What does it take to convince people of a truth that will benefit them?

As I sit here before my laptop, I wonder yet again, what does it take to convince people of such beneficial truths as:

*The federal “debt” is not “unsustainable,” nor is it owed by taxpayers

*Social Security and Medicare cannot run short of dollars unless Congress and the President will it.

*FICA and all other federal taxes do not fund federal spending. The federal government can spend forever, even without collecting taxes.

I just finished torturing myself with the latest absurdity from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), the self-proclaimed “nonpartisan” group composed primarily of rich, old, white, male, right-wingers.

Nonpartisan? Don’t you believe it. 

They claim to be “an authoritative voice for fiscal responsibility and an educational resource for policymakers and the general public.” Yet, among their comments are:

“Unfortunately, neither (Presidential) candidate has a plan to make Social Security solvent.”

Fact: Social Security, being a federal agency, cannot be insolvent, any more than other federal agencies — the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and the U.S. itself  — can be insolvent.

CRFB “regularly meets with members of Congress and their staff, and offers practical solutions that can achieve bipartisan support and put the country on a sustainable fiscal course.

The U.S. is 240 years old. In all but a handful of those years, the country has run a deficit. Yet, we have sustained. What then is the meaning of “sustainable”? The CRFB never defines this term, because doing so would reveal the nonsense of it.

“The budget is increasingly being taken up by mandatory programs, crowding out investments in other areas of the budget. Lawmakers should enact both entitlement and tax reforms to return our nation to a fiscally sustainable path.”

“Entitlement and tax reforms” is a euphemism for: Cut Social Security, cut Medicare, cut Medicaid and cut poverty aids, while increasing FICA and other taxes.

The U.S., being Monetarily Sovereign, never can run short of its own sovereign currency, the dollar. Its ability to spend is unlimited, no matter what taxes are collected.

Therefore, federal spending cannot be “crowded out.”

Maya MacGuineas, president of CRFB: “We Can’t Borrow Our Way to Prosperity.  Assuming our creditors continue to allow these (high) levels of debt, the CBO estimates that within three decades this will reduce average income by $4,000 per person compared to what it would be if debt were on a declining path. “

Think about it.  Do you really believe the CBO (another similarly “nonpartisan” organization)  can see 30 years in advance?  Let’s get real, here.

See how MacGuinneas spreads the ignorance CBO provided:

  1. So-called federal “debt” actually is the total of deposits in T-security accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank, similar to savings account deposits. In short, bank deposits.
  2. Because the U.S. government, never runs short of its own sovereign currency, it neither needs nor uses these T-security deposits for anything.
  3. T-securities do not benefit the government. They are investments provided to the public. The government could stop selling T-securities (i.e. “borrowing”) tomorrow.
  4. All T-securities could be redeemed instantly, simply by transferring existing dollars from T-security accounts back to the checking accounts of owners. No new dollars needed.
  5. In any event, the Federal Reserve Bank has demonstrated its ability to buy all T-securities (via Quantitative Easing). Thus, there is no legitimate concern about “creditors continuing to allow these (high) levels of debt. The government does not need creditors.

Those are the facts. Now visualize this scenario: 

You are a member of a sect. Your rich leader tells you to give her all your belongings and to climb the sacred mountain, to watch the world end at midnight.

So you give her your house, your clothing, and all your personal items, and you climb and wait. Midnight passes, and nothing happens, so you climb back down, naked and impoverished.

A year later, your leader tells you the same thing. You give her what you have left, and you climb again, and again nothing happens. So you climb down again, naked.

This repeats itself, year after year, for more than 75 years.

Think now. At what point in those 75 years will you finally figure out that your rich leader doesn’t know what she is talking about? Or more likely, that your rich leader is taking you for a sucker to steal all you own.

How many times will you allow yourself to be fooled?

We’ve published posts showing that since 1940, and surely earlier, the bribed politicians, media, and economists have been calling the debt and deficits “unsustainable,” a “ticking time bomb,” and a “death spiral.”

Yet, in those 76 years, despite all the false warnings, the debt and deficit have grown, and the economy has grown, and everything is “sustainable” and there is no death spiral, and that “time-bomb” still ticks.

But you have given away your belongings via unnecessary, regressive taxes and benefit cuts, that widen the Gap between the rich and you.

The graph shows that as recently as 1970, the federal “debt” (blue line) was $275 Billion. In just 46 years the debt has risen to $14 Trillion — a gigantic 50-fold increase.

And still, we’ve “sustained” that 50-fold increase. No “time-bomb” has exploded. And we aren’t in a death spiral. In fact, GDP has risen substantially.

So what does it take for the public to awaken?

Will the public continue to believe the rich sect leader, and continue to trudge up and down that mountain, year after year, waiting for the end of the world — meanwhile giving her what they own?

Will the people continue to grow angry at anyone who dares to tell them they are being taken for suckers by the rich?

People, listen: You can have fully funded Social Security and Medicare, while FICA can  be eliminated. Student debt and hunger can be eliminated. Housing, medical research, the infrastructure and the ecology all can be improved, and taxes can be cut. The gap between you and the rich can be narrowed. (See the Ten Steps to Prosperity, below.)

Why would you prefer to believe otherwise? The rich rely on you being so beat down you will believe good news always is too good to be true for you.

Don’t let it happen. You deserve what our Monetarily Sovereign government can provide. The rich already take more than their share.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty


The single most important problem in economics involves the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the rich and the rest.

