–Saving America by closing the gap: A suggestion for #OWS Friday, Dec 9 2011 

Mitchell’s laws: Reduced money growth never stimulates economic growth. To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments. Austerity breeds austerity and leads to civil disorder. Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
==========================================================================================================================================

It had seemed mysterious to me, that otherwise well-informed, often intelligent people – people who have easy access to the facts – still seem not to understand the very basis of all economics: Monetary Sovereignty. Media writers and politicians are examples of groups who easily could discover the truth, yet they don’t.

For years I’ve ascribed this to laziness of mind or reluctance to admit error. I may have been wrong on both counts.

Let’s begin with a few, absolute, undeniable facts:

1. In 1971, the U.S. federal government became Monetarily Sovereign. It gave itself the unlimited ability to pay any bill of any size, any time.
2. Given this unlimited ability to create dollars, it needs neither taxes nor borrowing to support its spending.
3. U.S. states counties and cities, corporations and individuals are monetarily non-sovereign
4. The sole economic limitation on federal spending is inflation.
5. Since the U.S. became Monetarily Sovereign, and deficits increased greatly, the Fed largely has been able to control inflation at close to its target range of 2%-3%, and there never has been imminent danger of hyperinflation.
6. Federal deficit spending is economically stimulative and supports many economic benefits; reduced deficit spending, i.e. austerity, restricts benefits.
7. Dollars have no physical existence. Much like numbers, they exist only as accounting references. You nether can see nor touch a dollar.
8. The federal government pays its bills, not by sending dollars, which being non-physical, cannot be sent, but rather by sending instructions to banks to mark up accounts.
9. Austerity negatively impacts the poor more than the rich.

One may choose to argue these points, but the evidence suggests such arguments devolve to word play and sophistry. I never have known of an intelligent – emphasis on “intelligent” – debt hawk who seriously will deny any of the above. Yet, these same debt hawks continue to maintain that reductions in federal deficits are prudent and necessary, which strangely does not result in feelings of cognitive dissonance. They seem comfortable holding conflicting beliefs.

As said earlier, I first thought this indicated mental laziness, a cousin to low intelligence. And later I felt it might be closer to pride, hubris and the difficulty in admitting error. In my more recent posts I’ve suggested the real problem is class warfare. The wealthiest 1% are pressing down on the less wealthy 99%, not so much to increase absolute power, but to increase comparative power.

As a businessman, I often saw that absolute compensation was much less important to workers than comparative compensation. A worker making $25K per year was happy, if he were the highest paid among his peers, but a worker making $50K per year was angry if he were the lowest paid. One only need look at professional athletes to see this effect.

Though rationally, absolute income and benefits should be of paramount importance, the “wealth gap” has great psychological meaning. While austerity impacts the poor and the rich, the upper 1% are willing to accept some loss of wealth if the loss to the poor is greater, i.e. if the “gap” grows.

We see this everywhere. Deficit cutters want to reduce Social Security benefits. This negatively would impact the 1%, but not nearly so much as it would hurt the 99%. The same is true for Medicare reductions. Reducing military expenditures might make America less safe for all, but this has the “advantage” of unemploying thousands of soldiers and workers in militarily-related industries, thereby increasing the gap. Cutting postal services will be an inconvenience for the 1%, but a major trauma for those postal workers who lose their jobs.

Everywhere you look, reduced deficit spending hurts America overall, but the 1% are hurt less than the 99%. Reduced deficit spending growth leads to recessions, which grow the gap.

This effect may not always be intentional or even conscious by the 1%. It may simply be a matter of “comfort.” The 1% are uncomfortable when the gap narrows – when members of the 99% move into the neighborhood or into the exclusive building. Some clubs levy high fees to keep the “riff-raff” out. In organizations catering to the 1%, the staff goes beyond courtesy into obsequiousness, further to extend the gap.

Even racial and religious bigotry may be related to a psychological desire to press down some groups in order to extend the gap.

America’s and the world’s opinion leaders – the T.V. personalities, the print media editors, the politicians, the economists – they generally are part of the 1%, and if not the 1% at least the upper 5%. Emotionally, they all treasure the gap and feel uncomfortable when it closes.

Increased deficit spending would stimulate the economy, benefitting everyone, but it would benefit the 99% more, and that bothers the 1%. Even the upper 50% treasure the gap between them and the lower 50%. Everyone loves the gap if they are part of the “haves.”

Citizens, who don’t want immigrants to become citizens, use non-factual excuses like crime and job loss to explain their feelings. “Straights” deny marriage to gays, thereby maintaining the social gap. Everywhere we look, we find groups trying to press down other groups, not for any personal benefits, but to maintain a gap.

