What is the illusion of intelligence? Tuesday, Dec 6 2016 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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Our latest election results make me wonder again about human intelligence.

What is intelligence? A quick visit to Wikipedia produced this description:

Intelligence (includes) one’s capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, planning, creativity and problem solving.

It can be the ability to perceive information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context.

Logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, planning, creativity, problem solving, perceive and retain and apply knowledge toward adaptive behaviors. Whew!

If all of that is intelligence, are ants intelligent? Do ants have “logic, understanding, self-awareness, etc.?

Quanta Magazine: Give a colony of garden ants a week and a pile of dirt, and they’ll transform it into an underground edifice about the height of a skyscraper in an ant-scaled city.

Without a blueprint or a leader, thousands of insects moving specks of dirt create a complex, sponge-like structure with parallel levels connected by a network of tunnels.

How do insects with tiny brains engineer such impressive structures? It turns out that ants perform these complex tasks by obeying a few simple rules.

Guy Theraulaz, a behavioral biologist at the Research Center on Animal Cognition in Toulouse, France, discovered three basic guidelines governing when and where ants pick up and drop off their building materials are sufficient to create sophisticated, multilayered structures.

–The ants picked up grains at a constant rate, approximately 2 grains per minute;
–They preferred to drop them near other grains, forming a pillar;
–and they tended to choose grains previously handled by other ants, probably because of marking by a chemical pheromone.

The researchers used these three rules to build a computer model that mimicked the nest-building behavior.

In the model, virtual ants moved randomly around a three dimensional space, picking up pieces of virtual sand soaked in a virtual pheromone. The model ants created pillars that looked just like those made by their biological counterparts.

The researchers could alter the pillars’ layout by changing how quickly the pheromone evaporates, which could explain why different environmental conditions, such as heat and humidity, influence the structure of ant nests.

“For the longest time, people never would have believed this is possible,” said Chris Adami, a physicist and computational biologist at Michigan State University, who was not involved in the study. “When looking at complex animal behavior, people assumed they must be smart animals.”

The ants created functional nests, under wildly varying conditions, using just three rules. So, are ants intelligent?

What about computers? Computers, using massive amounts of data, and a few rules, beat the world’s best humans at chess, Jeopardy! and the extremely complex game, Go.

Was that intelligence? Was it “logic, understanding, self-awareness, creativity,” etc.?

What if intelligence is “none of the above”? What if intelligence is nothing more than vast amounts of data acted upon by a few simple rules.

New Scientist Magazine: The road to artificial intelligence: A case of data over theory
Computers that could simulate human intelligence were once a futuristic dream. Now they are all around us – but not in the way their pioneers expected

While its goals have remained essentially the same, the methods of creating Artificial Intelligence (AI) have changed dramatically.

The instinct of early engineers was to program machines from the top down. They expected to generate intelligent behaviour by first creating a mathematical model of how we might process speech, text or images, and then by implementing that model in the form of a computer program, perhaps one that would reason logically about those tasks.

They were proven wrong.

By the early 1990s, with little to show for decades of work, most engineers started abandoning the dream of a general-purpose top-down reasoning machine. They started looking at humbler projects, focusing on specific tasks that were more likely to be solved.

Some early success came in systems to recommend products. While it can be difficult to know why a customer might want to buy an item, it can be easy to know which item they might like on the basis of previous transactions by themselves or similar customers.

If you liked the first and second Harry Potter films, you might like the third. A full understanding of the problem was not required for a solution: you could detect useful correlations just by combing through a lot of data.

This pragmatic attitude produced success in speech recognition, machine translation and simple computer vision tasks such as recognising handwritten digits.

By the mid-2000s, with success stories piling up, the field had learned a powerful lesson: data can be stronger than theoretical models. A new generation of intelligent machines had emerged, powered by a small set of statistical learning algorithms and large amounts of data.

Researchers also ditched the assumption that AI would provide us with further understanding of our own intelligence.

Try to learn from algorithms how humans perform those tasks, and you are wasting your time: the intelligence is more in the data than in the algorithm.

Consider Geometry. Euclid listed only five postulates that provided all the “algorithms” necessary for the entire field of plane geometry (the geometry of planes) — a huge field of mathematics based on just five basic “guidelines.”

The ants had three to build their houses; Euclid had five to build plane geometry.

We humans each are complex, difficult to predict creatures.  But, psychologists know that the single, best predictor of anyone’s behavior is what they have done in the past.

Psychology fails when it tries to analyze cause and effect; the true “cause” is almost impossible to discern for any individual.  

What will person “A’s” effects be if he accidentally hits his thumb with a hammer? Will the effect be swearing? Screaming? Taking a breath until the pain goes? Punching a wall? Kicking the dog? Crying? Laughing? Fainting? Throwing the hammer? Keep hammering?

We have no idea what the effect will be. How will we find out? What is our plan?

The true cause of the above-mentioned effects is not the hammer. Hammers don’t cause laughter, etc. The true cause of those effects happens somewhere in person “A’s” nervous system.

To locate that cause, in an effort to predict the effect, we might try to analyze all the trillions of molecules in person “A’s” brain and body, and using that information, try to determine all the chemical interactions that will cause certain electrical circuits to be activated, ultimately creating which effect.

Or will we simply analyze the data to determine what person “A” did the last five times he accidentally hurt himself, and predict he would do much of the same?

To predict, we don’t need to know why, if we can infer what from history.

That is the foundation of learning, “machine learning,” and it also is what we call “intelligence.”

When George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” he was talking about intelligence, though he may not have understood it quite that way.

Intelligence is a vast amount of data plus a few rules, and greater intelligence is much more data, also plus a few rules. 

Consider how the spam filter in your mailbox decides to quarantine some emails on the basis of their content.

Every time you drag an email into the spam folder, you enable it to estimate the probability that messages from a given recipient or containing a given word are unwanted. Combining this information for all the words in a message allows it to make an educated guess about new emails.

No deep understanding is required – just counting the frequencies of words.

But when these ideas are applied on a very large scale, something surprising seems to happen: machines start doing things that would be difficult to program directly, like being able to complete sentences, predict our next click, or recommend a product.

Taken to its extreme conclusion, this approach has delivered language translation, handwriting recognition, face recognition and more. Contrary to the assumptions of 60 years ago, we don’t need to precisely describe a feature of intelligence for a machine to simulate it.

The (machine) has no internal representation of why it does what it does.

Every time you access the internet to read the news, do a search, buy something, play a game, or check your email, bank balance or social media feed, you interact with this infrastructure.

It isn’t just a physical one of computers and wires, but also one of software, including social networks and microblogging sites.

The challenges AI might present us with include surveillance, discrimination, persuasion, unemployment and possibly even addiction.

Year 2009: Google researchers publish an influential paper called “The unreasonable effectiveness of data”. It declares that “simple models and a lot of data trump more elaborate models based on less data.”

We humans generally agree that we are the most intelligent living species. Our intelligence has allowed us to dominate the earth, despite the greater physical size, strength, and numbers of many other living things.

Being intelligent means being able to receive, store and access data, and then apply certain rules to that data. But which data? We receive so very much data every second.

As you sit here now, your body is receiving trillions of data bits, from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. At any moment in time, you aren’t conscious of them all, but your skin alone has millions of sensors, allowing you to feel heat, cold, pain, itch, tickle and other subtle sensations, over every inch of your body, right this minute.

And that doesn’t count all the other sensory inputs from your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and your insides — millions, billions, trillions of data bits, all of which are sensed, many of which are stored and relatively few of which will be retrieved.

Which data will be retrieved? This is where probability comes into play, for we can’t say, with much confidence, which data will escape the “forget filter.” Yesterday, you remembered someone’s name; today you can’t remember; tomorrow again, you will. Why?

