This particularly dumb idea is from Paul Brodsky and Lee Quaintance of QB Partners.
They suggest: Rather than reducing hours of work, why not have Washington offer to buy gold at $5000 an ounce:
A coordinated global currency devaluation. The Fed, for example, tenders for private gold holdings at $5000/oz and maintains that bid/offer. As the Fed purchases gold, the gold flows to the asset side of its balance sheet. The Fed funds these gold purchases with newly-digitized money, which flows to banks in the form of net new deposits. This would be a discrete monetary inflation event (devaluation) and a simultaneous deleveraging.
Once the Fed acquires enough gold from the markets, a gold price peg for the US dollar is established. Would this be a gold standard? Yes, if that nominal exchange value is maintained in the open market by the Fed. No, if the Fed decides to periodically adjust that $5000/oz. level following the original exchange. (In fact, tinkering with the official gold price would be a pure example of a monetary agent conducting monetary policy.)
How, you may ask, would buying gold for $5000 an ounce produce jobs? Below, Mr Brodsky and Mr. Quaintance explain how their Quantitative Easing Version 3 would beat back the threat of deflation. We add our own comments to clarify their statements wherever ambiguity arises:
The economic benefits would be immediate and profound. Financial assets would appreciate in nominal terms making balance sheets solvent. The loan books of global banking systems would be secured again.
Translation: the money would pile into the stock market as billionaires, flush with newly minted Federal Reserve Notes, bid up the price of everything from Microsoft to hookers.
Debtors would welcome this devaluation and debt covenants would remain intact.
Translation: Home prices would go through the roof and all those deadbeat sub-prime borrowers would finally have an asset worth more than they paid for it. Of course, they have all lost their homes by now. So the folks who really make out like bandits will be the scum who bought the houses at a foreclosure auction.
Nominal wages and asset prices would rise while debt balances would remain constant. The burden of repaying debt would be greatly diminished, not the principal amount of the debt itself.
Translation: The term “nominal wages” of course is how much you get paid before inflation erases the the actual purchasing power of your paycheck. Instead of $19 an hours for wages on average, you’ll get $20 an hour on average, but the real purchasing power of your wages will have collapsed to $5 per hour.
But, look on the bright side: billionaires, who lease their huge gold hoards to the banks in return for income streams, will find that one ounce of their hoard will now have four times the purchasing power it had before. So they will be able to create even more jobs at Wal-Mart.
Bondholders, dollar reserve holders and retirees would suffer losses in purchasing power; however, inflating away the burden of debt would likely act as a massive economic stimulant, which would, in turn, give policy makers room for fiscal maneuvering.
Translation: Pensioners, whose pension funds rely on government bonds, and baby boomers on the edge of collecting Social Security will be reduced to eating cat food –until they begin eating the neighborhood cats.
Global wage rates in established and emerging economies would track towards equilibrium. Affordability would rise. Prices for goods and services could fall without having a deleterious impact on employment. Workers would naturally migrate where opportunity lay and would again be able to save their wages for future consumption.
Translation: You will be making the same as a Chinese peasant straight off the farm. It will be more affordable to hire you at Wal-Mart to stock shelves. And most of Detroit will move to Brazil in search of work.