–The two most misused, misleading, mistaken words in all of economics: “Taxpayer dollars”

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
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Mitchell’s laws:
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes. .
Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.
●The single most important problem in economics is
the gap between rich and poor.
●Austerity is the government’s method for widening
the gap between rich and poor.
●Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Everything in economics devolves to motive,
and the motive is the Gap.


Regular readers of this blog have seen these two words — “taxpayer dollars” — discussed often, but in today’s blog, we would like to give you three specific examples of how the words are misused, misleading and mistaken.

Example I:

CNS News
Top 20 Worst Ways the Government Wasted Your Tax Dollars
By Curtis Kalin

Every year, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and his staff compile an exhaustive volume of wasteful government spending from that year. The 2014 tome is chock full of government waste ranging from the redundant to the downright absurd.

Oh, and by the way, the U.S. national debt is approaching $18 trillion.

Here is a list of my personal worst of the worst in federal waste:

Swedish massages for rabbits: $387,000
Teaching Mountain Lions to Ride a Treadmill: $856,000
Studying the gambling habits of monkeys: $171,000
Producing the children’s musical: Zombie in Love: $10,000
Funding a “Stoner Symphony”: $15,000
Subsidizing Alpaca Poop: $50,000
Synchronized Swimming for Sea Monkeys: $307,524
Produce a “Hallucinatory” Roosevelt/Elvis show: $10,000
Funding Climate Change Alarmist Video Game: $5.2 million
Teaching Kids to Laugh: $47,000
Developing a real-life Iron Man Suit: $80 million
Tweeting at Terrorists: $3 million
Predicting the End of Humanity: $30,000
Lost electronic devices from NASA: $1.1 million
Studying if Wikipedia is Sexist: $202,000
Asking heavy drinkers not to drink through text message: $194,090
Government Funded Ice Cream: $1.2 million
Funding Kids Dressing Like Fruits and Vegetables: $5 million
Help Parents Counter Kids’ Refusals to Eat Fruits and Veggies: $804,254

Here, Mr. Kalin demonstrates his abysmal ignorance of the military, economics, sociology, climatology and all science.

He has no understanding of the fact that pure research invariably sounds useless at first. That is what makes it “pure research” rather than “development.” If you go to the above link, you may see small hints about why each of those studies was done.

(If you don’t, ask me and I’ll explain it.)

Kalin has no understanding of the fact that federal deficit spending adds dollars to the economy. The approximately $100 million of federal deficit spending he lists and mocks, added $100 million to the economy. Those dollars are peanuts in the world of federal financing, but they did, to that tiny degree, stimulate the economy.

Most importantly, he has no understanding that the federal government does not spend tax dollars. Being Monetarily Sovereign, the federal government creates dollars ad hoc, simply by paying bills.

Federal spending creates dollars and federal taxing destroys dollars, and that is a primary way the federal government manages the dollar supply.

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

The author is correct, when he says that his examples are the “worst of the worst.” They represent the worst of the worst — in economics reporting.

Example II:

Wasted Tax Dollars

Over the past four decades, federal and state governments have poured over $1 trillion into drug war spending and relied on taxpayers to foot the bill. Unfortunately, these tax dollars have gone to waste.

While the author is correct that the so called “war on drugs” is a waste, from the federal standpoint, it is a waste of time, effort and lives, but not a waste of federal taxpayer dollars (for the reasons explained in example I, above).

Here, the authors display an abysmal ignorance of the differences between Monetary Sovereignty (federal government) and monetary non-sovereignty (state and local governments), for indeed, the drug war is a waste of state and local taxpayer dollars.

State and local governments, being monetarily non-sovereign, do not have the unlimited ability to create dollars. You and I and businesses and state and local governments, — we all are monetarily non-sovereign entities. We must have income, in order to pay our bills.

For state and local governments, that income is taxes, without which they would be broke.

So yes, the drug war is a waste of state and local taxpayers’ dollars, but not a waste of federal taxpayers’ dollars.

Example III:

Benjamin VanMetre

Nearly 200 examples of wasteful government spending in Illinois, totaling more than $354 million, is detailed in the “The 2012 Illinois Piglet Book,” a report compiled by the Illinois Policy Institute in a partnership with Washington, D.C.-based Citizens Against Government Waste.

Each item highlights the decisions of politicians who have lost sight of the core services they were put in place to provide.

Piglet 2012 reveals that state and local governments paid for everything from $9,941 for “Speedy-the-Turtle” bobbleheads to $200,000 customized eco-friendly zip lines to a $2,261,009 cable TV bill for prison inmates to get their weekly fill of Seacrest and Snooki.

Here, the author is correct. Illinois’ wasteful spending does indeed waste taxpayer dollars.

The sole problem is that he quotes from a compilation done in partnership with Citizens Against Government Waste, which focuses on federal spending. And from the standpoint of the economy, no federal spending is waste.

Yes, some federal spending is more economically valuable than other federal spending, but it all grows the economy, and no taxpayer dollars are used.

The Treasurer of the United States could go up in the proverbial helicopter and drop billions of dollar bills on the populace, and that would not be waste and it would not be taxpayer dollars.

It would stimulate the economy by putting dollars for spending into the pockets of Americans, and wouldn’t cost taxpayers one cent.

So the next time you see or hear the words “taxpayer dollars,” ask yourself, “Does this article refer to federal spending, in which case it’s not taxpayer dollars, or does it refer to state and local government spending, in which case it is taxpayer dollars.

Simple, isn’t it?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

The Ten Steps to Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded free Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Federally funded, free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually. (Refer to this.)
8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all their forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)
10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)

Initiating The Ten Steps sequentially will add dollars to the economy, stimulate the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.

10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of dollars (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
2. All deficit spending grows the supply of dollars
3. The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
4. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.


Long term view:
Monetary Sovereignty

Recent view:
Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.


–How to fix Medicaid, plus an idea for universal health care.

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.

Here are excerpts from an article titled, “Medicaid bills settled in a hurry before aid ends,” by Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY:

State governments are rushing to pay billions of dollars of medical bills before special federal assistance for Medicaid expires July 1.

The “hurry-up-and-pay” effort will put an extra $1 billion or more into the pockets of financially struggling states — and increase the federal deficit by a similar amount.
The federal stimulus law and a later extension provided states an extra $80 billion in 2009 and 2010 for Medicaid, the nation’s health care program for the lpoor. This was done by reducing the states’ share of the program from a national average of 40% to 28%.
Because states run the $400 billion a year program — while the federal government reimburses them — states can time payments to maximize the federal share.

Two thoughts: First, why doesn’t our Monetarily Sovereign federal government pay for 100% of Medicaid, instead of asking our monetarily non-sovereign states to pay? Can anyone answer that?

Second, wouldn’t the idea of having states run Medicare as a universal health care program, with the federal government funding it, satisfy the “anti-big-government” people? I know it won’t satisfy the debt-hawk contingent of the Tea (formerly known as “Republican”) party. Nothing short of a depression will satisfy them. But at least federal funding combined with state operation, should remove the fear of big government and so-called “socialism” from universal health care. Then no American would need to do without health care.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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


–The G7’s backwards thinking about the Japanese yen. Save Japan from its friends.

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.

Once again, the mainstream economists have things backwards. I recently came across this article:

Is G7 yen intervention a good idea? by MICHAEL SCHUMAN, 3/18/2011
In a highly unusual step, the G7 agreed on Friday morning to coordinate their efforts to control the sharp rise in the Japanese yen. The decision today was prompted by a sudden surge of strength by the yen that by Thursday morning (in Tokyo) had pushed the Japanese currency to a record high against the U.S. dollar. Though the yen had subsequently pulled back a bit, it was still at a level worrying to Japanese policymakers. Japan freaks out when the yen strengthens, because it makes Japanese exports more expensive in international markets and thus can dampen economic growth.

Last week, I posted about why charitable contributions to Japan were meaningless. Now, the economists want to facilitate Japanese exports. Before you read any further, stop and think about this question: What is the purpose of Japanese exporting? The answer is not what you may have been told.

The purpose of Japanese exporting is to import yen. Japan doesn’t want to expend massive amounts of time, energy, labor an raw materials just so they can supply us with cars, computers and television sets. The Japanese are a nice people, but they’re not that generous. No, the sole purpose of expending time, energy, labor and raw materials is to acquire yen.

But, Japan is Monetarily Sovereign. It has the unlimited ability to create its sovereign currency, the yen. Even were Japan’s exports to fall to zero, the Japanese government could create sufficient yen to support its economic growth. Japan has no need to import yen (i.e. export goods and services).

The G7 (soon to be overtaken by the E7, but that’s another story) is using an obsolete gold-standard philosophy in a post-gold-standard world. Today, Monetarily Sovereign nations do not need to import their sovereign currencies. Stimulating Japan’s yen imports is like stimulating rain over the ocean.

And in any event, Japan soon will create and spend trillions of yen to rebuild its nation. That massive influx of yen will weaken the yen, and the G7 can breathe a sigh of relief. It also will engage in an orgy of back patting, for accomplishing something not only unnecessary, but something that would have happened naturally.

But what can you expect from a group that still has no concept of Monetary Sovereignty, perhaps partly because three of the “7” (France, Germany, Italy) were foolish enough to surrender their own Monetary Sovereignty.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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


–Interview with Abby Romaine on WNZF. Is she the smartest lady on the air?

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.

Today, Abby Romaine again interviewed me on her WNZF show, Center: Uncensored. From what I can tell, Abby is the only radio broadcaster in existence who understands Monetary Sovereignty. This is particularly frightening, as Monetary Sovereignty is the basis for all modern economics.

The two things I puzzle about: How did she come to understand, and why is she the only one? Yes, there are MMT economists who get it, but if anyone out there knows of another media person, whether radio, TV or newspaper, who understands Monetary Sovereignty I sure would like to know his/her name. The editors of the WSJ and the Chicago Tribune don’t get it. No newsperson gets it. No columnist gets it. But Abby does.

Those interested in writing to this brilliant lady can reach her at: abby.romaine@gmail.com

Anyway, today she and I discussed Ron Paul, perhaps the nation’s leading architect of economic ignorance, and the Tea Party (formerly known and the Republican Party) and John (“America is broke”) Boehner, and the deficit and the debt.

I enjoy talking with Abby, because I like talking with smart people, but I probably mouthed off too much (Old people do that). My only concern is that Abby gets it. She understands that a growing economy requires a growing money supply, and federal deficits are the federal government’s method for growing the economy. She understands that federal debt could be eliminated tomorrow, simply by crediting the bank accounts of T-security holders. She understands that federal debt is not the accumulation of federal deficits, but rather that debt could exist without deficits and vice versa. And she understand that a nation with the unlimited power to create money never can be “broke.”

Why am I concerned? Because not being a radio guy, I don’t know if listeners would rather hear two people argue, and she and I don’t argue. She does play excerpts from Tea Party speeches, and perhaps that provides enough counterpoint. But Ron Paul? This guy is so ridiculous, even staunch conservatives find him an embarrassment. Maybe she should play some excerpts from an Obama speech. He at least sounds more rational, though he too is ignorant about our economy.

By the way, I thought Obama, coming from the rough ‘n’ tumble of Chicago politics would be endowed with major testosterone. But, he seems to be wimping out. The Tea (Republican) Party has a plan: Cut federal spending, which will slow the economy. Obama and the Democrats will be blamed for the poor economic performance, and in 2012, the Teas will be able to foist their own guy or gal on the American public, which by the way is exactly how the Teas won the House last year.

Never mind that executing this plan will hurt America. That isn’t a Tea concern. Cynically, they are interested solely in power. Paraphrasing my question of Abby: “What do you call American citizens who knowingly hurt America?” Then I answered my own question: “I’d call them traitors.” The irony is, the Teas love to wrap themselves in the America flag.

Second thought: That’s not irony; it’s marketing. Address the negative head-on, and turn it into a positive. Remember when cigarette advertising featured doctors telling us how healthful smoking is? Or Volkswagon bragging about how ugly the Beetle was? The Teas make a virtue out of cutting the benefits Americans enjoy.

Anyway, Obama has allowed the Teas to define the discussion. He doesn’t argue, as he should, that cutting federal spending is the dopiest idea since taxing Social Security benefits. Instead, he forlornly whines that yes, the deficit is too big, and we should cut it — only please cut it less. Just when we need leadership, we get groveling. As a Chicagoan, I’m embarrassed. Mayor Daley never groveled. He lied (They all do), but he never groveled.

If Daley were president, I suspect he’d look the reporters in the eye and say, “To cut federal spending is just, plain stupid.” And he’d be right.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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