–Read how debt-hysteria destroys American medicine Saturday, Nov 27 2010 

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand monetary sovereignty, do not understand economics. Cutting the federal deficit is the most ignorant and damaging step the federal government could take. It ranks ahead of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.
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Last Wednesday, 11/24/10, I posted America’s future if the debt hawks have their way. It told about the misery Ireland, not being monetarily sovereign now will suffer. The other EU nations, that also surrendered their monetary sovereignty, i.e Portugal, Greece, Italy, France et al, eventually will meet the same fate.

Sadly, though the U.S. is monetarily sovereign, and so can create unlimited dollars to service any size debt, our leaders do not understand the concept. In the name of “fiscal prudence,” we suffer at the hands of ignorance. Here are excerpts from an article (Doctors say Medicare cuts force painful decision) about elderly patients, demonstrating the harm debt-hawks do to our families and to us.

By N.C. Aizenman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, November 26, 2010; 12:02 AM

“Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you’re a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks.

“How about a checkup from geriatric specialist Michael Trahos? Expect to see him every six months: The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly. Still, at least he’ll see you. Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the District’s Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients.

“’It’s not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don’t stay in business,’ she said.

“Doctors across the country describe similar decisions, complaining that they’ve been forced to shift away from Medicare toward higher-paying, privately insured or self-paying patients in response to years of penny-pinching by Congress.

“And that’s not even taking into account a long-postponed rate-setting method that is on track to slash Medicare’s payment rates to doctors by 23 percent Dec. 1. Known as the Sustainable Growth Rate and adopted by Congress in 1997, it was intended to keep Medicare spending on doctors in line with the economy’s overall growth rate. But after the SGR formula led to a 4.8 percent cut in doctors’ pay rates in 2002, Congress has chosen to put off the ever steeper cuts called for by the formula ever since.

“This month, the Senate passed its fourth stopgap fix this year – a one-month postponement that expires Jan. 1. The House is likely to follow suit when it reconvenes next week, and physicians have already been running print ads, passing out fliers to patients and flooding Capitol Hill with phone calls to convince Congress to suspend the 25 percent rate cut that the SGR method will require next year.”

Debt-hawks tell us that by reducing the federal deficit, they protect our children and grandchildren. But in fact, they condemn our children, grandchildren and us to more costly medical services, fewer doctors, nurses and hospitals, as well as to lower paying Social Security, poorer roads and bridges, a less-equipped military, worse schools and indeed less of every benefit our monetarily sovereign government easily is able to pay for.

Yes, the EU nations were foolish to surrender their ability to control their money supply. That control is one of the prime duties of any government. But we are even more foolish not to understand that we have that control, yet we neglect to use it.

Our leaders fear deficits, not realizing that “federal deficit” merely is a synonym for “money created this year.” Rather than being a negative, it’s a positive; it’s an absolute necessity.

Our leaders fear “federal debt” (which contrary to popular belief is not the total of deficits, but rather the total of outstanding T-securities). Federal debt could be eliminated by the simple act of no longer creating and selling T-securities. They became obsolete in 1971, the end of the gold standard. It is difficult to understand why Congress believes we must borrow the dollars we previously created and have the unlimited ability to create.

Our leaders fear ” uncontrollable inflation.” They do not understand we are so far from uncontrollable inflation that since we went of the gold standard, there has been no relationship between federal spending and inflation, . Further, our leaders don’t realize inflation easily can be controlled by raising interest rates, which is exactly how the Fed has controlled inflation all these years.

By what logic could these fears and the resultant actions, be considered “prudent” or “protecting our grandchildren”?

“Among the top points of contention is the complaint by doctors that Medicare’s payment rate has not kept pace with the growing cost of running a medical practice. As measured by the government’s Medicare Economic Index, those expenses rose 18 percent from 2000 to 2008. During the same period, Medicare’s physician fees rose 5 percent.

“’Physicians are having to make really gut-wrenching decisions about whether they can afford to see as many Medicare patients, said Cecil Wilson, president of the American Medical Association.’”

