Eurozone to Fight Putin With Cheap Euros

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The eurozone speaks softly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it carries a big stick in the form of the euro.

Europe now plans to deploy that stick by printing more euros.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is warning that the ECB will soon try to head off deflation with "further stimulus," more monetary easing aimed at cutting the euro's value relative to the dollar.

As a result, the euros that Putin is getting for his oil and gas will soon be worth less, and European governments will have more to spend on propping up the Ukraine. Or even buying renewable energy assets that will make that oil and gas worth even less.

But that's not why the bank is acting.

Europe faces the same problem America does and is coming to the same conclusions Ben Bernanke found to deal with it.

A little inflation is a good thing. There's something below a zero interest rate.

The reason for all this, I believe, is simple. It's to be found deep in Intel's (INTC) fabrication plants and Facebook's (FB) data centers.

It's deflation.

Technology causes deflation naturally. Products get cheaper and more capable all the time. That means a dollar or a euro goes further.

Deflation is good at Best Buy (BBY), but it's bad for an economy. As prices go down, commodity prices and wages fall faster. When prices rise slightly, on the other hand, people may get raises and there's more monetary oil in the financial engine. Thus, price stability today requires near-constant intervention in the market, pumping in new currency to make up for technology's deflationary effect.

Draghi hasn't yet declared exactly how he will get out of the deflationary box. He may set interest rates at less than zero. He may have the bank buy private assets. He may just be hoping Europeans go on a spending spree, bidding up prices on their own.

However he decides to do it, this is good news for U.S. investors. A falling euro puts less pressure on the dollar. More euros should mean more money going into investments of all kinds.

But you won't read this in any mainstream media story about the ECB action. Rather than writing that more money is coming, they write that the bank is considering "dramatic steps to guard against dangerously low inflation." They write headlines like "ECB to get drastic."

As though more money is a bad thing, when it's being printed to keep prices from falling and to raise economic growth.

The question is, where will this money go? The answer is, unfortunately, not where it needs to go.

Where it needs to go is in stimulating demand. It needs to get into the hands of people and companies who will want to spend it, invest it, to get it circulating. But, as I have noted before, bankers can't give money to people, only other bankers.

What Europeans most need is the same thing Americans most need. A raise. An end to austerity. More money in the hands of people who need it, rather than in the hands of people who consider it a burden.

You have to ask when policymakers anywhere in the developed world will catch on to this obvious truth. Or are they waiting for the Ukraine to explode into a full-on war that requires the money all go to guns? Wouldn't it be better to fight that conflict now, with butter?

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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