The Medicare disgrace keeps getting worse

BACKGROUND Being Monetarily Sovereign, the federal government (unlike state and local governments) can never run short of its sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

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

The sole excuse for federal taxes is that they help the government control the economy by taxing what it wishes to discourage and providing tax breaks for what it wishes to encourage.

That is why, for instance, homeownership receives tax advantages while renting receives none. The federal government wished to encourage homeownership.

Why then does the federal government tax salaries at the highest rate while giving tax breaks to almost every other form of income?

The rich own the government.

And why does the government collect the Medicare and Social Security taxes? Is the government trying to discourage salaries, Medicare, and Social Security?

No, the reason is simple. The federal government is bought, paid for, and owned by the rich, thanks to Supreme Court decisions that bribe money is a form of free speech.

And it is the rich who receive most of their income from non-salary sources.

Medicare/Social Security taxes are designed to fall least heavily on the rich. To distance themselves from the rest of us, the rich have forced the federal government to give them breaks on taxes.

The federal government neither needs nor uses tax dollars. It destroys tax dollars, which is why the following is a disgrace:

The wholly unnecessary, unneeded, unused Medicare Part B premium has more than tripled since 2000.
  1. Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It covers hospital stays and services provided by skilled nursing facilities along with home health care and hospice.
  2. Medicare Part B is outpatient medical insurance. Part B coverage applies whenever you see your doctor, receive outpatient care, or obtain preventive care.
  3. Medicare Part C, known as “Medicare Advantage,” provides coverage to seniors through private insurance companies, contracted by the federal government.
  4. Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage.

And here is the more interesting information: 

Monthly premiums for Part A are $0 for people who have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits

If Medicare Part B charges rather substantial premiums — more than $2 thousand a year —  and Medicare Part A is given free to people who supposedly “paid for” Social Security, who pays for Part A?

Answer: The federal government simply creates the dollars that pay for Part A. No taxes. No fake “trust fund.” No worries that it is becoming insolvent. 

In that sense, Medicare Part A is like almost all other federal agencies: The Senate, the House of Representatives, the President and White House, the Supreme Court, the CIA, NFA, the military, etc. It simply is funded by federal money creation.

None of them levy dedicated taxes. None of them are burdened with a “trust fund.” The whole Medicare/Social Security taxes and trust fund performance is nothing but a charade.

The government takes money from you and destroys it.

Why? 

The answer: To prevent you from asking for the kinds of tax benefits the rich routinely receive. How else do you believe a billionaire like Donald Trump paid no income taxes in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000?

Think of it: You pay more taxes than did a billionaire. And when you ask for benefits, you are told the government can’t afford them. That is The Big Lie.

You were brought up to believe “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” and that everything must be paid for. While that’s true for state and local governments, and for businesses, and for you, it’s not true for the federal government.

The government can create infinite dollars by pressing computer keys. Federal deficit spending costs you nothing, not one penny in taxes.

All this came to mind yet again when I saw these articles:

Calls intensify to roll back Medicare premium increaseDec. 13, 2021

The head of a Senate panel that oversees Medicare says the Biden administration should use its legal authority to cut back a hefty premium increase soon hitting millions of enrollees, as a growing number of Democratic lawmakers call for action amid worries over rising inflation.

Last month, Medicare announced one of the largest increases ever in its “Part B” monthly premium for outpatient care, nearly $22, from $148.50 currently to $170.10 starting in January.

The agency attributed roughly half the hike, about $11 a month, to the need for a contingency fund to cover Aduhelm, a new $56,000 Alzheimer’s drug from Biogen whose benefits have been widely questioned.

First: Medicare doesn’t need or use premiums. The federal government has the infinite ability to pay for Medicare, and as for those premiums, they are destroyed upon receipt by the Treasury.

That premium increase was wholly unnecessary. No matter what costs Medicare faces, the federal government simply pays them. Part A charges no premiums. Nether should Part B. (Or Part D for that matter.)

