–Medicare drug negotiation: How can something sound so good and be so wrong? Friday, Mar 6 2015 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Mitchell’s laws:
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●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.
●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.
To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Everything in economics devolves to motive,
and the motive is the Gap.
==================================================================================================================================================================

An excellent blog called the National Memo, recently published this post by David Lazarus: Consumer Confidential: Costco-Visa Deal Shows Why Medicare Should Negotiate Drug Prices.

Here are some excerpts:

Costco’s deal to replace American Express with Visa as its exclusive credit-card company highlights an economic principle that should surprise no one.

Consumers benefit when a business uses its market power to negotiate lower prices and passes along the savings to customers.

Conservatives have championed such market forces for decades, arguing that if government regulators just got out of the way of businesses, consumers would be the big winners.

That is, unless we’re talking about drug prices.

Medicare, the federal healthcare program, is prohibited by law from haggling with makers of prescription drugs over the prices paid by its 54 million beneficiaries.

O.K., it may be a bit of a stretch to equate Costco’s shopping for a credit card company with Medicare’s non-negotiation of drug prices.

But the point is that negotiation often achieves lower prices than does failure to negotiate. (Are we allowed to say, “Well, duh” for that revelation?)

The post continued:

That bizarre stipulation was put in place in 2003 by the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Republican lawmakers, backed by the powerful pharmaceutical industry, argued at the time that the private sector was in a better position to ensure fair pricing of prescription meds.

In subsequent years, Republicans have repeatedly beaten back attempts by Democratic lawmakers to lift this prohibition.

Yep, as usual, the Republicans are on the side of big business and against consumers. But ironically, as you shall see, the Republicans are right — sort of.

“Private competition works,” Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican and a principal author of the 2003 law.

Surely that had nothing to do with the almost $240,000 Grassley received from pharmaceutical interests in the 2002 election cycle, prior to his leadership role in drafting the Medicare legislation, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

And it’s probably just a coincidence that no industry spends more lobbying lawmakers than the drug industry.

The reality, of course, is that conservative politicians and their profit-minded business allies have subverted market forces to ensure that Americans pay some of the highest drug prices in the world.

The United States spends almost $1,000 a person annually on prescription meds, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

That’s about twice as much as the likes of Canada, Japan, Germany and France, which permit their state-run insurance plans to negotiate the best possible terms with drug companies.

And yep, as usual, the Republicans rake in big money to take their stands on behalf of big business. Again, “Well, duh.” Nothing new here.

Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was then the Senate majority leader, had a prudent response to this sentiment.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is able to negotiate for lower-priced drugs,” he said. “HMOs can negotiate. Wal-Mart can negotiate. Why in the world shouldn’t Medicare be able to do that?”

Yes, why in the world?

Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people, is allowed to negotiate discounts for members. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if Medicare had the same bargaining power, it could save $116 billion over 10 years.

That’s serious money, and it’s your money we’re talking about. These are taxpayer dollars at stake.

Sounds good, right?

Ah but, longtime readers of this blog see the clue. Those are not taxpayer dollars we’re talking about. Those are government dollars.

Unlike state and local governments, which need and use taxpayer dollars to pay their bills, the federal government does not use taxpayer dollars for anything. It destroys taxpayer dollars upon receipt, simply because it has no need for them.

The federal government is Monetarily Sovereign, meaning it creates unlimited dollars, ad hoc, by paying bills.

Each time the federal government pays a bill, it sends instructions to the creditor’s bank, instructing the bank to increase the balance in the creditor’s checking account. At the moment the bank complies, and not before, brand new dollars are created.

No taxpayer dollars involved.

Federal bill paying (deficit spending) is the method used by the federal government, to add dollars to the economy and to stimulate the economy. Millions of companies benefit from government payments, and those companies hire workers, who spend money, and the economy grows.

But the National Memo article writer, David Lazarus, seemingly does not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty (the federal government) and monetary non-sovereignty (you and me, and businesses, and state and local governments).

