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Who is America’s single most damaging person? Who is the one person causing the most harm to America as a nation, and to each American, individually?
In a sense, the answer is simple: The President, no matter who he is. He has so much power, that even a casual lift of his little finger can cause major damage.
And when you have a President who is a congenital liar, and who combines a massive ego with a lack of knowledge and a lack of experience, and who surrounds himself with unqualified people, and puts them in charge of agencies whose missions are opposed to their own personal missions, he clearly will cause more damage than anyone, especially if he has a Congress of the same political stripe.
So let’s move beyond the obvious and go to the real question: Who is America’s second most damaging person?
Considering all the possible choices. You could throw a dart at a list of Senators and Representatives, and come up with a candidate. But individually, their power is limited, and most of them focus only on three goals: Be elected, be re-elected and be re-re-elected, regardless of any damage they cause.
True, a Senator can cause trouble for the nation — Joseph McCarthy and Strom Thurmond come to mind — but they need help from an acquiescent Congress, and currently, most are so self-indulgent and short-lived (politically speaking), they haven’t convinced their fellow misfits to follow their lead. So the damage has been limited.
The most (second most after the President) damaging person is one who combines longevity, focus of purpose, access to influential people, a loud “megaphone,” and an agendum that will maximize the damage to the most Americans.
After some thought, I nominate Maya MacGuineas, president of The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), as the one person, other than America’s Presidents, who has damaged, and continues to damage, the United States of America more than any other individual.
The CRFB was formed in June, 1981. More than 35 years of mischief is plenty of time to do real damage.
The focused purpose of the CRFB is to reduce the federal deficit and debt (aka “austerity”), a process that negatively affects the lives of all Americans — except for the most wealthy among us, the .1%.”
CRFB was formed by Robert Giaimo (D-CT) and Henry Bellmon (R-OK). Mr. Giaimo had served in the House of Representatives for 20 years, including four as Chairman of the House Budget Committee. Mr. Bellmon had served 12 years as a Senator and was the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee from its inception in 1975.
Thus, the organization was born with access to influential people. Further, the CRFB claims it regularly meets with members of Congress and their staff, hosts several policy briefings, and offers practical solutions that can achieve bipartisan support and put the country on a “sustainable fiscal course.”
Additionally, the Board of the CRFB includes a long list of luminaries, wealthy, white people, nearly all men, who personally benefit from austerity, while the rest of America suffers.
Fundamentally, the CRFB parrots the Big Lie that federal financing is like personal financing, federal taxes fund federal spending, and the federal government should run a balanced budget.
(The truth: Federal financing is not like personal financing [The federal government is Monetarily sovereign; people are not.], federal taxes do not fund federal spending [Even if all federal tax collections fell to $0, the federal government could continue spending, forever.] and balanced budgets are recessionary [any time the government runs a balanced budget or even reduces deficit growth, we have a recession or a depression.)
Given the economics experience of the CRFB board and its staff, there seems to be no possibility that these facts are unknown to them. The sole conclusion one can draw is that for certain reasons to be discussed later, the CRFB intentionally is trying to cripple America.
Here are examples of their latest “Obamacare reform” efforts that would injure the American economy, and especially punish the “not-rich” (aka the 99.9%).
What’s The Plan to Replace ‘ObamaCare’?, November, 2016
Broadly, the blueprint would repeal most of the Affordable Care Act’s tax and coverage provisions and replace them with a mixture of tax credits, (generally looser) regulations, high risk pools, state flexibility, and other provisions to promote low-cost health insurance coverage.
The focus of the CRFB is on saving money for the federal government while increasing costs to the public. Their underlying belief is that the federal government is short of dollars, but you are not.
Never mind that the federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, never needs to save money. It has the unlimited ability to create its sovereign currency, the dollar. It never, never, never unintentionally can run short of its own sovereign currency.
The blueprint would also take steps to reform Medicare and Medicaid to slow spending overall growth (though it would repeal some cost-control measures in the Affordable Care Act).
“Reform” is the term the .1% use when promoting a plan to charge the 99.9% more or to provide less benefit to the 99.9%. “Slowing spending” means the government would pay less, but you, the public would pay more — and you would receive less.
Likely, the plan would result in less coverage than current law but more than before the Affordable Care Act. It would also likely encourage economic growth to a small degree.
Reductions in federal spending do not encourage economic growth. Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports.
And, the CRFB doesn’t care that you would receive “less coverage.” In fact, that is what the want.
Ideally, the final healthcare bill will provide for low-cost insurance coverage for individuals and the government while reducing the deficit and, perhaps most importantly, further slowing the growth of private and public health care spending over the long term.
The plan relies on the beliefs that there are:
- Too many doctors and the doctors earn too much.
- Too many hospitals and the hospitals earn too much.
- Too much research being done on pharmaceuticals and medical methods, and the pharmaceutical companies earn too much.
- The healthcare insurance companies, which merely are middlemen in the process, and do not in themselves provide healthcare, must be protected.
- The federal government is running short of money.
Not one of these beliefs are factual. They are part of one Big Lie.
You can visit the site to see more details, but the overall approach is three-fold.
- Reduce federal government spending.
- Increase your personal spending.
- Reduce your benefits.