Second: The government can do whatever it wishes regarding Social Security and Medicare finances. It can increase premiums, cut premiums or do without premiums, altogether. 

Third: The “trust funds” are not real trust funds and the so called “trustees” are not trustees. The whole system merely is bookkeeping line items showing how many dollars come in and how many go out. The federal government has total control over its books and can change those numbers at will.

Fourth: The government doesn’t need or use “contingency funds.” It creates ad hoc dollars every time it pays a bill. As previous Fed Chairmen have said:

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.”

Subsequently, the manufacturer of Aduhelm cut the price in half, reducing Medicare’s anticipated payments. You might thing the government would return the premium dollars it had overcharged.

“That has generated sizeable savings for Medicare. But those savings will not be passed along to Medicare Part B enrollees in the form of a premium reduction — at least not this year.”

Then, from a related article:

Two years ago, plenty of pundits were warning that the pandemic-induced economic plunge would blow huge holes in these two mammoth social insurance battleships.

But reports issued this month by the trustees of the two programs show that the strong economic rebound last year contributed to slight improvements in the health of both Social Security and Medicare. [As federal agencies, Social Security and Medicare are as “healthy” as the entire federal government.]

More people were working and paying Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, taxes last year.

As a result, Social Security’s trustees forecast that the combined retirement and disability trust funds will be depleted in 2035—one year later than last year’s forecast.

The Medicare trustees report that the Hospital Insurance, or HI, trust fund will be emptied in 2028—two years later than forecast last year.

Let’s summarize:

  1. The federal government has absolute control over the finances of Medicare and Social Security. It can add, subtract or transfer dollars at will
  2. Neither the federal government nor any agency of our Monetarily Sovereign federal government can run short of its sovereign currency (the dollar) unless Congress and the President want that to happen. The government has infinite dollars.
  3. Yet, the government unnecessarily takes growth dollars (FICA taxes) from the private sector (aka “the economy”), dollars it neither needs nor uses.
  4. In fact, the government destroys those FICA dollars upon receipt.
  5. Nevertheless, when faced with a possible cost hike, the goverment recently increased the amount of money it unnecessarily takes from the economy.
  6. When the cost hike didn’t materialize, the government decided to keep the additional, unnecessary dollars it had taken from the economy rather than returning them.
  7. At some time in the future, the government falsely will claim that one or both of the fake “trust funds” is running short of dollars, and will take even more dollars from the private sector to keep the fake “trust funds” from fake “insolvency.”
  8. This chicanery makes the public believe federal financing is like personal financing, where spending relies on income. The belief prevents the public from demanding more benefits that the government easily could provide at the tap of a computer key.
  9. The fundamental purpose of all this is to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest, which is the way the rich, who run America, become richer.

The private sector, i.e. the people of America, are being cheated by their own government. Unfortunately, even the people who pretend to protect us promulgate the Big Lie that federal taxes are necessary to fund federal spending.

For most Medicare enrollees, the premium is deducted from their Social Security checks.

 Without further action, it would swallow up a significant chunk of seniors’ 5.9% cost of living increase. “Rather than assessing the current $21.60 per month … premium increase in full, I urge you to reduce the amount,” Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote health secretary Xavier Becerra.

“Reduce” the amount? How about, “Eliminate the entire premium”? Is it possible that Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden doesn’t understand that federal taxes don’t fund federal spending?

Quote from Ben Bernanke when he was on 60 Minutes:
Scott Pelley: Is that tax money that the Fed is spending?
Ben Bernanke: It’s not tax money… We simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account.

No, it isn’t possible. Senators are in on the scheme.

A copy of the letter was provided to The Associated Press on Monday. There was no immediate response from the administration.

But Wyden wrote Becerra that as secretary of Health and Human Services, he has “broad authority” to determine the “appropriate contingency margin” to use in setting premiums.

If Wyden has “broad authority,” he should set the amount to be collected at $0. The Federal government would continue to fund Medicare as before. 

Given that Medicare is still developing its formal policy for covering Aduhelm, Wyden said there is a clear rationale for collecting less up front at this particular time.

“It is possible that any near-term Medicare coverage for Aduhelm … could have a limited and narrow scope,” he wrote.

“Uncertainty” over the drug’s financial impact on Medicare appeared to be driving much of the calculation of the new premium, Wyden noted.

The drug will have no financial impact on Medicare. With or without paying for Aduhelm, the federal government still will have infinite dollars. Aduhelm will make no change in that.

Soon after Medicare announced the increase last month, Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders called on the administration to roll it back.

Sanders knows the truth. He had employed Professor Stephanie Kelton, a lady who understands Monetary Sovereignty, to be Chief Economist for the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee and economic advisor to Bernie Sanders.

Wyden also said he had concerns and was exploring options.

And last week Democratic Senators Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Mark Kelly of Arizona, and Jack Reed of Rhode Island wrote President Joe Biden that “we must address this issue as quickly as possible.”

Some groups representing older people are anticipating a backlash from Medicare recipients if nothing is done.

The way to “address the issue” is to tell the American public that federal taxes do not fund federal spending.

Period.

———-//———-

[No rational person would take dollars from the economy and give them to a federal government that has the infinite ability to create dollars.]

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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

……………………………………………………………………..

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

The most important problems in economics involve:

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

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

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Does Bernie Sanders have a secret plan about Social Security?

Modern Monetary Theory Got a Pandemic Tryout. Inflation Is Now Testing It. - The New York Times
Stephanie Kelton

Bernie Sanders is a “friend” to the extent that he wishes to expand Social Security (and Medicare).

He once had Modern Monetary Theory’s Stephanie Kelton as his chief economic adviser during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Kelton tried and seemingly failed to educate Sanders about the facts of federal economics, the key one being that a Monetarily Sovereign government cannot run short of its own sovereign currency.

It neither needs nor uses tax receipts, which are destroyed upon receipt.

(When you pay taxes to the federal government, money is removed from the private sector [aka “the economy”] and flows to the U.S. Treasury. Because the Treasury has infinite money, your tax dollars effectively are destroyed. (Infinity + any number = infinity. No change.)

Perhaps Sanders is playing politics because he continues to mouth the absurdity that the federal government and its agencies unintentionally can run short of U.S. dollars.

‘Time to Scrap the Cap’: Sanders, Warren Bill Targets Rich to Expand Social Security
Posted on June 10, 2022 by Yves Smith, By Jake Johnson, a staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Yves here. It’s no secret that the assertions that Social Security is in dire financial straits are fabrications.

First, like so much of our Federal government funding, the device of having a trust fund is a convenient fiction.

So far, so good. Despite incessant allusions to the contrary, the so-called Medicare Trust Fund and Social Security Trust Fund are not trust funds. They merely are notations on a balance sheet.

Those numbers are completely controlled by the federal government. The federal government can change the numbers at will — quite different from a trust fund.

In reality, Social Security is a pay-as-you-go program.

She is correct if Susan Webber (aka Yves Smith) means that the federal government pays for Social Security by creating dollars, ad hoc.

Second, for those who nevertheless like the appearance that Social Security is paid for by payroll contributions, the most obvious fix has long been to raise or eliminate the cap on salaries subject to payroll taxes.

The fact that this problem has not been solved strongly suggests some influential parties don’t want it solved.

Those “influential parties” are the very rich, who wish to widen the Gap between them and those below them on any income/wealth/power scale. It’s known as “Gap Psychology.”

Unfortunately, most Americans believe the lie that Social Security is paid for by a trust fund. The solution to a lie is not to accept the lie, as Smith seems to advocate, but rather to tell the truth.

