GOP says, “Deficit spending grows the economy, so cut deficit spending.” Huh? Monday, Oct 9 2017 

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

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The GOP is telling you, “Deficit spending grows the economy, so cut deficit spending.” Huh?

No, really. That is exactly what they are saying.

And not only that, but they also are telling you, “While we’re cutting deficit spending and destroying economic growth, let’s also cut Medicare, cut Medicaid, and gut other social spending.

“And as the cherry on top of that, the Republicans want you to accept the idea, “We’re going to make more poor people pay more tax, and more rich people pay less tax.

I kid you not. This is what President Trump and the GOP are trying to sell to you, the American public. Sadly, some of the public might buy it.

‘Deficit’ no longer a dirty word for the GOP: Trump’s tax plan adds more than $2 trillion in red ink
By: Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2017

Not long ago, Paul D. Ryan stood before charts and graphs as the House Budget Committee chairman like a new Ross Perot, promoting an austerity plan that slashed taxes and spending, and warning of the dangers of deficits.

“The facts are very, very clear: The United States is heading toward a debt crisis,” he said then.

“We face a crushing burden of debt which will take down our economy — which will lower our living standards.”

As you who understand the realities of Monetary Sovereignty know, there is not, nor ever has been, a “debt crisis.” Nor is there a “crushing burden of debt,” and federal debt will not “take down our economy,” and it surely will not “lower our living standards.”

It is all part of the Big Lie, that federal finances are like personal finances, where debt actually can be a problem.

For the federal government and for federal taxpayers, federal debt is no problem at all.

The reasons you seldom are told:

1. Federal “debt” actually is nothing more than the total of deposits in T-security accounts, very much like bank savings accounts. The government could pay off the entire “debt” (deposits) tomorrow, simply by transferring the dollars that exist in those accounts, back to the checking accounts of the T-security holders. No new dollars or taxes needed.

Paying off the federal debt would be a simple money transfer, exactly like your bank transferring dollars from your savings account to your checking account.

2. The federal “debt” results from federal deficit spending, which in itself grows the economy, because: GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports. 

Thus, it is mathematically impossible for the economy to grow without federal deficits.

And not just deficits, but increased deficit growth leads to economic growth. The graph shows deficit growth. Even declining deficit growth leads to recessions (vertical gray bars),  and increased deficit growth cures recessions.

In fact, increased deficit growth is the method by which the federal government brings us out of recessions.

It cured the “Great Recession” of 2008, just as deficit spending for WWII cured the Great Depression.

U.S. depressions tend to 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.

Now as House speaker, the Wisconsin Republican is undergoing a role reversal, championing President Trump’s tax plan, which promises massive tax cuts for corporations and to some extent individuals — and which experts say will add some $2 trillion to the nation’s red ink over the next decade.

It’s a sizable shift for Ryan, and he’s hardly the only one. The Republican majority, which swept to power just a few years ago in part by warning of then-President Obama’s run-up of debt, now plays down concern over deficits.

Economic growth must take priority, many Republicans say, and will ultimately take care of worries about red ink.

Get it? Even the GOP admits that deficit spending causes economic growth.

Let this be a lesson to the pusillanimous Democrats, who didn’t have the courage to support Bernie Sanders’s  “Medicare for All” because it would have added to the deficit.

You have to hand it to the GOP. They have the guts to push something they have campaigned against, solely to reward the rich with tax breaks.

Asked recently whether he had gone to the “dark side,” Ryan offered a reply that sounded like something a Democrat might have said to justify spending more on repairing roads and bridges or putting additional resources into schools.

“If this results in giving us a faster economic growth, that will help us reduce our debt,” he said in a CBS interview.

“You have got to have tax reform to get faster economic growth,” he added. “Faster economic growth is necessary for us to get our debt under control.”

No, a Democrat would not have said it. At least no Democrat I know. The little snowflakes would have been hiding under their desks, mumbling something about increasing taxes on the rich.

And yes, deficit spending not only will provide “faster” economic growth; deficit spending is what provides virtually all economic growth.

