My Take on Jomo’s Suggestion for Bank Negara to Buy Government Bonds Directly
You can find the news from Jomo here. Jomo is in the opinion that the government should just raise funds from selling government bonds directly to Bank Negara Malaysia.
Government bonds for borrowing should be issued domestically and sold to Bank Negara Malaysia, says an economist.
My take on this is … this is very risky. Typically, its illegal for a central bank to purchase bonds directly issued by the government. The explanation is simple. Governments have the power to infinitely issue bonds and debt, and central banks have the power to infinitely print money to buy them. See the problem in this?
In the economics realm, this is typically called monetizing government debt. Basically, you are using money that can be created out of thin air, to buy debt. I am really not in favour of this. Imagine if you are the government, and your central bank keeps buying your debt without any consequences. Well, there are consequences.
What happens when you put too much money into the economy or system. You get inflation … and you get a government that is incentivized to be reckless. And it works wonderfully for the government but not for ordinary people like us.
For the government, if it expects inflation will be high because of this, they actually pay less for their debt now. This is because RM100 borrowed today is worth less when you return it a year later with an inflation of 10%. So it egts cheaper for government to repay their debt in the future. For us, well … we get higher prices, and we struggle more and more if our pay rise cannot cope with inflation.
So Jomo, I really respect your research and books, but I am unsure what you mean by this. Did you mean that the government should issue the bonds to local banks and investment funds first, then they will sell to Bank Negara? Cause if that is the case, I have no issues with that. But if you are talking about Bank Negara buying it directly from the Government, I am sorry, but that’s highly illegal for any government and central bank.