Congress re. Medicare and the deficit: The easy we make impossible, but it takes longer Thursday, Aug 1 2019 

We already have created Medicare for seniors. The hard work was accomplished years ago. And in those years since, we have accumulated excellent knowledge in how to run a Medicare program.

Now, to create Medicare for All, we need only to do three simple things:

I. Eliminate FICA
The U.S. federal government is Monetarily Sovereign. It has the unlimited ability to create its sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

Unlike state and local governments, the federal government never can run short of dollars. Even if all federal tax collections fell to $0, the federal government could continue spending and paying its bills, forever.

Alan Greenspan: A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”
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.”
St. Louis Federal Reserve: “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 (borrowing) to remain operational.”

Contrary to the popular myth, FICA does not fund Medicare. The dollars collected for FICA (and indeed, all federal tax dollars) are destroyed by the U.S. Treasury upon receipt.

The federal government creates brand new dollars, each time it pays a creditor.

And lest you believe increased deficit spending (necessitated by the elimination of FICA) would cause inflation, history says that is not so.

Federal deficit spending (red) does not cause inflations (blue)

Most inflations and all hyperinflations have been caused by shortages, (usually shortages of food and/or energy), not by excess money. These shortages often are caused by insufficient federal deficit spending.Image result for german money in a wheelbarrow

The “money-in-a-wheelbarrow” meme demonstrates a government’s response to inflation, not the cause of inflation.

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.

II. Expand Medicare to include all age groups. This does not require a fundamental change, but rather an expansion of the already existing program, so that it covers everyone.

III. Make it more inclusive by removing deductibles and covering long-term care. The theoretical purpose of deductibles is to dissuade people from over-using Medicare.

But because Medicare costs taxpayers nothing, even possible over-use would pump growth dollars into the economy — a benefit to all Americans.

Further, long-term care eventually is needed by a high percentage of people, but it is unaffordable for many. Having the federal government pay would remove a great burden from most American families.

I was reminded of the above by the following article that appeared in the 8/1/19 Chicago Tribune (excerpts follow).

Many in GOP-led Senate torn over pact to boost debt limit
By Andrew Taylor Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A hard-won, warts-and-all budget pact between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump is facing a key vote in the GOP-held Senate, with many conservatives torn between supporting the president and risking their political brand with an unpopular vote to add $2 trillion or more to the government’s credit card.

Credit cards are, for you and me, a method of short-term borrowing. But unlike you and me, and state/local governments,  the federal government does not borrow.

Given its unlimited ability to create dollars, it has no reason to borrow dollars. What often and misleadingly is termed federal “borrowing,” actually is the acceptance of deposits into Treasury-security (T-bill, T-note, T-bond) accounts.

The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign has no need for the dollars in those accounts, so does not touch them. Rather, the dollars remain in the accounts until maturity, at which time they, together with interest, are returned to the depositor.

The purposes of T-securities are to:

  1. Provide a safe depository for unused dollars, which stabilizes the dollar, and
  2. Assist the Fed in controlling interest rates.

They do not help the federal government pay its bills.

The Trump-supported legislation backed by the Democratic speaker would stave off a government shutdown and protect budget gains for the Pentagon and popular domestic programs.

It’s attached to a must-do measure to lift the so-called debt limit to permit the government to borrow freely to pay its bills.

The so-called debt limit is akin to burning your wallet to prevent you from paying your exisiting creditors. It is not “financial prudence,” as many politicians would have you believe.

The vote, expected Thursday, is a politically tough one for many Republicans.

The tea party-driven House GOP conference broke against it by a 2-1 ratio, but most pragmatists see the measure as preferable to an alternative fall landscape of high-wire deadlines and potential chaos.

The government otherwise would face a potential debt default, an Oct. 1 shutdown deadline, and the return in January of across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

Hmmm . . . The choice is between high-wire deadlines, potential chaos, debt default, an Oct. 1 shutdown, and sequestration,  vs. simply eliminating the useless debt ceiling.

For new arrivals to the Senate, particularly those who ran against a broken Washington culture, the sweeping measure represents a lot of what they ran against: unrestrained borrowing and trillion-dollar deficits, fueled by a bipartisan thirst for new spending.

Unrestrained borrowing” does not exist, simply because the federal government (unlike state and local governments) does not borrow.Image result for nasa

Trillion-dollar deficits” add trillions of growth dollars to the economy.