And again, no. You do not want to debt “under control,” if that means reducing the debt. To grow the economy, you must have deficit spending. Period.

The nation’s debt load has topped the eye-popping level of $20 trillion.

More misdirection by the debt liars. They say $20 trillion, to make it sound more terrifying. But $6 trillion of that is money the government owes itself. The right pocket owes the left pocket.

So on top of lying about the effects of federal debt, the debt liars lie about the amount of the debt.

For Trump, who routinely leveraged borrowing to expand his real estate empire and declared on the campaign trail that he loved debt, a tax plan that expands the government’s deficit may be no problem.

It actually was worse for Trump personally, because personal finances are not like federal finances. Trump could (and did) run short of dollars to service his debt (at least four times).

But the federal government never has, and indeed cannot, run short of dollars.  Never.

During a recent White House meeting, Trump boasted to lawmakers from the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee that the country’s economic growth could hit 4%, 5%, even 6% under his tax plan, which administration officials say would more than cover lost revenue and even reduce the deficit.

Think about it. Increasing the debt will increase economic growth, so decreasing the debt will decrease economic growth.  Why would anyone want that?

But, the lawmakers asked, what if growth isn’t so strong — most mainstream economists doubt it will be — what’s Plan B for making up the deficit shortfall?

What exactly is a “deficit shortfall”? Anyone?

Central to the GOP plan are tax cuts that slash the corporate rate. Some deductions would be eliminated and the standard deduction would be doubled, in hopes of simplifying the code and broadening the base of taxpayers.

The term “broadening the base of taxpayers” is GOP code for, “make more poor people pay more taxes.” That is, and always has been, the Republican goal — to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest.

“Republicans spent years pretending to care about the deficit when it came to making cuts to middle-class priorities, but the minute it came to handing tax breaks to the rich, that all went out the window,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Well, the GOP is the party of the rich, after all.  What did you expect?

GOP Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said. “We need to have new deficits…. If we simply look at this as being deficit-neutral, you’re never going to get the type of tax reform and tax reductions that you need to get to sustain 3% economic growth.”

Read his comment carefully. Even Republican Mulvany admits that deficits (via tax reductions) are necessary for economic growth.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin has said growth from the tax cut would be as much as $2 trillion, enough to pay for the cuts and start paying down deficits.

It gets crazier and crazier. Mnuchin, like Mulvaney, admits that tax cuts (which create deficits) will cause economic growth, but as soon as we achieve that growth, we should eliminate the deficits that caused the growth.

Congress repeatedly has shown, even under Republican control, that it has been unable to impose the kind of draconian reductions to Medicare, Medicaid and other safety-net programs called for in Ryan’s budgets.

In other words, to eliminate the deficits that caused economic growth, we need “draconian reductions to Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety net programs.”

So, if the GOP budget succeeds, we’ll have a double disaster: Reduction in economic growth along with reductions in Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

At the same time, Republicans are under great pressure to deliver on taxes, to have something to show for their hold on Congress and the presidency.

Translation: “Pass something, no matter how stupid and damaging, to show we know how to govern.”

Does it get any more ridiculous than that?

Every year since 1940, the debt liars have referred to the debt as a “ticking time bomb.” Back in 1940, the federal debt was $40 Billion. Today, 77 years later, it is $14 Trillion — a 35,000% increase, and that so-called “time bomb” still is ticking — and the debt liars still are lying.

For how many years must a liar be wrong before the public understands that the liar is lying? Isn’t 77 years enough?

Bottom line: The GOP says, “Deficit spending grows the economy, so cut deficit spending, and while we’re at it, cut Medicare, cut Medicaid, cut other social spending, and make the poor pay more tax and the rich pay less.”

That’s the GOP plan, folks. Do you like it?

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

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The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.

Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

There is one thing the GOP is doing right, and they even don’t talk about it. Monday, Mar 6 2017 

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

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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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There is one big thing the Republicans are doing right (no pun intended), and not only don’t they talk about it, some of them may not even realize it:

IRS income tax audits plummet as agency faces budget cuts
Christian Science Monitor, Ben Rosen, March 6, 2017

Americans filing income tax returns this year can worry less about being audited, after the Internal Revenue Service said budget cuts and a reduced staff are to blame for it auditing the fewest number of people in 13 years in 2016.

The lower number of audits the IRS performed in 2016 – down 16 percent from the year – are part of a six-year trend started by Republicans in Congress.

After they took control of the House and Senate in the 2010 elections, Republicans shrunk the agency’s budget from $12.2 billion to $11.2 billion last year, citing the IRS alleged singling out conservative political groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

The Republicans hate federal taxes, as well they should. Unlike state and local tax dollars, which are recirculated through the economy, federal tax dollars are removed from the money supply the instant they are received.Image result for sucking dollars

By definition, federal taxes (i.e.sucking dollars from the economy) reduce Gross Domestic Product, and that is why federal taxes are recessionary. (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

So the Republicans are right to cut IRS funding, as a way to reduce tax collections. It makes economic sense.

But the IRS Commissioner, not a part of the controversy, says the cuts are costing the federal government between $4 billion and $8 billion a year in uncollected taxes.

“We are the only agency if you give us more people and money, we give you more money back,” John Koskinen told the AP.

Translation: “If you give us more money, we will remove more dollars from the economy. Give us enough dollars and we will give you a depression.”

In the face of budget of cuts, the IRS lost more than 17,000 employees since 2010, nearly one-fifth of its total staff. This includes the loss of nearly 7,000 enforcement agents.

Losing employees does exacerbate unemployment. But collecting more taxes is really bad for the economy.

Republican lawmakers have defended the IRS cuts, mentioning the alleged mistreatment of conservative groups.

“Go look at all the areas where they’ve wasted money, mismanaged taxpayer resources,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R) of Ohio. “Not to mention the fact that, you know, one of the reasons we went after them so hard is they did target people for their political views.”

See, it’s like this:

We, the GOP,  tell you that more taxes should be collected (to balance the budget) even though this isn’t true.

But, we’ll overlook what we tell you is good for the economy because we are angry at the IRS. So there!

We cut the IRS budget because they picked on conservatives, even though we want more taxes to “pay for” additional military spending. (O.K., federal taxes don’t pay for anything, but you don’t know that.)

So here is what we plan to do. We’ll cut spending for Social Security and Medicare benefits, because the rich don’t care about those, and we’ve convinced you the federal government is running short of dollars.

We also will cut spending for Medicaid, ACA, and all benefits for the poor, because the rich don’t collect those, either, and again, you think the federal government can run out of its own sovereign currency.

And we’ll cut tax ratesbecause the rich pay the highest rates, and because we know federal taxes don’t pay for anything. (We also will create more loopholes for the rich, because they give us lots of money.)

And you, the public, will go along with all this because we have brainwashed you into believing federal taxes are necessary to fund federal spending, and the rich supposedly are the “makers” while the poor are the “takers.”

If you go along with the GOP’s “reverse Robin Hood” (take from the middle and poor, and give to the rich), you are going to love the next four years.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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ECONOMICS 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

Charade: More cuts to Social Security and Medicare Sunday, Dec 11 2016 

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

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Here are the players in the charade: The Republicans are the aggressive “Party of the Rich,” and the Democrats are the “go-along and just pretend to be the Party of the Poor.”

Here is the plot of the charade:

First Draft of the GOP’s Plan to Overhaul Social Security
The Fiscal Times, by Eric Pianin, December 11, 2016

A senior Republican House chairman has begun circulating a proposal that would make major cuts and changes to the Social Security system, a move to contravene in (sic) President-elect Donald Trump’s repeated vow to leave the retirement program for 61 million retirees and their families unscathed.

The comprehensive proposal — already generating Democratic outrage – would put in place a series of highly controversial measures long debated by the two parties.

Those measures include gradually raising the retirement age for receiving full benefits from 67 to 69 and adopting a less generous cost of living index than the current one.

