Social Security and Medicare Funds Face Insolvency, Report Finds Tuesday, Dec 10 2019 

It’s old news, fake news, and a lie — a “Big Lie.” But it demonstrates why the public is so confused and misinformed about federal financing.

Image result for national enquirer fox newsThis following came from the venerable and venerated New York Times, but the article is as accurate as an article in Breitbart, Fox News, or the National Enquirer.

Social Security and Medicare Funds Face Insolvency, Report Finds By Alan Rappeport, economic policy reporter, who covers the Treasury Department and writes about taxes, trade and fiscal matters, April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON — The financial outlook for Medicare and Social Security, two of the nation’s most important social safety net programs, remains precarious, threatening to diminish retirement payments and increase health care costs for Americans in old age, the Trump administration said on Monday.

An annual government report on the status of the programs painted a dire portrait of their solvency that will saddle the United States with more debt at a time when the economy is starting to cool and taxes have just been cut.

Let’s get this straight. The NY Times incredibly is being as honest as Breitbart, Fox News,  and the National Enquirer.

But, the U.S. federal government cannot become insolvent. That is 100% impossible.

Who says so? How about:

Alan Greenspan: “A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

Image result for greenspan

Greenspan

Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”
St. Louis Federal Reserve: “As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e., unable to pay its bills. In this sense, the government is not dependent on credit markets to remain operational.

Since the U.S. federal government cannot become insolvent, no agency of the federal government can become insolvent, unless the federal government wishes it.

Social Security and Medicare are agencies of the federal government. Therefore, neither Social Security nor Medicare can become insolvent unless the federal government wishes it.

And as far as “saddling the United States with more debt,” the scare-mongers have been shoveling this manure for at least 80 years (See: “It is 2019, and the phony federal debt “time bomb” still is ticking.“)

Neither the United States nor U.S. taxpayers are “saddled” with even one cent of federal “debt.” The misnamed “debt” is nothing more than the total of deposits into Treasury security accounts. These accounts are paid off, not with federal tax dollars, but rather by simply returning the contents of those accounts to the account holders. No “saddle” there.

The NY Times editors surely know this. So why do they scare-monger a lie? Why did they publish the “Big Lie”? There is a reason, which we will discuss.

According to the report, the cost of Social Security, the federal retirement program, will exceed its income in 2020 for the first time since 1982. The program’s reserve fund is projected to be depleted in 16 years, at which time recipients will get smaller payments than they are scheduled to receive if Congress does not act.

Meanwhile, Medicare’s hospital insurance fund is expected to be depleted in 2026 — the same date that was projected a year ago. At that point, doctors, hospitals and nursing homes would not receive their full compensation from the program and patients could face more of the financial burden.

The so-called “reserve fund” is an accounting fiction. It is not a fund and it is not held in reserve. It merely is a record showing the difference between FICA and spending. It’s just a piece of information about the difference in two numbers; it does not reveal anything about the government’s ability to pay for things.

The U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign, and so has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar. Even if all FICA collections totaled $0, the federal government could pay infinite Social Security benefits, forever.

An infinite account cannot be “depleted.”

The article continues:

“Lawmakers should address these financial challenges as soon as possible,” the trustees of the program wrote.

“Taking action sooner rather than later will permit consideration of a broader range of solutions and provide more time to phase in changes so that the public has adequate time to prepare.”

There are no trustees because there is no trust. It is just an accounting record, that has none of the qualities of a trust. (See: Fake federal trust funds and fake concerns)

The above makes the naive and false assumption that federal (Monetarily Sovereign) financing is the same as personal (monetarily non-sovereign) financing.

For the federal government, there are no “financial challenges” that need “solutions.” And while the author of the article claims benefits will need to be cut or taxes increased, the public should not be prompted to “prepare” for those unnecessary changes.

It is all the “Big Lie.

Some Republicans sought to take credit on Monday for the fact that the news was not worse while also calling for changes to the programs.

“Following historic reforms to America’s tax code, this strong economy has strengthened these important programs, but today’s reports remind us of a fact we have known for far too long: Medicare is going broke and Social Security is not solvent,” Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas, said in a statement.

Either Rep. Brady either is incredibly ignorant about economics, or he is an incredible liar. Pick one. There are no other alternatives.

The United States will not become insolvent, and for the same reasons, neither Medicare nor Social Security will go broke, unless a bribed Congress forces that to happen. 

Lawmakers have been struggling to come to grips with a solution for the country’s eroding entitlement programs, which have for years been at the center of a political tug of war between Republicans and Democrats.

No. Lawmakers have been struggling to find more ways to continue fooling the public. It’s been a struggle because arguing against plain facts always is difficult.

Mr. Trump was initially resistant to calling for cuts to the programs, but his budget proposal last month did just that. The request, which is being ignored by Congress, proposed shaving $818 billion from projected spending on Medicare over 10 years.

Completely unnecessary.

It also called for $26 billion less on Social Security programs, including a $10 billion cut to Social Security Disability Insurance, which provides benefits to disabled workers.

Well, of course, Mr. Trump wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare, two programs that benefit the middle classes and the poor. Isn’t that what the GOP always wants to do?

And of course, the GOP Congress passed tax cuts that mostly benefitted the rich. Isn’t that also what the GOP always wants to do?

The problem is not that the GOP, the party of the rich, wants unnecessarily to gut programs that benefit the non-rich. The problem is that the Democrats, supposedly the party of the middle- and lower-income groups, go along with the fiction of federal insolvency. 

“That fact that we now can’t guarantee full benefits to current retirees is completely unacceptable, and it should be cause enough for every policymaker to rally around solutions to restore solvency to those programs,” said Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“Certainly we should be focused on saving Social Security and Medicare before we start promising to expand these programs.”

She added that “now isn’t the time for partisan bickering — we need solutions.”

Just as Wayne LaPierre, of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is a mouthpiece for gun manufacturers, Maya MacGuineas, of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) is a mouthpiece for the very rich.

The rich in America, and all over the world, for that matter, never are satisfied. They want to become richer and richer. To become richer, you must widen the income/wealth/power Gap between you and those below you on any economic scale.

It isn’t sufficient that your income increases if the incomes of those below you increase even more. Without the Gap, no one would be rich; we all would be the same.

It is the Gap that makes you rich, and the wider the Gap, the richer you are.

This is known a “Gap Psychology,” the desire to distance yourself from those below and to approach those above.