And that may be why facts and logic have had so little effect on economic beliefs. The greatly maligned (by me) Chicago Tribune editors, who stoutly refuse even to look at facts, much less acknowledge them, may not reflect mental laziness or reluctance to admit error. They may reflect their possibly subconscious, personal desire to maintain or build the gap.

So if facts and logic cannot overcome the myth that deficits should be reduced and austerity is beneficial, what can? In many nations, military power. In today’s America, political power.

Historically, efforts to reduce the gap have been met with resistance by the upper levels, this resistance being overcome only by political power. All the bloody revolutions fall into that category. Martin Luther King’s marches and especially voter registration, led to the gap-closing, Civil Rights act of 1964, perhaps America’s greatest revolution since the Civil War.

Political power means votes. While #Occupy Wall Street wishes to close the gap, it’s immediate goals are not clearly defined. They seem to want to bring down the upper 1%, a goal that will be met with the fiercest resistance, and which would not benefit the 99%.

#OWS first must learn Monetary Sovereignty, then put forth and support candidates (probably Democrats, not independents) who will show the 99% how MS can close the gap. The 1% will resist, but the 99% have the votes.

Warren Mosler ran for office. He was creamed. He had no backing, no name, no voice, no organization. He was alone with his facts and logic. #OWS should get behind people like Warren (and Warren himself, if he still has the stomach for politics), march for them, gather voters for them and give them big, loud, visible soapboxes, where they can shout the benefits of federal deficit spending – where they can show the 99% how their lives and their children’s lives need not be relegated to agonizing austerity.

That should be the focus of #OWS’s efforts: Learn MS, then elect candidates who understand MS. Given enough votes, the media, the politicians and even the old-school economists will fall in line, and America will emerge from the doldrums into the light.

Don’t damage the 1%. Damage the gap.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
http://www.rodgermitchell.com


==========================================================================================================================================
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
b>Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment + Private Consumption + Net exports

#MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

–Financial frauds who give exactly the same advice to every client, no matter what the situation. Friday, May 27 2011 

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.
==============================================================================================================================================================================================

We all are aware of the euro nations’ financial problems, especially the problems of the PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. We have discussed the fact that because these nations, in surrendering their Monetary Sovereignty, surrendered their control over their money supply. They are unable to create the money necessary to support their economies.

I predicted in a 1995 speech at the UMKC,Because of the Euro, no euro nation can control its own money supply. The Euro is the worst economic idea since the recession-era, Smoot-Hawley Tariff. The economies of European nations are doomed by the euro.” However, not all European nations surrendered their Monetary Sovereignty. Among the nations choosing to remain Monetarily Sovereign are Poland, Romania, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Here are some sample news items:

Bloomberg; 5/25/11: “Poland’s economic-growth forecast was raised to 3.9 percent from 3 percent at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

5/27/11: According to Capital Economics, a British research group, Romania’s economy will grow by 3% this year compared to a previous forecast of 1%, followed in 2012 by a 2.5% advance. The recovery will be fueled by private consumption, but also by the resumption of investments. Also the research group states that Romania has the second best potential for economic development in the region, along with Bulgaria, Poland and Russia.

OCDE:1/2/11 – Sweden is expected to continue to recover strongly from the recession as high saving, low interest rates and an improving jobs market encourage consumers to step up spending, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey of the country.

Bloomberg: 5/26/11: The mainland (Norway) economy will expand 3.3 percent this year and 4 percent in 2012, after growing 2.2 percent in 2010, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said yesterday.

The Monetarily Sovereign nations are doing better than the monetarily non-sovereign nations. No surprise there for those of you who have been reading this blog. The key, of course, is for a Monetarily Sovereign nation to realize it’s Monetarily Sovereign. Not all do.

Why the British economy is in very deep trouble, Financial Times, Posted by Neil Hume on May 26, 2011

Here’s something for the Chancellor and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to chew on: a warning from Dr Tim Morgan, the global head of research at Tullett Prebon, that the deficit reduction plan won’t work and the UK is headed for a debt disaster.

Morgan says sectors that account for nearly 60 per cent of UK economic output are critically dependent on debt (public or private) and set to contract rather than expand. This will render economic growth implausible and means the burden of public and private debt will prove too heavy for the nation to carry:

Over the past decade, the British economy has been critically dependent on private borrowing and public spending. Now that these drivers have disappeared – private borrowing has evaporated, and the era of massive public spending expansion is over – the outlook for growth is exceptionally bleak.

Sectors which depend upon either private borrowing or public spending now account for at least 58% of economic output. These sectors are now set to contract rather than expand, which renders aggregate economic growth implausible. And, without growth, there may be no way of avoiding a debt disaster.