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.

Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:

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.
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 ANNUAL 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.
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.
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-transferring 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 a 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.
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.


12 thoughts on “What does it take to convince people of a truth that will benefit them?

  1. “What does it take to convince people of a truth that will benefit them?” ~ RMM


    When an inmate becomes emotionally dependent upon on his prison walls, he is institutionalized. His home is prison, which is secure and predictable. He is terrified by the thought of freedom.

    So it is with the prison called poverty. Average Americans are told lies from birth, such that they become socio-politically institutionalized. They depend on the lies for comfort. They are terrified by the truth, and by freedom.

    Entering debt slavery in late adolescence, they toil without the time or the luxury to read and think, or to question the lies. They desperately cling to fairy tales told to them by their owners; fairy tales that keep them forever poor, and which often send millions of them to their doom.

    Most people in the lower classes cling to suicidal lies until they are forced to wake up in one way or another. This is the nature of human society.

    Therefore, in telling endless lies, Maya MacGuineas is simply giving the peasants what most of them want: namely poverty and misery.


  2. Russia is neoliberal like all the rest…

    The Canadian government wants to privatize Canada’s major airports (i.e. give them to rich people for a tiny fraction of their worth), and has hired Credit Suisse to handle it.

    Credit Suisse specializes in privatization. In 2009, Credit Suisse bought Gatwick Airport in the U.K. through a joint venture with General Electric.

    Credit Suisse also wants to advise the Russian government on its plans to privatize major Russian state-owned enterprises.

    This will mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for the banks and law firms involved in the deals, while air travelers face ever-higher costs to produce corporate profits. There will be much higher parking costs, airport improvement fees, cuts in cleaning staff, and the end of services such as free Wi-Fi.

    Of course, there is no need to privatize, since the Russian, Canadian, and U.S. governments create their spending money out of thin air.

    The peasants refuse to understand this, and will therefore pay the price for their stupidity.



  3. Hi Rodger, what do you think about the libertarian candidate Gary Johnson?

    He plans to eliminate corporate tax and income tax and replace them with a single sales tax.

    I wonder whether he is familiar with MMT…


  4. Another excellent post Rodger. I’m sharing this with all my facebook friends. Hopefully they will spread the information and we won’t continue to get suckered into these lies. I have a question; What effort has been made in trying to change the name of these truths from Modern Money “Theory” to Something more in line with what it actually is like ” How Modern Money Really Works” to something like it?


    1. MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) and MS (Monetary Sovereignty) begin with the same fundamental facts about “how modern money really works,” but come to different conclusions about what should be done.

      MMT seems to focus on a Jobs Guarantee, a program in which the federal government somehow would guarantee that every person who wanted a job would receive one.

      MS believes the Jobs Guarantee is unworkable and naive, and instead, focuses on the Ten Steps to Prosperity.

      Both programs try to educate a public that has been brainwashed into believing federal financing is like personal or business financing where deficits, debt, and losses are to be avoided.

      No matter how hard we try to educate, the public does not understand that:
      The federal deficit = the private sector’s profit
      The federal debt = the private sector’s investment
      A federal loss = the private sector’s gain.

      The reason for the continuing misunderstanding it the ongoing brainwashing by the rich, who wish to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.

      They pay billions to keep the people in the dark. Facts have had no chance against the onslaught of misinformation perpetrated by the rich.


  5. I like the article and almost forwarded it to my Facebook friends …but, many of them are rich. Not rich enough to know they are rich, but most are in the top 10% of income and wealth in the US. They would not believe that they believe the national debt is a problem only because they want to keep a gap between themselves and others poorer than them. They think they are and they really are nice people.

    The gap explanation seems as good as any to me on a collective basis, but not on an individual basis. They don’t understand modern money and It may just be from not being exposed to it, or ignorance and a lifetime of indoctrination. (Rich people are not always the smartest people on all things, especially on macroeconomics.) More importantly if we criticize these people, who are influential in our society, then we are not going to get their support. They will refuse to change attitudes and beliefs that are almost set in stone about the “dangerous national debt” and ” out of control spending”.

    We need to show how this “big lie” about deficits is hurting most all Americans including the top 10%. It must come from making MMT more of the theory that mainstream economists agree on. It has to come from politicians that know deficits don’t matter making sure their constituents understand how money works. (Bernie, you still have a chance to do this).

    Can we at least get a MMT economist on Squawk Box? When I discuss MMT with my freinds it is outside Overton’s window. They don’t even have a clue what I am talking about and dismiss me as a crazy liberal. The Wall Street guys understand it, but when we talk strictly about keeping the gap, we aren’t going to be able to use them as spokespeople to get out the word. These guys might really want to keep the gap.

    Is there another way you can accomplish the goal of getting Americans to understand MMT, without the GAP being the main cause and the rich being the demons, even if they are?


  6. 1. Every economic group wants to widen the Gap below them and narrow the Gap above them. That is why you’ll see so much resentment among the middle classes about the poor receiving food stamps and housing assistance.

    This built-in hatred of those below is what makes the Big Lie so compelling.

    2. The rich who run America are not the upper 10% or even the upper 1%. They are the upper .1%. and closer to the upper .0001%. These people know what they are doing.

    3. If you ever read any MMT writings, or hear any MMT speeches, you will understand why the word is not assimilated by the public: Typical academese, impossible for the layperson to grasp.

    I suspect the only way things will change is when the public becomes angry at the rich, rather than angry at the poor.


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