–Why a dollar bill is not a dollar, and other economic craziness Monday, Jun 20 2011 

Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
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You may have seen your bank; you may have seen your safe deposit box. But have you ever seen your checking account?

No, you haven’t. Your checking account is not a physical reality. It is an accounting notation. You could travel to your bank, and walk into the lobby, and you would not be one inch closer to your checking account than if you had stayed home.

When you receive a printed checking account statement, you receive evidence you own the dollars in your checking account. But, you never will see those dollars. They too, are not physical realities, but rather, accounting notations. In fact, you never will see a dollar, anywhere. No one on earth ever has seen a dollar.

A dollar bill is not a dollar.

A dollar bill is a piece of paper telling the world the bearer owns a dollar. It can be compared to a title. When you own a car or a house, you have a document telling the world you own that car or house. The document is called a “title.” The title is not the car or house. You can’t drive a title; you can’t live in a title. It’s just evidence of ownership. Your dollar bill is evidence you own that invisible dollar.

A dollar has no physical existence. You can’t hold a dollar. A dollar has no more substance than does a number. You can’t hold the number “one.” You can’t carry the number “ten.” When you write a check, from your invisible checking account, that check is a set of instructions telling your bank to debit your checking account and to credit the payee’s checking account.

One account is debited and another account is credited. No dollars move. They can’t. They aren’t physical. The peso, the euro, the mark, the pound, the yuan, – none of the world’s currencies are physical. They all are accounting notations.

The U.S. federal government has been Monetarily Sovereign since we went off the gold standard in 1971. Money creation no longer is limited by the availability of gold. Our Monetarily Sovereign government can pay any bill of any size at any time, merely by sending instructions to banks to credit bank accounts.

The world’s financial structure is based on instructions to banks. When the federal government owes you $1,000, it sends you a check for $1,000, and you send the check to your bank. The check is not money. It is a written instruction to your bank to credit your account. The bank does as instructed, and your account balance is increased by $1,000. The federal government can send such checks – such instructions – endlessly. It doesn’t need to borrow or collect taxes. It merely sends instructions.

The federal government never “prints” dollars. Printing implies a physical creation. But dollars are not physical. Warren Mosler, uses the analogy of a football scoreboard. The government creates dollars by crediting bank accounts; the scoreboard creates points by posting them. The government never can run short of dollars just as the scoreboard never can run short of points.

Is paying a debt a burden to the federal government? Is posting a score a burden to the scoreboard? Does the federal government need to tax or borrow dollars? Does the scoreboard need to tax or borrow points?

Can the government run short of dollars? Can the scoreboard run short of points?

Would the posting of points be “unsustainable” as some claim the federal debt is?

The federal government pays all its bills by typing numbers into a computer – just like a scoreboard.

The dollar bill is an IOU. On its face is printed, “Federal Reserve Note.” The words “bill” and “note” describe debt instruments (as in “T-bill”and “T-note”). These instruments are held by creditors to demonstrate debt.

When you hold a dollar, who owes you what? The federal government owes you full faith and credit, which may not sound like much, but actually is powerful. It means:

1. The government will accept U.S. currency in payment of debts to the government
2. It unfailingly will pay all it’s dollar debts with U.S. dollars and will not default
3. It will force all your domestic creditors to accept U.S. dollars, if you offer it, to satisfy your debt.
4. It will not require domestic creditors to accept any other money
5. It will take action to protect the value of the dollar.
6. It will maintain a market for U.S. currency
7. It will continue to use U.S. currency and will not change to another currency.
8. All forms of U.S. currency will be reciprocal, that is five $1 bills always will equal one $5 bill and vice versa.

Every form of U.S. money is a form of debt. For many people, the word “debt” is threatening. That may be true for you and me and the states, counties and cities, and Greece and Ireland, all of which are monetarily non-sovereign, but not for our Monetarily Sovereign government, which can credit bank accounts endlessly.

Try to think of any U.S. money that is not owed by something to someone. You can’t.