New spending” is the method by which the federal government benefits Americans via spending for the military, health-care, anti-poverty efforts, science and technology, education,, anti-global warming, medical advances, national parks, disaster recovery, and the myriad other benefits we Americans expect and rely upon.

“This budget process, if we can even call it a process, put taxpayers at the mercy of a House speaker who has no interest in prudent budgeting,” said freshman Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.

State and local taxpayers fund state and local government spending. But, contrary to popular myth, federal taxpayers do not fund federal spending.

To cut federal growth spending is not “prudent.” It demonstrates ignorance of federal financing and national needs.

Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the deal “marks the death of the tea party movement in America.”

Good riddance to the tea party, the party of austerity and hatred of the poor and middle-classes.

The pact is a victory for pragmatists eager to avert chaos caused by a potential government shutdown, a possible debt crisis, or a freeze to agency budgets — including the massive Pentagon budget — at current levels.

The agreement lifts the limit on the government’s $22 trillion debt for two years and averts the risk of the Pentagon and domestic agencies from being hit with $125 billion in automatic spending cuts that are the last gasp of the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Every debt crisis ends the same way: After ignorant statements about faux “prudence,” and ignorantly equating federal finances to personal finances, and falsly claiming that federal taxpayers will foot the bill, Congress and the President agree on a temporary fix.

This assures that, having learned nothing and proved nothing, Congress will expose the public to the same ignorance and chaos a few more months down the line.

And these are the people to whom we trust our futures.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereigntyFacebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer.

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

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 you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Social Security: How you are being conned Wednesday, May 29 2019 

Yes, you are being conned, and the following article from the May 10, 2019 issue of The Week magazine unintentionally tells you how.

Social Security will be insolvent in only 16 years, said Eric Boehm in Reason​.com. That’s the finding of a new report by the program’s trustees, which says Social Security’s costs will exceed its income in 2020.

To put this as gently as possible, you are being fed 100% bovine excrement, with some equus poop tossed in.

It is absolutely impossible for any agency of the U.S. government to become insolvent unless the government wants it to become insolvent. Period.

Image result for greenspan and bernanke

A.G.: “A government can’t become insolvent from obligations in its own currency.”
B.B. “And the suckers never catch on.”

Unlike our state and local governments, our federal government uniquely is Monetarily Sovereign, meaning it cannot run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

In the beginning, the federal government created an arbitrary number of the original U.S. dollars from thin air.

It continues to do so. (See: “Does the U.S. Treasury really destroy your tax dollars?“)

It also gave those original dollars an arbitrary value, and it continues to do that, too. (See here.)

Even if total FICA collections, which you have been told (erroneously) fund Social Security, were $0, the U.S. government could continue paying SS benefits, without limit.

In fact, even if all federal tax collections were $0, the federal government could continue spending forever, and still not borrow.

To cover benefits, the program will have to start dipping into its $3 trillion trust fund.

“If nothing changes,” those reserves will be exhausted by 2035 and recipients will receive only about three-quarters of their expected benefits.

The so-called “trust fund” is a bookkeeping fiction, designed to make you think federal finances are like personal finances.

There is no trust fund. There merely is a bookkeeping account, over which the federal government has total control.

If the government (i.e. Congress and the President) wished, that fictional “trust fund” could show a balance of $100 trillion. Or $0.

Those dollars do not “come from” anywhere. The government owns the balance sheets and puts any entries it wishes into them. (See: Monopoly)

“That may sound like a long way off, but 51-year-old workers today will just be hitting retirement age when the cuts kick in.”

Americans have long known this shortfall is coming, said Noah Rothman in CommentaryMagazine​.com, “and they do not care.

More bovine scat being fed to you. Americans do care, but they have been conned into believing that the only solution is higher taxes or reduced benefits.

In 2005, President George W. Bush unveiled a major effort to reform Social Security. It failed.

In 2012, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan outlined ways to trim the program’s costs.

“They were defeated.” Then in 2016, Donald Trump “explicitly ran against conservative efforts to rein in entitlement spending.” He won.

Americans have voted themselves into an entitlement crisis.

The politicians lie when they tell you that “reforming” Social Security requires benefit cuts or increased taxes. The real reform would be to eliminate FICA taxes and to increase benefits.

There is not a single financial reason why this cannot be done.

Congress could restore the program to health by letting the government invest some “of the Social Security trust fund in the stock market,” said Brett Arends in Barron’s

A truly dopey idea. Not only is the stock market a high-risk investment, inappropriate for an annuity-like account, but the investment is completely unnecessary. The federal government has the unlimited ability to fund Social Security, and with no deductibles.