The proposal would also inaugurate means testing by changing the benefits formula to reduce payments to wealthier retirees. It would also eliminate the annual COLA adjustments for wealthier individuals and their families.

The plan – drafted by veteran Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), chair of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security — includes some measures that might attract Democratic interest.

One would increase retirement benefits for lower-income workers and another would increase the minimum benefit for low-income earners who worked full careers.

However, Johnson’s call late last week for the start of a “fact-based conversation” about ways to fix Social Security and assure its long-term solvency drew immediate fire from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who warned that Johnson’s approach, if adopted, would cut current benefits by a third or more.

“Slashing Social Security and ending Medicare are absolutely not what the American people voted for in November,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Democrats will not stand by while Republicans dismantle the promise of a healthy and dignified retirement for working people in America.”

The announcement was jarring to many Democrats coming on the heels of the Republicans vow to move swiftly next month to repeal the Affordable Care Act but without a replacement plan in hand.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (R-GA), have also signaled interest in pursuing major changes to Medicare and Medicaid.

Many fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks may applaud the Republicans coming to terms with major entitlement programs that will contribute to the long-term debt.

The Social Security trust fund — which spends about $918 billion a year in benefits to retirees and their families, as well as disabled workers – is not in any imminent danger. However, the Trustees Report in March warned that the fund will begin running out of money in 2034 when beneficiaries will begin to face a 21 percent benefit cut.

Democrats including presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sander of Vermont, meanwhile, advocated changes in the law that would greatly expand retirement benefits, especially for widows and others struggling to make ends meet, by raising the cap on the federal payroll tax that goes to fund Social Security.

Late last week, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, an influential House Republican, and Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, a moderate Democrat, renewed their support for a plan to create a bipartisan, 13-member panel to recommend to Congress ways to prevent the massive trust fund from running out of money and extending its solvency for another 75 years.

1. This entire article, together with the ongoing efforts of the Republicans and the tacit accommodation by the Democrats, is based on the Big Lie, the lie that federal taxes pay for federal spending.

The United States government, being Monetarily Sovereign, is the absolute ruler over its own sovereign currency, the dollar. The U.S. government never can run short of dollars. Even if all federal tax collections, including FICA, fell to $0, the U.S. could continue spending, forever.

And being sovereign over the dollar, it has absolute control over the dollar’s value (i.e inflation.) The U.S. government has the power to make one dollar equal to a pound of gold, a pound of lead or a pound of cabbage. That is the power of Monetary Sovereignty.

2. Therefore, the so-called “trust fund” cannot run short of dollars, any more than the “White House trust fund,” the “Supreme Court trust fund” or the “Congress trust fund”  could run short of dollars.

3. And in fact, there are no “federal trust funds.” They are accounting fictions designed for one purpose and one purpose only: To make you believe your benefits must be cut and your taxes increased.  Even without FICA, and even with benefit increases, Social Security and Medicare cannot become insolvent unless Congress wills it.

4. This is not a case of ignorance by either party.  Both understand full well, the facts of Monetary Sovereignty. Stephanie Kelton, who teaches Monetary Sovereignty at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, was on Bernie Sanders’ staff, and was the chief economist for the Senate Democrats.

Yet you do not hear Bernie Sanders, or any other Democrat, much less a Republican, admitting that all this concern about federal agency insolvency is a charade.

Interestingly, the people who know finances best, occasionally have admitted the truth:

From Ben Bernanke when, as Fed chief, when he was on 60 Minutes:
Scott Pelley: Is that tax money that the Fed is spending?
Ben Bernanke: It’s not tax money… We simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account.

And here is a statement from the St. Louis Fed:
“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 Alan Greenspan:
“The United States can pay any debt it has, because it always can print more money.”

That last sentence about “credit markets” really means, “Not only does the government not depend on taxes; it doesn’t depend on borrowing.”

And here come the Democrats, the tacit accommodators.