He thinks that when the government saves money it benefits taxpayers. But the reality is, when the government spends money it benefits taxpayers and everyone else.

If Medicare were to negotiate drug prices, what would happen? Pharmaceutical companies would make less money. But unlike the Monetarily Sovereign federal government, the monetarily non-sovereign pharmaceutical companies are part of the private economy.

Unlike the federal government, which neither needs nor uses income, private companies need and use their income to hire people, pay salaries, buy goods and services, and generally help stimulate the economy.

The Republicans, bless their souls, are as usual, pro-big money and big business, and anti- little money, but on this one issue, they are right (by accident).

Neither Medicare, nor any other branch of the federal government, should negotiate with private industry . . . not the pharmaceutical companies, not the war supplies companies, not the road-building companies . . . as a money saving exercise.

The federal government cannot run short of dollars, and does not need to save money, and its spending grows the economy.

There may be arguments for the federal government to negotiate for lower prices, the primary one probably being that federal prices conceivably could set prices in the private sector. So, as the argument might go, if the federal government overpays for a road (beneficial to the economy), presumably that could force state and local governments to overpay for roads (bad for state and local taxpayers).

But, in the real world, that sort of crossover doesn’t seem to happen. Medicaid’s negotiations don’t seem to lower Medicare’s prices. What one buyer pays often is quite different from what another pays. That guy sitting next to you on an airplane might have paid half what you paid for a ticket.

Bottom line:
1. State and local taxpayers pay for state and local government spending, but federal taxpayers do not pay for federal spending.
2. Federal spending adds dollars to the private sector, which stimulates the private sector (i.e. stimulates the economy)

Contrary to popular intuition, Medicare should not begin to negotiate with the private sector for drugs. It’s simply a case of something sounding so good and being so wrong.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

===================================================================================
The 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. Federally funded, 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. (Refer to this.)
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)

Initiating The Ten Steps sequentially 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
Monetary Sovereignty

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.

#MONETARYSOVEREIGNTY

–Justice Scalia’s perfect response and reasonable interpretation Thursday, Mar 5 2015 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Mitchell’s laws:
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●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.
●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.
To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Everything in economics devolves to motive,
and the motive is the Gap.
==================================================================================================================================================================

When told that deciding against the government in the the ACA (Obamacare) case before the Supreme Court (King v. Burwell) could result in the loss of health care insurance for more than 7 million Americans, Justice Antonin Scalia gave the perfect conservative response:

“If the only reasonable interpretation of a particular provision produces disastrous consequences in the rest of the statute, it nonetheless means what it says.”

Could he have said it any better?

Here is a translation of his majestic, soaring words.

“I am rich, and the people who put me here are rich. I personally have the best health care insurance in the world, and I can access the best doctors in the world. So can all my friends.

“I neither was selected nor paid to worry about what happens to the ordinary people of America, as a result of my decisions. I was selected and paid to defend the rights of the rich and powerful.

“So long as I do that, I will continue to take free vacations with the rich and powerful. Those are my people, not those ‘tired, poor, huddled masses,’ you bleeding-heart liberals love to bleat about.

“I don’t know a single, poor person, and I don’t care to.

“I am called ‘Justice,’ but it is not my job seek justice, but rather to read the words, and if I can find some way to make them comport with what the rich people want, I will rule accordingly.

“I am a conservative, bought and paid for.”

This “Justice” indicates that so far as he is concerned, the ONLY reasonable interpretation will cause disastrous consequences for the poor. For him, there are no other reasonable interpretations.

Strangely, other Supreme Court Justices do find other reasonable interpretations. But, if Scalia wears conservative blinders, who provided them?

Challenge to Health Overhaul Puts Obscure Think Tank in Spotlight

WASHINGTON — In the orbit of Washington think tanks, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is an obscure name with a modest budget that belies its political connections to conservative titans like the Koch brothers.

But the institute, a libertarian research group, enjoyed a coming-out of sorts on Wednesday, as the lawsuit that it organized and bankrolled — challenging the Affordable Care Act — was heard by the Supreme Court.