The UK, wisely avoided surrendering its Monetary Sovereignty, then forgot why it did so. It thinks, “the era of massive public spending is over.” Why? It has no idea. It believes it’s monetarily non-sovereign.

This puts the UK in the same position as the U.S., whose politicians, media and old-time economists do not understand the implications of Monetary Sovereignty. Read any article or listen to any politician, and you will not be able to tell whether the subject is a Monetarily Sovereign nation or a monetarily non-sovereign nation. They say exactly the same things about both.

What would you think about an investment advisor who gives exactly the same advice to a wealthy, married old man with no children, as he gives to an impoverished single, young woman supporting five children? If someone says exactly the same things, makes exactly the same predictions, and offers exactly the same advice regarding two diametrically opposite monetary situations, that person is a fraud.

I have just described the debt-hawk media, politicians and old-time economists.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
http://www.rodgermitchell.com


==============================================================================================================================================================================================
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. It’s been 40 years since the U.S. became Monetary Sovereign, , and neither Congress, nor the President, nor the Fed, nor the vast majority of economists and economics bloggers, nor the preponderance of the media, nor the most famous educational institutions, nor the Nobel committee, nor the International Monetary Fund have yet acquired even the slightest notion of what that means.

Remember that the next time you’re tempted to ask a dopey teenager, “What were you thinking?” He’s liable to respond, “Pretty much what your generation was thinking when it screwed up my future.”

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

–Does your money belong to the government? Wednesday, Dec 2 2009 

An alternative to popular faith

The November 23, 2009 New Yorker contained an article by James Surowiecki, titled “The Debt Economy.” He claims what he calls “tax breaks,” adversely skew the economy and cause people not to “make decisions based on economic fundamentals (but) on tax considerations.”

He gives the example of corporate interest payments vs. dividends. The former are tax deductible “tax breaks”; the later are not, which provides a “debt bias” (his words) to the economy.

Mr. Surowiecki disparages “tax breaks” as being “unnecessary” and having “nonexistent social benefits.” His solution: Eliminate tax breaks.

Consider health insurance. The government encourages companies to provide it by allowing payments to be tax deductible for the companies, and not taxable to the employees – i.e., using before-tax dollars. In contrast, people who purchase their own health insurance must use after-tax dollars. In Mr. Surowiecki’s world, the economy would benefit from eliminating the “tax break” by taxing employees’ health benefits.

This solution suggests taxes are the norm, and tax breaks are departures from that norm. That is, all the money you earn belongs to the government, and only an aberration or “break,” allows you to keep some of it.

I disagree. It is taxes, not “tax breaks,” that skew our economy, forcing decisions away from economic fundamentals. Eliminate taxes and the economy would be steered by the economic fundamentals Mr. Surowiecki craves. All taxes depart from these economic fundamentals. There are no innocuous taxes. They all make a difference. So the very act of imposing a tax, any tax, will skew the economy.

Further, there are no “fair” taxes. You can read a one-page article on this subject at: http://rodgermitchell.com/FairTaxes.html

Tax breaks are less harmful than taxes, not only because taxes skew the economy, but because all taxes remove money from the economy, thereby reducing economic growth.

Taxes are not the norm. Your money does not belong to the government. When deciding whether to tax debt or to “untax” non-debt, the economy would benefit from the later.

*Faith is belief without evidence. Science is belief from evidence.

–Federal Debt: A “ticking time bomb” Tuesday, Nov 24 2009 

An alternative to popular faith

Popular faith holds that the federal debt is a ticking “time bomb,” ready to explode into inflation and high interest rates, and destroy our economy. Here are a few references, beginning 70 years ago. Note that the language remains the same, down through the years — repeated predictions of a disaster that never seems to come.

Even with the end of the gold standard in 1971, arguably the most significant economic event since the Great Depression, the debt-hawk language never changes — as though 1971 were a non-event.

Sept 26, 1940, New York Times: Deficit Financing is Hit by Hanes: ” . . . unless an end is put to deficit financing, to profligate spending and to indifference as to the nature and extent of governmental borrowing, the nation will surely take the road to dictatorship, Robert M. Hanes, president of the American Bankers Association asserted today. He said, “insolvency is the time-bomb which can eventually destroy the American system . . . the Federal debt . . . threatens the solvency of the entire economy.”

Feb 11, 1960, New York Times: Mueller Assails Rise in Spending: The enormous cost of various Federal programs is a time bomb, threatening the country’s fiscal future, Secretary of Commerce, Frederick H. Mueller warned here today “. . . the accrued liability is a ticking time bomb. Some day someone will have to pay.”

