Thoughts on Monetary and Fiscal Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession:'s First Month

This post will serve as the Table of Contents for the first month of  But it is more than that. It is a chance to reflect on questions such as

Where have I been coming from in the posts so far?

Why am I here writing a blog?

Where am I going from here?

Only the most important reflections come before the Table of Contents proper. Lesser musings come after the Table of Contents.  

The most important thing to say about where I have been coming from is that all the posts are meant to last. I try to make each major post and most minor posts count as parts of overarching arguments that  extend over many posts. And I hope that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, so that anyone who reads the entire thread of posts in a given topic area will learn something they wouldn’t have learned from reading each post in isolation.

I think of blogging as an art form that I am undertaking seriously as a beginning novice.  My lodestone for literary structure here is my favorite television series Babylon 5.  In Babylon 5, the first season seems episodic, but in fact each episode lays part of the foundation for the narrative arc that picks up in earnest with the second season.  Some of the charm of a blog is in its unexpected turns as a blogger interacts with others online.  I want to have that and an overall progression.  

As to my motivations for beginning a blog, there are many personal motivations that I will talk about in due course. But I know that the one thing that has given me some sense of urgency to start now rather than wait until later is seeing the world economy flounder in the wake of the Great Recession. It is galling to see the world suffering below the world’s natural level of output when, in my contrarian view, getting sufficient aggregate demand is fundamentally an easy problem compared to the long-run challenge of balancing concerns about tax distortions against the value of redistribution and other government spending.

On where I am going from here in this blog, let me say that I have the titles of many potential posts kicking around in my head, each potential post struggling for primacy so it can be the next one written. They can’t all win at any given moment, and I don’t think I can maintain the pace I have kept so far, let alone increase that pace. And responding to other things currently going on in the blogosophere and in the news takes a certain degree of precedence. But there is a lot coming. 

The Table of Contents below is organized by topic area. Monetary Policy comes first because responding to other bloggers and to events has led to the most posts in that area. Monetary policy is one way I believe we have plenty of tools to get sufficient aggregate demand. The other way to get sufficient aggregate demand is through Short-Run Fiscal Policy. But in everything I say about short-run fiscal policy, I worry a lot about the effects on the national debt and work to find novel ways to minimize those effects.  The third topic area heading is Long-Run Fiscal Policy–the issues that motivate the title of my blog.

The last substantive heading is Long Run Economic Growth. I am not a growth theorist or a growth empiricist, and so am not qualified to say as much as I would like to be able to say about Long Run Economic Growth. But Long Run Economic Growth is arguably the most important subject in all of Economics. I have often thought that if I had started graduate school just a few years later, I would have focused on studying economic growth in my career, as my fellow Greg Mankiw advisee David Weil has to such good effect.  

Under the last two headings in the Table of Contents, I organize posts on Blog Mechanics and Columnists, Guest Posts and Miscellaneous Reviews. (I put many reviews under the relevant substantive heading because they help to understand the thread of the argument.) I will talk more about these aspects of the blog and about blog statistics after the Table of Contents.  


Monetary Policy

Balance Sheet Monetary Policy: A Primer

Stephen Williamson: “Quantitative Easing: The Conventional View”

Trillions and Trillions: Getting Used to Balance Sheet Monetary Policy

Karl Smith of Forbes: “Miles Kimball on QE”

Scott Sumner: “‘What Should the Fed Do?’ is the Wrong Question”

Is Monetary Policy Thinking in Thrall to Wallace Neutrality?

A Proposal for the supplysideliberal Community’s First Public Service Project: a wikipedia Entry on “Wallace Neutrality”

Mike Konczal: What Constrains the Federal Reserve? An Interview with Joseph Gagnon

Going Negative: The Virtual Fed Funds Rate Target

The supplysideliberal Review of the FOMC Monetary Policy Statement: June 20th, 2012

Justin Wolfers on the 6/20/2012 FOMC Statement

Should the Fed Promise to Do the Wrong Thing in the Future to Have the Right Effect Now?

