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.
Although economics can be mind-spinningly complex, the essence of economics is rather simple, in that it boils down to a few facts, about which there can be no argument:
Fact 1. The U.S. federal government is different from you and me. It alone has the unlimited ability to create (“print”) dollars. If it wished to do so, the government could create a billion trillion dollars tomorrow, merely by pressing a computer key. It has had that power since 1971, the end of the gold standard, and that power is called Monetary Sovereignty.
Fact 2. Given such power, the federal government has the unlimited ability to spend dollars, and does not need to tax or borrow in order to spend. Were taxes and borrowing to fall to $0 or rise to $100 trillion, neither would affect by even one penny, the federal government’s ability to create and spend dollars and to “sustain” any size debt. In federal terms, taxes and borrowing do not fund spending.
Fact 3. Therefore, the only limitation on federal spending is not taxes or borrowing, but uncontrollable inflation.
I know of no economist, no columnist, no politician who disagrees with the above. Yet virtually all of them seem to agree that the federal debt and deficits are “unsustainable,” and should be reduced, despite the fact our massive deficits have brought us nowhere near uncontrollable inflation. (Only recently, we were worried about deflation.)
Logically, that makes no sense. How can a debt or deficit be a problem, if the government can create unlimited money and inflation is not a threat? It’s as though one part of the brain was not communicating with the other part. The psychologists call it “cognitive dissonance,” and since they have a name for it, perhaps they have an explanation, too.
So if you are a psychologist, and/or understand cognitive dissonance, I ask you; Why do otherwise intelligent people hold two, mutually exclusive ideas about our economy?
Some have speculated it’s merely the confusion between personal finances (which are not Monetarily Sovereign) and federal finances. But economists should not be confused about so simple a concept. Even the dullest economist should understand the difference between a personal bank account and the federal government’s money creation. There must be something more than mere confusion.
Perhaps, we hard-wired to believe the “no-free-lunch” idea that you can’t get something for noting. But can it really be so difficult to see that the federal government can “print” dollars?
I just don’t understand it. No one debates the underlying facts, which seem obvious and straightforward. The federal government can create infinite dollars, limited only by inflation, which we are nowhere near. Everyone agrees. Yet, after that there is a huge disconnect, leading to notions about needing tax increases and debt ceilings and the deficit being unsustainable. It’s beyond logic.
So because it is beyond logic, I am asking for assistance from psychologists to explain why the logical and obvious are invisible to people, who acknowledge the facts while simultaneously being blind to them.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. It’s been 40 years since the U.S. became Monetary Sovereign, , and neither Congress, nor the President, nor the Fed, nor the vast majority of economists and economics bloggers, nor the preponderance of the media, nor the most famous educational institutions, nor the Nobel committee, nor the International Monetary Fund have yet acquired even the slightest notion of what that means.
Remember that the next time you’re tempted to ask a dopey teenager, “What were you thinking?” He’s liable to respond, “Pretty much what your generation was thinking when it screwed up my future.”