The Continued Relevance of Tax-backed Bonds in a Post-OMT Eurozone
In a policy note published last year by the Levy Institute, Philip Pilkington and Warren Mosler argued that the eurozone sovereign debt crisis could be solved by national governments without the assistance of the European Central Bank (ECB) and without their leaving the currency union, through the issuance of a proposed financial innovation called “tax-backed bonds.” These bonds would be similar to standard government bonds except that, should the country issuing the bonds not make its payments, the tax-backed bonds would be acceptable to make tax payments within the country in question, and would continue to earn interest.
In the current policy note, Pilkington examines the continued relevance of the bond proposal in light of changes that have taken place with respect to ECB policy since the original proposal was made, as well as the case made by Ireland’s finance minister that tax-backed bonds would violate current Irish law (and, by implication, the law in other eurozone countries). He also outlines some changes made to the initial proposal in response to constructive criticisms received since its publication, and briefly notes another area in which the proposal might be utilized—outside the eurozone. His conclusion? That tax-backed bonds remain a valid policy tool, one that can be implemented at the national rather than at the federal level, and a stepping stone to solving the eurozone’s economic problems.