Oct 4, 1983 Evening Independent – The United States and the developed world face a “ticking time bomb” because of the huge foreign debt involving loans to Third World nations

Oct 26, 1983, David Ibata: “ . . . home-building officials called for a commission to propose ways to trim the $200 billion federal deficit. The deficit is a ‘ticking time bomb‘ that probably will explode in the third quarter of 1984,’ said Fred Napolitano, former president of the National Association of Home Builders.

Feb 21, 1984, James Warren: “‘We now hear from them (the Reagan administration) that deficits don’t cause high interest rates and inflation,’ AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland said. ‘If that’s the case, we’ve suddenly discovered the horn of plenty and should stop worrying and keep borrowing and spending. But I don’t believe it. It’s a time bomb ticking away.”

January 12, 1985, Lexington Herald-Leader (KY):The federal deficit is “a ticking time bomb, and it’s about to blow up,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville Republican, said yesterday.

Feb 17, 1985, Los Angeles Times: We labeled the deficit a `ticking time bomb‘ that threatens to permanently undermine the strength and vitality of the American economy.”

Jan 5, 1987, Richmond Times – Dispatch – Richmond, VA: 100TH CONGRESS FACING U.S. DEFICIT ‘TIME BOMB

November 28, 1987, The Dallas Morning News: THE TICKING TIME BOMB OF LONG-TERM HEALTH CARE COSTS A fiscal time bomb is slowly ticking that, if not defused, could explode into a financial crisis within the next few years for the federal government and our nation’s elderly. The ticking bomb is the growing cost of long-term care.

October 23, 1989, FORTUNE Magazine: A TIME BOMB FOR U.S. TAXPAYERS The government guarantees millions of mortgages, bonds, deposits, and student loans. These liabilities, now twice the national debt, are growing fast.

May 1, 1992, The Pantagraph – Bloomington, Illinois: I have seen where politicians in Washington have expressed little or no concern about this ticking time bomb they have helped to create, that being the enormous federal budget deficit, approaching $4 trillion and growing now at an annual rate of $400 billion per year.

October 28, 1992: Ross Perot: “Our great nation is sitting right on top of a ticking time bomb. We have a national debt of $4 trillion. Seventy-five percent of this debt is due and payable in the next five years. This is a bomb that’s set to go off and devastate our economy and destroy thousands of jobs.

Dec 3, 1995, Kansas City Star: Deficit is sapping America’s strength. Concerned citizens. . . regard the national debt as a ticking time bomb poised to explode with devastating consequences at some future date.

April 14, 2003: Porter Stansberry, for the Daily Reckoning: The baby boomers are heading into retirement with no savings and no productive companies to support them in old age. Generation debt is a ticking time bomb…with about ten years left on the clock.

October 1, 2004, Bradenton Herald: A NATION AT RISK: TWIN DEFICIT A TICKING TIME BOMB: Lawmakers approved Bush’s request without cutting federal spending by a penny, thereby fattening the country’s projected record deficit of $422 billion by another $145 billion next year.

May 31, 2005, Providence Journal, Defusing the Medicare time bomb, Some lawmakers see the Medicare drug benefit for what it is: a ticking time bomb, set to wreak havoc on the budget and shoot future tax rates sky-high.

April 5, 2006, NewsMax.com, “We have to worry about the deficit . . . when we combine it with the trade deficit we have a real ticking time bomb in our economy,” said Mrs. Clinton.

Dec 3, 2007, USA Today: US debt: $30,000 per American. WASHINGTON (AP): Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen.

*September 24, 2010, Email from the Reason Alert: ” . . . the time bomb that’s ticking under the federal budget like a Guy Fawkes’ powder keg.”

*July 7, 2011, Washington Post, Lori Montgomery: ” . . . defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.

[*Added subsequently]

And on and on and on. You get the idea. That time bomb has been on the verge of explosion at least since 1940. Even today, the media, the politicians and sensationalist economists refer to the debt as a ticking time bomb. Please look at the following graph and see if you can find any relationship between deficit spending vs inflation and/or interest rates.

This graph shows there is no predictable relationship between federal deficits vs. inflation and or interest rates.

If the debt is a time bomb, it surely has the slowest fuse in history. The pundits have been wrong, wrong, wrong, all these years. We should understand federal deficits, even large federal deficits, have not caused inflation or any other negative economic effect, and the debt is not a ticking time bomb? It’s an economic necessity. Let us turn away from faith and start to rely on facts.

The faith healers* are killing our economy by restricting money growth. See: The damage done by deficit cuts.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
http://www.rodgermitchell.com

*Faith is belief without evidence. Science is belief from evidence.

Next Page »

%d bloggers like this: