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.

Those who understand Monetary Sovereignty know the federal deficit/debt issue is phony, created by the Tea (formerly Republican) Party as an election ploy and/or out of sheer economic ignorance. It’s an issue I predicted would come back to bite the Tea Republicans as specifics about what’s to be cut became understood. Hello Medicare, Social Security, the military, and on and on and on.

So, I anticipate the right wing will begin to focus on a better issue, and that issue will be: unemployment. We all can empathize with those who want income but can’t find a job. Presumably this issue will make more sense than cutting the money supply to stimulate the economy, Rep. Boehner’s latest bit of desperation nonsense.

One problem is definitional. What exactly is unemployment? Is it:
–people who don’t have jobs?
working age (whatever that is) people who don’t have jobs?
–people seeking employment?
–people seeking employment, and whose separation/unemployment benefits have run out?

Other factors include:
–length of unemployment
–age of those unemployed
–relationship to population size
–definition of a “job” (This one can be especially complex. For instance, do home workers have jobs? Do part-time workers have jobs?)
–Cash workers who don’t pay taxes and are “invisible” to the government statisticians

All these thoughts came to me when I looked at this graph.

graph 1

It shows the total number of unemployed (blue line) and the Civilian Employment / Population Ratio (red line).

The number of unemployed remains near its all-time high, which is an important election issue. But population too is at its all-time high. So, the red line is more revealing, simply because it takes population into consideration.

And it shows something rather interesting. The ratio of employment to population, while relatively high is nowhere near its all-time high, which occurred in 2000. In fact, the Civilian Employment-Population Ratio is higher than it was during all the years from WWII through 1983.

Even more interesting: Unemployment has tended to fall during the years preceding recessions, then climb during recessions, only to fall again when recessions ended. This could indicate that unemployment does not precipitate recessions, but rather is a result of recessions.

Neither curing unemployment nor increasing employment, seems to prevent recessions. On the contrary, based solely on these data, one could make the case that employment efforts are economically counter-productive.

I don’t have good evidence to explain this counter-intuitive result, but as a businessman, I have a hunch: When business improves, companies hire too many people. They create excessive employment. Then, because payrolls become excessive, companies pare down. And this, along with reduced federal deficit growth, leads to a recession.

I am not saying the federal government should encourage unemployment or even neglect it. Rather, I believe reduced unemployment works in parallel with reduced federal deficit spending to cause recessions.

graph 2

Rather than trying to attack unemployment directly, the federal government should increase deficit spending on many fronts, which will stimulate the overall economy and thereby, counteract the negative economic effects of what seem to be periods of excessive employment.

As I said, I don’t have proof for this conjecture, other than the data shown above. Perhaps you have a different explanation.

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.”