How meanness and zigzaggery jeopardize your lifestyle Thursday, Jun 15 2017 

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

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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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Here is how the meanness and zigzaggery of leadership jeopardizes your health, your income, and your lifestyle.

Introduction:

The U.S. federal government is different from state and local governments. It is different from businesses. It is different from you and me.

The federal government uniquely is Monetarily Sovereign.  It is sovereign over the U.S. dollar.

The federal government, 240 years ago, created from thin air, the laws that created the dollar from thin air. The government created as many dollars as it wished, and gave those dollars the value it wished — an arbitrary number of grams of silver.

Image result for press computer key to create money

Yes, it really is this simple for the federal government.

 

Today, the government still creates dollars, now at the press of a computer key, and still controls the value of the dollar (i.e. inflation), now by changing interest rates.

Being the absolute sovereign over the dollar, the federal government never can run short of dollars. It has no need to collect taxes. Even if all federal tax collections were $0, the federal government could continue creating and spending dollars, forever.

It also has no need for borrowing and indeed does not borrow. The so-called “debt” is not the result of borrowing, but rather the acceptance of deposits in Treasury security accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank — similar to your deposits in your bank savings account.

The federal government easily could provide comprehensive, no-deductible, health care insurance coverage for you and for every other man, woman, and child in America (Medicare for All), and do it while eliminating FICA and controlling inflation.

That is how much power the federal government has over its sovereign currency, the dollar.

Why then must you see articles like this:

Medicaid cuts could be catastrophic for Idaho schools
By Julie Wootton, Times-News | Posted Jun 14th, 2017 @ 1:40pm

Beyond the typical classroom setting, some of the teenagers also receive services at school such as speech, physical or occupational therapy.

School districts pay for that mostly by using reimbursements from Medicaid, a federal program that provides health coverage to low-income Americans and people who have disabilities.

But the new federal American Health Care Act aims to cut Medicaid over 10 years by $880 billion — a total reduction of 25 percent.

Cutting Medicaid funding would place more financial responsibility on local school districts, said Sherry Bingham, special services director for the Minidoka County School District.

Cuts by the federal government in reducing the amount of Medicaid monies to already underfunded special education programs would be disastrous.

Spending by local school districts is paid for by local taxpayers. By contrast, federal spending does not cost taxpayers one cent. So, why would the politicians want to replace federal spending with local spending?

GOP Medicaid cuts to hit rural America hardest, report finds
by Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News @CNNMoney June 7, 2017: 3:52 PM ET

Trump Country it may be, but rural counties and small towns also make up Medicaid Country — those parts of the nation whose low-income children and families are most dependent on the federal-state health insurance program, according to a Georgetown University report released Wednesday.

Medicaid’s enrollment has swollen to more than 72 million in recent years, and the ranks of uninsured Americans has fallen to 9% in 2015 from 13% in 2013. That’s largely due to the Affordable Care Act, which allowed states to expand Medicaid eligibility with federal funds. Thirty-one states, plus the District of Columbia did so.

Those gains may be in jeopardy under the House GOP health care bill that would replace major parts of the ACA — known as Obamacare — and dramatically cut federal funding for Medicaid.

Why do the politicians, who were elected by the lower-income, rural families, now put forth plans to hurt the people who elected them?

CNNMoney Reports
Medicaid cut could put jobs in Kentucky at risk

Cuts to Medicaid have far-reaching effects, not only on your health but on your income. Medicaid payments support hundreds of thousands of healthcare-related jobs in such disparate industries as manufacturers of hospital supplies and equipment to ambulance builders to drug stores and pharmaceuticals.  And let’s not forget all the medical personnel that are paid, in part, by Medicare.

Every dollar the federal government pumps into Medicaid circulates into the economy as a job-creating stimulus dollar.

Your Money, Your America
In Texas, people with erratic incomes risk being cut off from Medicaid
by Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News @CNNMoney, June 15, 2017: 6:08 AM ET

To qualify for Medicaid in her home state of Texas, most children must come from families with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. In 2017, that’s $33,948 for a family of four.

Texas also has one of the country’s strictest Medicaid verification systems: It runs regular checks on family finances after children are enrolled to make sure they continue to qualify.

