You may have noticed on this site, repeated examples of economists parroting the Big Lies in economics: Federal taxes fund federal spending, federal deficit spending is “unsustainable,” Medicare and Social Security are running short of money.
We never have seen a precise explanation for “unsustainable,” but we expect the economists want you to believe some combination of:
–The U.S. federal government is running short of its own sovereign currency, the dollar
–Taxpayers pay for federal spending
–Deficit spending causes inflations
–Deficit spending causes recessions and depressions
–At some unknown future time, the federal government will not be able to pay off its debts
All of the above are false.
The facts are: The U.S. government cannot run short of dollars; taxpayers do not pay for federal spending; deficit spending doesn’t cause inflations; deficit spending prevents and cures recessions and depressions; the federal government could pay off all its debt tomorrow.
Why do many economists, who of all people should know better, disseminate harmful myths about our economy?
In previous posts we have attributed the Big Lies to bribery by the rich — specifically those people who want to widen the Income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest. (Without the Gap, no one would be rich — we all would be the same — and the wider the Gap, the richer they are.)
The rich bribe economists by employing them in “think tanks” and by making donations to their universities.
There may, however, be an additional factor: Commitment denial
Are Good Doctors Bad for Your Health?
New York Times, by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, 11/15/15
“Get me the best cardiologist” is our natural response to any heart problem. Unfortunately, it is probably wrong.
One of the more surprising research papers published recently appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine. It examined 10 years of data involving tens of thousands of hospital admissions.
It found that patients with acute, life-threatening cardiac conditions did better when the senior cardiologists were out of town.
And this was at the best hospitals in the United States, our academic teaching hospitals.
As the article concludes, high-risk patients with heart failure and cardiac arrest, hospitalized in teaching hospitals, had lower 30-day mortality when cardiologists were away from the hospital attending national cardiology meetings.
And the differences were not trivial — mortality decreased by about a third for some patients when those top doctors were away.
The research began as an investigation of how much harm cardiology meetings did (by calling doctors away from their hospitals), and instead found that heart patients did better when the hospitals’ best cardiologists were away!
There were several speculations about why this might be true:
One possible explanation is that while senior cardiologists are great researchers, the junior physicians — recently out of training — may actually be more adept clinically.
Another potential explanation is that senior cardiologists try more interventions.
When the cardiologists were around, patients in cardiac arrest, for example, were significantly more likely to get interventions, like stents, to open up their coronary blood vessels.
We usually think more treatment means better treatment.
We often forget that every test and treatment can go wrong, produce side effects or lead to additional interventions that themselves can go wrong.
The point of this post is not specifically to discuss medicine, for which I have very little background. Instead, the point is to discuss the medical establishment’s response to this research: Commitment denial.
When the AMA and several doctors were questioned about the research results, the responses could be summarized as, “We’re pleased that doctors made sure their staff was fully prepared.”
Get it? Rather than worry about why such results occurred, they tried a “lemons into lemonade” approach, in effect claiming that greater mortality with top doctors was a good thing.
Also, they questioned the research itself, and seem less concerned about the possibility the research may have uncovered a real problem.
Doctors themselves intuitively believed the results were impossible. And why should they not?
They have devoted their entire lives to the “self-evident” postulate that better, more experienced doctors always create better patient outcomes.
They are committed to denying otherwise.
In the same vein, many economists have devoted their lives to the belief that federal taxpayers, (like state and local taxpayers) fund their governments’ spending, and that deficits and debts are economically bad.
To them, it’s “self evident.” No proof needed, and no contrary evidence accepted.
Economists have written papers and read papers on the subject, given speeches and heard speeches , attended meetings and had informal discussions with fellow economists, received awards for their hypotheses, taught classes and corrected students who said otherwise — day after day after day — all of which have solidified their beliefs.
In short, the economists, like the doctors, are not just financially committed, but also emotionally committed to their versions of the Big Lie.
You probably have not heard much about the above-mentioned medical research. The doctors and media don’t discuss it.
Nor have you heard much about the Big Lies in economics. The economists and media don’t discuss them.
They believe what they believe, and anything that disagrees “obviously” is wrong.
Each group of doctors and economists fervently prays the data simply will disappear — the head-in-sand approach, though in each case, the data point to ways in which physical and financial lives may be saved.
In human psychology, a saved life sometimes is less valuable than a saved self-image.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.