Psychologist World: Forgetting
Why do we forget information? Find out in this fascinating article exploring the purpose of forgetting.

In Short-Term Memory: There are three ways in which you can forget information in the STM:

  1. Decay
    This occurs when you do not ‘rehearse’ information, ie you don’t contemplate it. The physical trace of such memory is thought to fade over time.
  2. Displacement
    Displacement is quite literally a form of forgetting when new memories replace old ones. Everyone knows the potentially vast capacity of memory, particularly long-term memory, but research has shown that numbers can replace old ones being memorised (using the serial probe technique).
  3. Interference
    It’s sometimes difficult to remember information if you’ve been trying to memorise stuff that’s similar, eg words which sound similar. Interference can either be proactive (when old memories interfere with new ones) or retroactive, when new information distorts old memories.

Long-Term Memory is supposed to be limitless in its capacity and length in terms of time. Still though, we can forget information through decay (as in short-term forgetting) and interference from other memories.

Intelligence relies on the availability of data. But the availability of data in the human brain has uncertain characteristics — not random, but clearly uncertain. There are data you probably will recall, and other data you probably will not recall.

Time and importance are factors, but you might recall something seemingly unimportant from elementary school, while forgetting something important your boss told you to do, today.

Human recollection seems based on probabilities, unlike machine memory which approaches perfection. 

What then is intelligence? The answer: Fundamentally, intelligence is data, manipulated by simple rules.  And the recollection of data is based on statistical probability.

The illusion of intelligence is merely the application of a limited number of rules to a vast and ever-changing assemblage of data. While we tend to think the rules themselves are intelligence, it is the application to data that is real intelligence.

Probability is the essence of intelligence. Quantum mechanics tells us everything in the universe — every atom, every particle is a function of probability, which means the entire universe has what we could call “intelligence.”

Probability, data, data recovery and a few instructions have “intelligently” created all we know and all we are.

Are ants clever in their ability to build complex structures, under widely varying circumstances? Or do they robotically follow a few, simple “If/Then” instructions, built into their brains? Are they are nothing more than machines. Are we?

Are we?

As discussed, we receive truly vast amounts of data from our eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and skin.  We have multiplied this data by creating huge communication systems, from sophisticated speech, writing, electronics — radio, TV, Intenet. And we have developed the most effective data storage and retrieval systems on earth: from books to computer databases.

Humans receive more data, have better communication of data, better storage of data and better retrieval of data than any other living creature –in our brains and in our infrastructure. 

And each helped multiply the other. Early on, our slightly better brains helped create slightly better communication and storage, which evolution used to improve our brains, which we used to improve our reception, communication, and storage, and the process kept repeating.

Within the past few thousand years, and the last hundred years, and particularly the past twenty years, the process has changed. It’s doubtful that our living brains have continued to improve, and even may have begun to recess.

Under the “use it or lose it” reality of evolution, our brains today no longer need to store as much in memory, or need retrieve as much, or even need to calculate as much. We use reading and writing, books and machines for those activities. (When I can’t remember something, I first ask Siri.)

While our brains may or may not be declining in intelligence, our partners, the books and computers are vastly growing in intelligence, i.e. data storage, retrieval, and usage, so the “team” is becoming more intelligent — or what we term “intelligent.”

Will our machines ever become more intelligent than we are? That’s like asking, “Will our machines ever become stronger than we are?” Or “faster?” Or “longer-lived?”

The answer: They already are. Though currently, machines are our slaves, they already can do, or can be taught to do, many of the physical or intellectual tasks we can do, and do them faster and more accurately.

Our brains have one advantage. Size.  Within just three pounds of flesh, nature has packed a massive amount of computing power, based not just on molecules, but all the way down to quantum effects. So that spongy little organ not only can do most of our thinking, but while it’s at it, run our bodies, too.

Also, there are a lot of us, and we communicate well, though that advantage over computers is disappearing.

