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•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..
•Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.
•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and poor.
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between rich and poor.
•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..
Noah Smith is an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University and a freelance writer for a number of finance and business publications.
Professor Smith wrote an article titled, Japan’s Debt Trap Won’t Fix Itself in which he demonstrates his not understanding the differences between a Monetarily Sovereign government (Japan, the U.S., Canada et al) and a monetarily non-sovereign entity (Illinois, Chicago, businesses, people).
Perhaps because he teaches finance, he may think all finance is the same, so he seems to apply monetarily non-sovereign restrictions to Monetarily Sovereign governments.
Here are some examples:
With low unemployment and high labor force participation, Japan has essentially no idle resources. The scope for boosting the economy with fiscal stimulus or easy money is almost nil.
Its available resource is the yen. Japan, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create yen, with which it can buy unlimited resources.
The “scope for boosting the economy” via monetary stimulus is unlimited.
Japan continues to run an enormous budget deficit every year. Things are looking somewhat better for 2015. A hike in the consumption tax in 2014 has swelled revenues.
Here, Professor Smith demonstrates complete misunderstanding of national finances. He thinks “swelled revenues” (i.e. reduced revenues coming into the economy) in some unknown way, will benefit the economy.
No, Professor Smith, sending fewer yen into the Japanese economy, will not help grow the Japanese economy.
Government coffers have also been boosted by increased profits at Japanese companies — which is then subject to the country’s high corporate tax rate. As a result, the primary deficit is projected to be only about 3.3 percent in 2015.
A Monetarily Sovereign government, unlike a monetarily non-sovereign entity, has no “coffers.” It creates its own sovereign money ad hoc, by spending.
And that “high corporate tax rate” and low deficit is guaranteed to depress the economy.
In the long run, any deficit that stays higher than the rate of nominal GDP growth is unsustainable.
Why is it “unsustainable”? No one knows. Professor Smith doesn’t say. I only can surmise that he thinks the formula for GDP (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports) is wrong.
Bank of Japan has not managed to increase core inflation to the 2 percent target despite Herculean efforts.
Even if interest rates stay at zero forever, borrowing 3.3 percent of GDP every year is just too much. And if interest rates rise, deficits would explode.
The government, of course, knows this, and has pledged to cut the primary deficit to 1 percent by 2018 and to zero by 2020.
Inflation follows this formula: Value = Demand/Supply. Inflation is a reduction in Value.
The Bank of Japan’s “Herculean efforts” consist of cutting interest rates, which only reduce Demand. But the reason inflation is too low (according to the BOJ) is that Supply is too low.
So what is the government’s “solution” to low Supply? Cut the deficit, which will cut Supply, further. Is it any wonder Japan is in trouble?
The Ministry of Finance, full of sober-minded bureaucrats, projects that under more realistic growth assumptions, the primary deficit will shrink only to 2.2 percent. Even that improvement would require tax hikes, spending cuts or some combination of the two.
So the Japanese government will try to stimulate inflation by cutting the Supply of yen. Hmmm . . . What next? Stimulate obesity by cutting the supply of food? Warm the house by turning down the heat?
A primary deficit of 2.2 percent would be at the very edge of long-term sustainability. If we assume a 1 percent real potential growth rate and 1.5 percent inflation, then a 2.2 percent deficit will be just barely under the maximum sustainable level of 2.5 percent.
If you understand his “sustainability” formula, please explain it to me. And while you’re at it, please explain why a deficit of 2.5% is the maximum sustainable level. Will the Japanese government run short of its own sovereign currency?
The article continues on and on, explaining the unexplainable: Why tax increases benefit the economy while deficits are “unsustainable.” It’s utter nonsense, of course, and unfortunately, a rather common nonsense.
Professor Smith can be forgiven his ignorance about economics. We all are ignorant about many things, and he probably should not be expected to understand Monetary Sovereignty if, as a finance professor, he teaches monetarily non-sovereign finance every day.
But the notion that leaders of major countries don’t understand Monetary Sovereignty is beyond belief, and in fact, I don’t believe it.
Increased deficit spending, especially on benefits for the middle and lower classes, narrows the Gap between the rich and the rest of us. The Gap is what makes them rich; without the Gap, no one would be rich, and the wider the Gap, the richer they are.
It is a fact of life, that the rich run every nation and always have. Because most of the rich want the Gap to widen, they pay the opinion leaders — the politicians, the university professors and the media — to teach the public that federal finances are like personal finances, where deficit spending causes debt and large debt is “unsustainable.”
Whether Finance Professor Smith really believes these things, or whether he has been paid to disseminate the “Big Lie,” is impossible to say.
But add him to the list of those spreading the rich .1%’s false narratives about federal financing.
If you wish to drop him a note to tell him so, his Email is: Noah.Smith@stonybrook.edu
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually Click here
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)
10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)
The Ten Steps will add dollars to the economy, stimulate the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of dollars (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
2. All deficit spending grows the supply of dollars
3. The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
4. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.
THE RECESSION CLOCK
Vertical gray bars mark recessions. Recessions come after the blue line drops below zero and when deficit growth declines.
As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recessions, each of which has been cured only when the growth lines rose.
Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.