But, she doesn’t seem to advocate for the truth.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren led a group of lawmakers Thursday in unveiling legislation that would expand Social Security’s modest annual benefits by $2,400 and ensure the program is fully funded for the next 75 years.

The benefit boost under the Social Security Expansion Act would be funded by lifting the cap on the maximum amount of income subject to the Social Security payroll tax.

This year the cap was $147,000—meaning millionaires stopped paying into the program in late February.

Lifting the cap would fund nothing because the Social Security payroll tax (FICA) funds nothing. The dollars are destroyed when they hit the Treasury.

President Roosevelt, the creator of Social Security, knew this, but he wanted the tax to make Social Security impossible to end.

He reportedly said, concerning FICA:

“I guess you’re right on the economics (that payroll taxes are unnecessary).

“They are politics all the way through. We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits.

“With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program. Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics. They’re straight politics.”

All federal programs can end, and many do when an opposing party comes into power.

But if the voters believe they have contributed to a program, the opposing party will find it politically challenging to end the program.

If passed, the expansion bill would apply the payroll tax to all income, including capital gains, above $250,000 a year, a change that would only raise taxes on around 7% of U.S. households.

“At a time when half of older Americans have no retirement savings and millions of senior citizens are living in poverty, our job is not to cut Social Security,” Sanders (I-Vt.), head of the Senate Budget Committee and a co-chair of the Expand Social Security Caucus, said in a statement.

“Our job must be to expand Social Security so that every senior citizen in America can retire with the dignity they deserve and every person with a disability can live with the security they need,” the senator continued.

“And we will do that by demanding that the wealthiest people in America finally pay their fair share of taxes.

It is absurd that a billionaire in America today pays the same amount of Social Security taxes as someone making $147,000 a year.

It is time to scrap the cap, expand benefits, and fully fund Social Security.”

Does Sanders believe that? Does he think raising the $147,000 FICA salary cap will expand benefits and fully fund Social Security?

Or is his plan simply to make the rich pay so that it appears a Social Security increase will be fully funded? Is that his way of answering the question, “Who will pay for it?

Or does he have an even deeper plot?

The legislation comes a week after the annual Social Security trustees report showed that—contrary to Republicans’ claims that it is barreling toward insolvency—the program is positioned to fully fund benefits until 2035.

Thereafter, even if Congress takes no action, the program is projected to be 90% funded for the next 25 years and 81% funded for the next 75 years.

Social Security is fully funded, not by any fake trust fund but by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Neither the U.S. government nor any government agency can run short of dollars unless Congress and the President want it to.

What is their real plan assuming Sanders and Warren are intelligent and well-informed?

“Social Security is an economic lifeline for millions of Americans, but many seniors are struggling with rising costs,” said Warren (D-Mass.).

“As Republicans try to phase out Social Security and raise taxes on more than 70 million hardworking Americans, I’m working with Senator Sanders to expand Social Security and extend its solvency by making the wealthy pay their fair share, so everyone can retire with dignity.”

That “fair share” hints at the real purpose of Sanders’ plan.

Sanders announced the new bill Thursday during a Senate Budget Committee hearing, at which Republicans—including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has previously voiced support for privatizing Social Security—made clear they would oppose the legislation, which has been endorsed by more than 50 advocacy organizations and labor unions.

The Republicans’ ostensible purpose for privatizing Social Security is the claim that stock market investments will grow enough to safeguard Social Security growth. The claim is false for at least two reasons.

  1. Social Security is funded by the federal government’s money creation, not taxes or any other outside mechanism.
  2. The stock market is not a secure growth mechanism, and if somehow it were made to fund Social Security, the current S&P drop demonstrates the folly of relying on private markets.

The true purpose of Romney’s and other Republicans repeated drumbeat for privatization is simple: To provide another lucrative money-making opportunity for wealthy investment firms.

In addition to increasing annual benefits and lifting the tax cap, the Social Security Expansion Act would also boost the program’s cost-of-living adjustments by switching to a more accurate measure of inflation.

According to the Social Security Administration, the average monthly Social Security benefit payment was around $1,540 as of April 2022.

“With the cost of living at an all-time high, Social Security has never been more important, yet congressional Republicans continue to play games with its funding,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the lead sponsor of a companion bill in the House.

An example of Gap Psychology at work. A wealthy person will spend $12.8 million to distance himself from those who have less, and to come closer to those who have more.

“This legislation would ensure that the Social Security Trust Fund remains solvent for another 75 years, increase monthly benefits for most recipients by $200, and alter the cost-of-living-adjustment formula to meet the everyday needs of our nation’s seniors,” DeFazio added.

Lifting the tax cap won’t accomplish any of those stated purposes. So, what may be the fundamental purpose? Could it be Sanders’ and Warren’s secret plan to narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest? Is this their Gap Psychology plan?

(Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those below, on any socioeconomic scale, and to come closer to those above.)

The plan implies to those who believe FICA funds Social Security, a direct money transfer from the richer to the poorer, from those whose salary exceeds $147,000 to those whose salary is lower.

Since there are more voters in the latter position than in the former, it’s a pretty good Gap Psychology election ploy.

Because the plan would, though by a minimal amount, help narrow the Gap, I wish I could be in favor. But I simply can’t support the idea of ratifying the Big Lie that federal taxes fund federal spending.

So long as the populace believes the Big Lie, the myth that the U.S. is as financially hamstrung as the states, counties, cities, and euro nations.

We must free ourselves of that myth to have control over our economic future.

The honest plan would be to tell the world that the federal government can’t run short of dollars, federal taxes don’t fund federal spending, and federal spending doesn’t cause inflation.

(See: “First do no harm. How ‘Dr.’ Jerome Powell will worsen the inflation and cause a recession”)

The rich will continue to rule until those truths are exposed and understood.

(Every federal spending cut demanded by conservatives is designed to widen the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest, while the few federal spending increases backed by the conservatives are designed to reward and protect the rich.)

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

……………………………………………………………………..

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

The most important problems in economics involve:

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

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

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

MMT’s divorce from reality: Jobs Guarantee and inflation fear

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a cousin to Monetary Sovereignty (MS), in that both concepts acknowledge the indisputable fact that the U.S. federal government’s ability to spend is not constrained by the availability of funds.

Modern monetary theory and Monopoly money : r/wallstreetbets
Neither the federal government nor any federal agency can run out of money unless Congress wants it to. Federal “Trust Funds” are a lie to prevent you from receiving federal benefits.

In short, the Monetarily Sovereign federal government cannot run short of dollars. It cannot “go broke.” It neither needs nor uses tax dollars.

Similarly, no agency of the federal government (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, et al) can run short of dollars unless Congress wants it to.

Even if all federal tax collections were $0, the government could continue spending, forever.

This is true of all sovereign issuers of a sovereign currency.

Federal taxes do not pay for federal spending.

The federal government pays for all spending by creating new dollars. Federal tax dollars are destroyed upon receipt.

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.”

Quote from Ben Bernanke when, as Fed chief, he was on 60 Minutes:
Scott Pelley: Is that tax money that the Fed is spending?
Ben Bernanke: It’s not tax money… We simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account.

Statement from the St. Louis Fed:
“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.”

Press Conference: Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, 9 January 2014
Question: I am wondering: can the ECB ever run out of money?
Mario Draghi: Technically, no. We cannot run out of money.

Sadly, MMT believers go astray with two false beliefs: MMT’s Jobs Guarantee and the belief that federal deficit spending can cause inflation.

I. JOBS GUARANTEE
Briefly, JG is just what it sounds like: The government guarantees it will find or provide (it’s not clear which) a job for anyone who wants a job.

We have published many articles describing the foolishness of that proposal. Rather than repeat the many, many reasons why the JG is naive, wrongheaded, and damaging, we’ll just provide you with these references:

How the MMT “Jobs Guarantee” ignores humanity.

MMT’s “Jobs Guarantee”: The final nail in the coffin of this naive, foolish program

One more reason why the MMT Jobs Guarantee is a con job

The MMT Jobs Guarantee con job

More proof the MMT’s “Jobs Guarantee” can’t work

The Jobs Guarantee (JG) mouse

Another word on MMT’s Jobs Guarantee and “The Rise Of Bullshit Jobs”

Life in a Jobs Guarantee (JG) World

The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem.

Will people still work if the government gives them money?

Now, circumstances have arrived to demonstrate reality in the face of MMT’s academic ignorance.

All those people quitting jobs, where are they going?
Kristin Schwab, Oct 28, 2021

You may have heard the news that last week’s initial unemployment claims fell to a new pandemic low. But even though layoffs are decreasing, it’s also true that lots of workers are leaving their jobs and lots of employers are still having trouble filling them.

So, where are the workers who are leaving jobs going?

Right now, it is statistically more difficult to become a receptionist than to get into Harvard. That’s according to data from ZipRecruiter, where Julia Pollak is chief economist.

“I have a lot of bad news for job seekers in certain occupations. Some are much more competitive even,” Pollak said.

Some of these jobs are specialized or senior roles, but a lot of them are what Pollak calls pleasant jobs with predictable schedules, such as in customer service or communications — and fields like airport security.

Guess what, MMT? People aren’t simply mindless pegs to be fitted into crap-job holes as JG would do. Human beings have desires. They want — no, demand — good jobs: Good pay, good conditions, good futures.

MMT’s JG program, designed by academics who have not experienced reality, relies on people being so desperate they will take any job offered.

When people are selective about their lives, JG falls apart.

“So, jobs where you have some degree of prestige, perhaps a uniform and a union looking out for your interests,” Pollak said.

The growing interest in jobs that are more stable and offer better pay and benefits makes sense when you compare them to jobs that require similar skills and are begging people to come back — think less predictable or less protected industries like trucking and restaurants.

Imagine that, MMT, people want stability, better pay, and better benefits, not what a federal JG bureaucracy offers them.

“If you’re a worker at a restaurant and suddenly the restaurant is short-staffed, it’s going to be that much harder for you to actually manage your shift,” said Daniel Zhao, an economist at Glassdoor.

People are tired, burned out and fed up. And a lot of them are looking for a new work-from-home lifestyle. Glassdoor said searches for remote roles is up more than 350% in the last year. Whether everyone can get one is a different story.

The paternalistic Jobs Guarantee was a depression-era solution, that is as appropriate as a hand-crank calculator in today’s computer age. Sadly, MMT still doesn’t get it.

Instead of JG nonsense, we finally are leaning toward Step #3 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity: Social Security for All.

II SOCIAL SECURITY FOR ALL
The following article calls it, “Guaranteed Basic Income” (GBI). Different name, same fundamental concept: Instead of finding crap jobs for the poor, simply give people money.

Guaranteed basic income is coming
By Alice Yin and John Byrne Chicago Tribune, The Tribune’s Gregory Pratt contributed

Thousands of struggling Chicago residents will receive monthly cash payments from the city of Chicago as it becomes home to one of the largest guaranteed income programs in the U.S.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $31.5 million basic income program is just a sliver of the total $16.7 billion budget, which will be buoyed by federal COVID-19 relief funds and won City Council approval Wednesday.

Few details of the pilot have been hammered out yet, except that 5,000 households will receive $500 per month for a year — with no strings attached. The lowest-income residents who suffered financial blows from the COVID-19 pandemic will be the focus.

When the funds go out, Chicago will join a contingent of American cities that have warmed up to the concept of guaranteed income.

Once deemed a pipe dream in mainstream politics, the idea of handing unconditional cash directly to those in need has particularly gained steam during the coronavirus-fueled recession, when most Americans saw multiple rounds of stimulus checks and other temporary social safety net expansions.

However, guaranteed income pilots have launched before the pandemic too, such as in Stockton, California, under former Mayor Michael Tubbs.

The program doled out $500 monthly payments to a small subset of low-income families. In June 2020, Tubbs started the coalition Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, which now has more than 50 mayors on board, more than two dozen of whom are piloting the concept in some form.

Though Lightfoot has touted her proposal as the largest in U.S. history, Los Angeles is in the process of implementing its own guaranteed income pilot targeting 3,000 households with $1,000 a month for a year.

Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, has also championed a more far-reaching version of cash assistance known as universal basic income, which would go out to all adults regardless of means.

Rather than insisting on the Puritanical demand that people must labor in order to survive (i.e JG), more enlightened city governments recognize that at least at some basic level, poverty is harmful to the whole nation, and Americans have a right to live.

The irony is that monetarily non-sovereign cities (which are financially limited) are doing it rather than the Monetarily Sovereign federal government, which is financially unlimited.

But that is why the efforts are so small, with just a few thousand households receiving benefits.

Not all Chicago aldermen were on board with Lightfoot’s plan. Her overall budget passed 35-15, with some of the opposition pointing to the basic income program.

Southwest Side Ald. Matt O’Shea said after the vote that the pilot won’t work because “in two years, we won’t be able to afford it.” He’d rather see resources spent on boosting child care and “getting people back to work,” he said.

“Just giving money out to people when there’s tens of thousands of jobs in our city right now, that’s not something I can support,” O’Shea said.

But that is the whole point. There are “tens of thousands of jobs” people don’t want. Arrogant academic snobs claim the “underclass” should be grateful to work crap jobs for crap wages.

Those are Gap Psychology words. They serve only to widen the Gap between the rich and those below. JG is cruel and ignorant. It dooms people to failure. It is bad economics.

Giving people money turns them into consumers whose spending helps the entire economy.

Apparently, people are tired of the “work ’til you drop” routine. They have the strange desire to lead pleasant lives, no matter what the rich tell them. If people won’t work, it’s not because of laziness, as the rich love to claim. It’s because the jobs are unattractive.

Back in March, when aldermen held a hearing on a proposal over direct monthly checks, caucus chairman Jason Ervin said it would be a “slap in the face” to proceed with guaranteed income before setting up a reparations programs for descendants of slaves.

That’s a perfect example of the old, “We can’t do this before we do that” stalling routine.

It’s like this: “We can’t feed them until we clothe them, and we can’t clothe them until we house them, and we can’t house them until we educate them, and we can’t educate them until we give them free healthcare, and we can’t afford to give them free healthcare until we raise taxes — and we can’t raise taxes because no one wants that.

“So we can’t do anything. Sorry.”

One of City Council’s loudest voices for direct cash assistance has been Northwest Side Ald. Gilbert Villegas, who said his mother received a monthly $800 stipend through the Social Security survivors death benefits program after his father died.

Villegas introduced a proposal ordinance this spring that largely resembled Lightfoot’s plan of $500 monthly payments to 5,000 households, but it did not pass.

Villegas’s mother received benefits from a federal agency, that is funded from an unlimited source. City governments are not unlimited sources.

Still, Villegas said he’s prepared to go all-in on helping work out the details of Lightfoot’s program. He wants an eligibility threshold of households earning 300% or less of the federal poverty level, and Chicago Public Schools families should be prioritized, he said.

The problem with income eligibility programs is they are expensive to administer, unfair to those who barely miss out, and subject to cheating.

Though most guaranteed income programs are still nascent, researchers have examined the effects — with limitations. The current pilots in place are narrow in size and duration, said Carmelo Barbaro, executive director of the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab.

Still, there is promise in further investigating the results because unlike other safety-net programs, direct cash assistance is simpler to implement, he said.

Broadly accessible and unconditional cash transfers like Chicago’s guaranteed income pilot are intended to address those limitations of existing programs,” Barbaro wrote in an email. “The cost of such programs is higher, but the benefits could also be higher.”

No deductible, comprehensive Social Security for All is affordable for the federal government (as are all federal expenses). It would be simple to administer, and massively beneficial to the economy.

University of Pennsylvania professor Ioana Marinescu, an economist who has also studied such programs, said the early signs show that some of the outcomes feared by critics may not have materialized.

A 2014 research review on the effect of cash transfers on alcohol and tobacco purchases, for example, found virtually no change in or even a decrease in spending on these so-called temptation goods.

“There’s advantages to cash in terms of flexibility,” Marinescu said. “There could be drawbacks if you’re worried that people misuse the cash. But that doesn’t seem to be the case based on the empirical evidence.”

The rich like to portray the poor as ignorant sloths who will use any extra money for drinking, gambling, smoking, and drugs. That gives the rich a fake excuse to widen the Gap and thereby make themselves richer. Republicans, the party of the rich, invariably vote against money for the poor.

(The Gap is what makes the rich rich. Without the Gap, no one would be rich. We all would be the same. The wider the Gap, the richer the rich are.)

The lack of money is the biggest problem in any economy. The best way to cure that problem is to give people money.

The rich hate it, and invent excuses for not doing it, because they don’t want the Gap between the rich and the rest to be narrowed.

III Inflation
Contrary to popular myth, inflation never is caused by “too much” federal deficit spending. Inflation always is caused by shortages of key goods and services.

There is no correlation between federal deficit spending (blue line) and inflation (red line).

Today’s inflation is related to shortages of energy, labor, food, and computer chips.

Inflation actually can be cured by additional federal spending to pay for scarce goods and services.

In Summary

  1. The Monetarily Sovereign federal government has infinite access to dollars. Neither the government nor any agency of the government can run short of dollars unless Congress wants that to happen.
  2. Federal taxes do not “pay for” federal spending. Federal spending is paid for by the creation of new dollars, which the government has the infinite ability to do.
  3. Federal spending does not cause inflation. Inflation is caused by the scarcity of key goods and services. Federal spending can cure inflation by paying for scarce goods and services.
  4. America is not short of jobs. America is short of good jobs. Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee will solve zero problems, and in fact exacerbate a “crap jobs” economy.
  5. Poverty, the lack of money, is bad for the American economy. Poverty is not cured by bad jobs, but rather by putting money in the hands of the impoverished. This creates new consumers, whose purchases grow the economy,  which grows businesses that are able to provide attractive jobs.

It all begins putting with money into the hands of the people, which the U.S. federal government has the infinite ability to provide.

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

……………………………………………………………………..

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

The most important problems in economics involve:

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

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

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

A book you should read

This is a book you should read.

Stephanie Kelton explains economics from the standpoint of Modern Monetary Theory and her own inside experiences with U.S. Senators.

She provides you with some her own take about why Congress refuses to acknowledge its unlimited ability to create dollars, and pay for benefits.

The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy

While “the DEFICIT MYTH” is not exactly on point with Monetary Sovereignty, the fundamentals are the same (the federal government’s infinite ability to pay for things and the need for federal “debt”). The book is an easy, enjoyable read.

No economics gobbledygook.

You’ll be able to see how her explanations for the causes of inflation and the need for federal taxes differ from those of Monetary Sovereignty. Read her book, and then we can discuss it from the standpoints of the differences and the similarities.

I recommend it to you. I also recommend it especially to your Congressional representatives, who would do well to learn the facts. After you read it, make a difference in the world by sending a copy to your most intelligent Congressperson.

It’s available on Amazon. Enjoy.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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

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

The most important problems in economics involve:

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

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

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Social Security for all or a reverse income tax

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