Wallace Neutrality and Ricardian Neutrality

Future Heroes of Humanity and Heroes of Japan

The Euro and the Mediterano

Short-Run Fiscal Policy

Getting the Biggest Bang for the Buck in Fiscal Policy

Reihan Salam: “Miles Kimball of Federal Lines of Credit”

National Rainy Day Accounts

Leading States in the Fiscal Two-Step

Mark Thoma on Rainy Day Funds for States

Long-Run Fiscal Policy

What is a Supply-Side Liberal?

Can Taxes Raise GDP?

Clive Crook: Supply-Side Liberals

Why Taxes are Bad

A Supply-Side Liberal Joins the Pigou Club

“Henry George and the Carbon Tax”: A Quick Response to Noah Smith

Avoiding Fiscal Armageddon

Mark Thoma: Laughing at the Laffer Curve

Health Economics

Long-Run Economic Growth

Leveling Up: Making the Transition from Poor Country to Rich Country

Mark Thoma: Kenya’s Kibera Slum

Blog Mechanics

Miles’s Tweets

Miles’s Curriculum Vitae

Comments on

Notice of Revocable Permission to Reproduce Content from this Blog with Appropriate Attribution to this Blog and Notice of Miles Spencer Kimball’s Copyright

@mileskimball on twitter on Facebook

Columnists, Guest Posts, and Miscellaneous Reviews

An Early-Bird Tweet from Justin Wolfers

Noah Smith: “Miles Kimball, the Supply-Side Liberal”

Gary Cornell on Andrew Wiles

Diana Kimball on the Beginnings of

Gary Cornell on Intergenerational Mobility Takes on a Math Columnist: Gary Cornell on the Financial Crisis

Diana Kimball: Recording Skype Conversations on a Mac

Mike Sax: Review of (Some) Economics Blogs

Let me say a few words about blog mechanics, columnists, reviews and blog statistics.   The most important blog mechanics are indicated by links at the sidebar. But the posts under Blog Mechanics provide a little more detail. On all the blog mechanics, I owe a great debt to my daughter Diana Kimball

I have already said it in several posts, but let me say again that those who are not following my tweets are missing a lot. I have been having a lot of fun engaging with the news of the day and with other people’s tweets. And I routinely tweet announcements of new posts appearing on the blog itself.

Among the Miscellaneous Reviews, the one I recommend most highly is Noah Smith’s.  I owe a lot to Noah’s encouragement and help with this blog. I see this blog as part of the Noahpinion universe.  

On blog statistics, I will do a separate post a little later on traffic sources, which is interesting because it helps show the shape of my corner of the blogosphere.  My first post was on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, exactly one month ago. I didn’t get Google Analytics set up until a few days later, so those statistics are from Sunday, June 3 on (and end at midnight last night). Google Analytics reports 20,386 total pageviews, 13,392 visits, and 7,411 unique visitors. I got some help “grep"ing to verify that the Google Analytics statistics do not include the now 593 subscribers receiving the posts on Google Reader unless they also click separately from Google Reader. Together with the 62 Tumblr subscribers, that adds up to 655 subscribers, plus some number of subscribers on Facebook that I can’t separate out from other Friends and however many subscribers I have on other platforms I don’t know about. Finally, I have 353 Twitter followers. The mismatch between that and the number of subscribers to the blog itself is why I have been making a point of recommending following my tweets.

To me, this past month has been a heady time. The excitement of starting a new blog that has been so generously welcomed has caused me some of the most pleasant insomnia that I have ever experienced. One of the reasons I expect to slow my pace somewhat is that once that enthusiastic insomnia wears off, I will have less time to blog.   

Update: I added posts from the rest of June, 2012 to the Table of Contents above so that from now on monthly tables of contents can be based squarely on calendar months.