So the rich bribe your three main economic information sources — the media,  the politicians, and the economics professors — to tell you the Big Lie, that federal spending is funded by federal taxes rather than by money creation.

–The rich bribe the media via advertising dollars and media ownership.
–The rich bribe the politicians via political contributions and promises of lucrative employment after they leave office.
–The rich bribe the economics professors via contributions to universities and with jobs at think “tanks.”

The public accepts the Big Lie because it equates to personal experience, where personal spending is funded by personal income.

One day, perhaps within your lifetime, the general public will learn that federal taxes do not fund federal spending, that the federal government and its agencies cannot become insolvent, and that social programs can and should be funded for the benefit of all America.

It will have to begin with a moral billionaire, a moral politician, or a moral economist who has both the money and the influence to promulgate the truth, and to have it accepted.

Waiting.

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

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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

The Hyperinflation Myth Explained Saturday, Nov 30 2019 

There is a widespread myth that hyperinflations are caused by excessive government money “printing.” Perhaps you are among the vast majority who believe this pernicious myth.

Well, it simply isn’t so, and the belief alone is responsible for great misery, worldwide.

Consider these excerpts from the following article:

Fed analysis warns of ‘economic ruin’ when governments print money to pay off debt
NOV 26 2019, Jeff Cox, CNBC

St. Louis Fed economists warn in a paper of potential “economic ruin” if policies that advocate money-printing to pay off government debts are ever adopted.

Immediately, the article provides us with a misunderstanding. “Money-printing” never is used for paying off U.S. federal debt.

The federal debt is the total of net deposits into Treasury security accounts. When you buy a T-bill, T-note, or T-bond (aka “federal debt”), you open a T-security account, and into that account, you deposit the price of the T-security.

There, your dollars remain, collecting interest, until the T-security matures, at which time, your dollars — the dollars you deposited plus the interest in the account —  are returned to you.

During that entire round trip — you depositing dollars and those same dollars being returned to you — the only so-called money “printing” has occurred daily over a period of years, as your account accumulates interest.

The U.S. federal government could pay off the entire U.S. debt today, if it wished, simply by returning the $20 trillion that currently exist in T-security accounts. No money “printing” or taxes involved.

Returning to the article:

“A solution some countries with high levels of unsustainable debt have tried is printing money.

“In this scenario, the government borrows money by issuing bonds and then orders the central bank to buy those bonds by creating (printing) money,” wrote Scott A. Wolla and Kaitlyn Frerking.

“History has taught us, however, that this type of policy leads to extremely high rates of inflation (hyperinflation) and often ends in economic ruin.”

They cite Zimbabwe in the 2007-09 period, Venezuela currently and Weimar-era Germany . All three faced massive deficits that led to hyperinflation due to money printing.

In fact, all three nations provide examples of the real cause of hyperinflation, and it isn’t money “printing.”

(As an aside, money is  not printed; it is created via bookkeeping. Money has no physical existence. A dollar bill actually is a title to a dollar. Just as the paper title to a car is not a car, and the paper title to a house is not a house, the paper dollar bill, is not in itself a dollar. The actual dollar is nothing more than a non-physical accounting notation on the government’s books.)

The cause of general price increases, i.e. inflation, is shortages. Usually, these are shortages of food or energy. It is shortages, not money “printing” or full employment or excessive demand (as some people claim), that makes prices go up.

Zimbabwe
Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe began in February 2007. . In the late 1990s, the Robert Mugabe government evicted white landowners and gave their farms to blacks.

Many of these “farmers” had no experience or training in farming. As a result, from 1999 to 2009, the country experienced a sharp drop in food production, creating massive food shortages.

The non-farmers were unable to obtain loans for capital development, (money shortage). Food output capacity fell 45%, manufacturing output 29% in 2005, 26% in 2006 and 28% in 2007, and unemployment rose to 80%.

Everything, especially food, was in shortage, which is what caused the Zimbabwean hyperinflation.

Venezuela
Hyperinflation in Venezuela began in November 2016 during the country’s ongoing socio-economic and political crisis.

Since the 1990s, food production had dropped precipitously, with the government beginning to rely upon imported food using the country’s then-large oil profits.

In 2003, the government created a currency control board that placing currency limits on individuals, and that caused widespread shortages of goods.

In 2005, the government announced the initiation of Venezuela’s own “great leap forward”, following the example of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. An increase in shortages began to occur that year as 5% of items became unavailable.

In January 2008, 24.7% of goods were reported to be unavailable in Venezuela, with the scarcity of goods remaining high until May 2008, when there was a shortage of 16.3% of goods. Shortages increased again in January 2012 to nearly the same rate as in 2008.

In 2013, shortage rates continued to increase and reached a record high of 28% in February 2014. In January 2015, the hashtag #AnaquelesVaciosEnVenezuela (or #EmptyShelvesInVenezuela) was the number one trending topic on Twitter in Venezuela

General shortages caused the Venezuelan hyperinflation.

The Weimar Republic, Germany
The Weimar Republic experienced hyperinflation, between 1921 and 1923, primarily in 1923.

In April 1921, the Germany Reparations Commission announced the “London payment plan”, under which Germany would pay reparations in gold or foreign currency in annual installments of 2 billion gold marks, plus 26% of the value of Germany’s exports.

Since reparations were required to be repaid in hard currency, one strategy that Germany used was the mass printing of banknotes to buy foreign currency, which was then used to pay reparations, greatly exacerbating the inflation of the paper mark.

The brief German hyperinflation was caused by shortages of hard currency with which to pay for imports of goods, especially food and food production.

The resultant shortages caused the general increase in prices, i.e. the German hyperinflation.

In summary, prices rise not because the people have too much money (Germans, Zimbabweans, and Venezualians certainly didn’t) but because needed products, mostly food and/or oil, are in short supply.

Back to excerpts from the article:

The Fed analysis references a paper on MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) in a sidebar box on monetary “owls” — the owls, “suggest that a government that controls a fiat money system is not constrained because it can simply create more money to pay its debts.”

Indeed, MMT supporters argue that a country that runs up debts in its own currency can never default, and as long as inflation remains tame, there really are no problems with government deficit spending.

They further say that public spending can be used to stimulate the economy, that essentially a deficit in the public sector can be a surplus in the private sector.

In this, MMT is absolutely correct, and noted economists agree:

Alan Greenspan: “A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

St. Louis Federal Reserve: “As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e., unable to pay its bills. In this sense, the government is not dependent on credit markets to remain operational.

The article continues:

The total federal government debt is just over $23 trillion, or 103.2% of GDP.

The Fed itself has come under criticism for “money printing,” which it did in three rounds of quantitative easing during and after the Great Recession.

This came along with keeping its short-term lending rate anchored near zero for seven years.

However, the central bank’s stated aims were to bring down long-term interest rates and stimulate economic growth, not to finance the national debt.

And that is exactly what happened. Despite all the hand-wringing from the deficit hawks, inflation stayed low, the economy grew, and the national debt was not “financed.”

Nothing “finances” the national debt if the word “finance” means pays off. The national debt is not like your debt, my debt, business debt or state/local government debt.

The national debt is just the net total of deposits into T-security accounts, that are paid off by simply returning the money in those accounts.

“There are ways in which the government can make investments today, that increase deficits today, that produce higher growth tomorrow and build in the extra capacity to absorb those higher deficits,” Stephanie Kelton, professor of public policy and economics at Stony Brook University, said in a video for CNBC.com.

“Their red ink becomes our black ink and their deficits are our surpluses.”

Kelton added that deficit spending can be used to fund improvements in education, infrastructure and other inequality-reducing programs without causing long-term damage.

Absolutely, 100% correct is Stephanie, a very bright lady with whom I have been in contact for many years.

Some of the most prominent advocates for MMT are Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom identify as democratic socialists, as well as former Pimco economist Paul McCulley.

Too bad Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez do not really believe what Kelton has told them. They continue to search for ways to “pay for” Medicare for All, when the solution hangs right before their eyes: The federal government can and should pay for Medicare for All via deficit spending.

And contrary to what Ocasio-Cortez claims, this does not require more borrowing. Remember this quote from the St. Louis Fed: ” . . . the government is not dependent on credit markets (i.e.borrowing) to remain operational.

Most mainstream economists and Wall Street authorities, however, reject the basis that deficits don’t matter absent inflation.

Bond market guru Jeffrey Gundlach at DoubleLine Capital has called MMT “a crackpot idea,” while former White House economist and Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has labeled it “dangerous.”

However, hedge fund king Ray Dalio at Bridgewater Associates said its adoption is “inevitable” amid growing wealth disparity.

“Most mainstream economists and Wall Street authorities” do not understand the truth of Monetary Sovereignty. They still disseminate the “Big Lie,” that federal financing is similar to personal financing, where debt is a burden on the debtor.

Federal debt (deposits) is not a burden on anyone — not on the federal government and not on future taxpayers. It is a benefit to the economy and to taxpayers, and does not cause inflation.

There has been no relationship between changes in federal debt, aka deficits  (blue) and inflation (red).

Addendum
One of the many places where MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) and MS (Monetary Sovereignty) differ is with regard to the relationship between “full” employment and inflation.

MMT claims that one cause of inflation is “excessive demand.” We never have seen anyone point to nationwide demand as excessive (especially when inflation describes not one or two products and services, but an entire nation). We cannot agree on MMT’s proposed solution to inflation: Taxes.

Taxes are recessionary, and the opposite of inflation is not recession; it is deflation. Taxes are austerity, and are not a cure for inflation.

MMT also says that deficit spending at a time of full employment is inflationary. Again, we disagree. Deficit spending means the federal government’s taxation is less than its purchases of goods and services.

It is not clear why the federal purchase of goods and services during times of full employment (if those times ever really have existed outside of WWII), should be more or less inflationary than during times of low employment.

The theory seems to be that during full employment, people have more money (not necessarily true), and they will spend rather than save that money (also not necessarily true), and when they are spending in competition with increased government spending, all that increased demand will cause inflation.

The main problem with that hypothesis is that in the real world, it never actually happens:

1) No one can agree on exactly what “full employment” is.

a. Does “full” employment include single or married, men or women or children and of what age?
b. Does one person earning $100K equal four people each earning $25K?
c. Does “full” include only full-time or part-time work, and exactly what are the definitions of each?
d. Does “employment take into consideration productivity, i.e is one man on a riding mower equal to 4 men pushing manual lawnmowers?
e. And what about unemployed or retired people. Some have a great deal of money to spend; others don’t. How is that accounted for?

2) Federal spending not only increases demand, but it also increases supply. In response to federal contracts, contractors gear up to create more product to meet the anticipated demand.

3) The federal government generally buys different things than the public buys, creating demand in different areas, so a general increase in all prices does not ordinarily occur. Prices may increase in specific products or materials but overall price increases are not caused by federal buying except during major wars, when the government buys so much a broad range of products is affected.

Consider the case of Medicare for All. Will federal funding of this program cause a general increase in prices at a time of “full” employment? Will it cause a shortage of food and/or oil, the main cause of inflation?

That is the real question, and I submit the answer is, “No.”

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

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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

 

A test of your intelligence: Have you decided for whom you will vote? Based on what? Tuesday, Aug 20 2019 

Sorry, but . . .

. . . .even though I don’t know you, I absolutely, positively know that if you have made, or ever will make, a decision about whom you will vote for, your decision will be based on shallow, uninformed, perhaps even stupid reasoning.

I know this because:

–Almost half the country voted for Donald Trump.
–There are so many candidates for so many positions.
–What they promise probably isn’t what they will do.
–Almost half the country still would vote for Donald Trump.

Case closed.

If suddenly you were denied the right to vote, wouldn’t you be angry? So, if you are an American, shouldn’t you even try to understand where your precious vote is going?

Answer this: Would you vote for Bernie Sanders to be your President?

Why or why not?

I’ll wager your answers have very little to do with the real issues, but rather to do with two factors:

  1. The fact that he is a Democrat (or democratic socialist, which you don’t even understand).
  2. His wild hair, his gruff personality, and his age.

Now really, aren’t those shallow, even stupid, and uninformed reasons for giving away your precious vote — the vote for which many Americans fought and died?

Here is a list of what Bernie Sanders favors. You probably won’t read it, because #1 and #2 above are more important to you.

As I said, this is a test of your intelligence.

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For most of our history as a country, the United States incarcerated people at about the same rates as other western democracies do today.

In the early 1970s we had the same low crime rate as today, but we now have an incarceration rate five times higher.

Indeed, America is now the world’s leading jailer. We lock up more than 2 million people in America, which is more of our own people than any country on Earth.

And that does not include another 5 million people who are under the supervision of the correctional system.

Hundreds of thousands of incarcerated people in America have not been convicted of a crime and are solely in jail because they can’t afford their bail. We are criminalizing poverty.

Due to the historical legacy of institutional racism in this country, mass incarceration disportionately falls on the shoulders of black and brown people in America.

In fact, black Americans are incarcerated at five times the rate of white Americans, and even though people use drugs like marijuana at roughly the same rates across all races, black Americans are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white Americans.

These disparities pervade every aspect of the criminal justice system.

Black Americans, and especially young black men, are more likely to be stopped by the police, subjected to excessive force, arrested, and jailed than whites.

When Bernie is president, we will finally make the deep and structural investments to rebuild the communities that mass incarceration continues to decimate.

We must move away from an overly-punitive approach to public safety and start focusing on how to safeguard our communities, prevent the conditions that lead to arrests, and rehabilitate people who have made mistakes

End Profiteering in Our Criminal Justice System

We must end the practice of corporations profiting off the suffering of incarcerated people and their families.

The private prison industry is growing — and so are the horror stories.

In Mississippi, the rate of violent assault in private prisons was two to three times that of publicly-run facilities.

At one facility, juveniles as young as 13 years old were common targets of sexual assault.

No one should be able to profit from filling our jails and prisons. As has been reported, private prisons also act on their profit incentive by advocating for longer sentences for people convicted of a crime.

Additionally, corporations and police departments rake in billions in fines and fees from disadvantaged communities.

The prison phone industry, for example, is a monopoly business worth more than $1 billion a year, with companies charging sky-high fees for telephone calls that many families can’t afford to pay to keep in touch with their loved ones.

Today, 1 in 28 children has an incarcerated parent — a fifth of which are under four years old.

Children with incarcerated parents tend to do worse in school, experience anxiety and depression, and develop behavioral issues.

Corporations and cities alike rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and fees off the backs of our most vulnerable communities. But it should not be this way.

Everyday people who already are struggling to get by should not be made to subsidize the criminal justice system. Right now, a person charged with an offense who cannot afford a lawyer is often charged a public defender fee and levied court costs, even if that person is not convicted of any crime.

More than 40 states use driver’s license suspension as a means of pressuring people to pay various court fees, which means people cannot drive to work to earn a living.

The inability to pay fines or fees also can lead to people spending far more time incarcerated, effectively creating modern-day debtors prisons.

Fines and fees for people who cannot afford them are counterproductive, serve no legitimate government interest, and leave already vulnerable people even more vulnerable.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Ban for-profit prisons.
  • Make prison phone calls and other communications such as video chats free of charge.
  • Audit the practices of commissaries and use regulatory authority to end price gouging and exorbitant fees.
  • Incentivize states and localities to end police departments’ reliance on fines and fees for revenue.
  • Remove the profit motive from our re-entry system and diversion, community supervision, or treatment programs, and ensure people leaving incarceration or participating in diversion, community supervision, or treatment programs can do so free of charge.

End Cash Bail

Right now, hundreds of thousands of people without a criminal conviction are in jail simply because they could not afford bail.

Young people can spend hundreds of days in jail, only to be acquitted — yet the severe damage to their lives cannot be undone.

This is why Bernie introduced the No Money Bail Act of 2018 to end cash bail and to end the criminalization of poverty in America.

As president, Bernie will:

  • End the use of secured bonds in federal criminal proceedings.
  • Provide grants to states to reduce their pretrial detention populations, which are particularly high at the county level, and require states to report on outcomes as a condition of renewing their funding.
  • Withhold funding from states that continue the use of cash bail systems.
  • Ensure that alternatives to cash bail are not leading to disparities in the system.

Transform the Way We Police Communities

The people who serve our country as police officers deserve our gratitude and respect. As a country, though, we are asking them to do far too much.

As human beings, we all share common vulnerabilities, and we all share basic needs to live a stable and dignified life.

In America, we have not made the necessary investments to secure a strong enough social fabric to ensure that people’s basic needs are met.

So, in lieu of addressing problems directly, we ask police officers to address every societal issue that results from the tears in the fabric, whether it be mental illness, addiction, homelessness, or poverty.

We ask these overstressed police officers to fill roles they are not trained or equipped for — doubling as social workers, conflict negotiators, and medical responders. Last year, more police officers died of suicide than in the line of duty.

We need to shift our emphasis toward solving problems in ways that don’t rely on policing and incarceration as a first option by supporting alternative strategies to make individuals and communities safer and healthier.

In other ways, we must hold our police and sheriff’s departments to a higher standard. And we must end harmful policing practices like racial profiling, stop and frisk, oppressive “broken windows” policing, and the militarization of police forces — all of which actively undermine public safety and community trust in law enforcement.

Widespread use of excessive force, including deadly shootings of unarmed civilians, undermine the integrity of and public trust in the police. Violence and brutality of any kind, particularly at the hands of the police meant to protect and serve our communities, must not be tolerated.

Ensure Law Enforcement Accountability and Robust Oversight

  • Rescind former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ guidance on consent decrees.
  • Revitalize the use of Department of Justice investigations, consent decrees, and federal lawsuits to address systemic constitutional violations by police departments.
  • Ensure accountability, strict guidelines and independent oversight for all federal funds used by police departments.
  • End federal programs that provide military equipment to local police forces.
  • Create a federally managed database of police use of deadly force.
  • Provide grants for states and cities to establish civilian oversight agencies with enforceable accountability mechanisms.
  • Establish federal standards for the use of body cameras, including establishing third-party agencies to oversee the storage and release of police videos.
  • Mandate criminal liability for civil rights violations resulting from police misconduct.
  • Limit the use of “qualified immunity” to address the lack of criminal liability for civil rights violations resulting from police misconduct.
  • Conduct a U.S. Attorney General’s investigation whenever someone is killed in police custody.
  • Establish a federal no-call policy, including a registry of disreputable federal law enforcement officers, so testimony from untrustworthy sources does not lead to criminal convictions. Provide financial support to pilot local and state level no-call lists.
  • Ban the use of facial recognition software for policing.

Provide More Support to Police Officers and Create A Robust Non-Law Enforcement Alternative Response System

  • Establish national standards for use of force by police that emphasize de-escalation.
  • Require and fund police officer training on implicit bias (to include biases based on race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion, ethnicity and class), cultural competency, de-escalation, crisis intervention, adolescent development, and how to interact with people with mental and physical disabilities. We will ensure that training is conducted in a meaningful way with strict independent oversight and enforceable guidelines.
  • Ban the practice of any law enforcement agency benefiting from civil asset forfeiture.  Limit or eliminate federal criminal justice funding for any state or locality that does not comply.
  • Provide funding to states and municipalities to create civilian corps of unarmed first responders, such as social workers, EMTs, and trained mental health professionals, who can handle order maintenance violations, mental health emergencies, and low-level conflicts outside the criminal justice system, freeing police officers to concentrate on the most serious crimes.
  • Incentivize access to counseling and mental health services for officers.
  • Diversify police forces and academies and incentivize officers to live and work in the communities they serve.

Ensuring All Americans Due Process

The criminal justice system is rigged. The United States has a criminal justice system that is built to put the profit interests of billion-dollar industries like the bail bondsman over the interests of everyday, working people.

It’s time to tell the bail industry, and the private prison industry, and the private probation industry, and anyone who profits from incarceration, that we are going to put the well-being of the people first.

But that’s not enough. The size of your bank account too often determines the quality of representation that a person will receive.

If you cannot afford to pay fines and fees associated with criminal justice involvement, you can end up in a spiraling cycle of debt, with a suspended driver’s license, or even locked up in a modern debtor’s prison. We need a system that works equally well for the workers and the wealthy.

Right to Counsel 

In 1963, the Supreme Court decided Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteeing all felony defendants counsel, yet today 90 to 95 percent of criminal cases are decided by a plea deal, too often without the defendant playing an active role.

Across the United States, more than 80 percent of felony defendants cannot afford a privately retained lawyer and have to rely on state-administered public defenders or court-appointed counsel.

Yet in states across the country, public defenders have far too many clients and too few resources to offer adequate representation.

Despite the often heroic efforts of public defenders and other appointed counsel, the workload makes it impossible to provide the quality of representation that each defendant deserves.

77 percent of black Americans and 73 percent of Latinos in state prisons had a public defender or court-appointed counsel, yet 75 percent of county-based public defender offices have exceeded the maximum recommended limit of cases received per attorney.

America must not be a country where only the rich enjoy the protections of the Fifth Amendment. We must not have a court system that offers “the best justice money can buy.” We must guarantee all Americans their Sixth Amendment rights.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Triple national spending on indigent defense, to $14 billion annually.
  • After a review of current salaries and workload, set a minimum starting salary for all public defenders.
  • Create and set a national formula to assure populations have a minimum number of public defenders to assure full access to constitutional right to due process.
  • Establish federal guidelines and goals for a right to counsel, including policies that reduce the number of cases overall.
  • Create a federal agency to provide support and oversight for state public defense services.
  • Authorize the Department of Justice to take legal action against jurisdictions that are not meeting their Sixth Amendment obligations.
  • Cancel all existing student debt and cancel any future student debt for public defenders through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Ensure Accountability and Fairness in Prosecution

Prosecutors today have undue discretion in deciding which cases will be charged, and they are largely protected from liability when they break the rules.

They also have an advantage in plea bargaining cases. People in jail without financial sources are more likely to plead guilty than fight the case.

And they are more likely to receive harsher penalties than those who aren’t detained. The vast majority of cases — 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases — end in plea agreements. We must ensure that our system is fair and that prosecutors are accountable.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Rescind former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ orders on prosecutorial discretion and low-level offenses.
  • Appoint an Attorney General committed to public safety and creating a more just and humane criminal justice system.
  • Limit “absolute immunity” for prosecutors, which is used to shield wrongdoers from liability.
  • End the practice of jailing material witnesses.
  • Place a moratorium on the use of the algorithmic risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system until an audit is completed. We must ensure these tools do not have any implicit biases that lead to unjust or excessive sentences.

Ending Mass Incarceration and Excessive Sentencing

Today, the United States imprisons people at a higher rate than any other nation, in no small part due to extremely harsh sentencing policies and the War on Drugs.

But mass incarceration has not made us any safer or reduced drug use and addiction. On the contrary, it has cost lives and diverted resources that could be used to prevent crime through social investment.

We must end the War on Drugs that has disproportionately affected black and brown people.

The U.S. ranks highest in incarceration rates among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, twice as much as Turkey, which has the second-highest rate of incarceration.

Capital punishment has failed to reduce violent crime and is disproportionately apportioned to the poor and black and brown people. It has also cost innocent lives.

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, for every nine people executed in this country since the reinstatement of capital punishment, one innocent person on death row has been identified and exonerated.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Abolish the death penalty.
  • Reverse the Trump administration’s guidance on the use of death penalty drugs with the goal of ending the death penalty at the state level.
  • Stop excessive sentencing with the goal of cutting the incarcerated population in half.
  • End mandatory sentencing minimums.
  • Reinstate a federal parole system and end truth-in-sentencing. People serving long sentences will undergo a “second look” process to make sure their sentence is still appropriate.
  • End “three strikes” laws. No one should spend their life behind bars for committing minor crimes, even if they commit several of them.
  • Invigorate and expand the compassionate release process so that people with disabilities, the sick and elderly are transitioned out of incarceration whenever possible.
  • Expand the use of sentencing alternatives, including community supervision and publicly funded halfway houses. This includes funding state-based pilot programs to establish alternatives to incarceration, including models based on restorative justice and free access to treatment and social services.
  • Revitalize the executive clemency process by creating an independent clemency board removed from the Department of Justice and placed in White House.
  • Stop the criminalization of homelessness and spend more than $25 billion over five years to end homelessness. This includes doubling McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants to build permanent supportive housing, and $500 million to provide outreach to homeless people to help connect them to available services. In the first year of this plan, 25,000 Housing Trust Fund units will be prioritized for housing the homeless.

End the War on Drugs and Stop Criminalizing Addiction

The disastrous policies that make up the War on Drugs have not reduced drug use and violent crime.

