan State University
March, 1975
Perhaps the only thing which changes faster than the general
economic environment these days is the official forecasts of Federal
Government receipts and expenditures.

At our meeting last September,

I disucssed in some detail the then current estimate of the official
unified budget deficit of 11.4 billion dollars for fiscal 197 5, and
why I thought that it was grossly implausible,

I felt at that time,

that in view of a likely slowdown in economic activity receipts were
likely to be less than officially estimated, and actual expenditures
were likely to be above estimated, and that the unified budget deficit
could likely materialize as high as 20 billion dollars.
The current official estimate of the unified budget deficit for
fiscal 1975 of 34,6 billion, makes my September estimate look like a
drop in the bucket,

I am afraid that I am as skeptical of these num-

bers as I was last Fall, but this time in the other direction.

Table

1 presents estimate of the unified budget receipts and expenditures
at various points in time, and is an update of a similar table which
I constructed last Spring.

The major changes from last Summer for the

current fiscal year are an increase in estimated expenditures of 8
billion dollars, and a reduction in estimated revenues 15.2 billion
dollars,

The current estimates of receipts and expenditures on a Nat-

ional Income and Products Account basis are 287.6 billion and 323.7
billion, or approximately 10 billion dollars of adjustments for different accounting on both sides of the budget.
Some information is available on a quarterly basis of receipts
and expenditures on a national income and product accounts basis during




-2the current fiscal year.

For the second half of 1974 expenditures

(NIA basis) were at an annual rate of 311 billion (Economic Report
of the President, February, 197 5, Table C-67) and a preliminary guess
of receipts on the same basis at annual rates for these six months
is 298.7 billion.

This information suggests that 0MB is estimating

that for the first half of 197 5, receipts on a NIA basis will drop
at annual rates by about 2 2 billion dollars to 2 7 6.5 while expenditures
will rise at annual rates by about 13 billion dollars to an annual
rate (NIA basis) of 336.4, for a deficit at an annual rate over the
current six month period of 59,9 billion dollars (since the adjustments
to a unified basis are approximately the same on both sides of the
budget, this is a good approximation to the annual rate of deficit
over the current six months on a unified budget basis also).

It can

be seen from Table 2 (Economic Report of the President, February, 197 5,
p. 24) that these estimates are virtually unaffected by the multitude
of proposed changes in expenditures associated with the administrations
energy and stimulus programs.

At an annual rate, these programs add

2 billion to total NIA expenditures.

On the receipts side, these pro-

grams are estimated to have an impact of 6,8 billion at annual rates,
essentially all of which is expected to occur in the second quarter
of 1975,
Consider first the growth of expenditures from the first half of
the fiscal year to the second half.

Even eliminating any consideration

of the energy and stimulus proposals this increase (334.4-311.0) is at
an annual rate of 15 percent.

This would seem to be predicated on the

administration^ inflation forecasts of 11 percent on the GNP deflator
for the whole of 197 5, trailing off to 7 percent by the fourth quarter.




-3A rapid reduction in the inflation rate, as we presumably are in the
process of observing is likely to reduce the realized value of government expenditures over this period.
The receipts side of the budget for the remainder of the year
is so uncertain that it is virtually impossible to assess the accuracy
of the official forecast.

A reduction of receipts of approximately

15 billion dollars (at annual rates) exclusive of the energy and stimulus proposals, from the first half of the year to the second seems
extremely large.

On the other hand the economy has softened up rapidly,

and if the inflation rate quickly subsides below the administration's
forecasts as I think likely, then receipts could be diminished even
more than they project.

Finally, the tax relief proposals which are

beginning to grind through Congress appear to offer the possibility
of substantially more reduction than the administration has proposed.
On the other hand, even with Congress making every effort to process
this legislation with the utmost speed, there seems to be a good possibility that no legislation will become effective until after the
end of the fiscal year.
So much for fiscal 1975.

What about 1976.

Here the official

estimates are for a record peacetime deficit of approximately 5 2
billion dollars.

If the administration has overestimated the length

of time that it will take for recent inflation rates to subside, then
it might be expected that both the receipts and expenditures numbers
presented are overestimated.

Since it is likely that the elasticity

of taxes with respect to the inflation rate (particularly the individual
income tax), is somewhat higher than the elasticity of expenditures
with respect to the inflation rate, it is likely that a rapidly receding




-it-

inflation rate could cause a TshortfallT of receipts greater than
that of expenditures, which would cause a deficit for fiscal 1976
larger than that currently projected.
Second, the official projections assume the adoption of a specific package of energy and 'stimulus' tax actions.

The broad outlines

of this proposal in terms of receipts and expenditures was outlined
in Table 2.

In terms of specific tax changes, the proposal was for

12 billion in personal income tax cuts in two installments, May and
September 1975.

In the bill just cleared the House Ways and Means

Committee (February 1 9 ) , this reduction in taxes has been increased
to 16,2 billion.

The administration proposal was for a 4 billion
-

reduction in corporate tax liabilities, primarily in fiscal 197 6,
mainly through an increase in the investment tax credit (for most
firms from 7 to 12 percent), for investment ordered or installed
during calendar 1975.

The house bill proposes a reduction in corp-

orate taxes by 5.1 billion mainly by increasing the investment tax
credit from 7 to 10 percent (nonutilities) and, as reported out of
committee, making no changes in the current 2 2 percent depletion allowance allowed on petroleum.

Thus the bill presented to the House will

offer 21.3 billion in tax cuts compared to the administrations proposed 16 billion.
In addition to possibility increasing the size of the tax cut,
the outlook is that Congress will probably delay the effect of any
of these proposals.