The case has the potential to end federal insurance subsidies for some 7.5 million people in 34 states.

Until now, the 31-year-old think tank was probably best known as a strident critic of what it calls “global warming alarmism.” It has also been a ceaseless advocate for small government.

It has teamed up with state attorneys general to challenge an array of Obama administration regulations on financial, air-quality and other issues.

Ah, that beautiful Libertian troika at work: Small government (aka reduce benefits to the poor) no global warming and no pollution control. It’s hard to top the Libertarians for modern enlightenment.

The institute said its positions are “developed independently and are not influenced by the views of donors.

Those donors include conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch, Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking in Florida and the Sarah Scaife Foundation in Pittsburgh, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Verizon and many other major corporations.

Thank goodness all those Libertarian, anti-poor, anti-health, pro-wealth positions are not influenced by people who are known to throw their money away.

Note to “Justice” Scalia: Next time you speak about “reasonable interpretations,” tell us how we should interpret your free ride on Dick Cheney’s Air Force Two jet to a duck hunting vacation — a vacation hosted by a party to a case coming before you.

You refused to recuse yourself for a clear conflict of interest.

Let us know what the “reasonable interpretation” of that should be.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

===================================================================================
The 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. Federally funded, 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. (Refer to this.)
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)

Initiating The Ten Steps sequentially 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
Monetary Sovereignty

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.

#MONETARYSOVEREIGNTY

–There are fools, damn fools and then there are Libertarians (Hello Megan McArdle) Wednesday, Mar 4 2015 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Mitchell’s laws:
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●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.
●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.
To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Everything in economics devolves to motive,
and the motive is the Gap.
==================================================================================================================================================================

There are fools. There are damn fools. And then there are Libertarians.

What exactly is a Libertarian? According to Wikipedia, “Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgement.”

In short, a Libertarian is blissfully self-sufficient — for everyone else — but when a Libertarian can’t get help from the government, then she bawls like a baby.

There are several forms of Libertarianism, each of which evolved because the previous forms were shown to be untenable. It was, “O.K., I’m a Libertarian, but that’s not what I believe,” and then the new Libertarian belief is described.

Here is what life would be in a libertarian world: No Social Security. No Medicare. No Medicaid. No ACA. No food stamps or any other aids to the poor. Taken to its logical conclusion, a Libertarian world also would include no police, no fire fighters, no army and no government.

After all, we’re autonomous, aren’t we. We don’t need no dang government telling us individuals what to do.

Here’s a bit about Libertarian Megan McArdle, taken from Wikipedia:

During Megan’s junior year, she worked as a canvasser for the Public Interest Research Groups, the nonprofit founded by Ralph Nader. Her experience there hurried along her “transition from ultraliberal to libertarian.” The organization was, she later wrote, “the most deceptive, evil place I’ve ever worked.”

Note her self-described “transition from ultraliberal.” This is telling.

An “ultra” anything is what author Eric Hoffer described as a “True Believer.” He (she) is a person who takes extreme positions, and the subject really doesn’t matter.

Hoffer posited that a “True Believer” can more easily switch from and to extreme forms of Christianity, Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, Protestantism, Judaism and Islam, than can the average person.

The subject belief doesn’t matter; it’s the extreme that is vital to the True Believer.

Here is what McArdle says about any form of national health insurance:

“Monopolies are not innovative, whether they are public or private,” and “Once the government gets into the business of providing our health care, the government gets into the business of deciding whose life matters, and how much.”

This is 100% Libertarian bullshit.

Medicare has proven not to stifle innovation. If anything, Medicare greatly has encouraged innovation by paying for drugs and treatments that otherwise would be unaffordable. Consider too, those government-provided subsidies to drug companies to encourage drug development.

As for the other bit of bullshit — ” . . . gets into the business of deciding whose life matters . . .” — this could be said of all health insurance, public or private. Would ours be a better world without health insurance?