We must use effective therapeutic, not punitive, solutions to address drug addiction.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Legalize marijuana and vacate and expunge past marijuana convictions, and ensure that revenue from legal marijuana is reinvested in communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.
  • Provide people struggling with addiction with the health care they need by guaranteeing health care — including inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and mental health services with no copayments or deductibles — to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.
  • Decriminalize possession of buprenorphine, which helps to treat opioid addiction, and ensure that first responders carry naloxone to prevent overdoses.
  • Legalize safe injection sites and needle exchanges around the country, and support pilot programs for supervised injection sites, which have shown to substantially reduce drug overdose deaths.
  • Raise the threshold for when drug charges are federalized, as federal charges carry longer sentences.
  • Work with states to fund and pursue innovative overdose prevention initiatives.
  • Institute a full review of the current sentencing guidelines and end the sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine.

Treat Children Like Children

We must end the school-to-prison pipeline. Black students, even in preschool, are nearly four times as likely to be suspended as white students, putting them at greater risk of falling behind and getting caught up in the juvenile justice system.

Black and brown students and students with disabilities are more likely to be subjected to exclusionary discipline measures than their peers.

When a child is pushed out of school they lose instructional time and are more likely to become involved with the juvenile and adult justice systems.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Ban the prosecution of children under the age of 18 in adult courts.
  • Work to ensure that all juvenile facilities are designed for rehabilitation and growth.
  • Ensure youth are not jailed or imprisoned for misdemeanor offenses.
  • Ensure juveniles are not be housed in adult prisons.
  • End solitary confinement for youth.
  • Abolish long mandatory minimum sentences and life-without-parole sentences for youth.
  • Eliminate criminal charges for school-based disciplinary behavior that would not otherwise be criminal and invest in school nurses, counselors, teachers, teaching assistants, and small class sizes to address disciplinary issues.
  • Ensure every school has the necessary school counselors and wrap-around services by providing $5 billion annually to expand the sustainable community school model.
  • End the use of juvenile fees.
  • Decriminalize truancy for all youth and their parents.
  • Eliminate federal incentives for schools to implement zero-tolerance policies.
  • Invest in local youth diversion programs as alternatives to the court and prison system.
  • Work with teachers, school administrators, and the disability rights movement to end restraint and seclusion discipline in schools.

Reform Our Decrepit Prison System to Make Jails and Prisons More Humane

Incarceration should always be a last resort, but when it is necessary, the conditions of confinement should be safe, humane, and designed for rehabilitation. Yet, too often, jails are violent and deeply destabilizing places.

They not only fail to prepare people to reintegrate into society, they affirmatively make people more traumatized, sick, and vulnerable.

America’s prisons are hotbeds of human rights violations, torture, sexual assault, and wrongful imprisonment.

Prisoners are being crammed into overcrowded cells and made to live in unsanitary conditions. They are not getting the medical attention they need and are being forced to work as modern-day indentured servants while corporations rake in profits.

We must put an end to this barbarism and respect the rights of all human beings and treat them with basic dignity.

As president, Bernie will:

Enact a Prisoner Bill of Rights that guarantees:

  • Ending solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is a form of torture and unconstitutional, plain and simple.
  • Access to free medical care in prisons and jails, including professional and evidence-based substance abuse and trauma-informed mental health treatment.
  • Incarcerated trans people have access to all the health care they need.
  • Access to free educational and vocational training. This includes ending the ban on Pell Grants for all incarcerated people without any exceptions.
  • Living wages and safe working conditions, including maximum work hours, for all incarcerated people for their labor.
  • The right to vote. All voting-age Americans must have the right and meaningful access to vote, whether they are incarcerated or not. We will re-enfranchise the right to vote to the millions of Americans who have had their vote taken away by a felony conviction.
  • Ending prison gerrymandering, ensuring incarcerated people are counted in their communities, not where they are incarcerated.
  • Establishment of an Office of Prisoner Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the Department of Justice to investigate civil rights complaints from incarcerated individuals and provide independent oversight to make sure that prisoners are housed in safe, healthy, environments.
  • Protection from sexual abuse and harassment, including mandatory federal prosecution of prison staff who engage in such misconduct.
  • Access to their families — including unlimited visits, phone calls, and video calls.
  • A determination for the most appropriate setting for people with disabilities and safe, accessible conditions for people with disabilities in prisons and jails.

Ensure a Just Transition Post-Release

This year, three-quarters of a million people will return home from prison and millions more from jails. Most of them will face enormous barriers that make successful re-entry nearly impossible.

We must put an end to employment discrimination and eliminate barriers to training and education. Once someone has served their time they should not be excluded from social programs, public housing, medical care, and the right to vote and serve on juries.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Make expungement broadly available.
  • Remove legal and regulatory barriers and facilitate access to services so that people returning home from jail or prison can build a stable and productive life.
  • Create a federal agency responsible for monitoring re-entry.
  • “Ban the box” by removing questions regarding conviction histories from job and other applications.
  • Enact fair chance licensing reform to remove unfair restrictions on occupational licensure based on criminal history.
  • Increase funding for re-entering youth programs. We will also pass a massive youth jobs program to provide jobs and job-training opportunities for disadvantaged young Americans who face high unemployment rates.
  • Guarantee safe, decent, affordable housing.
  • Remove the profit motive from our re-entry system and diversion, community supervision, or treatment programs, and ensure people leaving incarceration or participating in diversion, community supervision, or treatment programs can do so free of charge.
  • Guarantee jobs and free job training at trade schools and apprenticeship programs.

End Cycles of Violence and Provide Support to Survivors of Crime

America has a crisis of both too much punishment and too little accountability. Despite popular assumptions that victims of crime only support long sentences and prison expansion, a national survey of crime survivors revealed that what people harmed by crimes want most is to ensure that they are not harmed again and that no one else will be harmed either.

By a significant margin, crime survivors prefer fairer prison sentences, greater investments in crime prevention, rehabilitation, schools and education, and mental health and drug treatment.

Crime survivors also want the support they need and deserve to get back on their feet, like trauma and recovery services to help stop cycles of violence and crime.

Roughly half of all sexual assault victims lose their jobs or are forced to quit their jobs. In the United States, about two-thirds of those injured from intimate partner violence, predominantly women, do not receive medical care.

Of all domestic violence victims who need housing, more than half do not receive this help, and about 40 percent of them become homeless at some point in their lives.

To provide justice and support to crime survivors, and to interrupt the cycle of violence so that there are fewer crime victims in the future, requires a realignment of policing priorities and deep investments to get survivors the support that they need.

When Bernie is in the White House, he will:

Stop The Cycle of Violence by Prioritizing the Most Serious Offenses

  • Focus law enforcement resources to dramatically increase the solve rate of the most serious offenses, such as shootings, homicides, and sexual assaults.
  • Fund Cure Violence and similar proven effective violence interruption models to stop violent incidents before they begin.
  • Fund programs for people who are at serious risk of being either the perpetrator or victim of gun violence, provide non-law enforcement-led services including job training and placement assistance, education, and help covering basic needs such as housing, food, and transportation.
  • Provide funding to end the national rape kit backlog and institute new rules requiring that rape kits be tested and that victims are provided with updates on the status of their rape kits.
  • Address gender-based violence on college campuses by reversing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ decision to weaken Title IX protections. We will protect and enforce Title IX.

Provide Adequate Support to Crime Survivors

  • Provide real options and sustained resources to crime survivors and their families, including mental health care, trauma recovery services, victim relocations services, and help covering basic needs such as housing, food, and transportation.
  • Funding sex trafficking research and prevention programs that include early identification of vulnerable populations, like foster children and youth in transition, as well as Native American women.
  • Immediately reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Provide housing assistance and paid leave for victims of sexual assault.
  • Expand non-police interventions for domestic violence, including a national help hotline and state-funded, long-term counseling.

Reverse the Criminalization of Disability

According to the Department of Justice, one in five inmates in prisons are people with a cognitive disability, while another one in five inmates have a serious mental illness.

Instead of incarceration, we should be providing people with disabilities with the services and supports they need to stay in the community, including mental health care and home and community-based services.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but it costs significantly less to provide someone with the necessary supports and services to stay in the community than it does to incarcerate them.

Reversing Criminalization

  • All too often, people with disabilities, especially people of color with disabilities, face violence from law enforcement. This requires more than just training — it requires accountability. Approximately half of all people who die in police-involved shootings have a disability. In order to protect the rights of people with disabilities, we intend to make discriminatory law enforcement interactions with people with disabilities a major enforcement priority of the Civil Rights Division.
  • Recognizing the humanitarian crisis in our country created by the incarceration of people with mental illness, we will use the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision to challenge states that have failed to adequately support the voluntary, community-based mental health services that can divert people with mental illness from ending up in the criminal justice system.
  • Bar criminal charges for school-based behavior that would not otherwise be criminal and invest in school nurses, counselors, teachers, teaching assistants, and small class sizes to address disciplinary issues. We will ensure every school has the necessary school counselors and wrap-around services by providing $5 billion annually to expand the sustainable community school model.
  • Work with teachers, school administrators, and the disability rights movement to end restraint and seclusion discipline in schools.
  • Invigorate and expand the compassionate release process so that people with disabilities are transitioned out of incarceration whenever possible.
  • Invest in diversion programs as alternatives to the court and prison system for people with disabilities and ensure those people have the community-based supports and services they need.
  • Stop the criminalization of homelessness and spend over $25 billion over the next five years to end homelessness. This includes doubling McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants to build permanent supportive housing, and $500 million to provide outreach to homeless people to help connect them to available services. In the first year of this plan, 25,000 Housing Trust Fund units will be prioritized for housing the homeless.
  • Create an Office of Disability in the DOJ focused on coordinating these efforts, including the reduction of incarcerated people with disabilities, reducing recidivism and guaranteeing a just re-entry for people with disabilities, and ensuring every aspect of our criminal justice system is ADA compliant.

Investing in Community Living

  • Guarantee mental health care to people with disabilities as a human right, including all the supports and services needed to stay in the community. Mental health care, under Medicare for All, will be free at the point of service, with no copayments or deductibles which can be a barrier to treatment. The plan will also provide home- and community-based long-term services and supports to all and cover prescription drugs.
  • Train, recruit, and increase the number of mental health providers to provide culturally competent care in underserved communities.
  • Guarantee that people with disabilities have safe, accessible, and integrated affordable housing.
  • People with disabilities deserve jobs that pay a living wage. It’s time to end the subminimum wage and guarantee truly integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • Triple Title I funding, expand the IDEA, and make other major investments in public K-12 education as outlined in the Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education and Educators. Crucially, the plan will provide mandatory funding to ensure that the federal government provides at least 50 percent of the funding for IDEA and guarantee children with disabilities an equal right to high-quality education by enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Guarantee tuition- and debt-free public colleges, universities, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs and the end equity gap in higher education attainment for people with disabilities by ensuring all our students get the help they need so they are ready for college and receive the support they need when they are in college.
  • Increase educational opportunities for persons with disabilities, including an expansion in career and technical education opportunities to prepare students for good-paying community employment.

Investing in Our Communities 

Today, we spend billions of dollars on jails and prisons — including $38 million a day detaining people awaiting trial—but too often do not make the investments while neglecting the upfront services and infrastructure that communities need to thrive.

We know that a lack of quality education deficiencies in our education system can play a major role in mass incarceration. For example, in places like South Carolina, we spend twice as much on incarcerating people than we do on educating them.

We also know that we have a racial economic disparity within the broader economic disparity in America. Black Americans currently have ten cents for every dollar white Americans have.

Latinx Americans currently have thirteen cents for every dollar white Americans have. Redlining prevents businesses owned by people of color from getting loans, and predatory lending results in higher interest rates in low-income communities of color.

Prison is not a solution for social problems. We need to address the deeper structural problems that give rise to crime, such as joblessness, income inequality, lack of education, and untreated substance abuse.

As president, Bernie will:

  • Enact a federal jobs guarantee to provide good jobs at a living wage revitalizing and taking care of the community.

  • Pass a $15 minimum wage.

  • Guarantee mental health care to people with disabilities as a human right, including all the supports and services needed needed to stay in the community. Mental health care, under Medicare for All, will be free at the point of service, with no copayments or deductibles which can be a barrier to treatment.

  • Provide people struggling with addiction the health care they need by guaranteeing health care, which includes inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and mental health services with no copayments or deductibles, to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.

  • Provide transportation benefits to and from health services for those who need it. We will invest in our health care workforce and infrastructure to ensure that all communities have access to  these services.

  • Enact paid family leave, so people can take time off from work to help themselves or a family member as they go through treatment.

  • Ensure that people who interacted with the justice system are still able to get the rehabilitation services they need and are able to find housing and employment.

  • Triple Title I funding, expand the IDEA, invest in afterschool programs, and make other major investments in public K-12 education as outlined in our Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education and Educators. This plan will expand the sustainable community school model which will fund trauma-informed care and services in schools, especially those schools which have been impacted by the War on Drugs, immigration raids, and shootings.

  • End the exploitative practices of payday lenders and ensure all Americans have access to basic financial services through the Post Office, and capping interest rates on consumer loans and credit cards at 15 percent across all financial institutions. States will be empowered to cap rates even lower than 15 percent.

  • Tie Department of Transportation funding to integration and improving commuting in urban centers, and restore the TIGER program to focus on public transportation.

  • Create a $10 billion grant program within the Minority Business Development Agency to provide grants to entrepreneurs of color.

  • Pass the WATER Act to create a $35 billion annual fund to remove and replace lead pipes in communities throughout the country.

  • Ensure federal resources are focused on the Americans who need it most — often as a result of structural disadvantage. We will implement the 10-20-30 approach to federal investments which focuses substantial federal resources on distressed communities that have high levels of poverty.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

O.K., did you read it?

No? Because the President of the United States isn’t all that important? Because your vote doesn’t mean much to you? Because you don’t have time?

Or is it that wild hair, and he’s a democratic socialist, which you don’t even understand?

And anyway, you’re for Trump, and he hates the same people you hate, and he doesn’t bother you with detailed plans?

As I said, this was an intelligence test. How did you do?

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

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

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

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

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

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

9. Federal ownership of all banks

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

 

How Trump got outfoxed and conned by Foxconn Thursday, Jan 31 2019 

Is there anything much more satisfying than a nice, heaping plate of “I told you so”?

The story begins with the world’s greatest businessman and negotiator. I know he is, because he has told me so — many, many times.

Forget his multiple bankruptcies (How does anyone go bankrupt with a gambling casino?) Forget how he has put himself under the thumb of Vladimir Putin, and has been conned by Kim Jong-un.

Forget about that wonderful business, Trump University, for which he was fined $25 million.

And forget about all the indicted and found-guilty incompetents, with whom he has surrounded himself.

The story begins in September, 2017.

Wisconsin Gov. Walker to sign $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn

Image result for trump foxconn

Trump shovels for Foxconn

The Wisconsin Assembly sent a $3 billion incentive package for Taiwan-based Foxconn to Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday, signing off on a deal to lure the electronics giant to the state with the biggest subsidy to a foreign company in U.S. history.

This deal was handled with the usual Trump braggadocio and self-congratulations, which because he is the greatest businessman in history, guaranteed it would be a failure.

Here is an excerpt from a September 2017 post we published about the project, “Who put the “con” in Wisconsin? Foxconn, that’s who.”

This is what I predict:

    1. Foxconn never will hire 13,000 people. Not in a year, not in ten years, not ever.
    2. Many of the people it does hire, will come from neighboring Illinois, will shop in Illinois, and will pay taxes to Illinois. The Chicago commercial area is a must larger source of qualified workers than is the entire state of Wisconsin, and it is nicely convenient via road and commuter rail.
    3. Republican pols, upon receiving advance info about which land Foxconn plans to use, will buy it early, making out like bandits. They probably already have begun to acquire options.
    4. Foxconn, having demanded a direct line to a politically leveraged Wisconsin Supreme Court, easily will fend off any challenges to its sweet deal.
    5. Foxconn will pollute Wisconsin’s land and water, and if sued, will win its case in the highly political, dysfunctional, right-wing, pro-business, anti-environment Wisconsin Supreme Court.
    6. Screwed Wisconsin taxpayers, will pay big, and never will see any net benefit.

    “Walker joined President Donald Trump in announcing Foxconn’s plans to build in Wisconsin at a White House event in July, heralding it as a game-changer for American manufacturing.”

    So there it is. In addition to being a giveaway to big business and to greedy politicians, and a rip-off of the average taxpayer (the Republican standard operating procedure), the Foxconn deal provides endless bragging rights to Trump and Walker for all the non-existent jobs they will claim they brought to Wisconsin.

    Trump and Walker will be long gone from office by the time the Wisconsin taxpayers figure out they are enmeshed in this deal, forever.

Well, I was wrong about one thing. Trump still is in office, and still bragging and failing, but already the headlines are rolling in:

‘Foxconn Was a Major Con’: Backed by Trump Promises and $4 Billion in Subsidies, Company Admits Factory Jobs Not Coming
Posted on January 31, 2019 by Yves Smith

And:

TRUMP’S “INCREDIBLE” FOXCONN FACTORY DEAL WILL NO LONGER INCLUDE A FACTORY
Vanity Fair, Hive; BY BESS LEVIN
JANUARY 30, 2019 5:49 PM
The Taiwanese company, which received more than $4 billion in tax subsidies, is scrapping its initial plans, but will keep the money, thanks.

And:

Wisconsin is finally facing the reality of Foxconn’s plans
By Tim Culpan, Chicago Tribune, Jan 31, 2019

So Foxconn Technology Group may not make display panels in Wisconsin after all.

Those who’ve been following Foxconn for a long time won’t be surprised. Chairman and founder Terry Gou is as much a salesman as he is a manufacturer, having spent decades honing his pitch not just to clients but also governments.

Then-Gov. Scott Walker, backed by President Donald Trump, loved exactly what he sold: the promise of thousands of jobs to make stuff in the U.S. Walker loved it so much that he pledged as much as $3 billion in sweeteners, a deal that likely cost him his governorship.

Now, according to a Reuters interview with one of Gou’s right-hand men, such plans to manufacture display panels may be scaled back or even shelved.

Foxconn’s Wisconsin-made screens likely would have been put into televisions. Woo this week acknowledged that “in terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S. … We can’t compete.”

It’s simply a matter of economic reality. The same reality that existed when Trump was handing out red truckers’ hats and promising to Make America Great Again.

Foxconn’s U.S. panel project didn’t make sense, evidenced by a comment Gou himself made saying that such plans weren’t a promise but a wish.

Foxconn is now publicly conceding that manufacturing panels in Wisconsin isn’t viable.

In 2018, the first year of the Wisconsin experiment, the company couldn’t hit its employment target. Instead of creating a very modest 260 full-time jobs, Foxconn filled just 178 positions, Reuters reported.

And that, you folks who voted for Trump, is what $3 billion will buy you, if you have the world’s greatest negotiator working the deal and bragging about it, afterward.

I told you so.

Now, about that wall he promised, but never even asked for when he had a Republican Senate and a Republican House . . .

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

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

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

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

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