How the Democratic and GOP Platforms Clash Over Social Security Reform
By Eric Pianin, July 27, 2016

The new Democratic national platform includes a substantial increase in the average benefits to seniors while requiring wealthier Americans to pay a much larger share of the overall cost.

The platform, heavily influenced by Sanders, who calls it the “most progressive” in the party’s history, in close collaboration with Hillary Clinton’s camp, rejects any notion that Social Security should be restructured to prevent a cash crisis or a federal debt crisis.

Instead, the newly minted campaign document would extend the Social Security trust fund’s solvency 50 years or more by lifting a cap on the payroll tax to force wealthier Americans to assume a much larger share of the program’s cost.

It would also increase average monthly benefits to seniors and recast cost-of-living adjustments to make it more advantageous to seniors with substantial medical expenses.

Sounds great, right? Sounds fair. More benefits to seniors and the rich paying more.

Not so fast. A little trick is buried in there. Notice that the Democrats do not deny that Social Security (and by extension, Medicare) could become insolvent. No, they still subscribe to the the Big Lie. 

Well, O.K., but still they want the rich to pay more. That should count for something, shouldn’t it?  Yes . . . except the rich run America, so it’s not going to happen.

Remember all those speeches the Clintons give — those speeches for which they are paid upwards of $200,000 plus lodging, transportation, and dinner, for two hours of work. These speeches were not made in front of poor people who want rich people to pay more.

And as for all those millions upon millions of campaign contribution dollars, they came from rich people, who are accustomed to a healthy return on their investments.

So what is going on here? It’s simple.  Remember Obama’s hoped-for “Grand Bargain,” in which he wanted to give away the store to the Republicans — i.e., unnecessarily cut spending on Social Security and Medicare and cut the debt?

It was all part of a Grand Ploy, in which the Republicans ask to totally screw the middle class and poor, and the Democrats ask only partly to screw the middle-class and poor. Then they get together in a “bipartisan agreement.”

(“Bipartisan” is a popular Washington word meaning: “It must be great because we all agreed on the amount to screw you. Our Party takes the credit for the good parts and the other Party gets the blame for the bad parts.”)

In a “bipartisan” agreement both parties get together and (wink, wink) agree to put on a charade for the public. Then they produce the document their financial supporters, the rich, really want.

Every time you see or hear the word, “bipartisan,” know this: The poor and middle are about to be screwed.

“Democrats are proud to be the party that created Social Security, one of the nation’s most successful and effective programs. Without Social Security, nearly half of America’s seniors would be living in poverty,” the platform document states.

“We will fight every effort to cut, privatize, or weaken Social Security, including attempts to raise the retirement age, diminish benefits by cutting cost-of-living adjustments, or reducing earned benefits.”

Except that is exactly what the Democrat, Obama, tried to do with his Grand Bargain and all during his administration: Cut, privatize, or weaken Social Security, including attempts to raise the retirement age, diminish benefits by cutting cost-of-living adjustments, and/or reducing earned benefits.”

And lest you think the Big Lie is told only by elected politicians:

Medicare and Social Security Worse than They Look: Trustees
By Rob Garver, July 22, 2015

The Medicare and Social Security trust fund trustees reported on the long-term solvency of the country’s two largest entitlement programs on Wednesday, and as usual, provided projected insolvency dates for the various funds under their supervision.

Medicare, it turns out, has enough in its Hospital Insurance Trust Fund to continue paying benefits at current levels until 2030, when it will run dry.

After that, dedicated tax revenues under current law would allow the program to pay out only 86 percent of scheduled benefits.

Its other major funds, which cover Part B and Part D, are projected to remain solvent indefinitely because they are funded automatically, but they are becoming increasingly costly.

Note the little weasel words, “under current law.” Very simply, this means that current law requires Medicare (and Social Security) to spend no more than the tax dollars dedicated to Social Security and Medicare.

This does not mean FICA taxes pay for Social Security and Medicare. It merely means that someone adds up tax dollars received in one column, and SS  and Medicare dollars spent in another column, and compares the two columns.