Further, the notion of the federal government investing in publicly-traded corporate stock is the ultimate of the socialism (i.e. federal ownership and control) that conservatives love to decry.

Federal law says the fund can invest only in low-yielding securities backed by the U.S. Treasury.

That’s why Social Security has earned a “dismal” return of 17 percent on its investments over the past five years.

U.S. stocks over the same period: 49 percent. “Stock returns are more volatile from year to year, to be sure.” But Canada, Australia, and New Zealand invest their national pension funds in stocks and other assets, “and the results have been amazing.”

The “invest in stocks” idea has only two purposes:

  1. To further brainwash you into believing that the Social Security “trust fund” is a real trust fund that is running short of dollars, and
  2. To enrich wealthy shareholders, stockbrokers, and bankers.

Such radical free-market solutions aren’t needed, said Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times.

There are low-risk ways to shore up the program. Right now, the payroll tax that largely funds Social Security only covers wage income up to $132,900.

Two Democratic bills in Congress would remove that cap over time and increase “the payroll tax on the wealthy, who get away with paying an unwarranted low tax rate.”

Wrong. The Social Security program could be “shored up” by completely eliminating FICA, and by ending the pretense that FICA funds Social Security benefits.

But hiking taxes won’t address the key reason Social Security has a cash-flow problem: our rapidly graying society, said Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post.

Wrong, again. The “cash-flow problem” is an invention of the rich, who do not want the non-rich to receive money. (See: “The Gap Psychology con job“)

An American who reaches age 65 can now expect to live for about another 20 years, up from 15 in 1950. That means retirees are claiming more from Social Security than the program’s creators ever intended.

But seniors today are far healthier than in previous generations. “We could be working longer—and should be.” Politicians could stabilize Social Security by gradually lifting its eligibility age to 70.

But our leaders won’t even propose this change “because it is not a vote getter. They should be ashamed.”

Speaking of the program’s intentions, here they are:

Luther Gulick recalling why President Franklin Roosevelt Social Security seeminly was based on payroll contributions, 1941:

“I raised the question of the ultimate abandonment the payroll taxes in connection with old age security and unemployment relief in the event of another period of depression.

“I suggested that it had been a mistake to levy these taxes in the 1930’s when the social security program was originally adopted.

“FDR said, ‘I guess you’re right on the economics. They are politics all the way through.

“‘We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits.

“‘With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program. Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics, they’re straight politics.

“FDR also mentioned the psychological effect of contributions in destroying the ‘relief attitude.'”

In short, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the creator of Social Security, did not intend that taxes fund Social Security. They only served as an excuse not to eliminate Social Security.

Image result for bernie madoff

I thought if the government can get away with it, I could, too.

Roosevelt knew that taxes only give the illusion of funding Social Security, but he believed that illusion would protect the program from the “damn politicians.”

Unfortunately, the dishonesty of politicians has proven too great, for they now have turned Roosevelt’s plan inside out; they use FICA as a false excuse for cutting benefits.

The fake FICA/Social Security relationship is a con that is far greater than anything Bernie Madoff ever thought of.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereigntyFacebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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

The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer.

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

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 you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

FICA: The trillion dollar millstone around the neck of the American economy Friday, Mar 8 2019 

The Ten Steps to Prosperity, listed at the end of this post, are introduced by Step 1., Eliminate FICA. It is, by far, the easiest to implement Step.

According to the Brookings Institution: Payroll taxes are levied to finance Social Security, the hospital insurance portion (Part A) of Medicare, and the federal unemployment insurance program.

Revenue totaled just over $1.1 trillion, or about 6.1 percent of gross domestic product, in fiscal year 2017.

Of course, the first paragraph is completely false. It comprises “The Big Lie” that federal finances are like personal finances.

Because our federal government is Monetarily Sovereign, and so creates new dollars ad hoc, each time it pays a bill, federal taxes fund nothing. They are destroyed upon receipt.

Therefore, FICA does not “finance Social Security,” and comparing tax revenue to GDP is senseless. While monetarily non-sovereign entities (state/local governments, businesses, you, and me) need income in order to fund outgo, the U.S. government neither needs nor uses income.

Here is a graph published by The Motley Fool:

The gold colored box at the top of the 2nd column was given the negative term, “Deficit.” It more properly should be given the positive title, “Net Dollars Added to the Private Sector By the Federal Government.

Why is this important?

Remember how President Obama sent each family up to $500 to help end the Great Recession? And remember how President Trump boasted about how cutting taxes would stimulate the economy?