The decision to leave the depletion allowance

intact is not going to go unchallenged, and the best guesses at the
present is that this will delay House consideration of the Measure
until March.

At this pace, it seems unlikely that anything will

take effect before the beginning of the next fiscal year.

This should

cut down on the rate at which the deficit is accumulated during this



-5Spring, and add to it during the Fall.
A second fundamental proposition in the administration's package
is an increase in tariffs on imported crude oil by three dollars a
barrel in successive steps which has already begun.

As is well known,

this has encountered considerable opposition in Congress, and a bill
has passed to at least temporarily prevent the imposition of the increased tarriff rate.

The administration has announced its intention

to veto the bill, but it seems quite possible that the veto can be
overriden.

In which case, it would seem that the so called energy

program will be in complete turmoil for the near term future.

If

nothing happens here, then all aspects of the budget will probably
remain unchanged, since the administration plan was to rebate the
revenues generated primarily through cuts in other taxes, although
partially through increased Federal Government purchases (see Economic Report of the President, February, 1975).
As these things go, there is probably some chance that some of
the tax cuts or increases in expenditures which were originally conceived of as part of this program will get enacted, without the accompanying increases in excise taxes designed to reallocate consumption
away from energy sources.
All things considered, there is just too much uncertainity at
the present time to be able to give any estimates of the stance of
fiscal policy during fiscal 1976 with any precision.

My guess would

be that revenues will be lower than the administrations projections
(in dollar terms), expenditures may be lower in dollars, but likely
to be higher in real terms (assuming that the inflation rate will
subside much more quickly than officially projected), and the deficit




-6will probably be larger than the current projections.
This brings us to the question of financing deficits of the
order of magnitude projected.

My personal feeling is that here there

is a major problem that the Fed may start up the money stock roller
coaster again.

Certainly there will be considerable pressure on the

Fed to monetize large amounts of the deficit.

The House has just

killed a bill which would have required the Fed to produce lower nominal interest rates, and force the president to allocate credit to
various sectors of the economy.

Even the Council of Economic Adivers

seem amenable to another burst of the printing press:
One way of preventing significant displacement of private
investment in a substantially underemployed economy would
be to increase the rate of money supply growth to reduce
Federal financing presures. Under such conditions, an
increase in monetary growth need not be inflationary in
the short run, especially if there is a large unsatisified
demand for liquidity. On the other hand, should large
deficits continue well after the recovery has taken hold,
maintaining such a course of monetary accommodation could
spark an increase in the rate of inflation. For this reason it is essential that any monetary accommodation to
large fiscal deficits be permitted only so long as the
effective underemployment of resources remains large
and there is ample room for above-average growth.
Economic Report of the President, February, 1975, p. 25.
This statement strikes me as an extremely dangerous prescription.
It suggests that as long as we are currently experiencing less than
full utilization of resources, we can run the printing press full
blast, as long as we shut it off as we approach full utilization.
The first problem with such a position is that it does not recognize
that the effects of such a monetary action are not felt at the time
that the money is printed, but at some point down the road, when we
are likely to have moved a lot closer to full resource utilization.




-7This is the well recognized lag effect in policy actions.

The

CouncilTs position seems to suggest that they feel the lag is zero
for monetary policy.

Second, the statement never defines how we

recognize full utilization of resources, so it never suggests when,
even under the zero lag hypothesis, it would be appropriate to shut
off the monetary binge.
The CouncilTs position sounds like a rerun of the arguments for
monetary expansion which were given in 7 2 and early 73.

My best,

and extremely pessimistic guess is that the Fed will come under tremendous pressure in the Fall of this year, and next Spring, by the
administration, by Congress, and by the low nominal rate advocates,
that it must do everything that it can to keep down interest rates
to preventTchoking off the budding (or imminent depending on the then
current circumstances) recover.r

If the Fed succumbs to such pre-

ssure, then it seems to me that the stage will be set for the great
inflation of 77-78.

Given the magnitude of monetary growth that is

likely to be necessary to accommodate both government and private
demands for loans at constant interest rates later on this year and
early next, the next bout of inflation would probably make the most
recent experience look like a minor problem.
Finally, I would like to present an update on some charts which
I prepared a year ago for out meeting, which attempted to present
some measures of how the Federal government was using its expenditures
to affect economic activity.
into 1974.

Experience of the recent past continued

Real Federal Government expenditures on goods and services

continued to fall from 1973 to 1974, while remaining constant as a
percentage of real GNP at slightly under 7 percent.




The redistributive

function of the government, as measured either by the ratio of transfer
payments to persons to personal income, or as transfers, plus grants
in aid to state and local governments, plus net subsidies continued
to grow rapidly, (from about .09 to .10 and from about .13 to .13 5
respectively during 1974).

Both of these phenomena are largely due

to recently observed inflation, and not as the result of the initiation
of new government programs.

The current budget proposals suggest a

continuation of these trends on the expenditure side, accompanied by
discretionary tax reductions to attempt to provide a stimulus to the
current high unemployment situation.




/ ^

s4

Table 1:
Official Budget Forecasts-Unified Budget
Date of Official Forecast
Jan 7 3

July 73

Jan 7 4

July 74

Jan 7 5

Fiscal 72
Receipts
Expenditures

208.6
231.9

Fiscal 73
Receipts
Expenditures

225.0
249.8

232.0
249.8

232.2
246.5

256.0
268.7

266.0
268.7

270.0
274.7

266.0
269.5

264.9
268.4

295.0
304.0

294.0
305.4

278.8
313.4

Fiscal 74
Receipts
Expenditures
Fiscal 75
Receipts
Expenditures
Fiscal 76
Receipts
Expenditures




297.5
349.4


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102