Federal debt is not functionally the total of federal deficits. By law, the Treasury must issue T-securities (aka “debt”) in an amount equal to federal deficits. But that law is obsolete and could be eliminated immediately. Were it eliminated, there still could be deficits, but all federal debt would disappear.

Similarly, the Treasury could issue T-securities (debt), while the government did not run a deficit, or even ran a surplus.

Brief summary: A dollar has no physical reality. Neither does a checking account or any other bank account, debt, deficit, inflation, recession, depression, stagflation or money. All these terms are descriptive of accounting notations. The federal government can change any of these simply by typing into a computer.

Dollars do not physically move, because they don’t physically exist. When the government pays a debt, you may imagine dollars moving out of some government storage place into a creditor’s bank. But, there is no storage place; there is no movement. The government sends instructions to the creditor’s bank. That’s it. A Monetarily Sovereign government never can run out of instructions.

Given all of the above, how is there a debt crisis? How can the federal debt be a “burden” or “unsustainable” or a “ticking time bomb.” as the media love to claim?

One final thought: Debt-hawks typically confuse two questions:
1. How many dollars can the federal government create?
2. How many dollars should the federal government create?

When a debt-hawk is presented with the unassailable proof that the federal government cannot run short of dollars, and easily can pay any bill of any size, the rejoinder often is, “But that would cause inflation,” or “Why don’t we just give everyone a trillion dollars?” These responses indicate a quick switch in subjects, from question #1 to question #2.

This post describes only question #1. Question #2, which involves economic stimulus and inflation, is described in other posts. The answer to #1 is “infinite,” and that is why the federal debt is an obsolete, useless, meaningless, indeed harmful, concept.

Isn’t economics crazy?

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


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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

A Debt Parable. How ignorance and superstition destroyed our wonderful land Friday, Jun 17 2011 

Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
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Ignoring all facts and evidence to the contrary, America’s Congress, our President, our media, and most of our old-line economists intuitively knew the earth is flat, and if an American boat sailed far enough it would fall off the edge.

So to protect our shipping from this never-seen edge, Congress installed a barrier, preventing our boats from sailing too far.

Every few years, Congress moved the barrier farther out to sea, and while no American boat ever had fallen off the edge, nor had any American even experienced an edge, many wise men predicted this would happen “eventually,” and the repeated movement of the barrier was “unsustainable.” The media termed the edge of the world a “ticking time bomb.” They derided those who wanted to end the barrier with invective and such sarcasms as: “Are you saying ships can sail forever?”

Some foreign boats that were not seaworthy – rowboats, rafts and the like – had sailed out beyond the horizon, and never seen again. Proponents of the American barrier offered this as absolute proof the barrier was needed, and the edge actually existed.

Though the barrier prevented American boats from circling the earth, which limited our trade, and hurt our nation’s economy, and though we already were in a recession, Congress decreed the barrier would be moved no more. No American boats were allowed to sail beyond it. Our economy was not allowed to grow.

Meanwhile, other nations discovered the edge of the world was a myth. They did not limit their ships. Their trade expanded and these nations grew wealthy, as America slipped steadily into a deepening depression, until we were no more.

And that is how ignorance and superstition destroyed our wonderful land.

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


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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Another reminder why reducing the federal deficit is national suicide. Your health, your children’s health and your grandchildren’s health are being sacrificed. Tuesday, May 17 2011 

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.
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Another reminder about why reducing the federal deficit is national suicide: Your health, your children’s health and your grandchildren’s health is being threatened — no more than threatened, compromised. And it’s all because of the myth the federal deficit and federal debt are “unsustainable.”

While the myth is easily disproved, the politicians, media and mainstream economists refuse to learn.

By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
WASHINGTON — A disease standoff may be brewing: How can Alzheimer’s research receive more scarce dollars without cutting from areas like heart disease or cancer?

In one of the stark realities of the budget crisis, scientists’ chances of winning research dollars from the National Institutes of Health for any condition have dipped to a new low.