Obama was correct to send dollars to families — because that adds dollars to the private sector. And Trump was correct that tax cuts are stimulative — simply because they leave more dollars in the private sector.

A growing economy requires a growing supply of money in the private sector.

Now think of the federal government ripping more than a trillion dollars per year from the private sector. Think of what that does to economic growth. That is tantamount to the Federal government making a giant, trillion dollar bonfire out of your FICA dollars.

That is the negative effect of FICA.

But it gets worse. The government’s FICA bonfire mostly consumes dollars belonging to the middle- and lower income groups — salary dollars.

Image result for millstone on the neck

FICA: A giant millstone around the neck of the middle- and lower-classes

The rich have made sure that interest and capital gains are not subject to FICA — only salaries of employees.

All those millions and billions the rich make in the stock market or on real estate deals or as partners in a partnership — those are not subject to FICA.

But it gets even worse.  The Social Security tax rate is 12.4%; 6.2% is withheld from each of the employer and employee. But, the employee really pays the full 12.4%, because employers figure that in as a cost of salary.

The maximum taxable earnings for Social Security withholding for 2018 were $132,900. (Medicare withholding — 2.9% from salaries — has no maximum.)

If you make, say, $75,000 a year, your entire paycheck is subject to the 15.3% FICA tax, for a total of $11,475.

But, if you earn $1,00,000 a year, of which $250,000 is salary and the rest is stock market and real estate gains, you will pay $16,479 (12.4% x  132,900 for Social Security)  plus $7,250 (2.9% x 250,000 for Medicare) for a total of $23,729.

In short, the middle-class sucker pays 15.3% of his paycheck, while the rich guy pays only 2.4% of his paycheck.

But it gets even worse, yet. If you’re making millions a year, you have accountants who set up partnerships and offshore deals to shelter you (not only from FICA but from income taxes).

But, it gets even worse and worse. Incredibly, the federal government levies income tax on your Social Security benefits.

So here you are, ostensibly paying for your Social Security benefits via FICA, and then the government taxes the benefits you ostensibly paid for. (I say “ostensibly,” because FICA doesn’t actually pay for anything. No federal tax pays for anything.)

In summary, FICA is a giant scam, designed to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest. It’s classic Gap Psychology, the human desire to distance oneself from those below on any income/wealth/power scale, and to come closer to those above. It is the popular belief that people below us on the income/wealth/power scale are inferior and to be disrespected, while people above us are superior and to be admired.

Will allowing the middle class to keep its trillion dollars cause inflation? Let’s look at a bit of history:

Index scale value=100 for 2008. Blue: Federal Debt. Red: Inflation.

In the ten years since the “Great Recession,” federal debt rose $10 trillion, nearly a trillion a year (191%) while inflation rose a total of only 17%.

And even that modest increase in inflation could have been lower. Because it was below the Fed’s target of about 2.5%, the Fed kept interest rates artificially low, trying to increase inflation.

Had inflation threatened higher, the Fed would have controlled it by raising rates, as it has begun to do recently.

In summary, FICA is the most unfair, regressive, useless tax in America.

  • It pays for nothing.
  • It reduces economic growth by taking a trillion dollars out of the economy, and destroying them, every year.
  • The benefits it supposedly funds are taxed — a tax on a tax.
  • It impacts the middle-classes and the poor far more than the rich, widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.
  • It is the most easily implemented Step of the Ten Steps to Prosperity, requiring no bureaucracy; it could be done instantly.
  • It would save time and effort for businesses, which no longer would have to make the calculation and the deduction from every employee’s pay.

FICA is a trillion dollar millstone around the neck of America’s economy. Eliminating FICA is the easiest, fastest, fairest way for the federal government to stimulate economic growth.

The heavy burden called “FICA” should be eliminated, now.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereigntyFacebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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

The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer.

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

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 you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Do you know more than a university economist? Friday, Jul 6 2018 

Image result for university economist

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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Federal finances are much different from state & local government finances, and different from business and your personal finances.

Many people find the federal government’s finances to be counter-intuitive, because the federal government is Monetarily Sovereign, while state & local governments, businesses, and people themselves are monetarily non-sovereign.

The purpose of today’s post is to demonstrate a step-by-step logical progression, that will make federal financing more intuitive and defendable.

All science begins with certain propositions or axioms that in themselves, cannot be proved, but are assumed to be true. From these axioms flow the conclusions of the science.

