Monday, September 29, 2014

Changing Our Dumb Discourse And Ending Austerity


by Alice Marshall

I want to thank the entire DownWithTyranny community for the terrific work you do supporting progressive candidates for office. As we all know to our cost, it is very difficult for progressive candidates to raise sufficient funds to be competitive. The DownWithTyranny community not only raises funds, but through its Blue America page, and this blog, offers them visibility. It is easier to raise funds if there is evidence of online support, which brings me to the subject of this post.

We are all acutely aware of how embarrassing our public discourse has become. By the time campaign season begins the parameters of permissible debate, as defined by the Very Serious People are narrow and the best policy options are deemed controversial,  not  serious, and off the table. If we are to reclaim our national discourse, this needs to change.

In particular the debate over the federal budget is completely bogus. We are forever told that we are in danger of going broke. Somehow there is always money for bail outs, quantitative easing, more surveillance, another war, but no money for goods and services that people actually want. Joe Firestone, lambert strether, and I, propose are putting together an economics talk show that will explain what real fiscal responsibility looks like.

Deficit fear mongers are like the medieval doctors who thought that bleeding a patient would let out impurities and make them better. Bleeding the economy by reducing the federal deficit has only made things worse. The 1998-2001 budget surplus was the longest surplus since the 1927-1930 surplus. It is not a coincidence that our two worst economic collapses came in the aftermath of budget surpluses.

We propose an economics talk show that will examine the world from the point of view of Modern Monetary. Modern Monetary Theory is a school of economics asserting that:
The currency itself is a simple public monopoly;

Governments provision themselves by creating taxes that cause people to sell real goods and services toget the funds they need to pay their taxes and then by purchasing the goods and services they desire with their otherwise worthless currencies;

Since the economy needs the government’s money to pay its taxes, the value of the currency depends on the prices government. pays when it spends;

For a given size of government, unemployment is the evidence that the government is either overtaxing the economy, or spending too little to compensate for any residual desire to save;

Governments with fiat currencies create money at will when they spend, and destroy money when taxes are paid, further indicating that taxes function to regulate the economy, and not to collect revenue per se;

The currency is a governmental tool that in a democracy is created and maintained to promote public purpose, and to provide for the general welfare.
From an MMT point of view, the entire debate about the federal budget and finance is predicated upon a series of false beliefs, the greatest fallacy being the idea that some purpose would be served by a balanced budget.

We propose a talk show that would expose the lies of austerity week by week, story by story, so that ordinary people would understand that all the current suffering is completely unnecessary and how to remedy our situation. Please help us, please help make Real Fiscal Responsibility Today a reality.

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