In Megan’s Libertarian world, wealth would decide whose life matters. If you have no insurance, and can’t afford drugs and treatment, your life wouldn’t matter.

Ezra Klein of the (right wing!) Washington Post said, “Megan’s argument against national health insurance boils down to a visceral hatred of the government.” That could be said, with much accuracy, about every libertarian, even those drawing a paycheck from the government.

Megan described herself as an “ultra,” i.e. a fanatic, and fanatics require a devil. For Hitler, it was the Jews. For Islamic fanatics the devil is any non-Muslim, or even a Muslim of a different tribe. For Russians, it was capitalists.

For libertarians, the devil is the government, which many of them characterize as “leviathan.” (According to Hoffer, the perfect devil is an alien with evil superpowers — i.e., the Libertarian version of our federal government.)

Hoffer says that fanatics worship the past and love the future, but despise the present. Consider fanatic originalist conservatives Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, and their perpetual worship of our nation’s seemingly “infallible” founders.

Libertarian Megan worships a past — and a future — without Medicare.

Today, Libertarian Megan published “Obamacare Will Not Kill the Supreme Court,” in which she posits that the Supreme Court would survive yet another awful decision.

She is correct. The Court will survive — in ignominy — but it will survive.

But she goes on to say, ” . . . it can certainly survive a narrow statutory case that overturns a still-unpopular program.”

In short, who cares about the millions of people who desperately need health care insurance, but can’t afford it? They should be self-reliant. Shouldn’t they?

Perfect libertarianism.

But wait. Remember at the start of this post, when I said, ” . . . when (a Libertarian) can’t get help from the government, then she bawls like a baby.

Well here comes Libertarian Megan with a brand new article, in which she is bawling about parents who don’t get their kids vaccinated, and how this might hurt her own kids:

Your Right to Skip Shots Ends Where My Kid Begins

I feel pretty strongly about vaccination: I’m for it. So how to convince anti-vaccine parents that vaccination is in the best interests of their child and society?

But what does work? Not telling people about the horrors of the diseases they are helping to spread. Nor does explaining the science calmly and patiently seem to do much good.

The autism-vaccine connection has been about as thoroughly discredited as possible — the paper retracted, the author thoroughly discredited. It still persists, even though logic suggests it never should have started: After all, if the measles vaccine gives you autism, then why wouldn’t actual measles?

So do complaints about thimerosal and mercury, even though thimerosal was removed from vaccines more than a decade ago, with no obvious impact on the rate of autism diagnoses.

So say to parents: You have a perfect right not to vaccinate your children, and we will not force you. But unless you have a vaccination certificate, a letter from a doctor explaining that your child falls into a small number of well-recognized medical exemptions, or a testament from your minister that vaccinating violates the tenets of a church of which you are an active member, failing to vaccinate your child also means failing to qualify for any public benefits for those children.

No tax deduction. No public school, college or municipal activities. No team sports that practice on public land. No federally subsidized student loans. No airplane rides for anyone under 18 unless the TSA gets an up-to-date vaccination certificate.

Whoa! Libertarian Megan, are you talking about government pressure? A squeeze on the self-sufficient by the leviathan?

Oh my, how things change when a Libertarian’s ox is gored.

Let’s get to the basics. Libertarians are the world’s great bullshit artists. They promote self-sufficiency for everyone else, but not for themselves. They don’t want the “leviathan” to help anyone — except when they do.

I’ll say it one more time, in case you don’t know where I stand: There are fools, damn fools and then, standing far to the lunatic fringes, there are Libertarians.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

===================================================================================
The 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. Federally funded, 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. (Refer to this.)
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)

Initiating The Ten Steps sequentially 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
Monetary Sovereignty

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.

#MONETARYSOVEREIGNTY

–Who are America’s heroes? Are you one? Will you vote for one? Tuesday, Mar 3 2015 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Mitchell’s laws:
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●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.
●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.
To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Everything in economics devolves to motive,
and the motive is the Gap.
==================================================================================================================================================================

Who are the American heroes? Let us begin with, “What is a hero?”

We could be heroes (NewScientist Magazine)

“I did it without thinking,” people often say after saving a stranger’s life. The truth is, heroism develops over a lifetime – and it’s never too late to learn

It took Michael McNally about 10 seconds from hearing the crash to run from his house in the Cape Cod village of Marstons Mills to the road outside. When he got there, the car was already burning. Things were exploding in the engine compartment. He looked inside and saw a young woman in the passenger seat.

McNally reached in through the passenger window and tried to pull her out. He lost his grip, so he repositioned himself through the back seat window and pulled her through by her ankles. “The poor girl was on fire,” he says. “Her skin was coming off. It was a horrible thing to see.”

She was severely burned, but survived.

A hero is a person who appears to act against his own best interests, to help another person.

If you want to know why anyone would risk their life to save a stranger, the last person you should ask are the heroes themselves. Whether running to a burning car or sheltering someone from secret police, usually the protagonists cannot explain why they acted the way they did. “I don’t know why I did it,” says McNally. “I only know that I did. I just had to act.”

Acting as a hero would seem to be illogical, but every day people do it. Hero’s are not only police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and spies, but regular, everyday “guy-next-door” types.

It’s a familiar story to Walter Rutkowski, president of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, which awards medals to American and Canadian civilians who risk their lives to save others – McNally was given one last year.

(Consider) Samuel Oliner. When he was 12, the Nazis ordered his family to move from their home to a Jewish ghetto. Two months later, Nazi soldiers entered the ghetto and ordered everyone into the street.

Oliner’s stepmother, sensing what was about to happen, pleaded with him to run. So he hid on the roof while the soldiers herded his family and their neighbours into trucks, drove them into a nearby forest, and killed them.

Oliner eventually left his hiding, and after three nights sleeping rough he knocked on the door of a Catholic woman, Balwina Piecuch. At great risk to herself and her family, she took him in, helped him create a false identity and hid him from the Gestapo.

Balwina Piecuch is not someone you might point to as a hero. She didn’t wake up one morning and announce, “Today, I will be a hero.” She is, what we might call, “an ordinary person.”

But when faced with the decision to save her own life, or risk her life to save another, she chose heroism.

And this was not a “sudden-impulse, regret-it-later” kind of heroism. She, like so many non-Jews during WWII, was heroic, day after day after day.

Of course, there were the cowards, too, who threw the Jews to the Nazi wolves, and justified their cowardice with logic.

“I have to protect my own family, first.” “The Jews were breaking the law by running away.” “They’re bad people; our country is better off without them.”

Not all heroes deal with life or death situations. You can be a hero by protecting a stranger from a bully.

You can be a hero, if you accept blame, when someone else might wrongly be blamed.

You can be a hero, if you’re poor, yet you drop a dollar into the Salvation Army Christmas box.

You can be a hero when you’re dead tired, after a long day’s work, but you surrender your bus seat to an elderly person.

Few of us want to be heroes. Few of us want to accept blame, or to give a scarce dollar to charity, or to stand on aching legs.

Why would anyone choose to help somebody not related to them, with no promise of reward?

To try to answer this question, Oliner and his wife Pearl set up the Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute at Humboldt State University in 1982.

In one of their first studies, still the largest of its kind, they interviewed and psychologically assessed 406 people who had risked their lives to rescue Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, along with 72 people who had lived in occupied areas but had done nothing out of the ordinary.

A number of things became clear. The rescuers were much more empathic than the non-rescuers, and they also espoused values of fairness, compassion and personal responsibility towards strangers that they said they had learned from their parents.

What’s more, they were unusually tolerant: the people they identified as their “in group” consisted of the whole of humanity, not just their own kind.

As Kristen Monroe at the University of California, Irvine, who has studied the psychology of Holocaust rescuers, puts it: “Where the rest of us see a stranger, an altruist sees a fellow human being.”