For example, in Euclidian (plane) geometry, there are five propositions:

1. A straight line may be drawn between any two points.
2. Any straight line may be extended infinitely.
3. A circle may be drawn with any given point as center and any given radius.
4. All right angles are equal.
5. For any given point not on a given line, there is exactly one line through the point that does not meet the given line.

None of the above can be proved. They are statements that are felt to be self-evident. From these statements, all of plane geometry flows.

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For millions of earth’s years, there was no U.S. government and no U.S. dollar. Finally, in 1792, a group of men arbitrarily created certain laws out of thin air. Like all laws, these laws had no physical existence. They were mere concepts.

The laws created, also from thin air, a legal entity known as “The United States dollar.” Although some U.S. dollars are represented by printed paper, dollars themselves have no physical existence. Dollars are nothing more than bookkeeping entries.

The men who created the U.S. dollar created as many dollars as they wished. They could have created many more or fewer.

The original dollar arbitrarily was given a value related to 371 grains of silver, and since then, Congress and the President have retained the power to give the dollar any value they chose. 

Just as a car title is not a car, and a house title is not a house, the dollar bill, being a title to a dollar, is not in itself a dollar. The vast majority of U.S. dollars are not represented by paper dollar bills.  All dollars — indeed all forms of money —  are nothing more than bookkeeping records.

The popular belief that gold or silver are money or once were money, is false. Gold never has been money. It is a barter commodity. In world history, many commodities have been used for barter: Cattle, horses, wheat, diamonds, land, buildings, silk, etc., though none is money.

Money is the debt of an issuer. Dollars are the debt of the U.S. government. All debt has collateral, and the collateral for the U.S. dollar is the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. See: Full faith and credit.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY
Six propositions, a basis for U.S. Monetary Sovereignty, are bolded:

  1. All money is debt.
    (Money is a debt of its issuer, backed by the issuer’s full faith and credit. Debts are bookkeeping entries, having no physical existence.)
  2. The U.S. dollar bill is a title to a U.S. dollar, not a dollar in of itself.
  3. The U.S. Congress and the President retain the unlimited ability to create as many sovereign dollars as they wish.
  4. The U.S. dollar, like all commodities, is valued according to its Supply and Demand [Value = Demand/Supply].
    (In 1971, President Richard Nixon arbitrarily decided that the Value of the dollar no longer would be related to gold or to silver, and the Supply of dollars no longer would be limited by the federal government’s Supply of gold or silver.)
  5. The Demand for a U.S. dollar is based on Risk and Reward. [Demand = Reward/Risk]
  6. The Risk of owning a dollar is inflation. The Reward for owning a dollar is interest.
    (
    The dollar not only is a “good” in its own right, but also is an exchange medium. Its market Value is related to the market Value of Goods & Services. The formula for the market Value of the dollar):
    Dollar Value = (Demand/Supply of dollars) / (Demand/Supply of goods & services)

The U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign. It is sovereign over the dollar, and has the unlimited ability to create, destroy, or change the value of the dollar.

Other Monetarily Sovereign governments include Canada, Japan, China, Australia, and the UK.

Governments that are monetarily non-sovereign include those of euro nations, and U.S. cities, counties and states. These governments do not have the unlimited ability to create their sovereign currency, as they have no sovereign currencies.

They can run short of money and be unable to pay their financial obligations.

The six propositions lead to the following conclusions:

  1. Every form of money is “fiat,” i.e. created by the fiat of an issuer. (Contrary to popular belief, “fiat” does not mean “paper” as opposed to gold. There is no “paper” money, nor is gold money. Unlike barter commodities, money has no physical existence. )
  2. The U.S. government can pay any obligation denominated in U.S. dollars. It is impossible for the U.S. government unintentionally to run short of its own sovereign currency.
  3. No agency of the U.S. government can run short of U.S. dollars unless that is the intent of Congress and the President. (This includes such agencies as the White House, the Supreme Court, the military branches, Social Security, and Medicare.)
  4. The U.S. government neither needs nor uses tax dollars nor borrowing to pay its bills. (Because the Monetarily Sovereign U.S. government cannot unintentionally run short of its own sovereign currency, it has no need to obtain dollars from outside sources.)
  5. FICA does not pay for Social Security of Medicare benefits. (Even if FICA  were $0, the government could pay unlimited benefits, forever.)
  6. The federal government does not borrow. (It accepts deposits in Treasury Security accounts. It does not use the dollars in those accounts. The dollars remain in the accounts until maturity, at which time they are returned to the account owner.)
  7. Deposits in T-security accounts provide a safe depository for U.S. dollars (which stabilizes the dollar), and assist the Fed with its interest rate (and inflation) controls.
  8. Raising interest rates increases the Demand for dollars (to purchase dollar-denominated debt.)
  9. All dollars received by the U.S. government are destroyed upon receipt. (They disappear from any money supply measure.)
  10. There are two ways to create dollars and two ways to destroy dollars:
    .
    Create Dollars