This, in fact, seems to be the entire agenda of the CRFB.
Moving on now to the CRFB’s Social Security agenda:
The Social Security Trust Funds are on a path to run out. The Social Security Trust Funds are projected to become insolvent in 2034, according to the program’s trustees.
At that point, revenues coming into the program will be insufficient to cover scheduled benefits, causing all beneficiaries to suffer a 21 percent benefit cut, regardless of their age, income level, or how much they depend on the program.
The program’s trustees are lying and the CRFB is promulgating the lie. Neither the federal government, nor any federal agency, can become insolvent, unless Congress and the President want it.
Note that no other federal agency has “revenues coming in” (aka FICA). The White House is a federal agency. It is not supported by FICA or any other tax. Yet there never is a discussion of a White House “trust fund” running out of funds.
Similarly, Congress is a federal agency, yet we never hear of Congress being insolvent.
The Supreme Court also is a federal agency, not supported by any “trust fund,” yet the Supreme Court is not “on a path to run out” of money.
Do you wonder why?
The facts are these:
- The Social Security “Trust Fund” is an accounting fiction that does not support Social Security.
- The sole purpose of the fictional “Trust Fund” is to provide an excuse for reducing benefits and/or increasing taxes.
- Even if FICA were eliminated, Social Security (and Medicare) could provide increased benefits for all Americans, forever.
Moving on to the CRFB’s comments regarding taxes:
Expanding Medical Deduction Would Add to Debt
Today, the House voted to expand the medical expense deduction by reversing a change used to pay for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Because this proposal is not offset, CBO estimates it will cost $33 billion over 10 years.
Translation: “Because this proposal is not offset, it will” save us Americans $33 billion and pump $33 billion into the economy over 10 years.
Taxpayers can currently deduct very high out-of-pocket medical costs from their taxable income. Between 1986 and 2013, such costs could be counted as an itemized deduction if they exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).
In order to help finance the costs of the Affordable Care Act and possibly help to slow health care cost growth, Congress changed this threshold to 10 percent of income starting in 2013 for most taxpayers and in 2017 for seniors.
The bill passed in the House (H.R. 3590) would permanently undo the increases of the threshold in the health care law, preventing the increase that is scheduled to take place next year for seniors and rolling back the increase for non-seniors that has been in effect for three years.
To the CRFB, tax savings for sick people and seniors is an anathema. This group of elites would much prefer that sick people and the elderly pay more, and the federal government, which can afford anything, pay less.
Notice that the 7.5% threshold limit does not apply to corporations, but only to individuals. Notice also, that most rich people have incorporated themselves, so they receive full deductions.
The CRFB article continues with additional complaints about tax deductions that “were responsible for significant deterioration of the nation’s medium-term fiscal picture.”
This, of course, is a statement of “the Big Lie.” The U.S. federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, cannot have a “deterioration” of its “fiscal picture” — not short-term, not medium-term, and not long-term.
In a section titled, “Economics:
By our estimates, the national debt will total about 77 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when Trump takes office –higher than at the start of any other presidency, save Truman’s. .
And not only would President-elect Trump begin with higher debt levels than any president other than Truman, but he also faces an unsustainably growing national debt which would rise far more rapidly if he followed through with his costly campaign proposals.
Translation: Trump and the nation benefit from higher debt levels, in that higher debt is a reflection of higher federal deficit spending, i.e. higher stimulus spending.
Here is a graph that demonstrates the fact that decreased growth in deficit spending results in recessions, while increased growth cures recessions.
Even before FCRB began, as far back as 1940 and before, debt fighters have been claiming the federal debt is “unsustainable” (their favorite word) or a “ticking time bomb. See here.
The Big Lie is not new. We’ve documented it for at least 76 years — year after year after year, repeatedly telling us, the American public, that the growing debt is “unsustainable.”
And yet here we are today, 76 years later. The debt still is growing and we still are sustaining. How could that be unless the whole thing is a gigantic lie: The Big Lie?
Here is the purpose of the Big Lie: It encourages fewer benefits going to the poor and middle classes, with more tax collections (increases in FICA and “broadening the base.”)
This widens the Gap between the .1% and the rest. Since it is the Gap that makes the .1% rich (Without the gap, no one would be rich; we all would be the same.)
Thus, the primary goal of the rich is not simply to make more money, but more importantly, to widen the Gap. Pushing us down is just as important as pulling themselves up.
And that is what the FCRB is paid to do: Promote programs that will widen the Gap between the .1% and the rest.
And that is what makes Maya MacGuineas America’s second most damaging person — more damaging than any spy, more damaging than any bigot Senator, more damaging than a purveyor of false news, like Breitbart.
She has access to influential people, regularly meets with members of Congress and their staff, hosts several policy briefings, and offers false solutions that can achieve bipartisan support and put the country on a downward fiscal course.
She and the CRFB combine longevity, focus of purpose, access to influential people, a loud “megaphone,” and an agendum that will maximize the damage to the most people.
The most delicious irony would be if fate made Ms. MacGuineas completely dependent on Medicare and Social Security, but because of CFRB, benefits were so reduced, and taxes so high, she would be unable to “sustain.”
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve 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.
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 can afford better health care than can 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 benefitting 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-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.
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.