The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand monetary sovereignty, do not understand economics. Cutting the federal deficit is the most ignorant and damaging step the federal government could take. It ranks ahead of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.
Yesterday (11/9/10), I sent the following letter to the people at National Public Radio. I’ll let you know in the unlikely event they respond. Even this self-styled, independent, “open-minded” medium, funded primarily by private donation, simply cannot bring itself to consider the possibility that the federal debt is not too high, and in fact, is necessary for economic growth. If NPR can’t handle the facts, what hope is there the for-profit media, which solely are interested in ad dollars fueled by popular wisdom, will understand?
You pride yourself on balance, but there is one area in which you are completely out of balance. Day after day I hear your interviewers talking to people who claim the U.S. is “broke,” and the federal debt is “unsustainable” and needs to be reduced. Entire radio programs are devoted to debating about which spending initiative should be cut. Interviewees tell us whether payments to doctors should be reduced. Or Social Security cut. Or can we afford health care?
Day after day your programs tell listeners the government can’t afford this and can’t afford that. Today, on one of your programs, I heard someone say the federal budget for Public Radio should be eliminated — a delicious irony, since you helped bring this on yourself by never presenting the other side of the story.
In 1971, the end of the gold standard, the federal government became monetarily sovereign. This changed everything in economics. Suddenly, the federal government had the unlimited ability to create money and to service any size debt. It is 100% impossible for any monetarily sovereign nation to be “broke.” There is nothing the government cannot afford.
Additionally, in a monetarily sovereign nation, federal spending is not constrained by taxes or borrowing. If taxes and borrowing both fell to $0, this would not change by even one penny, the federal government’s ability to spend any amount on any initiative.
The only thing that constrains federal spending is inflation, and as you can see, we are nowhere near inflation; in fact, deflation is the current worry. Meanwhile, millions of Americans suffer for lack of federal spending on health care, Medicare, Social Security, roads, bridges, poverty, affordable housing, education, etc. — all because of the incorrect belief the government is “broke.”
I would be glad to present the other side of the story. It’s time your audience heard a balanced presentation of this critical issue. If it’s a debate, my first question will be, “If America is broke, as you say, exactly when did it become broke? After that, my questions will become harder.
It’s time for a little balance
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind me of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”