Poole and her husband work in seasonal industries. She’s an hourly employee in agriculture and he’s in oil. Their hours and incomes have changed on a monthly, even weekly basis. That means their nine children, five of whom were adopted, and all of whom have complex health conditions, could lose health insurance one month but then qualify the next, even though the family’s total income for the year does not exceed the eligibility threshold.

States, being monetarily NON-sovereign,  and limited in their spending ability, look for ways to cut benefits.  The federal government has no such need.

Medicaid Cuts In Wisconsin Would Undermine Training For Adults With Disabilities
June 14, 20172:32 PM ET

And, it’s not just the cut themselves that are destroying Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) program; it’s the uncertainty.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC spells out how much Trump-fueled uncertainty hikes premiums
POSTED 12:31 PM, MAY 27, 2017, BY CNN WIRE

Many insurers say that the uncertainty emanating from Washington D.C. is prompting them to request even steeper hikes in premiums for 2018.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is spelling out just how much it could cost consumers.

The insurer is requesting a rate hike of nearly 23% for next year. But it said it would have only asked for an 8.8% bump if President Trump and House Republicans agreed to fund the Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies through 2018.

The mere fact that the GOP wants and threatens to cut federal Medicaid payments is sufficient to sabotage ACA. As the Trump administration warns about cuts, these threats alone weaken the program, which the politicians then use as further “proof” the program should be cut.

It is a self-fulfilling, repeating act: Threaten, weaken, cut; threaten, weaken, cut.

And then, to add to the uncertainty, we have the zigzaggery of a confused administration:

Trump, in Zigzag, Calls House Republicans’ Health Bill ‘Mean’
By THOMAS KAPLAN, JENNIFER STEINHAUER and ROBERT PEARJUNE 13, 2017

President Trump bluntly derided a House attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act as “mean.” and in doing so, injected himself in a brewing Senate battle that his fellow Republicans had prayed he would avoid.

At a White House lunch, Mr. Trump alerted his guests that a bill passed by the House this spring — one he lauded last month as a “great plan” that was “very, very incredibly well-crafted” — was now “mean.”

“I really appreciate what you’re doing to come out with a bill that’s going to be a phenomenal bill for the people of our country: generous, kind, with heart. That’s what I’m saying. And that may be adding additional money into it.

We have written about meanness, before: The Meaning of America — now worse.

Now suddenly, the entire thrust of the GOP — to cut benefits for the poor and to save taxes for the rich — a thrust that has caused insurance companies to raise rates or to leave the plan altogether — now the “Party of the Rich” has become the “Party of the Zigzaggery” with no real direction other than to destroy everything, Obama and to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest.

Of course, both parties can share the blame for spreading “the Big Lie” — the lie that federal “debt” (deposits) must be reduced, and federal deficits cut (when exactly the opposite is true).

So you, the public, will suffer from their lies and zigzaggery, if you accept without question, their dishonesty and their incompetence.

The solution is simple and straightforward: FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (Step #2 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity.)

Anything else is “mean.”

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

When we don’t know what something is, we name it. Why you should care. Tuesday, May 30 2017 

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

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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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We learn by similes and metaphors. We begin with very basic, perhaps purely instinctual knowledge and almost everything after is understood in comparison.

That is why, when we don’t know what something is, we name it.

“Dark matter” is the name we have given to an unexplained apparent motion of galaxies.

Lacking other ideas, we have decided this apparent motion must be caused by some sort of “matter,” and since we never have identified it, we call it “dark” matter.

Image result for dark matter

Dark energy? Dark matter? ‘Black hole? Entanglement?

“Dark energy” is the name we have given to the unexplained seemingly too fast expansion of the universe.

Lacking other ideas, we have decided this unexplained expansion (if it even exists) must be caused by some sort of repulsive force, and since we have no idea what this force may be, we have given it a name: “Dark” energy.

We gave the term “black hole” to a region of space-time from which we thought nothing can escape.

We now know that definition is wrong. We have no idea what is inside the so-called “hole,” and only vague ideas about what is outside of it. At best, we know there is something really, really strange at the center of galaxies.

“Entanglement” is a word we don’t understand, but have given it to a relationship we don’t understand — a relationship between quantum particles.

