Inflation will reach the 7 to 9 percent range by late 1984 because of a surge in money growth allowed by the Federal Reserve in the nine-month period ended in June, a group of monetarist economists said yesterday.
The group, known as the Shadow Open Market Committee, urged the central bank to hold money growth to a range of 6 to 7 percent in 1984, only about half the 13.8 percent rate of expansion during the last quarter of 1982 and the first two quarters of this year.
Members of the committee, which was formed 10 years ago to try to persuade the Federal Reserve to keep money growth slow and steady in order to hold down inflation, acknowledged that their policy recommendation could mean slow economic growth and possibly a recession next year.
One member, Jerry Jordan, a former member of the Council of Economic Advisers and now at the University of New Mexico, said that, if the reduced rate of money expansion since June--which is in line with the committee recommendation--continues, "there may be a significant slowing of real economic growth . . . with perhaps a negative quarter or so. But given the policy mistakes of the last year, there are no good choices left for the Fed."
Should the Fed boost money growth soon to try to avoid a period of such slower economic growth--perhaps due to election-year pressure from the Reagan administration and Congress--inflation would reach the 7 to 9 percent range by late next year or early 1985, said Burton Zwick, an economist for Prudential Insurance Co.
The committee noted that overly rapid money growth in the past year was not confined to the United States. It also ranged between 10 and 15 percent in Canada, West Germany, Holland, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
"These policies are short-sighted," the group argued. "There is no reason to doubt that the combination of these monetary policies, accompanied by contractive trade and debt policies, will produce renewed inflation, slow growth and low investment. They will fail to produce sustained real growth with low or falling inflation."
The committee, whose name is a play on the Federal Reserve's policymaking group, the Federal Open Market Committee, also urged that steps be taken to reduce large federal budget deficits, which it said "constitute a policy of deindustrialization" for the United States.
"Financing the U.S. budget deficit absorbs savings from the rest of the world," the committee's statement said. "The other side of this capital transfer is an enormous U.S. trade deficit.
"Business and political leaders conclude wrongly that U.S. goods cannot compete in world markets. They urge protection to slow imports and subsidies to encourage exports. These recommendations are based on an incorrect diagnosis of the problem," it continued.
"Tariffs and protection will not eliminate the problem but will reduce efficiency and further misallocate resources and lower standards of living. Reversing the current deindustrialization requires reducing government spending. That is the proper solution to the budget deficit and the trade deficit," the committee declared.
Quipped Allan H. Meltzer of Carnegie-Mellon University, co-chairman of the committee, "Bonds are becoming one of our principal exports."
The Shadow committee also criticized the budget deficits, which it said help to "maintain domestic consumption," in the context of an international financial situation in which a number of large developing nations cannot keep up payments on their foreign debts. At the same time the United States is running its budget deficits, both "the U.S. government and the International Monetary Fund urge less developed countries to tighten their belts, reduce their consumption and export capital," the committee said.
The international debt problem "cannot be solved unless international trade increases, protectionism is reduced, and debtors and creditors adopt a medium- or long-term program that distinguishes loans that are likely to be repaid from loans that are, de facto, in default," it added.