Yes, you can have it all. Here’s how.

The U.S. federal government has all the tools it needs to control the value of the U.S. dollar.

You can have it all. We all can have it all. Nothing prevents it other than our own ignorance.

How is your imagination? Imagine a world in which:

  1. We have no poverty
  2. We have is no violent crime
  3. We all can afford the best health care
  4. We all can afford as much, and as fine an education as we wish
  5. There is no air, water, or land pollution, nor shortages of pure water
  6. Global warming does not exist
  7. Our entire infrastructure is kept current
  8. Our government is run to benefit all of us, not just the very rich

We actually do have the power to create this paradise on earth. We can have it all.

Background: The Problem Begins With Poverty

Money is not the root of all evil. Lack of money is.

Have you noticed that street crime — robbery, burglary, assault, murder, rape, shoplifting, drug-pushing — is most prevalent in impoverished neighborhoods? Of course, you have.

Before becoming a resident of Florida this year, I lived 60+ years north of Chicago, in what locally is known as “The North Shore.” It includes mostly upscale, “bedroom” communities, one of which is Wilmette, Illinois, where I lived.

According to “Neighborhood Scout:” 

Wilmette home prices are not only among the most expensive in Illinois, but Wilmette real estate also consistently ranks among the most expensive in America.

Wilmette is a decidedly white-collar village, with fully 94.76% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Wilmette is a village of professionals, managers, and sales and office workers.

Wilmette is home to many people who could be described as “urban sophisticates”. Urban sophisticates are people who are both educated and wealthy, and thus tend to be older, richer, and more established than young professionals.

“Urban sophisticates” is not just about being educated and well-off financially: it is a point of view and state of mind, one that you might call ‘urbaneness’. But such people can and do regularly live in small towns, suburbs and rural areas, as well as in big cities. They read, support the arts and high-end shops, and love travel.

Do you have a 4-year college degree or graduate degree? If so, you may feel right at home in Wilmette. 83.23% of adults here have a 4-year degree or graduate degree, whereas the national average for all cities and towns is just 21.84%.

The per capita income in Wilmette in 2018 was $87,576, which is wealthy relative to Illinois and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $350,304 for a family of four.

Can you visualize Wilmette?

Google “Murder in Wilmette,” and you might possibly find a half dozen references from the past 50 years. Here is what violent crime looks like in Wilmette, in Illinois, and in the whole United States.


Get the picture?

What is the fundamental difference among Wilmette, Illinois, and the U.S., which can account for the massive differences in crime rates, education rates, and home prices?

Money.

No people are born murderers, rapists, robbers, burglars, and attackers. But lacking money, people are far more likely to grow up as street criminals.

And please spare yourself the anecdotes about impoverished kids who ultimately became pillars of society. Yes, there are plenty of them, and somewhere in their lives occurred fortuitous events that led to their achievements.

Perhaps nature provided them with the necessary brains or brawn to succeed, despite the odds. Or some mentors took them under wing and provided them with the leadership to find success.

And yes, there are rich people who commit crimes, though most often of the white-collar variety. Scant exceptions do occur, but the relationship between poverty and crime, especially violent crime, cannot be denied.

I am as opposed to the proliferation of guns as anyone, but I now do not believe guns are an important cause of crime, though they are an important facilitator of crime (and an even more important facilitator of suicide).

I have come to the conclusion that America could enact the most draconian gun laws on the planet, and that would not solve our crime problems. 

We are at the stage in which gun ownership is an addiction, similar to alcohol and drug addictions. The time long has passed when we legally could prevent gun ownership and usage, any more than we were able, via laws, to prevent alcohol ownership and usage during Prohibition, or prevent drug ownership and usage during the “War on Drugs.” 

We once could have prevented the disease, but now we are too infected for a cure.

We simply cannot stop gun crime by using the brute force of prohibitive laws. That mule will not respond to the stick. At long last, we must learn to use the carrot — the federal government’s infinite ability to create dollars– and thus cure the poverty that is the root cause of violent crime.

Our primary problem is: People who are not impoverished resent the government giving to the poor. It’s a state of mind that each day is fostered by wealthy propaganda.

Additionally: 

The U.S. federal government has the financial power to provide a generous form of Social Security to every man, woman, and child in America, instantly eliminating poverty. 

