The one solution to the Obamacare (ACA) problem that neither party talks about Wednesday, Feb 22 2017 

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

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..

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

Let’s agree on two points:

  1. The fundamental purpose of a government is to benefit and protect its people.
  2. The U.S. government, being Monetarily Sovereign, never can run short of its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar. Even if federal taxes were $0, the U.S. still could pay any financial obligations denominated in dollars. Your taxes do not pay for federal spending.

Keep those points in mind as we walk through an article that appeared in the Feb. 22, 2017 issue of NPR’s “SHOTS.”

Following each quoted section of the article, we will ask a question.  See how many of those questions you can answer.

GOP Considers Trimming Health Law’s 10 Essential Benefits
By Michelle Andrews

As Republicans look at ways to replace or repair the Affordable Care Act, many suggest that shrinking the list of services that insurers are required to offer in individual and small group plans would reduce costs and increase flexibility.

Immediately we should ask, “Why do Republicans want to replace or repair ACA?”  

Many “deficiencies” of ACA have been proffered, and one would think that correcting those deficiencies would be a prime goal. Yet, seemingly the prime goal is to cut or eliminate the program, not to improve it for the benefit of the people.

Why?

Seema Verma, who is slated to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Trump administration, noted at her confirmation hearing that coverage for maternity services should be optional in those health plans.

Given that the federal government has the unlimited ability to fund benefits, how does making coverage for maternity services optional improve ACA?

How does this advance the federal government’s mandate to “benefit and protect its people?”

The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers who sell policies for individuals and small businesses cover at a minimum 10 “essential health benefits,” including hospitalization, prescription drugs and emergency care, in addition to maternity services.

The law also requires that the scope of the services offered be equal to those typically provided in the coverage that businesses offer their employees.

Image result for benefit for the peopleThe law requires the Monetarily Sovereign federal government to offer services equal to those typically provided by monetarily non-sovereign businesses.

Are we expected to believe it is difficult for a government that never can run short of dollars, to offer what a business that can run short of dollars, offers?

“It has to look like a typical employer plan, and those are still pretty generous,” says Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University Law School in Virginia.

Since the 10 required benefits are spelled out in the Affordable Care Act, the law would have to be changed to eliminate entire categories or to make them less generous than typical employer coverage.

And since Republicans likely cannot garner 60 votes in the Senate to do that, they will be limited in changes that they can make to the ACA.

Still, there’s room to “skinny up” the requirements in some areas by changing the regulations that federal officials wrote to implement the law.

Why would a government that can afford anything, and is charged with the duty to benefit and protect its constituents, even consider “skinnying up” benefits? Why make them “less generous”?Image result for benefit for the people

Shouldn’t the government instead, look for ways to improve benefits to the populace?

The law requires that plans cover “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.” Many employer plans don’t include include habilitative services, which help people with developmental disabilities such as palsy or autism maintain, learn or improve their functional skills, via speech or occupational therapy or other support services.

Federal officials issued a regulation that defined habilitative services and directed plans to set separate limits for the number of covered visits for rehabilitative and habilitative services. Those rules could be changed.

“There is real room for weakening the requirements” for habilitative services, says Dania Palanker, an attorney and assistant research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, who has reviewed the essential health benefits coverage requirements.

Why would a government that can afford anything, “weaken” the benefits to disabled people, most of whom would find habilitative services a financial burden, and whose very life is a struggle?

Pediatric oral and vision care requirements, another essential health benefit that’s not particularly common in employer plans, could also be weakened, says Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health.

And why would our government that can afford anything not want to provide pediatric oral and vision care to Americans?

The health law requires all individual and small group plans to cover “mental health services and treatements for substance use disorders.”

The Obama administration said that means those services have to be provided at “parity” with medical and surgical services, meaning plans can’t be more restrictive with one type of coverage than the other regarding cost sharing, treatment and care management.

“They could back off of parity,” Palanker says.

Why do the Republicans not want the government to provide these services to Americans? 

Prescription drug coverage could be tinkered with as well. The rules currently require that plans cover at least one drug in every drug class, a standard that isn’t particularly robust to start with, says Katie Kieth, a health policy consultant and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School.

That standard could be relaxed further, Keith says, and the list of required covered drugs could shrink.

Why force the money-limited public to pay for prescription drugs when the federal government is not money-limited and easily could pay?

Republicans have discussed trimming or eliminating some of the preventive services that are required to be offered without cost sharing. Among those is covering birth control without charging women anything out of pocket.

Why cut preventative benefits? Isn’t prevention better than cure? How does this improve the plan?

Before the health law passed, just 12 percent of health policies available to a 30-year-old woman on the individual market offered maternity benefits, according to research by the National Women’s Law Center. Those policies that did offer such benefits often charged extra for the coverage and required a waiting period of a year or more.

The essential health benefits package plugged that hole very cleanly, says Adam Sonfeld, a senior policy manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and advocacy organization.

“Having it in the law makes it more difficult to either exclude it entirely or charge an arm and a leg for it,” Sonfield says.

Maternity coverage is often offered as an example of a benefit that should be optional, and that’s what Verma has advocated.

If you’re a man or too old to get pregnant, critics of the requirement say, why should you have to pay for that coverage to be included in your policy?

But if the government pays, that man doesn’t pay.  So, why should women be denied those benefits?

But that a la carte approach is not the way insurance is designed to work, says Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow at the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Women don’t need prostate cancer screening, she points out, but they pay for the coverage anyway.

“We buy insurance for uncertainty and to spread the costs of care across a broad population so that when something comes up, that person has adequate coverage to meet their needs,” Blumberg says.

Blumberg is correct as per private insurance, in which we all pay for hundreds of benefit coverages we don’t use so that the few coverages we do use will be available. That is what private insurance is all about.

Your private insurance may cover cancer care, but even if you never get cancer, you still pay for the whole policy.

But, we’re not even talking about private insurance.  We’re talking about federally funded insurance (or insurance that should be federally funded). 

And this brings us to the fundamental problem with all discussions about ACA: The program was created under the pretense that the federal government’s finances are like your and my finances — the pretense that the federal government can run short of dollars, just like you and me.

So young healthy people are forced to fund ACA coverages they likely won’t use for many years, as is the case with privately funded insurance.

This is known as “The Big Lie,” the purpose of which is to make the public believe their lives cannot be improved because the government doesn’t have enough money.

There is a solution, a simple solution, an affordable solution, a solution that increases benefits to the American public rather than cutting benefits.

The solution is: Federally funded, comprehensive Medicare for every man, woman, and child in America. (Step #2 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity, below).

Phone your Washington Congressperson and tell him/her to stop cutting benefits, stop telling the Big Lie, and start representing your interests.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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

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 (Guaranteed Income)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

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

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
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

Ten Steps to Prosperity: Step 9. Federal ownership of all banks Wednesday, Feb 22 2017 

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.

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

Banks are involved in most U.S. dollar creation. Even the dollars created at the direction of the federal government originate with banks.

The two primary dollar-creation methods in the U.S. are bank lending and federal spending:

Each time a bank lends, it simply increases the numbers in the borrower’s checking account. That instantly adds dollars to the money supply.

When the federal government spends, it sends instructions to a creditor’s bank, instructing the bank to increase the numbers in the creditor’s checking account. When the bank does as instructed, dollars are added to the money supply.

This participation in the vast majority of all dollar creation gives banks enormous financial power, and as we all know — and the “Great Recession of 2008” reminds us —  power corrupts banks, especially when multiplied by a profit motive and goverment complicity.

Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, and that makes all the difference. The government neither needs nor uses profits, and unlike bank employees, federal government employees do not receive remunerations based on federal agency profits.

In evaluating federal vs. private operations of any business, the obvious question is, “What does private industry offer that the federal government does not?”

And the answer usually has to do with private industry’s creativity and competitive motivation to improve services and/or prices.

Some critics of government hold that private sector employees uniquely are able to develop new and innovative products and services, and federal employees are unimaginative, unmotivated drones.

Yet it was federal government people who invented usable atomic energy, landed men on the moon, created thousands of inventions, and run some of the worlds most sophisticated research centers.

People are people, whether they are employed by the government or by private industry. Any difference boils down to motivation.

Unfortunately, the motivation to improve services and pricing for the benefit of the public sorely is lacking in the banking industry. Attention to service is way down the list of concerns for the biggest banks.

(One tiny, though typical, case in point: The bank nearest my home charges a price-gouging $3.50 for a simple ATM withdrawal. That’s more than the cost of three cheeseburgers at the local MacDonalds.)

The largest banks and their leaders are hypnotized by the billions of dollars to be made by cheating the public, especially when the punishments either are non-existent (no jail time for bosses and the fines are so minimal as to be considered a cheap cost of doing business).Image result for crooked bankers

Three facts:

  1. Unlike other private industries, the private banking industry, being perverted by the profit motive, is not motivated to improve services, prices, or even honesty. Criminality is rewarded with hundred-million dollar bonuses.
  2. The lack of punishment is the fault of a federal government, that itself has been polluted by massive contributions from private banks.
  3. The federal government is not impaired by a profit motive.

It may seem ironic to suggest that the federal government should own the banks that have, in part, been corrupted by lack of government supervision.

But again, the key is motivation. The federal government’s supervision of private banks has been corrupted by the private banks.

If there were no private banks, there would be no motive to corrupt government supervision of banks.

One can visualize individual instances of a private party bribing a government banking official to grant a questionable loan or to perform some other unethical behavior.  But these transgressions would pale in comparison to the widespread cheating of the public the banking industry has made standard operating procedure.

Further, money or favors that might be given to bank employees are much more easily discovered and prosecuted than are bribes to politicians, aka “campaign contributions.”

Federal ownership of banks may be anathema to those who always believe the federal government is “too big and too powerful” (no matter the current size), and that private control always is better than public control.

But, it is the banking industry that is too big and too powerful, and too tainted by personal greed, and too rich, and too ready, willing, and able to corrupt our politicians.

Allowing private ownership of banks and expecting honesty is like putting meat on a dog’s tongue, and expecting him not to swallow.

Our federal government is supposed to control our sovereign currency, but this control is diluted because the banks, not the federal government, create the majority of dollars.

America should not continue to cede such control to a proven-to-be greedy-and-corrupt industry, whose profit motive far exceeds any motive to benefit the public. Private ownership of banks is an invitation to criminality, recessions, depressions and overall actions against the public interest.

Related imageFinally, privately owned banks can and have become insolvent, costing the innocent public significant dollars.

Federal government ownership of banks would eliminate the need for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as well as the dangers to the public of insolvency and under-insurance.

 

In Summary: No public purpose is served when the banking industry is in private hands. For many of the same reasons the U.S. Treasury is owned by the federal government, the federal government also should nationalize and run all banks. 

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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

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 (Guaranteed Income)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

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

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
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

Ten Steps to Prosperity: Step 8: Tax the very rich more (dictatorship warning) Friday, Feb 17 2017 

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

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

It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..

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

There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, our Monetarily Sovereign federal government has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, the dollar, which it does ad hoc, simply by spending.

Thus, the federal government neither needs, nor uses, nor even retains tax dollars. The tax dollars you send to the federal government disappear from the money supply and so, functionally are destroyed.

(This is unlike state and local tax dollars, which remain in the money supply, are retained by the state and governments, and are necessary for state and local government spending.)

Because federal taxes leave the money supply, they reduce Gross Domestic Product, and they negatively affect the entire economy. Every dollar you send to the federal government is a dollar removed from the economy, impoverishing the economy.

Every dollar the federal government deficit spends is added to the money supply, enriching the economy.

Deficit reduction (aka “austerity), depletes our economy. Applying deficit reduction to grow our economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. 

All but one of the Ten Steps to Prosperity — this one — involve either federal tax reduction or federal spending increases. They all — but this one — increase the money supply, and thereby, grow the economy.

Since all the federal tax dollars paid by anyone, including the rich, disappear from the money supply, and therefore are recessive, why does this step, Step 8., involve increasing taxes on the rich?

The single most important problem facing America and the world — even more important Image result for poor in americathan the suicidal push to reduce the money supply — is the large and growing Gap between the rich and the rest.

That large and growing Gap is a direct threat to Democracy, for it gives the rich excessive power to bribe our politicians, to own our media, and even to influence universities and their economists.

In short, the Gap facilitates the dictatorship of the very rich.

We see it happening again and again in America, with the Supreme Court repeatedly expanding the 1st Amendment’s free speech rights to include greater amounts of money.

Freedom of spending grew from Buckley v. Valeo (limits on election spending are unconstitutional), to First National Bank of Boston v Bellotti (corporations can contribute to ballot initiative campaigns) to Citizens United v FEC (corporations and unions can contribute unlimited funds to political campaigns).

Although some technical spending limits still remain, the true function of these decisions is to give the rich the unlimited power to influence not only elections but the law.

That is the definition of a dictatorship: Complete control over the law.

And we have come dangerously close to crossing that line if we are not already there.

In a dictatorship, the people are powerless. All branches of government answer to one man or one small group.

In a dictatorship, the presidency, the congress, the supreme court and the local governors are dominated by one party, and that party is dominated by one man.

Though supposedly above partisan politics, the courts become political organizations, seldom ruling against the dominant party.

A dictator typically takes action against any news media that disagImage result for dictatorshipree with him, or which publish unflattering stories. This action can include lawsuits, expulsion from meetings, claims that the media provides “fake news,” and other forms of disparagement.

It can graduate to arrests, imprisonment or other reprisals.

As it true with all dictatorships, those close to the dictator are the rich and privileged. Laws don’t apply to them, except when they fall into disfavor, in which case they are summarily dismissed.

Though those appointed to high office are in sympathy with the dictator, they often are incompetent,  or they disagree with the putative purpose of the office.

The assigned head of a veteran’s benefit organization might have no knowledge of veteran’s affairs or organization skills; the head of an ecology department might deny global warming; the head of an education department might oppose educating the poor; the head of a justice department might be a bigot opposed to justice.

In a dictatorship, family members are given high posts, and those close to the dictator reap fortunes from their influence. The dictator becomes massively wealthy from the laws he creates.

Dictators claim there is an emergency — a danger only they can deal with.

One commonality among dictatorship beginnings: The future dictator often is greeted with open arms as the person who will save the people from some nemesis, whether it be poverty, aliens, or a previous dictator.

Dictators facilitate this attitude by creating scapegoats: Foreigners, people of a certain religion, color or belief, or other politicians. Hatred and fear are the dictator’s greatest weapons.

Hatred and fear allow the people to blame the scapegoat for their misery, rather than blaming the dictator — or themselves.

In accepting the dictator, the people do not realize they are creating their own hardship. Later, when it is too late, and they have surrendered their power to the devil, do they and their children begin a seemingly endless period of suffering.

When they lose all ability to extricate themselves from the pit they have dug, the people enter a period of “hopeless justification.” They tell themselves there is nothing they can do about it, and anyway, things could be worse, or were worse in the past.

As their lives deteriorate, they stop trying, stop hoping, stop thinking.

Though dictatorship thrives on an income/wealth/power Gap between the chosen few and the general populace, it begins with any one of the Gaps: Income, or wealth,  or power.

The process is:

  1. A Gap is created
  2. The people feel the negative effects of the Gap
  3. Resentment builds
  4. A savior promises to narrow the Gap
  5. The people give the savior their power
  6. Too late, the people realize the savior has enslaved them.
  7. The dictator demands ever more appeasements from the ever more destitute and powerless people.

Because dictatorships always begin with a Gap, our currently large and growing Gap is the greatest danger to our democracy and our lifestyles.

Narrowing the Gap requires not just lifting the bottom but 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 more than $10 billion a year.

Pick any acceptable Gap (100 to 1? 1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive an unrealistic boost to narrow the Gap to an acceptable level.

To trim the top, Step 8 proposes that we increase tax rates on the very rich, and not just the rates, but the overall tax system. Their income that is not taxed or lightly taxed, should be fully taxed; their wealth should be taxed; their inheritances should be taxed without exceptions.

Unless we understand and act against the growing Gap, we will continue the way we are going, and slide deeper, ever deeper, into the black hole of dictatorship.

America will cease to be a democratic nation.

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 (Guaranteed Income)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

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

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
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

Ten Steps to Prosperity: Step 7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. Wednesday, Feb 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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We begin with four facts:

  1. Unlike state and local governments, which are monetarily non-sovereign, the Monetarily Sovereign U.S. government neither needs nor uses tax dollars. It creates all the dollars it needs and uses, ad hoc, each time it makes a payment.
  2. Tax dollars paid to the federal government disappear from the money supply. They effectively are destroyed.Image result for destroy money
  3. Smaller economies have a smaller money supply than do larger economies, so for an economy to grow, its money supply must grow.
  4. A large and growing Gap between the rich and the rest damages American democracy by allowing a select few to be masters of the vast majority.

The first three statements tell us federal taxes do not fund federal spending, and they inhibit economic growth. The fourth statement tells us the Gap is the single biggest economics problem facing America and the world.

Why does the federal government collect taxes?

History: Monetary Sovereignty is not an absolute. It exists in degrees. Our federal government has not always been as Monetarily Sovereign as it is today. When it put itself on gold or silver standards, it voluntarily limited its own ability to create dollars by the amounts of gold or silver it owned.  With dollar-creation limited, the government had to levy taxes in order to obtain dollars. Federal taxes are a relic of those days.

Economic ignorance: Virtually all governments, even those that are Monetarily Sovereign, levy taxes, because they always have, and so the populace’s understanding of Monetary Sovereignty is limited.

Control: The power to tax is the power to control. Tax laws help governments control the private sector, by favoring certain industries, companies, and individuals. The laws also favor the rich over the rest, for it is the rich who write the laws. Even though Monetarily Sovereign governments do not need to obtain their sovereign currencies from outside, the rich wish to continue taxation so as to retain control over the populace.

Since federal taxes do not fund federal spending, and they inhibit economic growth, do they have any economic value at all?

Some claim that federal taxes create a demand for U.S. dollars, because the federal government (and local governments) require payment of taxes in dollars. While this may have some truth, the real value of U.S. dollars does not come from taxes but rather from the dollar’s worldwide acceptability in the payment of all forms of debt.

This acceptability is based not on taxes but on the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, which includes:

A. –The government will accept only U.S. currency in payment of debts to the government
B. –It unfailingly will pay all it’s dollar debts with U.S. dollars and will not default
C. –It will force all your domestic creditors to accept U.S. dollars, if you offer them, to satisfy your debt.
D. –It will not require domestic creditors to accept any other money
E. –It will take action to protect the value of the dollar.
F. –It will maintain a market for U.S. currency
G. –It will continue to use U.S. currency and will not change to another currency.
H. –All forms of U.S. currency will be reciprocal, that is five $1 bills always will equal one $5 bill and vice versa.

Anyone can create money. You and I could create our own versions of money. The only problem would be our money’s acceptability, because our full faith and credit is limited.

Some also claim that federal taxes defend against inflation by reducing the money supply. However, taxes offer a very poor defense against inflation because taxes are far too slow to react (When will Congress pass a new tax law, when will the new taxes be collected?), far too political (Which taxes will be raised, lowered or newly created?) and not incremental (How much should each tax be changed?)

In contrast, the Federal Reserve controls the demand for dollars by setting interest rates, which it can do instantly and in small increments so as not to overshoot or undershoot its inflation targets.

On balance, federal taxes have very little practical value, and certainly not enough to warrant the massive damage they do to economic growth.

This leads us to the questions: Which federal taxes should be reduced and by how much? Our answer to the first question: Reduce taxes that do the most damage to our economy.

Step #1 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity suggests we eliminate FICA. It is the most regressive tax in America and as such, it widens the Gap between the rich and the rest.

Step #6 suggests we eliminate business taxes, because our economy is measured by business success, and businesses provide the populace with Gap-narrowing dollars.

As the next Step, we suggest #7, Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.

When paying your income taxes, you can itemize your deductions, or you can claim a standard deduction of $6,350 for single taxpayers and $12,700 for married taxpayers filing joint returns.

The standard deduction reduces the income on which you must pay tax. It has risen slowly in the past 20 years, in response to inflation.  In 1997, it was $4,150 for single taxpayers and $6.900 for married taxpayers filing joint returns.

This brings us to the second question: How much should income taxes be reduced (i.e. How fast should the standard deduction be increased, annually?)

We can debate specific numbers, but some expertise in tax statistics would help. An instant suggestion would be to double the standard deductions every year for 15 years, and then increase them only in line with inflation. That would yield this table:

STANDARD DEDUCTION FOR: SINGLES || MARRIED
After five years: $200,000 || $400,000
After ten years: $6,500,000 || $13,000,000
After fifteen years: $200,000,000 || $400,000,000

At this point, only the very wealthiest few among us would be subject to income tax payments.

Summary: Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government neither needs nor uses 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 (Step #1) and business taxes (Step #6) would be good early tax steps.

Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction (Step #7) would further narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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

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 (Guaranteed Income)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

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

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
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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