If the 2nd column is bigger than the first, they are supposed to cut spending.

This arbitrary law has nothing to do with affordability or solvency. It is just an arbitrary column comparison that could be changed tomorrow.

It just as well could read that SS and Medicare are allowed to spend no more than double, or triple, or ten times the amount of taxes received. Congress and the President have total control over that law.

And what is that little thing about Part B and Part D are projected to remain solvent indefinitely because they are funded automatically”?

Here is what that includes:

1. Funds authorized by Congress
2. Premiums from people enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D)
3. Other sources, like interest earned on the trust fund investments

Forget #’s 2 and 3. The important one is #1, Funds authorized by Congress. Congress has the unlimited power to authorize funds to support Medicare parts B and D, as well as Part A

As there are no limits to what Congress can authorize, the Big Lie is exposed for what it is: A great big lie.

Bottom line: The United States of America, being Monetarily Sovereign, never can run short of its own sovereign currency, the dollar. Thus, no agency of the USA can run short of dollars, unless Congress and the President wish it.

There is absolutely no honest reason why Medicare and Social Security benefits should be reduced and/or taxes increased.

In fact, Medicare and Social Security should be provided free to you and to every other man, woman, and child in America. (See Steps #2 and #3 in the Ten Steps to Prosperity, below).

Do this now, while you’re thinking about it.  Contact both of your Senators, your Representative, and the President, and tell them you know the truth. You know the U.S. cannot run short of dollars, and there is no reason to cut benefits or increase taxes.

Tell them that unless they admit this publicly, and make it part of their personal platform, you will vote for their opponent in the next election.

Don’t be like the people who fail to vote, and then complain about how things are run. Contact your politicians, now, and expose the charade.

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.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

–The cost of ignorance goes up, again: Social Security version Thursday, Jul 23 2015 

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

Mitchell’s 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. .
Liberals 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 rich and poor.
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening
the gap between rich and poor.
•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..

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You regular readers of this blog know that ignorance of economics created the disaster now known as the euro. You know the euro nations voluntarily surrendered the single most valuable asset any nation can have: Its Monetary Sovereignty.

Because of their economics ignorance, the whole of the eurozone either is, or soon will be, suffering from austerity, i.e the loss of income, jobs, health care, education, housing — in short, the loss of a decent lifestyle that government is supposed to help provide.

Greece may be the most extreme example currently, but not the only and not the last.

We may shake our heads at the ignorance of people who would allow their government to surrender its most valuable asset, but we needn’t feel too superior. Despite the fact that the U.S. federal government retains its Monetary Sovereignty, and therefore cannot run short of dollars, we allow it to act as though it were monetarily NON-sovereig

We allow the government to husband its dollars like some penurious miser, straight out of Dickens.

Social Security disability fund to run dry next year.

The 11 million Americans who receive Social Security disability face steep benefit cuts next year, the government said Wednesday, handing lawmakers a fiscal and political crisis in the middle of a presidential campaign.

The trustees who oversee Social Security and Medicare said the disability trust fund will run out of money in late 2016. That would trigger an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits, unless Congress acts.

The average monthly benefit for disabled workers and their families is $1,017.

Think of it. A disabled person, too ill to work, receives a pittance: $1,017, to support his/her family. But that is too much for the politicians.

The typical beneficiary would see a reduction of $193 a month.

“Today’s report shows that we must seek meaningful, in some instances even urgent, changes to ensure the program is on stable ground for future generations,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, chief executive officer of AARP.

AARP, which supposedly helps seniors and other Social Security beneficiaries, spreads the Big Lie, that taxes fund federal spending.

It’s a lie, because even were FICA to be eliminated, the federal government could continue funding Social Security benefits, forever.

Just as the U.S. federal government never can run short of its own sovereign currency, the dollar, agencies of the federal government never can run short of dollars, unless Congress wills it.

In more bad news for beneficiaries, the trustees project there will be no cost-of-living increase in benefits at the end of the year. It would mark only the third year without an increase since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.

