The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.
The March 28, April 4 (double) issue of Newsweek contains an article by Andrew Romano, titled “How Dumb Are We.” The subtitles are: “Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship Test. 38 percent failed. The country’s future is imperiled by our ignorance.”
The article shows the results of questions asked, for instance:
5. The House of Representatives has how many voting menbers? 86% answered incorrectly
8. What did Susan B. Anthony do? 59% incorrect.
11. We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 61% incorrect.
14. How many justices are on the Supreme Court? 63% incorrect.
20. How many amendments does the Constitution have? 94% incorrect
22. What is the name of the speaker of the House of Representatives now? 59% incorrect.
We all have seen these tests, showing the ignorance of the American (pick one): voter, student, adult, specific race, teacher, college graduate et al. The point of this article, and indeed the point of all such articles, seems to be that because of this widespread ignorance our nation is doomed. As the article says:
For more than two centuries, Americans have gotten away with not knowing much about the world around them. But times have changed – and they’ve changed in ways that make civic ignorance a big problem gong forward. While isolationism is fine in an isolated society, we no longer can afford to mind our own business. What happens in china and India … affects the autoworker in Detroit.
O.K., fair enough. Knowledge is better than ignorance, and because there is so much to know, sheer capacity combined with a scoop of laziness, makes us all ignorant about many things. And as voters, we should try to be more knowledgeable so we could elect knowledgeable representatives. And isn’t it a shame we’re not.
But then, this author, who criticizes American lack of knowledge, says:
The current conflict over government spending illustrates the new dangers of ignorance. Every economist knows how to deal with the debt: cost-saving reforms to big-ticket entitlement programs; cuts to our bloated defense budget; and (if growth remains slow) tax reforms to refill our depleted revenue coffers.
[. . . ]
Poll after poll shows that voters have no clue what the budget actually looks like . . . even though 71 percent of voters want smaller government, vast majorities oppose cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. . . Needless to say, it’s impossible to balance the budget by listening to these people.
As the texters write, OMG! This harsh critic of American ignorance, who feels it is a shame only 35% of test-takers knew “What happened at the Constitutional Convention?”, has no clue about Monetary Sovereignty.
He thinks it’s more important to know the answer to “What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?”, than to understand the fundamental truths of modern American economics, one of which is a growing economy requires a growing supply of money, thus a balanced federal budget mathematically must lead to recessions and depressions.
He would destroy America by cutting entitlement programs and defense, then increase taxes (if growth remains slow. Yikes!). He thinks federal coffers (whatever they may be) are revenue depleted, though a Monetarily Sovereign nation never can be “depleted.” But, apparently he would be happy if more people knew the answer to “Name one of the writers of the Federalist Papers.”
I leave it to you to decide which voter ignorance is more dangerous to America: Having no knowledge of federal financing vs. not knowing “When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?”
Mr. Romano is right about this, however: There is massive ignorance in America, and this ignorance is a threat to our future. He and the Tea (formerly Republican) Party are shining examples.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.