Recently, more radical proposals have surfaced, reflecting a sense of urgency and widespread disappointment with the impact of current monetary policy. Beyond advocating higher minimum wages, some are calling* for “reverse income policies,” with governments imposing across-the-board wage increases on private employers – a move that would drive up prices and defeat deflationary expectations. The fact that economists whose views typically fall nowhere near those of the far left are even thinking about such interventionism shows just how extreme circumstances have become.
I favor all of these proposals, in some form. The details of their implementation would obviously have to vary, depending on each economy’s circumstances. Germany, for example, is in a strong position to implement a reverse income policy, given its huge current-account surplus, though there would undoubtedly be major political barriers. More spending on education, skills upgrading, and infrastructure, however, is a no-brainer almost everywhere, and is politically more feasible.
* Getting Serious about Wage Inflation in Japan by Blanchard and Posen