    I. Lend dollars
    II. Federal deficit spending
    Destroy Dollars:

    I. Pay off a loan
    II. Federal taxation
  11. Lending creates dollars. When a loan is supported by a loan document owned by the lender, the loan document is money. Like a dollar bill, it represents dollars owned by the lender, while the borrower receives new dollars. That is the difference between a loan and a payment. Though both are transfers of dollars, loans create new dollars, payments do not.
  12. Federal spending creates dollars. To pay a creditor, the federal government sends instructions (not dollars) to the creditor’s bank, instructing the bank (“Pay to the order of”) to increase the balance in the creditor’s checking account. The instant the bank obeys those instructions, new dollars are created an added to the money supply (M1).
  13. Paying off a loan destroys dollars.  It reduces or eliminates the value of the loan document owned by the lender.
  14. Federal taxes destroy dollars. They remove dollars from all measures of the nation’s money supply.
  15. State and local taxes do not destroy dollars. These taxes are held in private bank accounts (M1 and M2), from which the state and local governments take them for paying creditors.
  16. The purpose of federal tax dollars is to control private spending (i.e. “sin” taxes, tax deductions for businesses, etc.)
  17. The Social Security and Medicare “trust funds” are bookkeeping fictions. (In private-sector trust funds, receipts are deposited and invested. In federal trust funds, receipts are recorded and removed from the nation’s money supply. Spending creates new dollars, ad hoc.)(Medicare Part A supposedly is paid by a fictional “trust fund,” while Medicare Parts B and D are paid out of the Treasury’s “General Fund.” The Medicare “trust fund” supposedly is running short of money; the General Fund never can run short of money.)
  18. The formula for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is: Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports.
  19. Federal deficit spending stimulates GDP growth by adding dollars to the economy, i.e. by increasing Federal Spending and Non-federal Spending.
  20. Reductions in federal deficit spending lead to recessions. (Vertical bars are recessions. Red line is deficit spending.)
  21. Recessions are cured by increases in deficit spending.
  22. Decreases in federal debt lead to depressions.
    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
  23. The Federal Reserve controls inflation via interest rate control. (Interest rates support Demand for dollars.)
  24. The primary cause of inflation has been an insufficient Supply of goods, not an excessive Supply of dollars.(Most modern inflations have been related to a shortage of oil. Every hyperinflation also has been caused by a shortage, usually a shortage of food.)
  25. Despite endless concerns that the federal “debt” (deposits in T-security accounts)) may be a “ticking time bomb, the federal government has no difficulty servicing its “debt” and inflation has averaged close to the Fed’s 2.5% target.
    Red line is federal “debt.” Blue line is inflation.
  26. The commonly referenced federal Debt/GDP ratio has no function or meaning. It does not indicate economic health, nor does it indicate the federal government’s ability to service its obligations (which is infinite).
  27. Interest rate increases are economically stimulative. They force the federal government to pump more interest dollars into the economy.
  28. A trade deficit is more beneficial to a Monetarily Sovereign nation’s economy than is a trade surplus. In a trade deficit, the Monetarily Sovereign entity receives scarce goods and services, while sending money it has the infinite ability to create from thin air. In a trade surplus, the Monetarily Sovereign nation, receives money it doesn’t need in exchange for goods and services it must create by valuable labor and scarce resources.
  29. People stimulate GDP by being creators, producers and consumers. Political entities (nations, cities, counties, states) that have net immigration grow compared with entities that have net emigration. GDP is a spending measure; adding immigrants increases government and private spending.
  30. Federal anti-poverty spending is economically stimulative. It increases the nation’s money supply, and it helps the poor population to be more creative and productive.
  31. Bigotry is economically depressive. Bigotry marginalizes a population (a gender, a race, a religion, a sexual preference) and prevents that population from being as productive as it otherwise could be.
  32. The sole purpose of government is to improve the lives of the people.  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.

In answer to the title question, now you know more than most university economists. Read the “Ten Steps” below, and you’ll know even more.

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

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The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-more 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
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

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