It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
Here is a bit of black humor in a bleak year. Sometimes, one doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
Every year, every day, really, the predictions about the “time bomb” and “unsustainability” have been proven wrong.
That’s 77 years, or 28,000 days, the debt hawks have been wrong, wrong, wrong.
Amazingly, this perfect record of error and incompetence does not seem to bother the debt hawk followers, who continue to believe.
Now anyone can be wrong on occasion. But wrong 28,000 days in a row? What does it take to convince people?
I ask this question because of an article that appeared on National Public Radio’s web site:
Is The Apocalypse Coming? No, It Isn’t!
September 13, 2017, MARCELO GLEISER
The Sign, a documentary set to air Thursday, addresses whether the end of days is coming this month, as some biblical literalists predict.
The “sign” in the title refers to an alignment of Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter around the constellations of Virgo and Leo, together with the sun and moon.
According to Revelation 12, some say, this is when the end comes, after much turmoil and destruction.
Michael Shermer, author and editor of Skeptic magazine, Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory, and Konstantin Batygin, an assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech explain the scientific arguments against such fears.
What I find most striking is the strength of the literalists’ conviction. What will they say on Sept. 23 when the world remains where it is?
Surely, as Shermer mentions, Trump may do something, or North Korea. But isn’t it always the case that there will be turmoil somewhere in the world?
Hasn’t this happened over and over, prophecy of the end after prophecy being debunked by the boring continuity of life as we know it?
Michael Rood, who looks like a benevolent rabbi or a biblical patriarch, has returned to Israel to watch the end unfold. He is convinced that come Sept. 23 something will happen to the sun.
Shermer, Krupp, and Batygin do their best to dispel any potential danger. The strength of The Sign is to expose so openly the extent to which literalists will go to justify their beliefs, some using very complex numerology and coincidences as clues.
The film ends with: “Could this be the year? This could be the year.”
Unfortunately, any year could be the year. To instill fear as an agent of change hasn’t worked for millennia — and it won’t work now.
Actually, it is working now.
Debt fear is the agent that prevents America from eliminating FICA, providing Medicare for All, eliminating poverty, making college available to all who want it, fixing the infrastructure, preventing global warming, and increasing federal deficit spending on the myriad programs that would benefit the populace.
Note the fundamental parallel between the end-of-world claims and the debt hawks’ “ticking time bomb” and “unsustainability” claims.
When the world fails to end, you can be sure all the Michael Roods of the world will claim the world really did “end,” because someone threatened someone, and that threat is what “end” really means.
So believers will claim the prediction was right, and they will believe the next prediction.
Similarly, each day, when the “ticking time bomb” of federal debt fails to explode, and when the government continues to “sustain” a debt that has grown an astounding 35,000 % (from $40 Billion to $14 Trillion) in 77 years, the repeated failures of prediction will not teach believers anything.
The claims will be made that each downturn in the stock market, or each change in interest rates, or even one of the recessions that occur on average, once every five years, is evidence that the debt really is an unsustainable ticking time bomb.
For the ignorant, failure does not disprove hypothesis, partly because with each failure, the fear-mongers change the definition of success.
Oh, the world didn’t end? Well, actually it did end, because there was rain in Hawaii, which is very unusual this time of year, and that is a sign the world is about to end.
And oh, the unsustainable ticking time bomb didn’t explode and still is sustained? Well, actually, it did explode, because Amazon showed lower profits than predicted, and that is a sign the bomb is about to explode and become unsustainable.
Thus are the ignorant led by their noses, endlessly, with no evidence able to change their views.
Hey, a third of Americans still believe Donald Trump is doing a good job. Surely, this must be a bit of black humor in a bleak year. Sometimes, one doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
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 A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) 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 EVERYONE Five 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 FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce 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 business 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.