The closest thing machines have to the community of human brains is the Internet, and I suspect that if all the computers on earth were truly interconnected, a few key instructions instantly would make them much smarter than any of us.

Our human brains apply built-in programming to vast amounts of data, to produce seemingly new ideas. What we term “creativity” is the application of some instructions to some data, in a way that has not existed before. The instructions and data already must exist. We cannot imagine from a blank slate.

We cannot imagine the universe. Or ten dimensions. Or infinity. Or a color we never have seen. Or a note beyond our range of hearing. Or the space/time continuum.

Our difficulty understanding quantum dynamics relates to our never having known anything like it.

In quantum mechanics, everything new is visualized in terms of something familiar. Light is described as a quantum and a wave, though it is neither. Einstein described gravity as being like a rubber sheet, because we cannot visualize what gravity really is.

How do we deal with data we cannot imagine? We use mathematics.

The universe and everything in it seems to be represented by mathematics. And since everything that exists is based on probability, there has been some speculation that the universe actually is composed of mathematics.

Is the Universe Made of Math?  by Max Tegmark on January 10, 2014

In this excerpt from his new book, Our Mathematical Universe, M.I.T. professor Max Tegmark explores the possibility that math does not just describe the universe, but makes the universe.

Why does our universe seem so mathematical, and what does it mean? In my new book “Our Mathematical Universe”, I argue that it means that our universe isn’t just described by math, but that it is math in the sense that we’re all parts of a giant mathematical object.

When we derive the consequences of a theory, we introduce new concepts and words for them, such as “protons”, “atoms”, “molecules”, “cells” and “stars”, because they’re convenient. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s we humans who create these concepts; in principle, everything could be calculated without this baggage.

The Mathematical Universe Hypothesis implies that we live in a relational reality, in the sense that the properties of the world around us stem not from properties of its ultimate building blocks, but from the (mathematical) relations between these building blocks. 

When we ask the question, “Of what is the universe made?” and we answer, “It’s made of mathematics,” have we taken a step too far?

Intelligence is real, but its reality is mathematical. Having no physical reality, but only a mathematical reality, does that mean intelligence is an illusion?

Intelligence does not do what we generally believe it does. Intelligence only applies our built-in instructions to a few of the many data we have stored and recovered.

Are your instructions different from mine? I don’t know. Surely your data is different, and that is why one of us is more “intelligent” than the other.

Although that may be an illusion.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THE LAWS

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.

•The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Putin’s “long con” of Trump Sunday, Dec 4 2016 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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Long con: A complex scam that happens over weeks, months or even years. and involves a long series of steps and even scripts and costumes, like a play. The purpose is to rob the victim of greater amounts than could be accomplished in a “short con” of a day or two.

Question: What is the best way to swindle an egotist? Answer: Appeal to his ego.

Which of these two world leaders will outwit the other?

Putin says ‘clever’ Trump will soon grasp weighty role

Moscow (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin in an interview aired Sunday called US President-elect Donald Trump intelligent and predicted he would quickly grasp his new level of responsibility and act accordingly.

“Since he managed to achieve success in business, that shows he is a clever person,” the Russian strongman said in an interview with NTV television that has already aired in the country’s far east, quoted by TASS news agency.

“If he’s clever, that means he will fully and quite quickly grasp a different level of responsibility.”

Putin said that Russia “expects that he will act precisely on this basis.”

The Kremlin said last month that the two men agreed, in their first phone call after Trump’s election win in November, on the need to “normalise” Russia-US relations.

In Putin-speak, “normalize” means to do what Putin wants, which given enough flattery, Trump appears quite amenable.

Here are some of Trump’s comments about Putin, comments that demonstrate Trump’s insatiable lust for compliments.

  • “Look at Putin — what he’s doing with Russia — I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia, period.”
  • “Putin has big plans for Russia. He wants to edge out its neighbors so that Russia can dominate oil supplies to all of Europe. I respect Putin and Russians but cannot believe our leader (Obama) allows them to get away with so much…Hats off to the Russians.”
  • “Will he (Putin) become my new best friend?”
  • “I think he’s done really a great job of outsmarting our country.”
  • “I think the biggest thing we have is that we were on ’60 Minutes’ together and we had fantastic ratings. One of your best-rated shows in a long time. So that was good, right? So we were stable mates.”
  • “I think that I would probably get along with him very well. And I don’t think you’d be having the kind of problems that you’re having right now.”
  • I got to know him very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes,’ we were stablemates, and we did very well that night.” (Actually, he and Putin had been interviewed in separate countries at different times for the same news program.)
  • After Putin praised Trump as a “talented person,” Trump said, “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”
  • In defending Putin against allegations he had been killing reporters, Trump said, “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country. I think our country does plenty of killing also.”
  • I have no relationship with (Putin) other than he called me a genius. He said Donald trump is a genius and he is going to be the leader of the party and he’s going to be the leader of the world or something. These characters that I’m running against said, ‘We want you to disavow that statement.’ I said what, he called me a genius, I’m going to disavow it? Are you crazy? Can you believe it? How stupid are they.” (Putin never called Trump a “genius.”)
  • “I don’t think he has any respect for Clinton. I think he respects me. I think it would be great to get along with him.”

Seemingly, Putin will be able to lead Trump to do anything, merely by dangling praise in front of Trump’s nose.

Putin on Thursday reiterated Moscow’s readiness to work with Trump’s administration once the president-elect takes office in January.

“It is important to normalise and start to develop bilateral relations on an equal and mutually-beneficial basis,” Putin said in his annual state of the nation address.

During the US election campaign, Putin praised him for appealing effectively to disenchanted American electors.

“He represents the views of a significant part of society in the United States that is tired of those elites who have been in power for decades,” he said in October.

Trump is just an “ordinary” (?) billionaire who doesn’t like those elites who already have been in power for decades. Here are  a few of those “ordinary, non-elites “ he has appointed:

Steve Mnuchin, Treasury secretary,  former investment banker, hedge fund investor and executive at Goldman Sachs.  Owns a $26.5 million house  in Bel Air, California.

Wilbur Ross, Commerce secretary, billionaire investor and former banker.

Elaine Chao, married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, served as the 24th, formerly United States Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, and Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H. W. Bush.

Rep.Tom Price, has been in the House for six terms.

Betsy DeVos, Education secretary, billionaire married to Dick DeVos, an heir to the Amway fortune.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, attorney general, ten years in the U.S. Senate

Todd Ricketts, deputy Commerce secretary, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, and the son of Ameritrade founder and billionaire Joe Ricketts.

Seema Verma, founder, president and CEO of the health policy consulting firm SVC Inc. Created thr Healthy Indiana Plan, the health insurance program that requires low-income participants to pay into a health savings account and has high deductibles. According to Verma, “You have to make your contribution every month, with a 60-day grace period. If you don’t make the contribution, you’re out of the program for 12 months. It’s a strong personal responsibility mechanism.” As of 2014, SVC Inc. had been awarded over $3.5 million in Indiana state contracts. Verma was accused of conflict of interest because she concurrently was employed with Hewlett-Packard, earning over $1 million during a period when the company had secured $500 million in state contracts.

Stephen Bannon, chief strategist and senior counselor, executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right website and is associated with the white supremist alt-right.

Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, national security adviser. Was fired from the Pentagon’s top intelligence job. Called Islam “a cancer” and “a political ideology” that “hides behind this notion of it being a religion.”

Putin’s compliments, so unlike his public persona,  are part of his long con, getting a neutered Trump on his side, when Russia makes its inevitable aggressive moves.

We already have seen it:

Donald Trump said that Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t make a military move into Ukraine — even though Putin already has done just that, seizing the country’s Crimean Peninsula.

He’s not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want,” Trump said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”

“Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Stephanopoulos responded, in a reference to Crimea, which Putin took from Ukraine in early 2014.

Trump said: “OK — well, he’s there in a certain way. But I’m not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he’s going away. He takes Crimea.”

When you hire an inexperienced, self-absorbed, teenaged, twitter child to do a serious, experienced, man’s job, that is exactly what you get: an inexperienced, self-absorbed, teenaged, twitter child.

My fear and my prediction: Putin will flatter, cajole and seduce Trump’s inflated ego, while eating America’s lunch.

Meanwhile, Trump, along with his billionaires and right-wing extremists, will accelerate the 1%’s attack on the middle class and the poor.

This is a prediction I pray will be wrong, but the signs aren’t good.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THE LAWS

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.

•The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

The student loan debacle Saturday, Dec 3 2016 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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Last May, we posted: The Money Trap: Student loans.  You should read it.

It compared the student loan debacle to: Indentured servitude, the “numbers game,” and loan sharking, all illegal in America, but apparently legal for the federal government.

Today, I saw these data on a site called, Student Loan Hero:

It’s 2016 and Americans are more burdened by student loan debt than ever.

You’ve probably heard the statistics: Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers.

In fact, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year.

General student loan debt facts

First, let’s start with a general picture of the student loan debt landscape. The most recent reports indicate there is:

  • $1.26 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt
  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.1%
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $351

If those numbers weren’t stunning enough, here’s a closer look at how students accumulate debt based on the type of school they attend.

In 2012, 71 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges had student loan debt:

  • Represents 1.3 million students graduating with debt, increase from 1.1 million in 2008
  • 66 percent of graduates from public colleges had loans (average debt of $25,550)
  • 75 percent of graduates from private nonprofit colleges had loans (average debt of $32,300)
  • 88 percent of graduates from for-profit colleges had loans (average debt of $39,950)

Graduate student loan debt

About 40 percent of the $1 trillion student loan debt was used to finance graduate and professional degrees.

Combined undergraduate and graduate debt by degree:

  • MBA = $42,000 (11% of graduate degrees)
  • Master of Education = $50,879 (16%)
  • Master of Science = $50,400 (18%)
  • Master of Arts = $58,539 (8%)
  • Law = $140,616 (4%)
  • Medicine and health sciences = $161,772 (5%)

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Here are the top 6 lenders of 2016 — (the businesses making billions from student loans):

earnest@2x /> citizens@2x logo_sofi_2016 lendkey@2x

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“I started Student Loan Hero in 2012 because you shouldn’t need a finance degree to understand your student loans. Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to help over 100,000 people better understand and eliminate over $2 billion dollars of student loan debt!”

Andy Josuweit · Co-Founder & CEO Student Loan Hero

Andy, I’m sure you do good work, but if the truth about federal financing were known, you wouldn’t have a business.  There would be no student loans and no need for thousands of students and their families to pay you to “eliminate over $2 billion dollars of student loan debt.”

JUST A FEW QUESTIONS:

Why does the federal government pay for our military?

Why does the federal government pay for our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure?

Why does the federal government pay to inspect our food and our pharmaceuticals?

Why does the federal government pay for a federal court system?

Why does the federal government do all the things it does for us?

Because the purpose of the federal government is to advance the best interests of America.

Does education advance the best interests of America? Of course. That is why the states and cities pay billions to educate children from grades K through12 and has for many years.

The states and cities pay for schooling, while the federal government provides loans. LOANS!

Here we have the cash-strapped, monetarily non-sovereign states and cities paying outright for K-12, while our  Monetarily Sovereign government, which never can run short of dollars, is providing LOANS.

These loans force students, who don’t come from wealthy families, into debt — debt that can last for years — debt that can travel through the generations — debt that hurts credit ratings, discourages college attendance and harms America.

The whole thing is nuts. 

Check out the 10 Steps to Prosperity, (See below) Step #4:  Our Monetarily Sovereign government, which never can run short of its own sovereign currency, should provide: FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE.

No taxes needed. No loans needed. No burden on anyone or any thing.