Of course, not all doctors are suffering. To continue quoting the article:

“On average, primary-care doctors make about $190,000 a year, kidney specialists $300,000, and radiologists close to $500,000, figures that reflect the income doctors receive from both Medicare and non-Medicare patients. The disparity has prompted concern that Medicare is contributing to a growing shortage of primary doctors.”

Whether an average income of $190,000 per year is enough to entice the thousands more doctors we need annually, to endure and pay for many years of post-graduate and internship is debatable. The article quoted one doctor:

”’I graduated medical school $100,000 in debt. I worked 110 hours a week during my residency for $30,000 a year and sacrificed all through my 20s. And even now, you’re still seeing people all day, with meetings and paperwork at night, on top of the emotional side of worrying when the patients you care for aren’t doing well. This is life-and-death stuff. And I feel like that should be compensated.’”

Many doctors have begun to restrict the number of Medicare patients, either by refusing to accept Medicare or by demanding annual fees (boutique doctors).

And the misery rolls down hill. I, who am on Medicare, received this note from Blue Cross, the supplementary insurance I pay for, because Medicare doesn’t pay enough: ‘Effective January 1, 2011, the deductibles and coinsurance amounts for Medicare Parts A and B will increase, which will result in Medicare paying less toward hospital and medical services next year. To compensate for Medicare’s changes, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois will automatically update its coverage. ‘Update’ is a euphemism for ‘charge more’.”

So this is the way the debt hawks protect our children and our grandchildren. As medical costs increase, Medicare payments decrease. Our families will have fewer doctors from which to choose, receive less service and pay more. And all because of the false belief our monetarily sovereign government can’t afford to pay for America’s health care.

Watch the EU nations slide into poverty and know that is the future awaiting us. And know whom to blame.

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

No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind me of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”

–The amazing ignorance of Sheila C. Bair, Chairman of the FDIC Friday, Nov 26 2010 

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. They, who do not understand monetary sovereignty, do not understand economics. Cutting the federal deficit is the most ignorant and damaging step the federal government could take. It ranks ahead of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.

In the OMG! category, here are excerpts from an article in the Washington Post. It was written by Sheila C. Bair, the Chairman of the FDIC.

Will the next fiscal crisis start in Washington?

“Even as work continues to repair our financial infrastructure and get the economy moving again, we need urgent action to forestall the next financial crisis. I fear that one will start in Washington. Total federal debt has doubled in the past seven years, to almost $14 trillion. That’s more than $100,000 for every American household.”

This is the old debt-hawk, debt-clock mantra in which federal debt falsely is said to be owed by the people living in America. It’s as though you and I suddenly have become the government. The mechanism by which we people, who never borrowed the money, now owe the federal debt, never is explained.

“This explosive growth in federal borrowing is a result of not just the financial crisis but also government unwillingness over many years to make the hard choices necessary to rein in our long-term structural deficit.”

Total ignorance of Monetary Sovereignty is demonstrated here.

“Retiring baby boomers, who will live longer on average than any previous generation, will have a major impact on government spending. This year, the combined expenditures on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are projected to account for 45 percent of primary federal spending, up from 27 percent in 1975. The Congressional Budget Office projects that annual entitlement spending could triple in real terms by 2035, to $4.5 trillion in today’s dollars. Defense spending is similarly unsustainable . . . “

The typical “debt is unsustainable” nonsense, with as always, no factual support for why federal spending is unsustainable.

“Unless something is done, federal debt held by the public could rise from a level equal to 62 percent of gross domestic product this year to 185 percent in 2035. Eventually, this relentless federal borrowing will directly threaten our financial stability by undermining the confidence that investors have in U.S. government obligations.”

Er, ah, excuse me, Madam Chairman, but not only is the debt/GDP ratio completely meaningless, but Japan’s debt/GDP ratio is over 200% and I haven’t noticed the crisis you describe. Again, no substantiation is given – just wild-ass predictions having no basis in reality.

“. . . while we enjoy a uniquely favored status today – investors still view U.S. Treasury securities as a haven during crises – events in Greece and Ireland should serve as a warning.”

Er, ah, excuse me again, Madam Chairman, but Greece and Ireland are monetarily non-sovereign, similar to Illinois, Chicago, you and me. Comparing the U.S. to monetarily non-sovereign nations is ignorant at best and deceiving at worst.

“Recent proposals by the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and by the Bipartisan Policy Center represent credible first steps toward recognizing and addressing the nation’s fiscal problem. Both propose to reduce and cap discretionary spending, enact comprehensive tax reform, reduce mandatory spending on health care and other programs, and ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security.

“Fixing these problems will require a bipartisan national commitment to a comprehensive package of spending cuts and tax increases over many years. Most of the needed changes will be unpopular, and they are likely to affect every interest group in some way. We will want to phase in these changes as the economy continues to recover from the effects of the financial crisis.”

In short, she wants to enact a package similar to Ireland’s, which will impoverish America for decades to come.

That even the Chairman of the FDIC writes this tripe is ample evidence of the urgent need to continue contacting our Congressional representatives and the media and the mainstream economists, again and again, to educate them regarding Monetary Sovereignty. The truth will set us free.

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

No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind me of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”

–Ireland demonstrates America’s future, if the debt-hawks have their way Wednesday, Nov 24 2010 

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. They, who do not understand monetary sovereignty, do not understand economics. Cutting the federal deficit is the most ignorant and damaging step the federal government could take. It ranks ahead of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.

Ireland is not Monetarily Sovereign. It cannot pay its bills. The following illustrates what happens to governments that are not Monetarily Sovereign. It also is the prescription the debt hawk have for the United States, despite the fact that we are Monetarily Sovereign, and never can be unable to pay our bills:

11/24/10, Associated Press
Ireland Winces As It Unveils Historic Budget Cuts

“Ireland unveiled the harshest budget measures in its history Wednesday, a four-year plan to slash deficits by $20 billion so it can get a massive bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.”

Unfortunately, IMF bailouts are in the form of loans. How lending money, i.e. adding debt,, to a nation that is unable to service its current debts, is a mystery.

“The plan seeks to cut $13.3 billion from spending and raise $6.7 billion in extra taxes from 2011 to 2014. It axes thousands of state jobs, welfare benefits, and pension payments while raising university fees and taxes, forcing even Prime Minister Brian Cowen to concede it will hurt the living standard of everyone in the nation.”

It is identical with imposing a depression on Ireland.

“‘This is a road map back to the Stone Age,’ said Jack O’Connor, president of Ireland’s largest union, SIPTU. He noted that Ireland had already suffered nearly euro15 billion in cuts and tax hikes since 2008, gutting economic growth and helping to double unemployment to 13.6 percent.
[…]
Ireland’s 140-page National Recovery Plan proposes to introduce property and water taxes, raise the sales tax from its current rate of 21 percent to 22 percent in 2013 and to 23 percent in 2014, and cut the minimum wage by $10.20. Ireland’s bloated civil service will be particularly hard hit — seeing about 24,750 state jobs lost. Income tax bands will be widened so more lower-paid workers pay taxes, and middle-class workers will see annual taxes rise more than $4,000. A raft of welfare payments will be gradually reduced. Young and old alike face higher bills and less income. University fees will rise, as will the charges on state-funded pensions. But monthly pension payouts will fall up to 12 percent. “

Raise existing taxes. Impose new taxes. More fees. Cut jobs. Reduce welfare. Less income. Ireland is doomed, and all because they voluntarily surrendered their monetary sovereignty. Ireland is on what amounts to a gold standard, except this is a euro standard. The euro limits Ireland’s ability to create money. As taxes increase and income decreases, the money supply will drop precipitously. Businesses will fail. Unemployment will grow. So tax receipts actually will begin to fall and welfare needs will increase. Ireland will be like a dog chasing its tail, never catching up with the desire to balance its budget.

“Ireland’s legendary tax-free existence for authors, musicians and artists is facing a major cutback so that only the first $53,000 of income will avoid tax.

“Left untouched, to the irritation of other EU nations, is Ireland’s exceptionally low 12.5 percent tax rate on business profits. That rate is less than half the EU average and has helped to lure about 1,000 high-tech multinationals to Ireland, far more proportionally than any other European country.”

By lowering taxes on business, Ireland encouraged business. The EU did not like the idea of encouraging business. The EU wants higher, business-discouraging taxes. If business is the horse that carries the economy, the EU wants to tie the legs of the horse.

So there you have it. Ireland gave up its monetary sovereignty, so it is doomed. Portugal and Spain may be next. Eventually all EU nations (except those that remained monetarily sovereign: the UK, Norway and Denmark) will fail.

American politicians, media writers and even many mainstream economists, simply do not understand the difference between monetary sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty. So under the misguided banner of “fiscal prudence,” they campaign to apply to America the medicine that is meant for Ireland, thereby guaranteeing a long extension of slow or non-existent growth.

Ireland is the model of what the debt-hawks wish for us. And all because of ignorance.

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

No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind me of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”

–Another attempt to explain why taxpayers don’t pay for federal spending Tuesday, Nov 16 2010 

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. They, who do not understand monetary sovereignty, do not understand economics.

In my never-ending effort to explain more clearly why federal spending costs taxpayers nothing, here is a new thought that perhaps will make the concept more intuitive. It was precipitated by a question from Mr. Tyler Fairleigh, which is published in the comment section at Monetary Sovereignty.

Imagine John Jones sells something to the federal government for $100. John sends the government a “bill.” A bill is nothing more than a little note containing this instruction: “Please credit John Jones $100.” It costs John nothing to send that note. In fact, John could send such a note (bill) to the government every day for the next ten years, and still it would cost John nothing.

Of course, the government is under no obligation to do as John requests, but the point is, that little note costs John nothing. He need have no money in the bank to send it.

Assume, the government checks its records and finds that indeed it owes John $100, so it sends him a check for $100, which he deposits in his bank. The government’s check is not money; it is an instruction. The check is a little note containing this instruction: “John’s bank. Please mark up the number in John’s account by $100.

The government has the power to send an unlimited number of instructions (aka “checks”) at any time. These instructions do not require the government to “have” any money. They merely are instructions made by a monetarily sovereign government.

So John’s bank obediently raises the number in his account by $100, then informs the Federal Reserve Bank of what it has done. For accounting reasons, all sorts of accounts are credited and debited, some of which may or may not be related to taxes. But in reality, all that has happened was, John’s bank received an instruction from the federal government and did as it was told.

These instructions also cost taxpayers nothing. Taxpayers are not even involved. Even if no one was paying taxes, our monetarily sovereign government still could send an unlimited number of instructions to banks all over the world, and they all would obey. Why? Because they know the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States will mark up their accounts by the exact amount of the check. Why? Because the U.S. government is monetarily sovereign, meaning it has the unlimited power to mark up accounts.

Compare this with Greece, Spain, Illinois, California, General Motors, Chicago, you and me. None of us in monetarily sovereign, so none of us has the unlimited power to mark up bank accounts. Our power is limited by the number in our own bank account or by what we can borrow.

Yes, you too could send an unlimited number of such instructions, but unless your bank account had a high enough number, your bank would not obey these instructions (aka bounce your check). But no bank bounces the federal government’s instructions. Never has; never will. A monetarily sovereign nation cannot be forced into bankruptcy.

And what about that worrisome federal debt? It is the total of the T-securities (aka IOUs) the government creates from thin air. It can do this forever.

To pay the debt, the federal government merely sends notes to the various T-security holders’ banks, instructing them to mark up accounts. Taxpayers don’t owe the government’s debt, nor do your children nor grandchildren. You aren’t even involved.

And as for the federal deficit, it is just a balance sheet entry, showing the difference between taxes collected and money spent, or more accurately, the difference between the number subtracted from taxpayers’ bank accounts and the numbers added to vendors’ bank accounts. Of course, taxes do not pay for spending. The government could add numbers to vendor’s bank accounts without subtracting from taxpayers’ accounts.

So that’s it. Government spending is just instructions to banks. The debt is just IOUs created from thin air. Paying the debt is just instructions to banks to raise numbers in accounts. The deficit merely is an arithmetic difference. And taxpayers neither pay for, no owe, any of this.

Does that make things clearer?

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

No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind me of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”

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