Being a hero doesn’t even require your potential self-sacrifice. You can be a hero simply by demonstrating empathy, fairness, tolerance, compassion and personal responsibility towards strangers.

Are you a hero? Do you have those qualities?

Obama’s Executive Action Will Protect 5 Million Undocumented Immigrants

President Barack Obama announced his executive action on immigration, which will keep nearly 5 million undocumented residents from being deported.

Even though the sweeping measure has elicited threats of retaliation from congressional Republicans, Obama said he moved forward because comprehensive immigration reform is unlikely to go anywhere in the GOP-dominated Congress next year.

A year and a half ago, a bipartisan immigration bill passed in the Senate but died in the House.

The bill likely had enough Republican and Democratic votes to pass in the House, but Speaker John Boehner, catering to his tea partiers, refused to bring the measure to the floor.

If signed into law, the legislation would have provided legal status to about 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Who is the hero? President Obama or John Boehner? Who demonstrates “empathy, fairness, tolerance, compassion and personal responsibility towards strangers” — the Tea Party conservatives or the Democrat liberals?

What describes you, best? Do you have strong values of fairness, compassion and personal responsibility towards strangers?

Here are some of the people whose lives depend on heroes:

–Undocumented parents of children who are US citizens or permanent residents

DREAMers: Young people who were brought into the country illegally as children could apply for employment visas, though there is no direct path for them to lawful permanent residence or citizenship. To the dismay of immigration activists, the executive action does not extend benefits to the hundreds of thousands of parents of DREAMers.

Families: Often US citizens and legal permanent residents are separated for long stretches of time from family members who are awaiting legal permanent resident status. The executive action would expand a waiver program that will reduce the time these families spend apart.

Noncriminal undocumented immigrants: Obama’s executive action shifts all of the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement resources toward deporting undocumented immigrants who are criminals—instead of deporting undocumented immigrants who pose no such threat.

–Obama’s order will allow highly skilled workers to move and change jobs more easily.

Immigrants with pending cases: The Justice Department will implement immigration court reforms to quickly process the massive backlog of cases.

Immigrant victims of crime: The Department of Labor would expand the number of visas available for victims of crimes and human trafficking.

Though America was built by immigrants, and wisely accepted immigrants, there always have been immigrant haters. My own parents were subject to pejoratives like “greenies, wetbacks, pommies as well as ethnic slurs.

And the logical justifications have remained the same, throughout history: “They’ll take my job.” “They are criminals.” “They are dirty.” “They have too many kids.” “Why should my taxes support them?” “They will cost me money.”

Never mind that none of these “logical justifications” are true. It’s enough that they provide the haters with a defense against self-loathing.

Eleven million people could have been rescued. The Tea Party said, “No.” Now, five million can be rescued. The conservatives still say, “No.”

Why? They don’t have it “in them” to be heroes.

What is that thing they don’t have? According to the NewScientist article:

Further research indicates that people who cooperate in one game tend to cooperate in all, and also help out for real when offered a chance to do so, even when there is nothing in it for them.

“The basic motivators that make you want to help people apply across a lot of different domains.”

A series of recent studies suggest that altruistic behaviour is seeded in young children’s early social interactions with adults.

There also appears to be a biological component. Neuroscientists found that people who had volunteered to donate a kidney to a stranger had larger and more responsive right amygdalae than normal.

All this points to what Samuel Oliner calls an “altruistic personality” – a set of stable, lifelong traits that consistently orientate some people towards altruistic behaviour.

If someone is accustomed to acting altruistically on a daily basis, they are more likely to do so when the risks are high, because this is their default behaviour.

The quoted articles are too long for this blog; I’ll end here, but I urge you to read them.

We are left with the questions: Who are America’s heroes? Are you one? Will you give your vote to a hero?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

===================================================================================
The 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. Federally funded, 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. (Refer to this.)
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)

Initiating The Ten Steps sequentially 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
Monetary Sovereignty

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.

#MONETARYSOVEREIGNTY

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