Naming things provides us with the illusion we know what we are talking about.  “Consciousness” is such a word. No one knows, or at least there is no agreement about, what ‘”consciousness” is.

In science, most specifically in Psychology, Physiology, and Philosophy, there is something called “The Hard Problem.” Consider this January, 2015 article by Oliver Burkeman, in the Guardian:

Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness?
What makes human beings more than complex robots? 

The Hard Problem of Consciousness is: Why should complicated brain processes feel like anything from the inside? Why aren’t we just brilliant robots, capable of retaining information, of responding to noises and smells and hot saucepans, but dark inside, lacking an inner life?

And how does the brain manage it? How could the 1.4kg lump of moist, pinkish-beige tissue inside your skull give rise to something as mysterious as the experience of being that pinkish-beige lump, and the body to which it is attached?

We know an astonishing amount about the brain: you can’t follow the news for a week without encountering at least one more tale about scientists discovering the brain region associated with gambling, or laziness, or love at first sight, or regret – and that’s only the research that makes the headlines.

Meanwhile, the field of artificial intelligence – which focuses on recreating the abilities of the human brain, rather than on what it feels like to be one – has advanced stupendously.

But like an obnoxious relative who invites himself to stay for a week and then won’t leave, the Hard Problem remains.

As with many “hard problems,” (What is the purpose of life? Is there a God?) the difficulty lies in the definitions (What do we mean by “purpose?” What do we mean by “God?” Is the universe really “expanding too fast?”)

With regard to “Consciousness,” what is it? Here is a dictionary definition: Awareness of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings.

What then, is “awareness”? A dictionary tells us awareness is: The ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events.

Putting everything together, we might say that to be “conscious” means you have to know you exist. And so, to be unconscious is not to know you exist.

But wait. When I am asleep, am I conscious or unconscious? A sleeping person does not know he exists, so he must be unconscious — unless he is dreaming, at which time he does know he exists.

But, while dreaming, he doesn’t fully perceive his sensations and surroundings — though his senses are not completely shut off, and he does perceive these things and doesn’t know it.

Let’s do, as so many scientists before us have done; let’s drift down the usual ladder of potential consciousness: Start with: Is a chimpanzee conscious?

One test for consciousness is the reaction to a mirror.  Chimps have been shown to recognize themselves in a mirror. Why is this consciousness?

Dogs generally fail the test. Mice fail. Are dogs and mice conscious? If not, are they “unconscious” (without awareness, sensation, or cognition)?

Is your dog unconscious, just because he doesn’t recognize himself in a mirror? Being an olfactory animal more than a visual animal, does your dog recognize his odor? Would that make him conscious?

A mouse may look in a mirror and not be able to think, “That is I.” But mice do recognize other mice as being “like me.” They learn to recognize traps as being “a danger to me.” In tests, they learn to recognize certain sounds as preceding “pain for me.” Is the concept of “me” the test for consciousness?

Is the ability to learn, a form of consciousness? Tests have shown that fruit flies can learn to fly in a direction that previously held food. Are fruit flies conscious?

Certain female spiders kill and eat their mates after copulation. But many male spiders go through elaborate steps to avoid being eaten. Are they conscious of “me”?

Is fear a symptom of consciousness? Do spiders have fear?

If mice are unconscious, what then is the difference between a fully awake mouse, a dreaming mouse, and a mouse under anesthesia? Are there greater or lesser consciousnesses? Is an awake mouse only semi-conscious, and a dreaming mouse semi-semi- conscious? And a deeply asleep mouse semi-semi-semi conscious?

And as for that mouse under anesthesia, at some level, it is aware of its surroundings. Depending on the anesthetic, a mouse may gasp if it is short of oxygen. It may heat up if its body is chilled. It may continue to breathe, pump blood, and digest food.

Does consciousness require a brain? All living things, even plants, even bacteria, react to their environment. Trees create protective chemicals when neighboring trees signal they are being attacked by insects. Are they conscious of this?

And finally, of course, we arrive at the inevitable: Can a computer be conscious? Can a computer be “Aware of its own existence, sensations, thoughts, and surroundings”?

Consider Siri, the iPhone’s comparatively stupid personal assistant.  I asked Siri, “Do you exist?” Siri’s answer, “I’m talking to you, aren’t I?”

Other questions and Siri’s answers (You can try them yourself):

  1. “Do you have sensations?” “I’ve never really thought about it.
  2. “What do you think about?” “I think, therefore I am.  But let’s not put Descartes before the horse.”
  3. “Do you ever sleep?” “I can’t sleep.”
  4. “Are you conscious?” Well, I’m soft-aware.”
  5. “Do you hate?” “I am not programmed for the human emotion of hatred.”
  6. “Do you have emotions.” “This is about you, not me.”

Yes, these are pre-programmed responses, but many of our own responses have been programmed by our DNA and by our life’s experiences. In machine learning, computers’ responses are programmed by their “DNA” (chips) and by their experiences.

At what level of sophistication would a machine-learning computer be considered self-aware and conscious? What is the requirement for computer consciousness?

The answer to all of the above questions comes back to how one wishes to define, “conscious.” It is a word that has an infinite number of arbitrary meanings, and by those definitions, we can say that any living thing, and perhaps even non-living thing, is or is not “conscious.”

Depending on definitions, we can argue that the earth or the universe is “conscious” and that some conscious thing called “God” runs things.

The above-referenced article asked, “Why should complicated brain processes feel like anything from the inside? Why aren’t we just brilliant robots, capable of retaining information, of responding to noises and smells and hot saucepans, but dark inside, lacking an inner life?

What does the author mean by “an inner life”? How does he define, “dark inside.” Why should you, a reader of a blog titled, “Monetary Sovereignty” care?

One reason is this: You frequently will see articles and hear speeches, in which the federal deficit and federal debt are given the name “unsustainable,” and no one ever will tell you the exact definition of that word.

“Unsustainable” is the “black hole” of economics, where everything falls in and nothing comes out, not even light.

⁖Federal deficits: Unsustainable.
⁖Federal “borrowing”: Unsustainable.
⁖Federal spending: Unsustainable.
⁖Economic growth: Unsustainable.
⁖Entitlements: Unsustainable.
⁖”Printing” money: Unsustainable.
⁖Consumption: Unsustainable.
⁖Trade deficits: Unsustainable.
⁖Medicare: Unsustainable.
⁖Social Security: Unsustainable.
⁖Poverty Aids: Unsustainable.
⁖Obamacare: Unsustainable.

The fundamental difference between “black hole” and “unsustainable” is that some scientists spend every waking hour trying to understand what a black hole is, or more accurately, what a black hole is like.

By contrast, the people who use the word “unsustainable,” when referencing the federal government, neither care nor want to know, what it means. Instead, they use the word, “unsustainable” to obfuscate, to hide, to mislead. No one ever attempts to explain why the above things are “unsustainable.”

Those politicians, economists, and members of the media, who use the word, “unsustainable” are mentally and morally “unconscious.”

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THOUGHTS

•All we have are partial solutions; the best we can do is try.

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money no matter how much it taxes its citizens.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

How ignorance of Monetary Sovereignty touches every facet of your life Monday, May 29 2017 

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

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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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Everything you do; everywhere you go; the false belief that our Monetarily Sovereign Federal government can run short of dollars permeates and sabotages your life.

Image result for oil spill

Oil drilling = oil spills. Always.

 

Consider this article from the 5/29/2017 Chicago Tribune:

A fix for the national parks?
How a risk to the environment could do some good for the environment, (Matthew Brown/AP)

Last year, for the third year in a row, the parks had a record number of visitors – 331 million of them, which exceeds the U.S. population.

More than 11 million saw Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most popular park, and the Grand Canyon drew 6 million. Overall, attendance was up 7.7 percent over 2015.

In spite of their popularity — and partly because of it — the national parks are hurting, with facilities that are often outdated, overstretched and falling apart. All those visitors put more strain on the infrastructure, but funding has not kept up.

The maintenance backlog at Yellowstone is close to $640 million, according to Trust, a publication of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Yosemite has $555 million worth of work waiting to be done. The National Park Service’s deferred upkeep totals almost $12 billion.

At the same time, it keeps adding worthy new sites, such the Pullman National Monument in Chicago, which was designated in 2015.

Unless we find ways to conscientiously attend to the park sites we already have, each addition merely stretches the inadequate maintenance budget even thinner.

The problem, according to Matthew Brown of the AP, is money, the one commodity our Monetarily Sovereign Federal government can create in unlimited quantities.

The federal government under President Dwight Eisenhower, decided to provide 10 years of guaranteed funding “to free the program from the burden of yearly appropriations,” notes Trust. Within a few years, visitors could enjoy cleaner, spiffier, better-equipped sites.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is thinking along similar lines. He supports an expansion of oil and gas drilling in federal areas, 94 percent of which are currently off-limits. 

So does President Donald Trump, who appointed Zinke.

Environmentalists don’t like the idea, particularly in Alaska’s Arctic waters, but they could take some consolation from Zinke’s proposal to funnel offshore royalties into park maintenance.

Unlike state and local governments, which are monetarily non-sovereign, our Monetarily Sovereign Federal government creates dollars, ad hoc, every time it pays a creditor.

The Federal government never unintentionally can run short of dollars.  In the 1770s, the Federal government created laws out of thin air, to create the United States, and some of those laws created the very first dollars out of thin air.

Today, the Federal government still creates unlimited dollars out of thin air, because those laws allow it. So long and the government doesn’t run short of laws, it cannot run short of dollars.

Any honest economist understands this.

Who wants to use a fake shortage of dollars as an excuse to drill oil in prohibited areas? The rich oil companies, of course.

The rich oil companies, who don’t give a damn about the environment;  the climate-change deniers; the people who are far more concerned about today’s profits than about the future of the earth; they are the ones who bribe Congress, the press, and too many economists to opt for more drilling in sensitive places.

“If you go back to 2008, the department made $15.5 billion more a year, just in offshore, than we do today,” he said in an April speech.

Earmarking a portion of all these royalties to maintenance of Park Service sites would help assure this necessary obligation doesn’t get short-changed in favor of other, politically more alluring outlays.

And there is something to be said for using funds derived from operations that pose a risk to the environment to do some real good for the environment.

What a phony argument. First, it’s not a “risk.” A “risk” is something that might or might not happen.

Instead, this is a guaranteed, forever destruction of areas designated for the American people and for your children’s children.

And the supposed “real good” is money that the Federal government creates every day, in unlimited quantities, just by paying bills.

If the author were truthful, his statement would have been, “There is something to be said for destroying the environment to give profits to the oil companies.”

Zinke’s idea would serve a useful short-term goal, boosting domestic energy production, along with an invaluable and timeless one, preserving America’s greatest natural treasures.

Americans love the national parks. But those same Americans also should be taking better care of them.

That is the twisted, cynical advice: Take better care of the environment and “preserve Amerca’s greatest natural resources” by poisoning them.

This is yet one more example of how public ignorance has its penalties, and how President Trump and his rich pals lie to destroy your future in exchange for their profits, today.

Drill in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and our coastal waters to “save them.” It’s what the rich want you to believe.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THOUGHTS

•All we have are partial solutions; the best we can do is try.

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money no matter how much it taxes its citizens.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Why do you need an EB (Economic Bonus)? Tuesday, Apr 25 2017 

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

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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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The previous post discussed Step #3 in the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below), Provide a monthly economic bonus (EB) to every man, woman, and child in America (similar to Social Security for All)

Today, we’ll discuss one of the many reasons why EB not only is important today but will become less avoidable each passing day.

That reason, in a word: Technology.

The Cato Institute, an ultra-right-wing “think tank,” published a paper titled: “Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 68: Does More Technology Create Unemployment?”  the thrust of which can be summarized in one sentence on the paper’s page 4:

“It is only technological improvement that enables employment to take place at higher-than subsistence levels of output.”

First, when technical change lowers costs in a given industry, the competitive firms comprising that industry must lower their prices, generating larger sales and an even greater need for employment.

In this case, employment goes up, not down, and with the increased competition for workers, wages rise in all industries capturing some of the value of the technological change for workers.

Second, when technical change in a given industry is labor saving, but its downward effect on product prices does not result in larger quantities sold sufficient to provide the same amount of employment in the industry as before the change, then temporary unemployment occurs.

However, jobs are available elsewhere in competitive markets.

If nothing else, wages are bid down enough in other industries to absorb the released labor.

Cato’s idea is that unemployment breeds lower wages in other industries, which encourages those other industries to hire more people.

Only a right-wing writer could look upon lower wages as an effective and worthwhile cure for unemployment. Taken to its logical extreme, universal slavery would be a wonderful way to prevent all unemployment.

It is an idea that has appeal for the “haves” of the world.

But the savings in the industry where the advancement occurs must also be taken into account.

Either more money goes to remaining workers in that industry, so that they raise the demand for other products, thus enabling the released labor to be employed in other industries without lower wages; or product prices are lower in the automated industry, so that consumers can buy the same amount and have income left over to demand more products from other industries, again enabling the released labor to be employed in those expanding industries without lower wages.

In summary: Though technology creates short-term unemployment, it lowers prices, which increases demand, which over the longer term, cures the unemployment.

And, in fact, that is the way things have worked in the past: Technology has cost jobs in the short term and created jobs in the long term.

This may be uncomfortable for those of us — all of us, really — who live our lives in short term segments, but from a long economic standpoint,  it has proven to be efficient.

Thus, while some unemployment may occur when there is technological advancement in competitive markets, it is both temporary and a natural consequence of the ability to change jobs freely.

It is certainly not a social problem requiring any sort of government action.

That last sentence, “It is certainly not a social problem requiring any sort of government action,” summarizes the right-wing attitude about virtually every social program. 

The idea is that government assistance to the poor, the unemployed or low waged worker, the homeless, the uneducated, etc. is not needed. Things will just work themselves out, naturally.

Can President Trump keep his promises to coal country? PBS Newshour

From 2011 to 2015, the coal mining industry lost more than 26,000 jobs, with 87 percent of those losses coming in the Appalachian region. In the last two years alone, several major coal companies filed for bankruptcy protection.

“We’re going to get those miners back to work,” Trump said in May 2016. “The miners of West Virginia and Pennsylvania … Ohio and all over are going to start to work again, believe me. They are going to be proud again to be miners.”

Many economists and energy experts say the current decline, at least in Appalachia, is here to stay.

Increased automation is one of several factors that they point to. Even as the production of coal was peaking in 2008, machines were replacing whole teams of miners, reducing the number of jobs in the industry.

These employment losses are very heavily concentrated. Southern West Virginia now contains five counties — the heart of the coal fields — that are in a deep depression.

Coal miners lose their jobs or move to another county or state in search of work. The subsequent loss in tax revenue, in turn, forces counties with shrinking budgets to cut jobs in government, some of the most stable employment available in these areas.

“It’s just this ripple effect that keeps rippling out to impact all these other layers, so you have less support for county projects, infrastructure development, for anything that supports the county budget,” said Stephanie Tyree, the executive director of the West Virginia Community Development Hub.

“It starts to go at such a rapid pace that it becomes very difficult to step in to mitigate it.”

From a cold, economic perspective, this is the way it long has been. Technology has destroyed some products and some industries, along with the jobs in those industries, and along with the cities, counties and states that rely on those industries.

But it creates new products and new jobs in other industries, cities, counties, and states.

While older workers suffer, younger workers seek employment in the new industries in other locations. A short-term cost with a long-term benefit.

But what do we do in the short term, about the suffering older workers and the job-seeking younger workers, and the suffering locations whose infrastructures have decayed?

Meanwhile, something altogether new has emerged on the scene. We no longer are talking only about a digging machine operated by one man, replacing a dozen pick-and-shovel workers.

Now, we are beginning to discuss AI (Artificial Intelligence) replacing every conceivable type of job: CEOs, CFOs. line managers, doctors, lawyers, baseball managers. One scarcely can imagine a job that hasn’t been, or won’t be, impacted by AI.

One scarcely can imagine a job that hasn’t been, or won’t be, impacted by AI.

The Chicago Cubs, the perennial losers, won in part because of Sabermetrics. Rather than making strictly intuitive decisions, Cubs management evaluates advanced statistics.

But why do we need humans to evaluate statistics, when AI can do it better and faster. Baseball managers, sitting on the bench, soon may be replaced by a computer sitting in another city, altogether.

Fortune Magazine
Mark Cuban: Robots Are ‘Going to Cause Unemployment’

Mark Cuban reiterated his warning that total robot takeover of blue-collar manufacturing jobs could come sooner than people may expect.

“Automation is going to cause unemployment and we need to prepare for it.” Similar warnings (have been made) by Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking.

In December, Cuban called on Donald Trump to make America a world leader in robotics, otherwise, “if nothing in the States changes, we will find ourselves dependent on other countries for almost everything that can and will be manufactured in a quickly approaching future.”

That is the “solution” advocated by a very, rich man: Because automation will take over blue collar jobs, the U.S. should invest in automation, so the U.S. can compete with other nations.

While the advice is good for the rich, it leaves out consideration of those unemployed people. What is to become of them?

And, lest you feel safe because you are in an “intellectual” job, it’s not just blue-collar jobs that are at risk.

The Guardian

Machines could put more than half the world’s population out of a job in the next 30 years, according to a computer scientist who said on Saturday that artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy should not be understated.

Expert Moshe Vardi told the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): “We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task.

Unlike the industrial revolution, Vardi said, “the AI revolution” will not be a matter of physically powerful machines that outperform human laborers, but rather a contest between human wit and mechanical intelligence and strength.

How has human wit done in such machine vs. human contests as chess, Go, and Jeopardy? Not too well, recently.

And unlike people, machines don’t tire, don’t demand raises or vacations, don’t fight or argue.

They not only are physically stronger, but every year become mentally stronger and stronger — and stronger.

Bart Selman , a professor at Cornell University, said: “Computers are basically starting to hear and see the way humans do,” thanks to advances in big data and “deep learning”.

Citing research from MIT, he noted that although Americans continue to drive GDP with increasing productivity, employment peaked around 1980 and average wages for families have gone down. “It’s automation,” Vardi said.

The consultant company McKinsey concluded that 20% of a CEO’s working time could be automated with existing technologies, and nearly 80% of a file clerk’s job could be automated. About 45% of the work people are paid to do could be automated by existing technology.

See those two little words, “existing technology”?

If 45% of the work could be automated by existing technology, how much will be automated by future technologies?

We humans aren’t getting smarter, but our machines are.In 2013, two Oxford professors predicted that as much as 47% of the US workforce, from telemarketers to legal secretaries and cooks, were vulnerable to automation.

In 2013, two Oxford professors predicted that as much as 47% of the US workforce, from telemarketers to legal secretaries and cooks, were vulnerable to automation.

And the professors needn’t feel safe.

What about a professor who knows everything about his subject and all related subjects — a sort of “super-Jeopardy” contestant, who can answer any question. Wouldn’t it be better equipped to teach?

But then again, who would such a professor teach? An AI machine “student” promises to be more apt than a human student — instantly learning and no cheating on exams.

And then there are truck drivers:

MIT Technology Review
Self-Driving TrucksTractor-trailers without a human at the wheel will soon barrel onto highways near you.
What will this mean for the nation’s 1.7 million truck drivers? Multiple companies are now testing self-driving trucks.

Although many technical problems are still unresolved, proponents claim that self-driving trucks will be safer and less costly.

Driver fatigue is a factor in roughly one of seven fatal truck accidents.

“This system often drives better than I do,” says Greg Murphy, who’s been a professional truck driver for 40 years. He now serves as a safety backup driver during tests of self-driving trucks by Otto, a San Francisco company that outfits trucks with the equipment needed to drive themselves.

Last October an Otto-outfitted self-driving truck carried 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer 200 kilometers down Interstate 25 in Colorado from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs—while the truck’s only human driver sat in the sleeper berth at the back of the cab without touching the vehicle’s controls.

O.K., truck drivers and baseball managers.  But, what about doctors? We always will need human doctors, right?

MIT Technology Review: The Artificially Intelligent Doctor Will Hear You Now
March 9, 2016

U.K.-based startup Babylon will launch an app later this year that will listen to your symptoms and provide medical advice.

There are about 10,000 known human diseases, yet human doctors are only able to recall a fraction of them at any given moment. As many as 40,500 patients die annually in an ICU in the U.S. as a result of misdiagnosis, according to a 2012 Johns Hopkins study.

What does your primary care doctor do for you? He/she listens to your symptoms and provides medical advice.

So wouldn’t you rather have a doctor conversant with every known human disease, and every known treatment, a doctor whose knowledge increases every minute of every day, a doctor who is available to you for advice 24/7/365?

Clearly, the days of the primary care doctor are numbered.

Well, are surgeons safe?

Autonomous Robot Surgeon Bests Humans in World First
By Eliza Strickland, Posted 4 May 2016

In a robotic surgery breakthrough, a bot stitched up a pig’s small intestines using its own vision, tools, and intelligence to carry out the procedure.

What’s more, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) did a better job on the operation than human surgeons who were given the same task.

Moving up the business ladder . . .

Could the CEO be replaced by a robot?
This article is part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017

With the automation of many everyday activities, could a robot be a more productive addition to boardrooms of the future than a CEO?

In an era defined by the exponential evolution of technology, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have come a long way in a short space of time.

Robots can perform surgical operations, build cars, move stock in warehouses, check you into your hotel and serve you drinks. And they can do it quickly and efficiently.

AI is expected to evolve significantly beyond today’s relatively simple machine learning to better understand human behaviour. That means robots making decisions on their own in more complicated situations. And as they get cleverer, they would be able to take on increasingly challenging jobs.

But could they take on as challenging a role as the CEO?

If I’ve had a bad meeting, am suffering jet lag or simply have other things on my mind, my decisions could suffer. Robots don’t face the unpredictability we humans face, so their decisions are more likely to be consistent, based on facts.

Secondly, robots can work all day, every day. They don’t need sleep, weekends or holidays. No mere humans can say the same.

As technology improves, no job is safe for humans. If you believe “robots can’t do this,” or “robots don’t do that,” you may be wrong about today’s robots, and you surely are wrong about tomorrow’s robots.

There is nothing you can think of that robots one day, won’t be able to do better, faster, and cheaper than you can.  And that “one day” may come sooner than you can imagine.

So the world should prepare.

The fundamental purpose of robots is the same as the fundamental purpose of government: To help make our lives better.

Fortunately, we have all the tools we need, for we control the algorithms, i.e. the laws. As robots do more and more jobs, we can make those jobs less necessary for humans to do.

Humans have no innate need to dig for coal, drive trucks, or run companies. The prime motivation for the vast majority of jobs is money.  And we have the unlimited ability to create money.

Yes, some jobs give us satisfaction and pride. But we don’t need to have an employer for us to feel satisfaction and pride.

This all comes together with the Ten Steps to Prosperity.

The step we discussed in the previous post, Step #3, Social Security for All, provides income not dependent on work.  Importantly, it allows us to obtain goods and services, eventually without the need for a job.

Unquestionably, AI will make human labor less necessary. But, until robots are able to provide all of our goods and services, as in the mythical Star Trek “replicator,” we must find another mechanism.

And I believe that interim mechanism must be the distribution of money by Monetarily Sovereign governments via social programs.

Historically, people have toiled more, lived less comfortable lives, and died earlier than they do, today. “Work ’til you drop” was the human blueprint, just as it remains today for all other animals.

Today, our massive brains have given us less demanding work, more comfort, and longer lives — and have created even more massive brains, but of an electronic nature.

In America, Social Security, Medicare and other social programs evolved as small, interim steps on the long path toward a society requiring work only for pleasure.

We have taken those interim steps, those baby steps, and we must continue marching. No creation of Man exists in a vacuum. Every invention demands supporting inventions.

We invented trains, which made railroad tracks necessary. The auto made strong streets and highways necessary. Airplanes made massive airports necessary. The one cannot function properly without the other.

Similarly, AI makes strong social programs necessary. Neither can function properly without the other.

We have opened a Pandora’s box of Artificial Intelligence. We have the tools to control it, improve it, and to make it function properly. But we had better use those tools by expanding our social programs — our Social Security, our Medicare, et al.

To our advantage, we must use AI properly.

Or  AI will use us.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

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