Mr. Farage made me happy and then worried. UKIP should support NGDP level targeting

If there is anything that the governing Tory party in the UK is fearing then it is the UKIP. The anti-EU UKIP wants to take the UK out of the EU, but it also wants something less – monetary reform!

This is UKIP leader Nigel Farage in the City AM:

“WHEN Mark Carney takes over as our new governor of the Bank of England, at this time of “exceptional” economic crisis – his words not mine – he must be fully armed and working to a clear political direction from the start. Carney’s first day on the job should be an economic D-Day for the UK.

That is why I want to be the first UK political leader to commit my party to changing the Bank of England’s mandate. It’s time to put the Bank, with its increasing powers and broadening economic reach, on the side – incontrovertibly – of the struggling people of Britain.

The status quo is not an option. British voters have made it clear in three by-elections, each time with rising force, their feeling of intense anger at the Westminster and Brussels elite. Ukip carries the flag for these voters. I’m proud that I can give voice to their anger, while offering them something positive to do with their vote. But Ukip offers more. We offer a future in which Britain is free to govern itself, to enforce its own laws, to control its borders, and to make its successful way economically – trading at a profit and able to honour promises to its citizens. A first and crucial step is that we take back the commanding height of our economy – the Bank – and put it to work driving employment, growth and confidence.

I expect George Osborne to use this Budget – three years late – to open the debate on the objectives of the Bank, and to lay out the options for change. But I call on him to go further. He must put some red British meat into the dish. He should announce which option he prefers, and set a fixed timetable for the consultation and the decision. He must guarantee that, by Carney’s first day, the new framework is in place.

Why do I put this pressure on him? Because one of the many failures of this government has been its inability to take the decisions needed to put growth and confidence first. The list of its jellied failures to decide is long – on energy, aviation, housing, roads, and infrastructure investment. Neither the public nor businesses know whether to be confident and spend, invest, or hire.”

When I saw Mr. Farage’s comments today my response was wauw! This is pretty incredible – the Tories are coming under attack from the right to change the mandate of the Bank of England in a more pro-growth oriented direction.

So what is the Market Monetarist response? Well, it is easy. Yes Mr. Farage is completely right – the BoE’s inflation target is terrible and should be changed. He is also right the that the UK economy needs monetary “stimulus” in the sense that nominal GDP has fallen well-below the pre-crisis trend level.

However, I must say that Mr. Farage’s comments also come across as being advocating a significant level of monetary activism which I find very problematic. In fact it seems like Farage is just calling for monetary stimulus – yes that might be needed at the moment, but it is terribly dangerous if the institutional framework is not correct. We don’t want a return to the inflationary 1970s. We want a monetary constitution for Britain. Not a hawkish or a dovish monetary policy, but a neutral monetary policy. UK monetary policy has been overly tight so monetary easing should be welcomed, but I much prefer this to happen within the framework of a proper NGDP level targeting regime.

Therefore, Mr. Farage you are right to be outraged by the UK government’s lack of action on changing the Bank of England’s mandate, but you should be more clear on the mandate you want. Ask for an NGDP level target for Britain. It is in the country’s best interest!

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