Football, Tobacco, Guns and Taxes: What Do They Have in Common?

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Football, Tobacco, Guns and Taxes: What Do They Have in Common?


I just saw an excellent movie, “Concussion.” It tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu who discloses the facts about serious brain damage, madness and early death in football players who suffer repeated concussions. The disease is called “chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)”

According to the film, the National Football League long had known about the problem, but it and attempted to squelch any revelation, to the point of bribing the FBI to threaten Dr. Omalu with deportation.

Not only were the wealthy football owners angry at the doctor, but the fans and the football players themselves were in a state of angry denial. They wanted to accept the NFL’s lies, even while people were suffering and dying.

Today, the NFL has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into its “concussion protocol.” Any player who seems to be hit hard enough to sustain a possible concussion, is examined by a doctor, who determines whether the player is fit to return to the game.

If the player is deemed unfit, he is sidelined until the doctor determines fitness.

The protocol is a sop to the public, which apparently is satisfied that “something is being done.” But it is a sad joke for several reasons:

1. CTE may be impossible to detect via a sideline or locker room examination. CTE even may be impossible to detect at any time in a living person, until very severe damage becomes obvious (aka “punch drunk”), at which time the devastation is permanent and life threatening.

2. The damage is cumulative, and can be invisible until irrevocable and terminal damage occurs. Months after concussion symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, anger and memory loss fade, the brain continues to show signs of injury.

3. The “concussion protocol” doctors are hired by the NFL, which already has demonstrated its willingness to lie and to sacrifice players in the name of money. It was the NFL’s doctors who sent young men back in to play, shortly after being “dinged” or “having their bell rung” (favorite flippancies for severe brain damage).

If you like your sport to be filled with action, the safer alternatives are rugby or flag football, neither of which involve as many head impacts as does American football.

But, the players won’t demand change. The government won’t demand it. The fans won’t demand change. The NFL won’t change. The reason: Money.

The only thing that can stop this disease is the acknowledgment of the facts, by the mothers and fathers of the children who play football, beginning at a young age, and who receive thousands of head impacts before they are finished with the game.


The movie made apt comparisons of the NFL with the tobacco companies that denied tobacco causes health problems, and only recently was dragged, kicking and screaming, into labeling their products with warnings. The public wanted to believe the tobacco companies’ lies.

The labeling is a sop to a public that apparently is satisfied that “something is being done.”

Tobacco causes disease and death. But smokers won’t demand change. The government won’t demand it. The tobacco companies won’t change. The reason: Money.

The only thing that can stop this disease is the acknowledgment of the facts, by the mothers and fathers of the children who take up smoking, beginning at a young age.


Every year, more people are killed by guns in the hands of the public than are saved by guns in the hands of the public. But the public believes the nonsensical lie that “if unregulated guns are outlawed only outlaws will have unregulated guns.”

It’s nonsense, because the same could be said about every law in existence. (If tax cheating is outlawed, only outlaws will cheat. If speeding is outlawed only outlaws will speed. If stealing is outlawed only outlaws will steal.)

Not to have a law because outlaws will ignore it, is silly at best and tragic at worst.

The National Rifle Association, the well-paid mouthpiece for the gun and ammunition manufacturers, claims guns save lives. The NRA provides “gun safety” education. This “education” is a sop to the public, which apparently is satisfied that “something is being done.” The public wishes to believe the NRA’s lies.

Guns maim and cause death. But, the gun owners won’t demand change. The government won’t demand it. The gun manufacturers companies won’t change. The reason: Money.


Here we are talking about federal taxes, which like football concussions, tobacco, and guns, are unnecessary and are responsible for millions of deaths.

Taxes cause death by limiting the ability of the public to receive the optimum medical care. The notion that Medicare for All is “unaffordable” and that Social Security and Medicare are “unsustainable,” has been responsible for untold misery.

Contrary to what the rich, the media they own, and the university economists they bribe, tell you federal taxes do not support federal spending. When the federal government pays a bill, it creates the dollars, ad hoc, to pay that bill.

Unlike states, counties, cities, businesses, you, and me, the federal government uniquely is Monetarily Sovereign. It is sovereign over the dollar. It never can run short of dollars, and its debts never can be “unsustainable.”

The federal government could eliminate all federal taxes, and continue spending as before, and still the government would not run short of dollars.

The rich tell you otherwise. Since 1940, they’ve been telling you the federal “debt” is a “ticking time bomb.”

Now, 75 years later, the “debt” has continued to grow, while the paid “experts” of the rich continue to cast worries about the growing “debt.” The mythical “time bomb” continues to tick.

At what point will the people realize they’ve heard this false story again and again, and all the invented worries are groundless?