“We are clearly not able to support a lot of great science that we would like to support,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told senators last week. This year, for every six grant applications that NIH receives, “five of them are going to go begging.”

That’s down from nearly 1 in 3 grants funded a decade ago, and 1 in 5 last year. And it comes before the looming fight over how much more to cut in overall government spending for next year, and where to make those cuts.

Already, a new report says one of the biggest losers is aging research, despite a rapidly graying population that promises a worsening epidemic of dementia, among other illnesses.

“Nobody wants to say Alzheimer’s is worse than diabetes or heart disease or cancer,” says Dr. Sam Gandy, a prominent neuroscientist at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

But “part of the problem now with all the pressure to cut the budget … is that for Alzheimer’s to get more, something else has to lose,” adds Gandy. His own lab is scrambling for funds to study a potential dementia drug after losing out on an NIH aging grant.

The NIH pays for much of the nation’s leading biomedical research. Republicans and Democrats alike have long been staunch supporters. But the agency’s nearly $31 billion budget offers an example of the hard choices facing lawmakers, especially if they’re to meet House calls for a drastic scale-back of overall government spending.

So which do you fear more: Disease or the federal deficit, knowing the federal government has proved it can support any size deficit? Have you been so brainwashed by the Tea (formerly Republican) Party nuts, you are willing to lay your health, and the health of your family on the line?

Consider aging issues.

The NIH spends about $469 million on Alzheimer’s research, says a new report from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America that criticizes overall aging research as “a minuscule and declining investment.”

About 5.4 million Americans now have Alzheimer’s disease, and studies suggest health and nursing home expenditures for it cost more than $170 billion a year, much of it paid by Medicare and Medicaid.

NIH’s Collins told a Senate appropriations subcommittee that there’s a “very frightening cost curve.” In 2050, when more than 13 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimer’s, the bill is expected to reach a staggering $1 trillion. But he said that cost could be halved merely by finding a way to delay people getting Alzheimer’s by five years.

The debt-hawks are fond of showing you graphs illustrating (falsely) how the increase in older people will cause Social Security and Medicare to run out of money. But have they ever shown you a graph illustrating how many more people will get Alzheimers, for lack of medical research?

Monday, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich jumped into the debate, saying that over the next four decades Alzheimer’s could cost the government a total of $20 trillion. He suggested selling U.S. bonds to raise money for research rather than have the disease compete each year for a share of the federal budget.

“We are grotesquely underfunded,” Gingrich said of health research dollars.

Yes, we are. Nice of him to notice. But creating T-securities out of thin air, then exchanging them for dollars we previously created out of thin air is foolish.

How foolish? Newt favors reducing the debt, but his bond-selling plan increases the debt. This demonstrates the idiocy of the Tea (formerly Republican) Party debt-reduction position. We wouldn’t need to struggle with complex, convoluted, nonsensical plans if we simply would end the debt-hawk control over our thinking. Stop selling bonds; fund with deficit spending.

Competition for today’s dollars is fierce, with applications up 60 percent at the aging division alone since 2003. Aging chief Dr. Richard Hodes says last year, his institute couldn’t pay for about half of what were ranked as the most outstanding applications for research projects. Still, he hopes to fund more scientists this year by limiting the number who get especially large grants.

What’s the squeeze? Congress doubled the NIH’s budget in the early 2000s, an investment that helped speed the genetic revolution and thus a host of new projects that scientists are clamoring to try. But in more recent years, economists say NIH’s budget hasn’t kept pace with medical inflation, and this year Congress cut overall NIH funding by 1 percent

The Obama administration has sought nearly $32 billion for next year, and prospects for avoiding a cut instead are far from clear. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the issue, warns that under some early-circulating House plans to curb health spending, “severe reductions to NIH research would be unavoidable.”

Still the Tea (formerly Republican) Party doesn’t get it. They don’t understand the simple premise that medical progress requires medical research.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., pushed Collins to make the case that investments in medical research really can pay off.