Of course, the lenders, who are raking in billions from their guaranteed, not-dischargeable-in-bankruptcy loans wouldn’t like losing all those easy dollars rolling in.

But should that be America’s primary concern?

It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.

Every day, the American public is pummeled with the Big Lie, that federal taxes pay for federal spending, and student loans is the result.

WANTED: ONE POLITICIAN WHO WILL TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY. HELLO? ANYONE?

If you, dear reader, do not understand MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY, and the reasons why the federal government should support education, I urge you to click the links. Don’t allow yourself to be one of the ignorant oppressed.

Then contact your Senators and your Representative

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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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.

I’m sorry, but this is too good to have buried Friday, Dec 2 2016 

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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I’m sorry, but this is too good to have buried in the comment section of the post titled, “How to destroy your excess dollars.” It deserves a post all its own.

You surely remember how Donald Trump, before he was President-elect, swore he never would bribe companies to keep their factories in the U.S. No, these companies couldn’t blackmail him. He’s too tough for that.

Instead, he boasted he would impose a 35% tax on any goods these traitorous factories tried to ship back into the U.S. from their foreign factories.

This was Donald Trump at his roughest and toughest. This was on the level of the wall he repeatedly swore would build.

This was part of his being “the greatest jobs President God ever created,” (which may be the only time Trump ever has had the chutzpah to mention God).

And when rugged, steely Trump said again, and again, and again, he would impose that 35% tax on Carrier air conditioners, Trump’s suckers er, ah, followers, screamed in delight at the promise that they soon would pay more for air conditioners.

Well, like virtually all of Trump’s promises, down through the years, this one has been broken already, and he hasn’t even begun his administration.

Here is that comment that is too good to bury in the comments section:

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TAXPAYERS OF INDIANA. You just paid Carrier $700,000 to keep some of those Carrier jobs in Indiana. The sole purpose: To make Donald Trump look like a great negotiator.

By the way, it wasn’t even Trump who did it. He doesn’t have the power. Trump repeatedly criticized states that bribed companies not to leave.

No, Trump told your governor, Mike Pence to pull that little trick — you know, the same Mike Pence who didn’t yet resign as governor, just so he could retain the power to screw the taxpayers of Indiana.

This is going to be a wonderful four years of treachery (“It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.”)

But as I repeatedly have been told, “Hillary would do the same.”

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Oops, sorry. Did I say you taxpayers will spend $700,000 to demonstrate Trump’s great negotiating skills?

Carrier would receive a $7 million package of incentives to keep its factory here from moving to Mexico, the company said Thursday, under a deal negotiated with the state after an unusual intervention by President-elect Donald Trump that could reshape the relationship between the White House and private enterprise.

Carrier said the package would extend over several years and was contingent on employment, job retention, and capital investment. It previously said it planned to keep about 1,000 of the factory’s workers in the state, though the company is moving forward with plans to shift production to Mexico from another Indiana facility that employs about 700 people.

Spending $7 million of Indiana taxpayer dollars to lose 700 people their Indiana jobs seems like great negotiating — by Carrier.

Trump, the great negotiator, gave away the farm.  So, I keep thinking to myself, “What exactly did you folks vote for?”

These days, after winning the election, he still is campaigning, because that is pretty much what he know how to do, and you people still are screaming “Lock ‘er up,” though he already has said he won’t do that.

And you’re still screaming for a wall that Mexico will pay for, though you know Trump won’t do that, either.

And he’s hiring the generals he derided as “embarrassing” to America and “reduced to rubble.”

And he’s hiring the “moneyed elites” from Goldman Sachs, the very people he swore he wouldn’t employ.

And his job-saving technique is the same one he criticized and you screamed about: Caving in to the big corporations and forcing state taxpayers to foot the bill.

His entire business history is to break his promises to low-paid workers and to creditors, and now he’s doing it to you.

So tell me, what exactly did you vote for?

And why are you still screaming?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THE LAWS

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.

•The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY
 

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