Separately, about 7 million Medicare beneficiaries could face a monthly premium increase of at least $54 for outpatient coverage. That works out to an increase of more than 50 percent — for outpatient coverege.

Day by day, month by month, the middle- and lower-income groups are squeezed, just as in Greece, and for no good reason.

The annual report card on the financial health of Social Security and Medicare shows that the federal government’s largest benefit programs are feeling the strain of aging baby boomers as they both approach milestone anniversaries.

“The strain” is another way of saying that more people are growing older, and they need the kind of help a 1st rate government is supposed to provide. Why else would we have a government?

There was some good news in the report: The trustees said Social Security’s retirement fund has enough money to pay full benefits until 2035, a year later than they predicted last year. At that point, Social Security will collect enough in payroll taxes to pay about 75 percent of benefits.

Medicare’s giant hospital trust fund is projected to be exhausted in 2030, the same date as last year’s report. At that point, Medicare taxes would be enough to pay 86 percent of benefits.

The Big Lie continues — the pretense that like you and me (who are not Monetarily Sovereign), the government can run short of dollars to pay its bills. It cannot.

Advocates for seniors say that gives policymakers plenty of time to address both programs without cutting benefits. But some in Congress note that the longer lawmakers wait, the harder it gets to address the shortfall without making significant changes.

Nonsense. It’s not hard at all. Simply acknowledge the federal government’s ability to support Social Security at any desired level, and while making that admission, get rid of the worst tax in U.S. history: FICA.

There is an easy fix available for the disability program: Congress could shift tax revenue from Social Security’s much larger retirement fund, as it has done in the past.

President Barack Obama supports the move. And acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin said shifting the tax revenue “would have no adverse effect on the solvency of the overall Social Security program.”

There would be no adverse effect, simply because the U.S. government has the unlimited ability to support Social Security.

But why will Congress not admit this simple truth? Here’s the clue:

Republicans say they want changes in the disability program to reduce fraud and to encourage disabled workers to re-enter the workforce.

In January, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., suggested that a lot of slackers are on disability. Paul, who is running for president, joked that half the people getting benefits are either anxious or their back hurts.

And there you have it. The Republican party of the rich, spreads the cruel lie that disabled people are fraudulent fakers and slackers, who need to be “encouraged” to re-enter the workforce.

Note the simpering laughter of Republican Rand Paul, slandering those unfortunate, disabled people. As if life weren’t difficult enought for them, a liar like Paul has to heep on the scorn. This is the kind of cruelty to the afflicted one has come to expect from Republicans. 

Here is Doctor Rand Paul, who grew up in luxury. He received his medical degree from the renowned Duke University School of Medicine. His father also was a doctor, a U.S. Congressman, who ran for President three times. This is the privileged Rand Paul who sneers at the poor, the aged and the disabled, from his lofty perch on high.

If the retirement and disability funds were combined, they would have enough money to pay full benefits until 2034, the trustees said.

Or, the federal government simply could pay the benefits.

The Medicare premium increases would affect Part B, which provides coverage for outpatient services.

For about 70 percent of beneficiaries, premium increases cannot exceed the dollar amount of their Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA. Because no COLA is currently expected for next year, increased costs of outpatient coverage would have to be spread among the remaining 30 percent.

Translation: The Monetarily Sovereign federal government is running out of money, but the disabled and the poor have plenty of money. So cut federal spending while forcing the people who can afford it least, to pay more.

Why does the government get away with it? Because the electorate is ignorant of economics reality. The people have been brainwashed into believing the federal government can run short of dollars, and/or that any increases in federal spending will cause a Zimbabwe-esque hyperinflation (another part of the Big Lie.)

Just as the Greek people suffer for their economics ignorance, so to do we Americans suffer for ours.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)

The Ten Steps will add dollars to the economy, stimulate the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
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10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of dollars (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
2. All deficit spending grows the supply of dollars
3. The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
4. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

THE RECESSION CLOCK
Monetary Sovereignty

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.

#MONETARYSOVEREIGNTY

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