The motive of the rich is to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest. Without the Gap, no one would be rich, and the wider the Gap, the richer they are.

Federal deficit spending benefits the non-rich far more than it benefits the rich. It narrows the Gap. So the rich tell you deficits and federal “debt” are bad for the economy, when the reverse is true.

The public believes the lie, despite obvious clues showing deficit spending to be not just harmless, but beneficial — not just beneficial, but mandatory for a healthy, growing economy.


What is the commonality among playing football, using tobacco, carrying guns and paying taxes?

1. They all are harmful to the American people

2. The rich say the public needs them, and the rich pay experts to tell the public it needs them

3. The public chooses to ignore the obvious:

–Obviously, repeated head trauma will have a negative effect on your brain. Think about it. Could any honest, intelligent person ever have doubted it?

–Obviously, inhaling smoke is going to affect your lungs and other organs. Think about it. Could any honest, intelligent person ever have doubted it?

–Obviously, more people are killed by guns in the hands of the public than are saved by guns in the hands of the public. Think about it. Could any honest, intelligent person ever have doubted it?

–Obviously, the federal government, which originally created dollars out of thin air, and continues to create dollars, cannot run short of dollars, and just as obviously, adding dollars to the economy, grows the economy, while taking dollars out of the economy shrinks it. Think about it. Could any honest, intelligent person ever have doubted it?

When the public prefers to remain ignorant of the obvious, it suffers for its ignorance.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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. 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 Click here
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)

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.


Recessions begin an average of 2 years after the blue line first dips below zero. There was a dip below zero in 2015. Recessions are cured by a rising red line.

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.

Mitchell’s laws:
•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•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.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and the rest..
•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.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..



23 thoughts on “Football, Tobacco, Guns and Taxes: What Do They Have in Common?

  1. There is no end to the dysfunction in our civilization [so called] today is there? Misinformation is a calamity affecting all walks of life.
    Since we all live now on borrowed time[and money] the end can hardly come quickly enough.


    1. You mean, despite my compassion for the poor, downtrodden subjects of right wing bigotry, but you still like me?


      Third Way Misleads Hard in a Weak Effort to Discredit Social Security Expansion
      Posted on February 1, 2016 by David Dayen

      They want to discredit liberal ideas, at a time when progressive power is being built through the presidential nomination. Beset by the left, the radical center has adopted the famous Karl Rove strategy of attacking their opponent’s strengths, to turn them into weaknesses. If Third Way has to mislead to get there, that’s of no consequence.


      Headline from the Chicago Tribune:

      January 31, 2016
      Homicides top 50, worst January since at least 2001
      In all, 51 people were killed in Chicago as of Sunday morning, a Tribune analysis showed. That’s the most homicides in January since at least 2001 — as far back as publicly available city statistics go.

      Soon, the National Rifle Association will tell you there aren’t enough guns in Chicago, and if only more people carried guns, there would be fewer homicides.

      Visualize the intelligence that would fall for such nonsense.


      1. End the poverty and you will end the murders and other nonsense without having to sacrifice the 2nd amendment. FYI I am an independent that has a hard time completely siding with one party or another which I think is typical of most Americans. Also my comment was meant as tongue and cheek not as an insult in case it came across that way. If I could 100 percent trust bernie wont raise taxes he would have my vote but democrats always want to raise freaking taxes and do.


        1. You are correct that Democrats have been in the “tax and spend” category. Most recently, President Obama has been in the “tax but spend less” category. He’s right-wing Democrat.

          Bernie Sanders is left-wing. Here are two facts that should comfort you:

          1. Weeks ago, Bernie hired Professor Stephanie Kelton to be his chief economics advisor. If anyone on earth understands that federal taxes do not fund federal spending, it is Stephanie.

          Given a choice of all the economists in America, Bernie hired her; there must be a reason.

          I assume he currently talks about raising taxes on the rich, not because he believes tax revenue is necessary, but to emphasize his pro-middle-class, anti-rich chops and to answer the question: “Who’s going to pay for it?

          2. Bernie explains how a “Medicare for All” plan, saves money for the 99% of Americans who are not rich — even with the possible tax increases.

          Anyway, would you agree to spend more in taxes if you could save even more money overall by not paying for health insurance?


          1. All politicians understand how money works. To be honest if Bernie Sanders came forward and told people that they have been paying taxes unnecessarily for no reason, he would probably be killed.


          2. The amount you owe is irrelevant.

            The comparison is between:

            A. The amount you pay for health care insurance plus everything not covered by insurance (deductibles and prescriptions, etc.)


            B. The amount of additional taxes you would pay.


          3. coolslim, you are absolutely correct. I was told exactly that by a very important part of Bernie Sanders’ election group.

            He not only would be killed by the rich but by the bought-and-paid-for politicians and by the brainwashed public.

            Think of trying to explain to a teenager what is good for them and bad for them. That would be the reaction of the public.


          4. Well the amount I owe matters to myself as someone who started a business last year after being laid off and having to cash out a 401k to fund business and pay bills. The 300 I spend a month for a gold plan with a very small deductible isn’t going to break me but this tax bill just might.


          5. Yes i wish Sanders would actually come out and explain MMT. I think he did well enough in Iowa that he could blow the lid off the whole show. It’s time. Basing his platform on tax and spend is so 20th ce


  2. Conservatives will argue that the tax system unfairly burdens the rich, because the rich are the ones who pay the most tax. Are they right?

    Ideally no one should pay tax in my opinion as it is clearly unnecessary. But, how does tax widen the gap between the rich and the rest, if the rich are paying the highest tax rates? I suppose the rich are also able to more easily avoid paying tax.


    1. “Highest tax rates” is a myth.

      First, the INCOME TAX rate may be higher, but the rich seldom pay it. If there is any billionaire who pays the highest rate, he immediately should fire his accountant and lawyer.

      Second, FICA is a regressive tax burden on the non-rich. It is limited to low salaries, and it is not collected at all from non-salary income.

      Though ostensibly, half of FICA is paid by the employer, in reality, the employee pays the whole 15%, as that is what employers figure as a cost of employment.

      And then, when people reach 65, the Social Security that FICA supposedly paid for is taxed.

      Third SALES TAXES are excessively collected from the middle and the poor, who spend the majority of their income on taxed items, like food and clothing. The rich invest most of their income, untaxed.

      I believe that when all things are considered, the average $50,000 a year man pays almost half his income in taxes — way higher than the percentage any billionaire pays.

      So shed no tears for the “poor” rich, who are subject to high rates. As Warren Buffett recently admitted, his secretary pays a higher rate than he does.


    2. Looked at another way, regardless of how much federal taxes you pay or do not pay, federal taxes worsen inequality by removing money from the economy.

      Lower income people are much more dependent on various forms of government help than are rich people, and are much more dependent on direct economic exchanges with each other (i.e. buying and selling of goods and services). They are hurt when money is removed from the overall economy, since this reduces aggregate demand.

      Meanwhile rich people are not hurt, since today they make most of their money in the speculative markets, not from aggregate demand in the real economy.

      Ergo, the lower you are on the ladder of wealth, power and prestige, the more federal taxes OF ANY KIND hurt you, even if the federal taxes are not levied directly against you.

      There is only one way to offset this hurt, and that is by a dramatic increase government spending, which puts money back into the economy.

      Bank lending can also put money into the economy, but loan money involves debt, which soon reaches horrendous levels. This in turn casts us back into recession.

      The bottom line is that austerity boosts inequality. That is the sole function of austerity (i.e. of federal spending cuts and federal tax increases).


      1. Correct.

        Dollars are created in two ways: Federal deficit spending and lending

        Dollars are destroyed in two ways: Federal taxation and loan repayments

        Lending is a temporary way to create dollars, because loans must be repaid. Deficit spending is more permanent, because taxes do not need to be levied.


  3. Mark, I’m not sure what your “small deductible” is, but does your “gold plan” cover all the really expensive stuff?:

    The health care benefits under this Act cover all medically necessary services, including at least the following:
    (1) Primary care and prevention.
    (2) Approved dietary and nutritional therapies.
    (3) Inpatient care.
    (4) Outpatient care.
    (5) Emergency care.
    (6) Prescription drugs.
    (7) Durable medical equipment.
    (8) Long-term care.
    (9) Palliative care.
    (10) Mental health services.
    (11) The full scope of dental services, services, including periodontics, oral surgery, and endodontics, but not including cosmetic dentistry.
    (12) Substance abuse treatment services.
    (13) Chiropractic services, not including electrical stimulation.
    (14) Basic vision care and vision correction (other than laser vision correction for cosmetic purposes).
    (15) Hearing services, including coverage of hearing aids.
    (16) Podiatric care.

    O.K., I know your “gold plan” doesn’t cover all of the above, some of which can be bankruptingly expensive, and I also know you have no idea (nor do I), how much your taxes would be increased.

    But, if you are a risk taker and are:

    A. Satisfied to be liable for 1-16,
    B. Are happy to pay $3,600 per year for your current coverage,
    C.You don’t care about paying for part of your employees’ health care insurance
    D. You don’t care whether your employees and others of the 99% have coverages 1-16,

    Then, you may not be interested in Medicare for All


    A good article: Gerald Friedman, Bernie Sanders’ Single Payer Healthcare Consultant, Debunks Attackers


    1. Both Democrats and Republicans defend the Big Lie, since both sides work for the rich (who want to widen the Gap), and both sides want us to grovel to them for every federal cent.

      Republicans defend the Big Lie by calling for less spending on social programs that help average people.

      Democrats defend the Big Lie by calling for higher taxes.

      Both sides know they are lying. However both sides are only giving the citizenry what the citizenry wants. Most average Americans defend the Big Lie, since they use it to justify their hatred of everyone below them on the scale of wealth, power and prestige. Indeed, average Americans would scream the loudest if Bernie Sanders told the truth, even though average Americans would benefit the most from the truth.

      Therefore Sanders must play the game. He must talk about raising taxes. He must defend the Big Lie. However talking is one thing. Actually doing it is another.

      Anyway, do average people really know what corporations pay or do not pay in taxes? Do average people know what their next door neighbors pay in taxes? Do they even TALK to their next door neighbors? No.

      The only way we have to know what other people really pay in taxes is to look at the overall economy. If we are in a recession, then tax rates are too high, or federal spending is too low, or both.

      Regarding Stephanie Kelton, if she has talked to Sanders, then they have educated each other. Now Sanders knows the truth about money, and now Kelton knows the truth about politics.

      No one in the public spotlight gets away with violating the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not question the Big Lie.


  4. I got ya Rodger you make a good argument but I would just feel better if Bernie would say you know what I am not going to raise taxes after all and visit my website for this 1 hour long documentary explaining how I am going to do that and why we do not need to raise taxes. All politicians are at risk of being killed by some nut, its a risk you take but speaking the truth in the face of danger is what great people do.


  5. Elizabeth and Mark,

    Have you seen movies of WWII “D-day”? Hundreds of landing craft, filled with soldiers, hit the Normandy beaches.

    The first landing craft and the first soldiers were decimated. But they kept coming. The Germans couldn’t kill them all.

    Some soldiers got through. Then more and more. Eventually, there were enough successful soldiers to win the battle.

    That’s the political story we face. A few people will contact politicians and urge them to tell the truth. Then more and more.

    Then one politician will tell the truth. He will be decimated. But more will join the story. Then more and more. Eventually, the truth will become common knowledge and the country will be puzzled at why anyone didn’t understand it in the first place.

    It happened with women’s suffrage, black suffrage, civil rights and gay rights.

    The rich seldom volunteer rights. The people must demand them. Then slowly, the rights are extracted from the rich.

    That is how the world works. That is the purpose of the GOFUNDME at the top of this page.


  6. Hi Roger, as always I enjoy your writing and see that MMT is gathering more acceptance from the general populous, as shown by more comments and other internet sites. Have you any relation with……?
    ….and yes I try to preach or explain, depending on my temperament, MMT on Disques and other forums, many times to little avail as my respondant gets infuriated.


    1. Billy Mitchell (no relation) is an MMTer, a professor who writes from a technical standpoint. I find his writings unnecessarily ponderous, but that may reveal my own ignorance.

      Warren Mosler was the founder of MMT. His book, particularly the first couple of chapters, is on one the best explanations of MMT, ever.

      Years ago, Randy Wray invited me to speak before his students at the UMKC (See the post titled: “The Meteorology of Economics” – Speech at UMKC”).

      In more recent times Randy has become angry at me for disagreeing with him about his Jobs Guarantee (See the several posts having titles that include the words “Jobs Guarantee”).

      Interestingly, I wrote my books without ever having heard of MMT. In fact, only after I spoke to Randy’s students, did I discover they already were familiar with my “great” revelations.

      I felt like the guy who invented the light bulb — a year after Edison.

      Nevertheless, while Monetary Sovereignty mostly parallels MMT in the description of economic reality, it diverges substantially in recommendations about what should be done (i.e. Jobs Guarantee and taxes).

      And yes, people tend to get angry whenever you propose something they feel destroys the core of their beliefs. Facts are threatening to them, and the more facts you present, the angrier they become, even when the facts may benefit them.

      For instance, it’s a fact that all salaried people, and the entire US, would be much better off financially if FICA were eliminated. Yet, try telling that to people.


      1. “Billy Mitchell is an MMTer, a professor who writes from a technical standpoint. I find his writings unnecessarily ponderous, but that may reveal my own ignorance.” ~ RMM

        Billy Mitchell is indeed ponderous. Like most academics, he fears that people will think him stupid if he speaks clearly and succinctly. Plus, he echoes the standard MMT nonsense about the “jobs guarantee” and “taxes drive money.”

        As with most MMT people, Billy Mitchell dreads saying these simple eleven words in public…

        “The U.S. government creates its spending money out of thin air.”

        Warren Mosler is better, since Mosler is more of a businessman than an academic. I have no complaints about him.


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