Collins’ response: Four decades of NIH-led research revealed how arteries get clogged and spurred development of cholesterol-fighting statin drugs, helping lead to a 60 percent drop in heart-disease deaths. Averaged out, that research cost about $3.70 per person per year, “the cost of a latte, and not even a grande latte,” Collins told lawmakers.

Get it now, debt hawks? Probably not. But are you willing to fight for your family’s health? Contact your Washington representatives and tell them our lives are being threatened by their misguided budget-reduction nonsense.

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


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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

–Does this report from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget make you angry? Does it make you afraid? It should. Saturday, May 14 2011 

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

Does this report from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget make you angry? Does it make you afraid? It should.

Analysis of the 2011 Social Security Trustees Report, May 13, 2011

Today, the Social Security Trustees released their 2011 report on the financial status of both Social Security and Medicare. The reports make clear that both programs are on unsustainable paths, and reforms will be necessary to make them solvent. This analysis focuses on the financial status of Social Security.

The latest Trustees report shows Social Security’s position has deteriorated since last year. The Trustees estimate that the 75-year actuarial imbalance has now increased to 0.8 percent of GDP (2.22 percent of taxable payroll) compared to 0.7 percent of GDP (1.92 percent of taxable payroll) in last year’s report. Over the coming decade, the Trustees project cash-flow deficits of about $490 billion (including $131 billion in 2021 alone), compared to about $380 billion in last year’s report.

The Trustees now estimate that the program will exhaust its dedicated trust funds (one for old-age and the other for disability) in 2036, a year earlier than the 2037 date projected in last year’s report. At that time, absent changes in law, all current and future beneficiaries would experience an immediate 23 percent cut in benefits.

Even more pressing is the state of the Disability Insurance trust fund, which (if not allowed to borrow from the rest of Social Security) will run out of money by 2018, only seven years from now.

According to the Trustees, making Social Security sustainably solvent would take savings equal to 0.8 percent of GDP (2.22 percent of payroll) over 75 years and 1.5 percent (4.24 percent of payroll) in the 75th year.

Well, did that make you angry or afraid? It should have, because it is based on a lie – a government lie – and having the federal government lie makes all of us especially angry and afraid.

The lie, very simply is the implication federal spending relies on federal taxes. Social Security and Medicare are federal programs. FICA taxes paid to the government are less than benefits paid. Based on this, the Trustees say these federal programs will “run out of money.” A lie.

Were it true, the entire federal government already has “run out of money,” because federal taxes, with very few exceptions, have been less than federal spending, every year in our nation’s history. So beginning in 1776, America has been on what the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget would call an “unsustainable” path and insolvent. Yet here we are, 235 years later, still “unsustainable,” still “insolvent” and still the most powerful nation on earth. Amazing, isn’t it?

Well, it would be amazing if you didn’t understand the federal government creates the dollars you use. It would be amazing if you believed federal taxes pay for federal spending and FICA pays for Social Security and Medicare. They don’t.

The U.S. is Monetarily Sovereign. If all federal taxes, including FICA, were reduced to $0 or increased to $100 trillion, neither event would affect by even one dollar, the solvency of any federal agency, including Social Security and Medicare. There is no functional relationship between federal taxes and federal spending. The federal government always pays its bills, regardless of taxes collected.

(The situation is different for states, counties and cities, which are not Monetarily Sovereignty, , so they do use tax money to pay their bills. The situation also is different for Greece, Ireland et al, which also are not Monetarily Sovereign. And the situation is different for you and me. We too, are not Monetarily Sovereign. For reasons I cannot explain, the federal government, the media, and even most economists, do not know the difference between Monetarily Sovereign and monetarily non-sovereign, and therein lies the problem.)

So yes, be afraid. Be very, very afraid, especially with both the Democrats and the Tea (formerly Republican) Parties believing our federal social programs must be cut. Your future and the futures of your children and grandchildren are in the hands of people who do not know what they are doing.

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


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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

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