The U.S government has the financial power to eliminate not only most federal taxes (including the onerous, regressive FICA tax), but importantly to reduce the need for state and local taxes — those sales and use taxes that disproportionately affect the less wealthy — by simply giving state and local governments money.

The U.S. government has the power to eliminate the financial impoverishment caused by lack of insured health care, simply by providing no-deductible, comprehensive Medicare for All.

The U.S. government has the financial power to provide schooling to all Americans who want it — grades K through advanced education, thereby not only reducing the costs of college, but by reducing the need for local K-12 school taxes.

The U.S. government has the financial power to reduce global warming by supporting not only net-zero energy use and production, but also by supporting carbon-removal technology usage, research, and development

The U.S. government has the financial power to support water recycling and desalination usage, research and development. There is plenty of water on earth, but too little is fresh, drinkable water, and we rapidly are reducing those supplies.

The U.S. government has the financial power to repair and modernize our infrastructure — our roads, bridges, dams, sewers, electric grid, telecommunication, tunnels, transportation, parks, beaches, etc.

Many of the above initiatives are being attempted by elements of local government and the private sector, all of which have limited funds,

But, for the federal government, money is unlimited and free, created at the touch of a computer key.

Will so much federal spending cause inflation? No, as we have demonstrated here, and here, and hereinflation is not caused by federal deficit spending. Inflation is caused by shortages of goods and services, and often can be cured by federal deficit spending to reduce shortages.

Will so much federal spending be a burden on future taxpayers? No, federal taxes do not fund federal spending. The Monetarily Sovereign federal government pays for its spending by creating dollars, ad hoc. The sole purpose of federal spending is to control the economy by taxing what the government wishes to discourage, and by giving tax breaks to what the government wishes to encourage.

(This is different from state and local government taxes which do fund state and local spending.)

Will so much federal spending be socialism? No, socialism is not funding; socialism is control.

Consider Social Security. It spends billions but it is not socialism. It doesn’t control. It merely funds.  Similarly, Medicare has very little control over your medical services other than the amounts it funds.

It does not tell you what doctor to see, what hospital to visit or what medicines to take. It does not control what your doctor diagnoses or treats. Medicare does not fund every procedure, but it does not control your financial ability to have the procedure.

Being Monetarily Sovereign, the American federal government has the financial ability to create paradise on earth. We lack only the knowledge and the will to do it.

The populace has been led to believe slogans like “Too good to be true,” and “No such thing as a free lunch,” which replace facts with a world of disinformation and cynicism, making us surrender before we begin.

From the standpoint of federal financing, nothing is “too good to be true,” and yes, federal spending is a “free lunch.”

As for the will, the government is blocked by the very rich, whose “Gap Psychology” goal is to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest. No matter how rich they are, the rich seem always to want to become even richer, and that requires ever-widening the income/wealth/power Gap. — and that requires pushing down those who are not rich.

In Summary:

The more you experience life’s failures, the more you tend to believe cynically, that a perfect world cannot exist, and that attempts to create perfection are fruitless, wasteful, naive, and even harmful. You have grown to expect disappointment.

So, when you are told the U.S. federal government has the infinite power to create U.S. dollars, and do it without adverse side effects, your knee-jerk response is to deride the idea. Thus, the “too good to be true,” and “no such thing as a free lunch” responses.

Yet, when you are told the U.S. government has the infinite power to create laws, and that U.S. dollars are nothing more than legal creations, not physical creations, you may pause that knee-jerk response.

Just as a federal law can say anything the federal government wishes it to say, the U.S. dollar can be anything and worth anything the law says it is, i.e. anything at all.

Throughout American history, federal law has stated that U.S. dollars were worth varying amounts of silver and gold, a process one hopes finally will have ended in the Nixon year 1971. But the U.S. government could pass a new law stating that the U.S. dollar is worth anything at all — a 1-carat diamond, or a pound of salt, or a quart of pure water. The value of the dollar, i.e. inflation, is in the hands of the government.

Beginning in 1971, the government has allowed the U.S. dollar to “float,” i.e. to allow the public to decide the exchange rate (vs. other currencies) of the dollar. 

For that reason, there now can be no real answer to the question, “What is a dollar worth?” You can express it only with regard to other currencies, whose worth is equally vague. 

Because a dollar is, in reality, a debt owed by the U.S. government, its value, like the value of all debts, is determined by its collateral, and the full faith and credit of the debtor, the U.S government. 

Without gold, (or even with gold), the real collateral for the U.S. dollar is the full faith and credit of the U.S. government — not our “spacious skies or amber waves of grain” — just our full faith and credit.

If you were to try to drill down below exchange value to find the “real” value of the U.S. dollar, you would have to determine the “real” value of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, an impossible task.

All of the above is meant to show you the truly amorphous nature of the U.S. dollar. It is what the government says it is, and it is worth what the government says it is — and there is no limit to the number of dollars the government can create. The dollar is the offspring of the government’s laws.

In short, there is no limit to what the government can spend to purchase paradise.

Authentic Happiness | Authentic Happiness
Working together, we have all the tools we need to create our paradise.

This simple fact makes a mockery of the President’s and Congress’s “struggles” to pass spending legislation, against those who falsely claim the government cannot or should not spend so much money.

In addition to interest rate control, which affects the market demand for money, and Federal Reserve bond purchases and sales, the federal government can revalue or devalue the dollar, at will.

We created a Monetarily Sovereign federal government and gave it all the power it needs to make America a paradise on earth. It is not constrained by money. It has infinite money and infinite control over the value of its money.

Our world is constrained only by our intellect, our imagination, our will, and our honesty. Barring a meteor strike or the sun failing us, we always will have exactly the world we create for ourselves — exactly the world we deserve.

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

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

……………………………………………………………………..

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

The most important problems in economics involve:

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

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps: Ten Steps To Prosperity:

  1. Eliminate FICA
  2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
  3. Social Security for all
  4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
  5. Salary for attending school
  6. Eliminate federal taxes on business
  7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 
  8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
  9. Federal ownership of all banks
  10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

 

 

And still the money supply = inflation myth survives

You see it all the time. Even my friends at Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) believe it: Inflation is caused by too much money in the economy. It must be correct intuitively, because the myth persists. For instance:
Business Insider
Inflation could spike to 20% in the next few years as the US money supply explodes, says Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel 5/15/2021
wdaniel@businessinsider.com (Will Daniel)
Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel said inflation could spike to 20% in the next two or three years due to “unprecedented” fiscal and monetary stimulus and an explosion of the US money supply.
“I’m predicting here that over the next two, three years, we could easily have 20% inflation with this increase in the money supply,” Siegel said in a recent interview with CNBC. Siegel went on to criticize Fed chair Jerome Powell for not acting to quell inflation in the near term. The Wharton professor called Powell the “most dovish chairman” that he’s ever seen and said that the Fed chair’s stance could “be a problem down the road.”
Fiscal stimulus adds growth dollars to the economy via increased government spending and/or lowering of taxes. In short, it’s increased deficit spending. The purpose is to increase economic growth and employment via increases in the money supply. Fiscal stimulus is done by Congress and the President. It has nothing to do with the Fed. Monetary stimulus is done by the Fed. It also adds growth dollars to the economy, along with reduced interest rates. Professor Siegel does not criticize the federal government for its fiscal stimulus (deficit spending) that has added much-needed dollars to the economy and has pulled us out of the COVID recession. He criticizes the Fed for adding much-needed dollars to the economy, while keeping interest rates low, which he believes will increase economic growth and employment. Siegel likes the government putting its foot on the gas, but wants the Fed to undo what the government does by putting its foot on the brakes. Only in the “science” of economics does that make sense.
In the meantime, Siegel said he is bullish on stocks because fiscal and monetary support is going to keep flowing in.
Being “bullish on stocks” means he believes businesses will be more profitable and the economy will grow, because of the increased money supply.
Siegel noted that the total money supply in the US has gone up almost 30% since the start of the year alone.
But at the same time, he equates growth with inflation.
“That money is not going to disappear. That money is going to find its way into spending and higher prices,” Siegel said.
“The unprecedented monetary expansion, the unprecedented fiscal support, you know, I think excessive, was first going to flow into the financial markets, into the stock market, and then once we’re reopening, and we’re right at that cusp, it was going to explode into inflation,” he added.
Though Siegel claims the fiscal support is “excessive,” he doesn’t say what level of support would not be excessive. And he expects the Fed to cure the excessiveness by undoing what Congress and the President are doing. His use of the term “explode” reminds us of the claim that the growth of the federal debt is a “ticking time bomb,” a claim that has been made by thousands of “experts” for more than 80 years. That bomb has yet to explode. In Summary Siegel agrees that adding dollars to the economy grows the economy at a time when the economy suffers from recession. But he predicts that growth will come at a cost: Inflation. And though inflation currently is low, Siegel believes the Fed immediately should begin to fight inflation by undoing what the Congress and the President are doing. He wants the Fed to cut the flow of dollars to the economy and to raise interest rates. Professor Siegel is wrong on all counts. Inflation is not caused by “excessive” money supply.
While federal debt growth (red line) has been massive, inflation (blue line) has been moderate.
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There is no relationship between changes in federal debt and changes in inflation.
Inflation is caused by shortages of key goods, most often food and/or energy. Inflation actually can be cured by increased government spending to acquire the scarce goods and to distribute them to the populace. ………………………………………………………………………… Rodger Malcolm Mitchell [ Monetary Sovereignty, Twitter: @rodgermitchell, Search: #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell ] THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE. The most important problems in economics involve:
  • Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
  • Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps: Ten Steps To Prosperity:
  1. Eliminate FICA
  2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
  3. Social Security for all
  4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
  5. Salary for attending school
  6. Eliminate federal taxes on business
  7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
  8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
  9. Federal ownership of all banks
  10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 
  The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

   

How to prevent and cure inflation. (It’s not what the “experts” tell you.)

Two related philosophies about federal finances are MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) and MS (Monetary Sovereignty). You now are reading an MS blog.

MMT and MS agree on the following principle that was expressed by MMT’s L. Randall Wray in his paper “WHAT ARE TAXES FOR? THE MMT APPROACH” 

“Taxes are not needed to ‘pay for’ (federal) government spending. The logic is reversed: government must spend (or lend) the currency into the economy before taxpayers can pay taxes in the form of the currency. Spend first, tax later is the logical sequence.”

Image result for monetary sovereignty mitchell
The U.S. government cannot run short of dollars.

U.S. federal taxes are not needed. The U.S. government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

The U.S. government never unintentionally can run short of dollars. Even if all federal tax collections totaled $0, the federal government could continue spending, forever.

The articles you read about the “unsustainable” federal debt are, very simply, wrong. There is no level of U.S. dollar obligations the federal government cannot easily sustain.

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.”

Alan Greenspan: “Central banks can issue currency, a non-interest-bearing claim on the government, effectively without limit. A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

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.

Professor Wray’s paper continues:

Some who hear this for the first time jump to the question: “Well, why not just eliminate taxes altogether?” There are several reasons.

First, it is the tax that “drives” the currency. If we eliminated the tax, people probably would not immediately abandon use of the currency, but the main driver for its use would be gone.

We disagree with the “taxes drive the currency” notion. Contrary examples abound. Professor Wray’s own “Roobucks” are not “driven” by taxes. They are driven by the discounts they provide. Bitcoin is not “driven” by taxes.

However, the real point is contained in the following paragraphs from Wray’s paper:

Further, the second reason to have taxes is to reduce aggregate demand. If we look at the United States today, the federal government spending is somewhat over 20% of GDP, while tax revenue is somewhat less—say 17%.

The net injection coming from the federal government is thus about 3% of GDP. If we eliminated taxes (and held all else constant) the net injection might rise toward 20% of GDP.

That is a huge increase of aggregate demand, and could cause inflation.

Ideally, it is best if tax revenue moves countercyclically—increasing in expansion and falling in recession.

That helps to make the government’s net contribution to the economy countercyclical, which helps to stabilize aggregate demand.

The implicit assumption of the above paragraphs is that the private sector’s money supply drives inflation, and the way to control inflation is to reduce the private sector’s money supply.

In a similar vein:

A Wikipedia article says, “Low or moderate inflation may be attributed to fluctuations in the real demand for goods and services, or changes in available supplies such as during scarcities. However, the consensus view is that a long sustained period of inflation is caused by money supply growing faster than the rate of economic growth.”

We disagree with Wray and with the Wikipedia author. A “long sustained period” of money supply growth cannot exceed a “long sustained period” of economic growth.

The money supply cannot grow faster than economic growth. The two are interdependent in the formula for GDP:

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

A decrease in taxes would increase the “Non-federal Spending” factor and GDP by the same amount. By formula, tax decreases increase GDP.

Inflation usually is defined as a general increase in prices. Another way to say it is, “Inflation reduces the purchasing power of each unit of currency.”

There are two levels of inflation: Intentional and unintentional. The intentional form is the amount that the central bank believes is helpful for a growing economy. The U.S. Federal Reserve has as its target rate, 2% inflation.

When annual inflation drifts above or below the 2% target, the Fed quickly raises and lowers interest rates, i.e. raises to rates combat inflation; lowers rates to stimulate inflation.

(The Fed also lowers interest rates to stimulate economic growth, which follows the common myth that stimulating growth and stimulating inflation require the same actions.)

The Fed’s target rate of inflation is maintained by interest rate control, which controls the demand for, and purchasing power of, U.S. dollars. Increasing the demand for dollars reduces inflation; decreasing the demand for dollars encourages inflation.

But what about high inflation, say of 50% or 50,000% annually or more. Such hyperinflations always are caused by shortages of food and/or energy (oil).

The famous Zimbabwe hyperinflation is a typical example. The government took farmland from white farmers and gave it to blacks who did not know how to farm. The inevitable food shortage caused hyperinflation.

In response, rather than trying to cure the food shortage, the Zimbabwe government began printing more currency.

This provided the illusion that currency printing caused the hyperinflation, when in fact, the hyperinflation caused the currency printing.

Think of a typical scenario this way: The inflation-adjusted money supply goes up. Where does the additional real money go? The vast majority goes to spending, which by definition, increases real GDP.

One might argue that some is saved, but since saved dollars are not spent, they cannot contribute to aggregate demand.

All increases in the real money supply increase real GDP.

Further, and most importantly, all decreases in the real money supply (because of taxes) decrease real GDP. Thus taxes, rather than being effective moderators of inflation, actually are recessive.

Recession is not the opposite of inflation. The two can occur simultaneously. The opposite of inflation is deflation. Taxes do not cause deflation. Deflation, i.e. price decreases, is caused by excess supplies of goods and services.

Thus, removing currency (via taxes) from the economy would have done nothing to cure the inflation, though it would have reduced real (inflation-adjusted) GDP economic growth, while it impoverished the populace.

There are several ways to prevent or cure inflation, but taxation is not one of them. Taxation merely takes dollars from the private sector and delivers them to the federal government, where your tax dollars are destroyed.

Taxation does nothing to address the fundamental cause of inflation: Shortages.

Imagine an inflation caused by a food shortage, and the automatic response is an increase in taxes. How would leaving fewer inflation dollars in the pockets of the people eliminate the food shortage?

It wouldn’t, of course.

Consider again, Zimbabwe: Rather than taxing, designed to reduce the currency supply (while impoverishing the people), or printing currency to increase the currency supply (thereby reducing the already diminished value of Zimbabe’s money), the Zimbabwe government should have taken steps to increase the food supply.

This might have included paying to educate Zimbabwe’s farmers and/or paying experienced farmers to manage farms or paying to import food from other nations.

These steps would have required the Zimbabwean government to spend more money to correct inflation — a counterintuitive response, but the only one based on financial reality.

In Summary
Any time a nation experiences an unwanted level of inflation, the correct early step is to increase interest rates, thus increasing the demand for, and the value of, the nation’s currency.

If the inflation has grown beyond interest rate increases as a sole solution, additional steps are needed:

  1. Determine what exactly is causing the inflation
  2. If the cause is a shortage of food or energy the government must either import the needed food or energy, or fund ways to increase the domestic production of food or energy.
  3. If the government is monetarily non-sovereign (a euro nation, for instance), and cannot afford to fund imports or fund domestic production of the scarce commodities, it immediately should begin the process of issuing its own sovereign currency, i.e. it should make itself Monetarily Sovereign.

Raising taxes is exactly the wrong step since that will worsen the inflation problem, while adding recession to the burden.

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

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

The most important problems in economics involve:

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

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

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

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts a, b & d, plus long-term care — for everyone

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

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

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

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

9. Federal ownership of all banks

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

An excellent article about Social Security, except for one small detail

The Week Magazine published an excellent article titled, “Social Security’s looming crisis is political, not economic,” by Jeff Spross.

It begins by agreeing with much of what we have been saying for the past 20 years.

Here are excerpts:

There are few traditions in American politics as cherished as the semi-regular panic over Social Security. There are equally few that are such utter balderdash on the economic merits.

The latest example of this time-honored practice comes to us courtesy of The New York Times. “Social Security’s so-called trust funds are expected to be depleted within about 15 years,” the outlet warned this week.

“Benefit checks for retirees would be cut by about 20 percent across the board.” The cuts could potentially rise to 25 percent in later years.

The question is whether the cuts, at the basic structural level, are actually necessary at all.

It’s widely assumed the federal government is just like a private household or business; it can run out of money if it doesn’t manage its spending and revenue properly.

Indeed, Social Security’s trust funds are designed on this premise.

But that’s actually not how it works at all. The federal government can never “run out” of money, nor can it ever suffer an involuntary debt crisis. 

The implications for Social Security should be obvious.

As far as the federal government’s ability to procure dollars is concerned, the depletion of the trust funds is a meaningless event.

It can keep right on paying every last Social Security benefit it has promised in perpetuity.

Absolutely correct. So far, so good.

Image result for politician lying
If you don’t pay more taxes, we’ll have to cut your Social Security. Believe me.

Unlike state and local governments, and unlike businesses, you and me, the federal government uniquely is Monetarily Sovereign.

It created the very first dollars at will –from thin air — and arbitrarily gave them a value.

Today continues to create dollars at will, from thin air, and still controls the value.

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

[There are two why the federal government levies taxes, and neither reason has anything to do with funding federal spending:

Reason 1. To control the economy be encouraging certain kinds of private spending and discouraging other kinds. (Tax breaks for home ownership are an example of the former. “Sin” taxes are examples of the latter.)

Reason 2. To create the illusion that the federal government’s spending ability is limited without sufficient taxes. (This is the method used by the government’s leaders — i.e. the rich — to justify cuts to benefits for the poor and middle classes and to increase their taxes.)] 

The very first Social Security beneficiary, Ida May Fuller, got her initial benefits check in 1939, after paying into the system for just three years — hardly enough time to build up the necessary “savings” to fund her retirement.

The very fact that benefit cuts would reduce Social Security to a cashflow basis demonstrates that current workers finance the benefits for current retirees, as opposed to payroll taxes being stored up for the future retirement of the citizens who payed them.

Oops! Now, Mr. Spross begins to slide off the rails, a bit.

Current workers pay FICA, but FICA does not finance benefits. Federal taxes do not fund federal spending.

Remember, Spross said it himself:

“As far as the federal government’s ability to procure dollars is concerned, the depletion of the trust funds is a meaningless event.

It can keep right on paying every last Social Security benefit it has promised in perpetuity.”

The actual function of the payroll taxes is to remove demand from the economy, thus making room for the demand that Social Security’s spending injects into the economy.

Which is what keeps inflation on an even keel.

The above is the old, “federal money printing causes inflation” myth.

Think about why the price of, say apples, would go up. Because people have too much money?

No, the price of apples or of any other products or services is caused by one thing: Shortages. 

The price of apples goes up when there is an apple tree disease, or a drought, not because your salary went up and you have more money to spend.

The notion that money creation (erroneously called, “money printing”) causes inflation, may stem from a misreading of hyperinflation.

Governments often respond to hyperinflation by printing currency.

But all hyperinflations begin and continue with shortages — usually, shortages of food — and they end only when the shortages are alleviated.

In short: the system is fine.

Of course, Congress still faces the fact that it made a rule for itself that benefits must be cut when the trust funds run dry.

If it wants to maintain the fiction, Congress could do what previous reforms have done, and bring spending and revenue back into line through some combination of benefit cuts and payroll tax hikes.

The above is exactly what the rich want you to believe: The benefits for the poor and middle classes must be cut, while their taxes are increased.

At some point, however, you’d think the better move would be to acknowledge the trust funds are a political gimmick, and just spend whatever benefits our elected representatives deem appropriate.

Social Security may face a very interesting political crisis in the coming decade or two. But in hard economic terms, there is no crisis at all.

Amen, brother Spross. The invented danger that Social Security (and Medicare and all other federal programs) could run short of dollars is a myth.

Now, while we’re at it, let’s get rid of that inflation myth, too.

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