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The devastating impact of BoG's excessive money printing on Ghanaians (II)

Bank Of Ghana345671211213112 The Bank of Ghana Headquarters

Tue, 25 Jul 2023 Source: Korsi Dzokoto, Contributor

Creating new money to fund government spending allows politicians and bureaucrats to divert wealth and resources to whomever they choose. However, as this money spreads through the economy, it puts upward pressure on prices, diminishing the purchasing power of all those who are not direct beneficiaries of government spending.

In essence, monetary inflation serves as a covert wealth transfer from the citizenry to the state, as Murray Rothbard explains, "the essence of inflation is the process by which a large and hidden tax is imposed on much of society for the benefit of the government."

The ability of governments to finance spending through money creation enables them to expand their powers beyond the limits that would be imposed if they relied solely on traditional forms of taxation.

Most citizens would not willingly consent to high levels of explicit taxation needed to fund modern governments, but through inflation, a significant portion of the tax becomes concealed within the loss of purchasing power. Were governments more transparent and directly taxed the citizenry, many people would quickly realize they are being fleeced and likely withdraw their support from politicians responsible for impoverishing them.

Some may argue that using monetary inflation to deal with crises provides a benefit to central bank policies. During times of crisis, governments claim a heightened need for resources, and printing money to fund these needs allows them to act without raising unpopular tax levels.

However, as Robert Murphy points out, such actions are often excuses to avoid explicit taxation, and instead, governments resort to the hidden tax of inflation, blaming rising prices on various factors, deflecting attention from their own profligacy.

One of the detrimental effects of monetary inflation is the increase in wealth inequality. As central banks suppress interest rates to expand the money supply, the rich become the primary beneficiaries due to their ability to access cheap credit and borrow newly created money through the banking system.

With this easy credit, the wealthy invest in assets such as real estate, equities, art, and precious metals, driving up their prices and increasing the net worth of those exposed to such asset classes, which primarily includes the upper class.

Moreover, this policy of easy money leads to economic distortions. Low interest rates encourage increased borrowing and discourage normal thrift, savings, and investment. People and businesses are enticed to overconsume and overexpand beyond what the long-term fundamentals of the economy warrant. Henry Hazlitt aptly compares the flooding of an economy with easy money to drug addiction, where a booming economy becomes euphoric due to easy money, but a crash follows when the easy money is withdrawn.

While some may see the economic crash as detrimental, it serves as a curative period, clearing malinvestments and transferring capital away from inefficient uses and unsustainable entrepreneurial endeavors. This economic "cleansing" process allows the economy to return to a healthier state. However, central banks have been flooding the economic system with easy money for decades, leading to the growth of the state, enrichment of the upper class, and the inflation of asset bubbles, all at the expense of the middle class and the poor.

As central banks attempt to tame the recent rise in consumer prices by raising interest rates and tightening credit conditions, they risk collapsing the heavily debt-ridden economic system. This leaves policymakers with a crucial decision: allow a curative crash to unfold, or continue the pattern of cutting interest rates at the first sign of a collapse in equity or real estate prices, which would exacerbate the problem.

To create a more stable and sustainable economic system, policymakers must carefully consider the consequences of their monetary policies and seek prudent solutions to protect the well-being of all citizens. Here are some essential steps that can be taken to address the issues arising from excessive money printing:

1. Transparent Fiscal Policies: Governments should promote transparency and accountability in fiscal policies. Instead of relying on hidden taxes through monetary inflation, policymakers should communicate openly with the public about the true cost of government programs and the need for adequate taxation to fund essential services and infrastructure.

2. Responsible Monetary Policy: Central banks must adopt responsible monetary policies aimed at maintaining price stability and avoiding excessive money creation. A clear mandate to control inflation and promote long-term economic stability is crucial in safeguarding the purchasing power of the currency.

3. Encourage Saving and Investment: Policymakers should incentivize saving and investment to build a strong foundation for sustainable economic growth. Encouraging individuals and businesses to invest in productive assets will lead to more efficient use of resources and productive capacity.

4. Address Income Inequality: Tackling wealth inequality requires a multi-faceted approach, including targeted social programs, quality education, and job training initiatives. By providing opportunities for economic advancement, governments can create a more equitable society.

5. Prudent Crisis Management: During times of crisis, governments must exercise fiscal prudence and avoid using inflation as a means to fund extraordinary expenditures. Seeking public input and carefully evaluating the necessity of spending will foster greater trust between citizens and policymakers.

6. Embrace Sound Economic Principles: Policymakers should prioritize sound economic principles, such as respecting the rule of law, maintaining stable property rights, and promoting a competitive business environment. These measures can encourage economic growth and protect the interests of all citizens.

7. Foster Financial Education: Educating the public about the implications of inflation and its impact on personal finances can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their financial well-being. Knowledgeable citizens can demand better economic policies and hold policymakers accountable.

Ultimately, addressing the economic challenges posed by excessive money printing requires a concerted effort from both policymakers and citizens. Governments must prioritize the long-term interests of their citizens over short-term gains and resist the temptation to use monetary inflation as a quick fix for financial crises.

The pursuit of sustainable economic growth, reduced income inequality, and enhanced financial stability should guide economic policies to ensure a more prosperous and equitable future for all Ghanaians.

In conclusion, the impact of excessive money printing by the Bank of Ghana has far-reaching consequences for Ghanaians, leading to deepening poverty, wealth inequality, and economic distortions. Policymakers must recognize the dangers of inflation and adopt prudent economic strategies to safeguard the well-being of all citizens.

By promoting transparency, responsible monetary policies, and sound economic principles, Ghana can pave the way for a more stable and prosperous future for its people. Only through collaborative efforts and a commitment to responsible governance can Ghanaians mitigate the adverse effects of inflation and build a stronger and more resilient economy for generations to come.

Source: Korsi Dzokoto, Contributor
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