Whose lies are more harmful to you: Trump’s or the libertarians’?

Donald Trump, being a demonstrated psychopath, is the most frequent liar of any previous American President, perhaps the most frequent of any human in history. His lies, plus his Presidential power, have caused grievous harm to America.

Everything he touches turns to disaster. Soldiers have died. Thousands of other Americans have died. People are homeless. Children are starving. The man walks in chaos. When historians evaluate America’s Presidents, I predict Trump will fall to the bottom.

Bernanke: “Guess what. The Libertarians still claim the government can become insolvent!” Greenspan: “And some people believe it??”

Yet with all that, I submit that the Libertarians and their believers are more harmful to you than he is.

See if you agree. Here are some excerpts from a Libertarian article.

Both Biden and Trump Plan to Spend Well Beyond the Government’s “Means.”
Whether Biden or Trump wins this November, we’re in for big, unaffordable government. How much bigger and how unaffordable are the only real questions. By: )

Immediately, we are confronted with lies.

First, the federal government, unlike state and local government, is Monetarily Sovereign. It has the unlimited ability to create dollars. It has no “means.” It never can run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar. It neither needs nor uses tax dollars. It creates dollars at will.

Can you believe it? The Libertarians still claim the government can become insolvent.

Who says so?

Former Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent) that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan: A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

And Greenspan again: There is nothing to prevent the federal government from creating as much money as it wants and paying it to somebody.”

And the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank: As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e. unable to pay its bills. In this sense, the government is not dependent on credit markets to remain operational.”

And then there’s Warren Buffet: “Those who regularly preach doom because of government budget deficits, (as I regularly did myself for many years) might note that our country’s national debt has increased roughly 400 fold during the last of my 77-year periods.”

I inspected J.D. Tuccille’s article very carefully, and nowhere does he define, “Well Beyond The Government’s Means.” And you will find that no other debt “hand-wringer” ever explains that phrase. Tuccille simply refers to “unaffordable government.” But unaffordable for whom? Here’s a hint:

Tuccille: “There are differences between what Republican Trump and Democrat Joe Biden threaten to inflict on us in terms of raising revenue and how to spend it.”

Tuccille claims “revenue (i.e. taxes) pay for federal spending. That would be true of monetarily non-sovereign governments — i.e. state and local governments and euro governments — but it is not true of the federal government. If it were true, then it would be possible for the federal government to become insolvent, and Greenspan, Bernanke, and the St. Louis Fed would be wrong.

So perhaps, Tuccille’s “unaffordable” refers to taxpayers. But since taxes do not fund federal spending, his comment makes no sense.

The federal government does not spend tax dollars. It destroys tax dollars, and creates new dollars, ad hoc, when it spends.

The details are hard to nail down—probably deliberately so on the part of the campaigns—but Trump essentially promises tax cuts (and penalties for those who cross him) while spending too much, and Biden intends to raise taxes while ignoring the idea that spending must be constrained in any way.

When it comes to taxes, Trump continues the Republican Party’s traditional interest in reducing the government’s take.

The Republican Party’s “traditional interest” would be correct, except for two small details. They become interested in tax reductions only when the President is a Democrat, and even then, they want tax reductions only for the rich.

And when federal spending is “constrained,” we have recessions and depressions, which are cured by unconstrained federal spending.

“Without further details or clarification, it is difficult to fully analyze President Trump’s second term tax policy agenda,” Erica York noted last week for the Tax Foundation. “Broad themes of the president’s agenda include providing tax relief to individuals and tax credits to businesses that engage in desired activities.”

“Difficult to fully analyze” is another way of saying, Trump has no tax policy agenda. (He also has no health-care agenda, no immigration agenda, no foreign policy agenda, and no COVID agenda). About the only agenda he consistently has had is, “What’s best for me.”

Also, “tax relief to individuals should read, “tax relief to wealthy Republicans.” Also, “tax credits to businesses that engage in desired activities” should read, “tax credits to businesses whose owners support me.”

The exception is on the matter of tariffs, given that the president has wandered from his party’s long-time support of free trade.

Trump has “wandered” because he believes, or rather, wants us to believe, that American’s import duties are paid by China, when in reality, they are paid by Americans.

“In his first term, President Trump has imposed more than $80 billion of tax increases in the form of tariffs,” adds York. “Recently, the president said he would impose tariffs on companies that do not move jobs back to the United States from overseas. Whether this is a formal policy proposal is unclear, but it indicates the possibility of continued tariffs if Trump wins reelection.”

Trump typically flails wildly at anything or anyone he believes does not support him. His flailing generally punishes Americans.

Biden, too, fulfills the role you would expect of his party affiliation as a Democrat.

“Biden has not released a single formal tax plan, but he has proposed many tax changes and increases connected to spending proposals related to issues like climate change, infrastructure, health care, education, and research & development,” Garrett Watson and Erica York wrote for the Tax Foundation. “Most of these proposals center around raising income taxes on high earners as well as on businesses.”

With a little more detail to analyze, Watson and York “estimate that Biden’s tax proposals would raise about $3.8 trillion over 10 years. The plan would also reduce long-run economic growth by 1.51 percent and eliminate about 585,000 full-time equivalent jobs.”

All federal taxes reduce economic growth because they reduce the supply of money in the economy. The only worthwhile federal taxes are those that narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest. The Gap is even more harmful to the economy than is the growth-reducing effects of money supply reduction.

Notice how Tuccille admits that taxes “reduce long-run economic growth,” then still talks about the government spending beyond its means. This reflects the knee-jerk, government hatred bythe Libertarians. To them, all government is too big and all government spending is too much. The reality of Libertarianism is that it always devolves to anarchy.

Whether or not a government is taxing too little, enough, or too much is relative to how much it plans to spend and how much ruckus taxpayers kick up in response to the legalized mugging. For both legacy-party candidates, lots of spending well beyond the government’s means is part of the plan.

Yes, yes, again the government’s non-existent “means.” In 1940, the federal debt was about $40 billion. Today, it is above $20 trillion, a 500-fold increase. For 80 years, the U.S. government has been spending beyond its non-existent “means,” and Tuccille still hasn’t caught on.

In Trump’s case, we know he isn’t shy about cutting checks. “Under Trump’s signature, before any true crisis hit, the annual price tag of government went up by $937 billion in less than four years,” Reason’s Matt Welch recently wrote.

For his 2021 budget (a theoretical document, since the federal government has given up on formal budgets), President Trump proposed continuously increasing federal spending, though slower growth than was originally forecast.

Libertarians and those of similar ilk, love to complain about “federal spending,” but when it comes to specifics, they strangely are mute (except for proposing cuts to spending that benefits the not-rich. They generally are happy to see cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and other anti-poverty initiatives.

“The federal deficit would be $2.1 trillion smaller under the President’s budget than in CBO’s baseline over the 2021–2030 period,” the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected earlier this year. That certainly sounds like an improvement, but the budget consistently spends more than the government collects to leave the country with a cumulative $11 trillion deficit instead of the baseline anticipated $13 trillion deficit.

There it is again. He admits that the government consistently spends more than it taxes — almost every year for the past 80 years — and yet here we are. The government has been spending beyond its “means” and nothing is unaffordable.

How do Libertarians explain the absence of insolvency? They ignore history and facts, and keep screaming that the sky is falling, or soon will fall, or us just about to fall. And still, it doesn’t fall.

Then again, that seems almost realistic when compared to what Trump’s main rival, Joe Biden, plans in terms of increased expenditures and benefits.

“From a variety of sources—campaign releases, independent analyses, media stories and the Congressional Budget Office—I have constructed a rough estimate of what it would cost to cover all the new benefits,” The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson recently tallied. “The additional 10-year spending totals $7.74 trillion.”

“But wait, we’re not finished yet,” wrote Samuelson. “To these costs ought to be added the projected budget deficits under existing policies. For the period from 2021 to 2030, CBO figures that’s another $13 trillion. The grand total comes to $20.7 trillion (the $13 trillion, plus the $7.7 trillion).”

I should add here that the CBO recently admitted that it “has tended to overestimate revenues in its projections—especially those that extend further into the future.” That means we should expect deficits to be higher than all of this number-crunching predicts, with larger debt to result.

Oh, woe. The federal government, which has infinite money, plans to pump more money into the economy. And this is supposed to frighten us? You know what frightens me? The notion that someday again, a Libertarian idea might take hold in the federal government, and we again would have this:

1804-1812: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 48%. Depression began 1807.
1817-1821: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 29%. Depression began 1819.
1823-1836: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 99%. Depression began 1837.
1852-1857: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 59%. Depression began 1857.
1867-1873: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 27%. Depression began 1873.
1880-1893: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 57%. Depression began 1893.
1920-1930: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 36%. Depression began 1929.
1997-2001: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 15%. Recession began 2001.

Bill Clinton, the faux Democrat, was hailed by Libertarians (and by himself) for cutting the debt in the 1997-2001 period. Clearly, that didn’t turn out well. (What, Mr. Tuccille, you’re surprised that taking money out of the private sector led to a recession?)

And all of this is before we take into account the damage wrought by the pandemic and by government-imposed lockdowns.

And what does Mr. Tuccille want to do about that “damage”? He wants to cut federal spending at just the time when millions are jobless and starving. It’s classic Libertarian craziness.

Economic activity “appeared to have declined at a historically rapid rate in the second quarter,” the Federal Reserve conceded in July, adding that “the pace of declines in the unemployment rate, over the second half of this year were expected to be somewhat less robust than in the previous forecast.”

A smaller, struggling economy in which people are scrambling to rebuild businesses, jobs, and wealth isn’t going to surrender as much revenue as government types would like. It’s also likely to be more vulnerable than a thriving economy to burdensome taxes and tariffs.

All taxes and tariffs “burdensome.” Why? Because they all reduce the supply of dollars in the economy — which is exactly what the Libertarians wish to do.

Whoever wins the presidency—realistically, either Biden or Trump—we’re in for big, unaffordable government. How much bigger and how unaffordable are the only real questions.

No, the only question is: When will the Libertarians, the Democrats, the Republicans, and the media tell the American people that:

  1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of money
  2. Federal deficit spending supplies those growth dollars.
  3. The U.S. federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has infinite dollars. It never can run short. It never can be insolvent. The federal government never can be unaffordable.

But then, if the Libertarians admitted it, there would be no raison d’etre for Libertarianism, would there? And the populace, who understood it, would demand Gap-narrowing benefits, which the rich who run America don’t want.

So perhaps the real question is, What will it take to teach the Libertarians, the politicians, and the populace, what really should, at long last, be obvious?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.

The most important problems in economics involve:

  1. Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
  2. Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”

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 Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Social Security for all or a reverse income tax

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10.Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Suddenly, I’m a genius.

Suddenly, I’m a genius. How did that happen?

Answer: The COVID-19 crisis. There’s nothing like a crisis to force people to re-think the myths that helped exacerbate the crisis.

For about 25 years, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that, contrary to popular myths:

  1. The U.S. government’s finances are unlike state and local governments’, and unlike euro governments’, and unlike businesses’, and unlike yours and mine. The federal government uniquely is Monetarily Sovereign. Two hundred forty years ago, it created from thin air an arbitrary number of the first U.S. dollars. It did this by creating laws from thin air. The U.S. dollar is a product of U.S. laws.Greenspan quote.png
  2. The U.S. government still retains the ability to create laws and its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar from thin air. Using its laws, the government can give its dollars any value it chooses (which it arbitrarily has changed multiple times).
  3. Even if all federal tax collections fell to $0, the U.S. government could continue spending forever. It never can run short of U.S. dollars.Bernanke quote.png
  4. The government creates dollars by spending. To pay a creditor, the government sends instructions (via check or wire), to the creditor’s bank, telling the bank to increase the balance in the creditor’s bank account. The instant the bank obeys those instructions, new dollars are created and added to the M1 money supply.
  5. The federal government destroys all its income, including all your tax payments, upon receipt. When the government receives your tax dollars, your checking account is reduced, which reduces the nation’s M1 money supply. Meanwhile, the received tax dollars cease to be part of any money supply measure, so they effectively are destroyed.St louis fed quote.png
  6. The federal government does not borrow. It accepts deposits into T-security accounts. When you buy a T-security (T-bill, T-note, T-bond), you actually deposit your dollars into your T-security account at the Federal Reserve bank. There, the dollars remain, gathering interest, until maturity, at which time the government returns the dollars to you. No tax dollars are involved at any point in the process.
  7. Neither you, nor anyone else, owes or pays for the federal “debt.” Federal debt is not typical debt. It is the total of dollars deposited into T-securities accounts. The federal government, having no need for these dollars, does not touch them. They remain in your account until the T-securities mature.
  8. The purpose of T-securities is not to provide the government with dollars, which it creates at the touch of a computer key. The purposes are: To provide a safe storage place unused dollars (which stabilizes the dollar) and to make Americans believe dollars are scarce to the government (so the people will not ask for benefits).
  9. Neither the federal debt or federal deficit are a burden on anyone. The federal deficit is the net amount of money the federal government has added to the economy. Thus the federal deficit is the economy’s surplus.warren buffet quote.png
  10. A growing economy, by definition, needs a growing supply of money. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the prime measure of an economy = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports.
  11. Mathematically it impossible for an economy to grow unless its money supply grows. That is why federal deficits grow the economy (GDP.)
  12. Federal surpluses cause recessions and depressions by shrinking the supply of dollars in the private sector. Every depression in U.S. history has come on the heels of federal surpluses. Most recessions have resulted from reduced deficit growth.
  13. The GDP/Debt ratio, so often cited, is a meaningless fraction.  The amount of national (public and private) spending vs. the total of all T-security accounts has no relevance in economics. The federal government could accept deposits in T-securities’ accounts without running a deficit, and it could run a deficit without accepting deposits into T-securities accounts. The two are not related.
  14. Federal deficit spending does not “crowd out” private spending. The opposite is true. Because federal deficit spending adds dollars to the economy, it facilitates private spending. A more complete discussion can be found here.
  15. The U.S. government should not try to increase the balance of trade. Imports are more beneficial than exports. With imports, the federal government exchanges easily created dollars for difficult-to-create goods and services.
  16. Inflations and hyperinflations are not caused by government “excessive” spending. They are caused by shortages of key goods, usually food and/or energy. Ironically, inflations and hyperinflations can be cured by increased government spending to obtain the scarce goods and tribute them to the public.
  17. The most important problems in economics involve: Monetary Sovereignty, which describes money creation and destruction, and Gap Psychology, which describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”
  18. The rich, who run America, wish to widen the Gap, because it is the Gap that makes them rich. Without the Gap, we all would be the same, and the wider the Gap, the richer they are.
  19. The sole purpose of government is to improve and protect the lives of the people. 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.
  20. The Ten Steps to Prosperity should be implemented to grow the economy and to narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest.

That’s a great number of popular myths, debunked. For lo these 25 years, I have enjoyed receiving epithets ranging from “commie” to “stupid,” to the carnal, to “lib,” and now suddenly, I’m a genius. And being a “lib” isn’t quite so outrageous.

With the government BV (before virus) already planning to run a $1 trillion deficit, and now DV  (During Virus) planning to add about $2 trillion more to the deficit — and all without raising taxes —  it has become clearer to my intelligent friends and enemies that the above 20 statements have validity.

Now, if only we could communicate the facts to the nation’s opinion leaders — the media, the politicians, and the economics professors — we might detach ourselves from the COVID-19 depression that hovers in our future.

Sadly, America needs more trillions than the government already has allocated, to stave off a massive depression. I calculate that at least $7 trillion is needed, depending on how it is allocated.

Though I now have become, in the eyes of some, an “instant” genius (after 25 years), the myths continue to dominate popular thought — just somewhat less.

But it doesn’t take a genius to see what is plain and simple right before your eyes. It doesn’t take a genius to understand the basics of Monetary Sovereignty and Gap Psychology.

You can do your part to disseminate the truth and to diminish the lies by repeatedly — daily, hourly — contacting your Senators and Representative, and telling them about Monetary Sovereignty. Do it, if not for you, then for your children and grandchildren.

You can help save the world. You have nothing better to do.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.

The most important problems in economics involve:

  1. Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
  2. Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”

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 Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Why you should contact Steve Chapman

There are important reasons why you should contact Steve Chapman. Let me explain.

Monetary Sovereignty is not a difficult concept. It simply says that the federal government, having created the first U.S. dollars from thin air, continues to have the power to keep creating U.S. dollars from thin air.Greenspan quote.png

You are not Monetarily Sovereign, nor am I. Nor is your city, your county, your state, or your business.

We all can run short of dollars. Even Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates can run short of dollars. The U.S. government cannot run short. Unless it wants to.

Even if the U.S. government didn’t collect a single dollar in taxes, it could continue spending forever.

Some countries are not Monetarily Sovereign. The euro nations are not. They did not create the euro; they merely use it. But the European Union, which did create the euro, is Monetarily Sovereign.Bernanke quote.png

Obviously, there are a lot of other pieces to Monetary Sovereignty, but that is the essence: The U.S. federal government’s infinite ability to create U.S. dollars. Simple. Straightforward. Direct. The U.S. government, being Monetarily Sovereign, can create U.S. dollars endlessly.

You might think that anyone writing about or discussing economics would at the very least, understand that simple “1 + 1 + 2” concept. And yet . . .

I’ve spent more than 20 years trying to teach Monetary Sovereignty to anyone who will listen, and even now I am amazed at the brutal, stone-headed resistance.

Much of it is intentional, because drill down through the facts of Monetary Sovereignty, you discover some things the rich, opinion leaders don’t like — for instance a narrowing of the financial Gap between the rich and the rest.

But some of it is just . . . how can I say this kindly? . . . just plain mental blindness.

During my 20+ years mission, I’ve come across some truly wrong, misleading, and downright misguided articles, but today I found one that must be in the top 3.St louis fed quote.png

It was written by a man who is not stupid; I’ve read other of his articles and found them to be enlightening. But this one is, as the kids like to say, awesome — in how wrong it is!

No, this is not the time for fiscal restraint  By Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune. His twice-weekly column on national and international affairs, distributed by Creators Syndicate, appears in some 50 papers across the country. Chapman has been a member of the Tribune editorial board since 1981. A native Texan, he has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Fiscal discipline was once a durable American practice. But in the 1940s, it went out the window. The federal government embarked on a sudden, unprecedented binge of borrowing that put the nation in hock up to its ears.

WRONG: The U.S. federal government does not borrow. Having the unlimited ability to create dollars, why would it?

What erroneously is termed “borrowing” actually is the acceptance of deposits into Treasury Security accounts (T-bill, T-note, T-bond). When you invest in a T-security, you deposit U.S. dollars into your T-security account.

There your dollars remain, gathering interest, until the account matures, at which time the government returns the dollars in your account. The government never uses those dollars or removes them from your account.

The purposes of issuing T-securities are:

  1. To provide a safe place for unused cash, which stabilizes the U.S. dollar
  2. To assist the Fed in controlling interest rates, which helps control inflation.

The government does not issue T-securities to obtain dollars.

From 1940 to 1945, federal spending rose tenfold. The national debt increased sixfold. The public would have to shoulder the burden of paying down that debt for decades to come.

WRONG: The public has not shouldered, and will not shoulder any burden from the so-called, misnamed “debt.”

First, it’s not “debt” in the usual sense. It’s deposits, and the deposits are NOT paid back with taxes. The “debt” (deposits) are paid off merely by returning the dollars that exist in the T-security accounts.

Second, federal taxes do not fund any federal spending. In fact, all federal taxes (unlike state and local government taxes) are destroyed upon receipt.

When the federal government pays a creditor, it creates new dollars, ad hoc. The process is this:

Upon approving an invoice for payment, the government sends instructions (checks or wires) to the creditor’s bank, instructing the bank to increase the balance in the creditor’s checking account.

At the instant the creditor’s bank does as instructed, new dollars are created and added to the nation’s money supply (M1). This is the federal government’s method for creating dollars. No taxes involved. No burden on anyone.

There was, however, a good excuse for this gross budgetary excess: World War II. For a government, as with a person, there is usually no difference between being frugal and being wise.

But when the nation’s survival is at stake, the risks of underspending are far greater than the risks of overspending.

With the phrase “as with a person,” Chapman reveals abject ignorance of economics, for he equates federal (Monetarily Sovereign) finances with personal (monetarily non-sovereign) finances.

Further, he alludes to “gross budgetary excess,” which may be appropriate to individuals, states, and businesses, but is completely irrelevant to the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency.

Finally, Chapman refers to WWII as needing “overspending” but does not mention any adverse effect from the so-called “budget excess.”

US GDP-Components from 1929 to 2011
The vertical gray bars show total GDP (right scale). The other lines show % of GDP (left scale). The black dotted line is government spending.  The blue dotted line is personal consumption.

In fact, increased federal spending created a dramatic increase in GDP.

gdp federal spending.png
’39-’49

A similar imperative exists today, as the new coronavirus endangers lives and causes economic disruption on a scale not seen since — well, since World War II.

Last year, the federal budget deficit soared to nearly $1 trillion , at a time of sustained economic growth and prosperity. It was an atrocious figure, representing the latest fiscal failure by our political leaders.

Chapman does not understand that the “sustained economic growth and prosperity” was a direct result of the federal budget deficit growth.

Deficits pump dollars into the economy, and GDP (the usual measure of economic growth) is a dollar measure.

GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports

Thus, it makes absolutely no mathematical sense to decry federal deficits while also treasuring GDP growth.

And, in fact, the “economic disruption” demands deficit spending far in excess of the $2 trillion measure recently passed. A spending measure of at least $7 trillion would have prevented the coming recession.

But the spending package forged by Congress and the president to address the fallout of the pandemic will add up to more than double that amount, pushing overall spending to levels never imagined just weeks ago.

The rescue plan is probably only the first of a series of huge spending bills meant to reduce the devastation from a locked-down economy.

Here, Chapman really doesn’t get it. He correctly indicates that “huge spending bills” “reduce the devastation from a locked-down economy.”

Amazingly, he doesn’t understand why that is true.

Of course, the reason is that money grows the economy and federal spending pumps money into the economy. Chapman wants the economy to grow from a “locked-down” position, but he doesn’t seem to want it to grow from a “non-locked-down” situation.

Puzzling.

For more years than I care to remember, under presidents of both parties, I have been a consistent voice — OK, an insufferable scold — on the need for the government to be thrifty and responsible in its budget policy.

I have stressed the importance of living within our means, paying the full cost of what we demand of our government and not piling needless obligations on future generations.

There are many good moments for fiscal restraint. This is not one of them.

He has been insufferable because his scolding has been based on economic ignorance.

The Monetarily Sovereign government has no “means” to live within. It has the infinite ability to pay any bills of any size, instantly.

And with regard to “paying the full cost of what we demand,” Chapman is referring to a balanced budget, or as it alternatively is known, “austerity.”

Here is what austerity looks like:

Vertical gray bars are recessions which begin when federal deficit spending (red line) declines, and are cured by increases in federal deficit spending.

And, if Mr. Chapman prefers federal surpluses (economic deficits), he should look at this:

Every U.S. depression has come on the heels of federal surpluses
1804-1812: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 48%. Depression began 1807.
1817-1821: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 29%. Depression began 1819.
1823-1836: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 99%. Depression began 1837.
1852-1857: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 59%. Depression began 1857.
1867-1873: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 27%. Depression began 1873.
1880-1893: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 57%. Depression began 1893.
1920-1930: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 36%. Depression began 1929.
1997-2001: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 15%. Recession began 2001.

Today, we face enormous dangers. One is that millions of Americans thrown out of work or otherwise deprived of income will be unable to pay their bills, put food on the table or keep their homes.

Refusing to help them through this crisis, which came about for reasons beyond their control, would exact a horrific human toll.

It would also create general chaos that would stymie economic recovery for months, if not years.

Likewise with businesses. In the absence of prompt federal aid, a wave of bankruptcies could wipe out companies that were healthy and profitable before — and have every prospect of being healthy and profitable afterward.

The businesses would be gone, and so would the jobs they provided. People and companies desperately need a bridge across this troubled water.

In Mr. Chapman’s world, apparently the government should wait until “millions of Americans are thrown out of work or otherwise deprived of income, will be unable to pay their bills, put food on the table or keep their homes” before adding dollars to the economy.

He opposes deficit spending to, for instance, institute the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below), grow the economy and/or narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest

Yes, the necessary measures will be shockingly expensive. Yes, they will have to be paid for with borrowed funds. Yes, they will enlarge a national debt that was already in the neighborhood of $24 trillion.

WRONG. They will not be paid for with borrowed funds. But yes, the so-called national debt — which since 1940 has increased 60,000% (from $40 billion to $24 trillion) while the economy has grown massively — will continue to grow.

And further growth in the “debt” will mathematically be necessary for future economic growth.

How could we afford all this new debt?

Through the robust revenue-generating economic activity that will resume if we successfully navigate the crisis. The larger debt burden will be easier to bear in the long run than a smaller debt would be if we let a brief, severe downturn become a prolonged depression.

Mr. Chapman continues to demonstrate ignorance of the differences between federal financing and personal financing.

The federal government can “afford” any debt, simply by creating dollars. That is the way it pays all its debts.

It neither needs, nor uses “revenue-generating economic activity.” Federal taxes do not fund federal spending.

Debts have to repaid with dollars, and dollars are something the Federal Reserve can create in any quantity needed.

The worst case is that we will have to endure an eventual spell of inflation, which would be far preferable to an immediate and total economic collapse.

And there it is, the inevitable, but wrong, “The government always can print money, BUT this would cause inflation.” Again and again, we hear this from the economically ignorant, but NEVER do we see the evidence to back it up.warren buffet quote.png

Here is evidence to the contrary. It is an article titled, Only 450 words answer the question, “Does printing money cause inflation?”

It contains graphs showing that inflation is caused by shortages, especially shortages of food and/or energy:

Graph I Changes in the money supply M3 are NOT predictive of changes in prices (red).
Graph II Changes in the price of oil (which closely reflect supply changes) ARE predictive of inflation.
Graph III Food and energy inflation IS predictive of overall inflation.

After you look at those graphs, look at this one:

While federal deficit spending has risen dramatically (blue line) inflation (red line) has risen moderately, within the Fed’s target range.

Historically, the scarcity of food and/or oil has been the driver of inflation and hyperinflation. See: The Hyperinflation Myth Explained.

In most cases, our politicians deserve condemnation for spending money with wild abandon. In this moment, it’s the best thing they can do.

Steve Chapman, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/chapman .
schapman@chicagotribune.com
Twitter @SteveChapman13

Steve Chapman is widely read and influential. I urge you to contact him with the facts. Perhaps if he receives enough pokes, he may pay attention.

We desperately need more people of influence to spread the word, or we will have more recessions and wider Gaps between the rich and the rest.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.

The most important problems in economics involve:

  1. Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
  2. Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”

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 Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Enough already, with the Debt/GDP ratio

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

========================================================================
Some economists, perhaps feeling pangs of inferiority about economics as a science, try to make it seem more “scientific,” and for them, that requires mathematics.

The belief is: Include a bunch of formulas, then claim these formulas prove economics is a “real science,” like astronomy and physics.

That is why economics papers usually include so much math. It’s part of the desperate hope this pseudo-specificity will justify the WAGs (Wild-Ass Guesses) that too many economics papers include.

That desperate need for mathematical justification is one reason why the Debt/Gross Domestic Product ratio was created — that plus the efforts by the rich to “prove” that social programs are unaffordable and “unsustainable” (a favorite word for debt guerillas).

The Federal Debt/GDP ratio is absolutely meaningless, a useless, designed-to-be-misleading number that has been foisted on an innocent public.

The so-called “Federal Debt” isn’t even “debt” in the usual sense.  It is the word describing the current total of open deposits — similar to bank savings deposits — into Treasury security accounts, made for the past 30 years.

By contrast, GDP is the total of Spending and Net Exports this year. Putting these two, unrelated measures into one fraction yields a classic apples/oranges ratio, measuring nothing.

It’s akin to creating a ratio of Chicago Cubs hits in yesterdays game vs. the number of games the Cubs won last year. Meaningless.

If, instead of misnaming it “debt,” we called it “deposits in T-security accounts,” the entire misunderstanding might disappear.

Here are a few things the Debt/GDP ratio does not indicate:

    1. It does not indicate the federal government’s ability to pay its obligations
    2. It does not indicate the likelihood of inflation

      There is no relationship between Debt/GDP growth (blue line) and inflation (red line).
    3. It does not indicate the health of the economy

      There is no relationship between Debt/GDP growth (blue line) and GDP growth (red line).

    Those are the facts. They are easily obtainable. Yet here is an example of the disinformation that continually has been spread, to brainwash the public:

Forget Debt As A Percent Of GDP, It’s Really Much Worse
Jeffrey Dorfman, Forbes Magazine

When central bankers, macroeconomists, and politicians talk about the national debt, they often express it as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP) which is a measure of the total value of all goods produced in a country each year.

The idea is to compare how much a country owes to how much it earns (since GDP can also be thought of as national income). The problem with this idea is that it is wrong.

The government does not have access to all the national income, only the share it collects in taxes.

The 1st paragraph is correct. The 2nd paragraph is misleading in that our Monetarily Sovereign government’s access to dollars is not taxes but rather its unlimited ability to create dollars (See the statements by Greenspan, Bernanke, and the Federal Reserve, above).

Even if all federal tax collections were zero, the federal government could not unintentionally run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

Then the article goes completely off the rails:

Looked at properly, the debt problem is much worse.

I collected national debt, GDP, and tax revenue data for thirty-four OECD countries (roughly, the developed countries worldwide) for 2010.

The data are a bit old, but that is actually the last year available for government tax revenue numbers. The debt figures are for central government debt held by the public (so the debt we owe to the Social Security Trust Fund does not count) but the central government tax revenue includes any social security taxes.

Some people hate the notion of comparing a country’s financial situation to a family, but I think it is useful in many cases with this being one of them.

For a family, debt that exceeds three times your annual earnings is starting to become quite worrisome. To picture this, just take your home mortgage plus any auto, student loan, or credit card debt, then divide by how much you earn.

First, he properly reveals that “some people” (i.e. people who understand Monetary Sovereignty) hate improperly comparing federal finance to personal finances.

Then he proceeded to make that improper comparison. What he failed to recognize is:

A family can run short of dollars. A state or local government can run short of dollars.  A business can run short of dollars. You and I can run short of dollars. We all are monetarily non-sovereign.

The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, cannot unintentionally run short of dollars.

Economists and central bankers know this is not the same as the family debt to income concept, which is why they warn of danger at the level of 100, 90, or even 70 percent depending on which economist you talk to or exactly how you define the total amount of debt.

Yes, knowledgeable economists and central bankers (like Bernanke and Greenspan, above) know federal finances are not the same as family finances, but ignorant economists warn of “danger at 100, 90, or even 70 per cent.”

The article was written four years ago, when the ignorant economists were, in fact, delivering that warning to an innocent public. Today, the ratio is about 106% and we are entering our 9th year of economic growth, with low inflation.

Sadly, that fact has not penetrated the skulls of the debt “Henny Pennys,” who have been screaming, “The sky is falling” since 1940.

The reason for the different standard is that the government cannot claim all your income as taxes or we would all quit working (or emigrate).

No, the reason for the different standard is that Monetary Sovereignty is different from monetary non-sovereignty.

The article continues spreading disinformation:

A better comparison is to examine each country’s debt to government tax revenue, since that is the government’s income.

This also offers a better comparison because different countries have very different levels of taxation.

A country with high taxes can afford more debt than a low tax country. Debt to GDP ignores this difference. Comparing debt to tax revenue reveals a much truer picture of the burden of each country’s debt on its government’s finances.

All of the above is completely false. The federal government neither needs nor uses federal tax dollars. It creates dollars, ad hoc, each time it pays an obligation.

Tax dollars cease to be part of any money supply measure, the instant they are received. In short, tax dollars are destroyed upon receipt.

The federal government collects taxes, not to provide spending funds, but rather to exert control over the economy and over the voting public.

Federal “debt” (deposits) are not paid back with tax dollars, but rather with dollars that already exist in T-security accounts.

The article’s nonsense continues:

When I compute those figures, Japan is still #1, with a debt as a percentage of tax revenue of about 900 percent and Greece is still in second place at about 475 percent.

The big change is the U.S. jumps up to third place, with a debt to income measure of 408 percent. If the U.S. were a family, it would be deep into the financial danger zone.

Yes, if the U.S. were a family . . . but that is the whole point. The U.S. is not a family. It is the creator of the U.S. dollar by, as Bernanke said, the electronic equivalent of a printing press.

If a family created dollars with its own printing press, it too could pay all its bills, and it would have no need for, nor use of, income.

To add a bit more perspective, the countries in fourth, fifth, and sixth place are Iceland, Portugal, and Italy, all between 300 and 310 percent. In other words, these three are starting to see a flashing yellow warning light, but only three developed countries in the world are in the red zone for national debt to income.

The U.S. is one of those three.

You can see a list of nations according to their tax revenue to GDP ratio here.

Near the bottom of the list are nations with what the author considers to be the “best” ratio, among which are Lybia, Burma, Nigeria, Iran, Haiti, Panama, and similar. Consider what you know about the strength of those economies.

Take a moment to glance at the list, and you’ll see that there is zero relationship between the ratio and any measure of economic success, inflation or any other success criterion.

In short, just like the Debt/GDP ratio, the Tax Revenue/GDP ratio is completely useless, partly because it does not differentiate between Monetarily Sovereign vs. monetarily non-sovereign nations. (Nor does it differentiate between degrees of socialism, which would increase the ratio.)

This does not factor the several trillion dollars owed to Social Security, yet it includes the Social Security taxes collected. If Social Security taxes are not counted, the U.S.’s debt to income ratio rises to 688 percent (still in third place).

This tells you something about the likelihood of increasing Social Security taxes in conjunction with declining Social Security benefits.

Unfortunately, it is true that Social Security taxes will be increased, though not because tax dollars are needed or used.

Rather, FICA, the most regressive tax in America, will be increased because the rich, who control the politicians, want to foster the belief that the federal government “can’t afford” to pay Social Security benefits.

Finally, we come to the misleading summary of a misleading article:

Without quick and significant action on the federal budget, as soon as interest rates begin to rise toward normal the burden of the national debt on the federal budget will become heavy indeed. Something will have to give.

Somebody needs to drag the President and Congress to a credit counselor quick to begin repairs on the government finances. Otherwise, one day sooner than we think, the creditors will be knocking on the door.

What does that goofy phrase, “the creditors will be knocking on the door” mean? Does it mean creditors will want to be paid?

I have news for the author: Creditors always want to be paid, and the U.S. federal government never has failed to pay a creditor. And it never will fail.

The federal government “prints” all the dollars it needs, just as Bernanke, Greenspan and the Federal Reserve said.

I should mention that the article, and its dire warnings, was published back in 2014, and today, while our economy continues to grow, I had hoped the author has learned from reality, and no longer claims the sky is falling.

But, oops. He’s still at it. Here’s an article he wrote just last December, 2017: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Debt Ceiling And Potential Government Shutdown.

In this article he says,

“Spending can be cut to balance the budget, but not without cutting entitlements.”

And there you have the true purpose of the deception, to cut social programs and to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest.

Of the people who spread disinformation in the face of contrary fact, some do it out of ignorance and some are paid to do it.

I do not know which camp Mr. Jeffrey Dorfman lives in.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
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 (Guaranteed Income)) 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.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY