THE WEEK Magazine spreads the Big Lie Monday, Aug 19 2019 

THE WEEK Magazine is an outstanding, left-leaning publication that might be expected to opt for more social spending. Sadly, they too are caught up in the traditionally right-wing Big Lie.

The Big Lie is: Federal finances are similar to personal, state government, and local government finances.

State and local government spending is funded by state and local taxes. Federal spending is not.

While you and your local governments require income in order to spend, the federal government creates its own income. It has no need for taxes.

The Big Lie is disseminated by the very rich, who are motivated by Gap Psychology, the common motivation to distance oneself from those below, and to approach those above. The rich wish to widen the income/wealth/power Gap between them and the rest of the populace.

The easiest way to accomplish this: Cut federal benefits to the non-rich.

The very rich disseminate the Big Lie by influencing our primary, trusted information sources: The media, politicians, and university economists.

The media are influenced via advertising dollars and media ownership.
The politicians are influenced via campaign contributions and promises of future lucrative employment.
The university economists are influenced via university contributions and jobs in think tanks.

Here is a classic example of a medium, THE WEEK Magazine, doing the bidding of the very rich:

Why is 2030 significant? (August 18, 2019)
It’s the year when America’s so-called dependency ratio — or the percentage of nonworking citizens who rely on those who are employed — will exceed 70 percent.

“Nonworking citizens do rely on those who are employed,” but only if we are talking about state and local government assistance, not federal assistance.

The reason: State and local taxes do fund various social services; federal taxes do not.

The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.

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

The federal government does not need or use tax dollars for anything, and indeed, destroys tax dollars upon receipt. Federal taxpayers do not support nonworking citizens. Federal deficit spending fends Social Security.

The article continues:

This will have profound consequences for Social Security and Medicare, the former of which is now projected to exhaust its $2.9 trillion reserve by 2035.

(At that point, unless Congress increases taxes or cuts benefits, only payroll taxes from a shrinking workforce would finance the program, and benefits would likely be reduced by 20 percent.)

To widen the Gap between the rich and the rest, the rich focus on the two biggest social benefits, Social Security and Medicare, by making the false claim that these two programs are funded by payroll taxes (FICA).

They are not. They are funded by federal deficit spending.

Congress does not need to “increase taxes or cut benefits.” To fund unlimited Social Security and Medicare for All, Congress and the President merely need to agree to spend what is needed — which the government has the unlimited ability to do.

For example, the Tax Relief Act of 2010 gave a two-percentage-point payroll/self-employment tax holiday for employees and those self-employed. The purpose was to help the economy recover from the “Great Recession” of 2008.

Social Security benefits were not reduced, which made it obvious that the federal government has the unlimited ability to fund Social Security, or indeed any expenditure, without collecting taxes.

The article continues:

Will this affect the economy? 
As the percentage of Americans with full-time jobs drops, so, too, will GDP.

Researchers from Har­vard’s Med­i­cal School and the RAND Corp. recently compared the growth rates of states that are aging at different paces. Their findings were startling. For every 10 percent jump in the portion of a population over 60, economic growth fell 5.5 percent.

Nationally, the group estimated, the aging of America’s workforce has already lopped 1.2 percent off Gross Domestic Proeduct (GDP) this decade; this may explain why the average rate of growth has been a meager 2.3 percent since 2009.

Another vexing question is how well America’s consumer-driven economy will hold up when so many of us are living frugally on fixed incomes.

The article, accidentally or intentionally, omits one key mathematical fact. The equation for GDP is:

GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports

To instantly increase GDP, Congress needs only to increase one term in the equation — Federal Spending — which Congress has the unlimited ability to do.

Not only would a federal spending increase, in of itself, immediately increase GDP, but the downstream effects of a federal spending increase also would be to increase non-federal spending (by putting more dollars into consumers’ pockets).

And there is no fundamental need for fixed-income Americans to live frugally. The federal government could solve that problem with the stroke of a pen and the press of a computer key.

Merely enact the Ten Steps to Prosperity (At the end of this post).

Former Federal Reserve Chairman, 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.”

The article continues:

How about health care? 
American spending on health care is expected to rise from about $4 trillion a year to $6 trillion, or 19.4 percent of GDP, by 2027.

By 2025, U.S. health-care providers believe they will face a collective shortage of about 500,000 home health aides, 100,000 nursing assistants, and 29,000 nurse practitioners. Some are also bracing for a shortage of up to 122,000 doctors by 2032.

This problem was complicated by Congress capping Medicare reimbursement to teaching hospitals for each resident in 1997, when there was talk of a doctor glut. 

The problem could be solved by uncapping Medicare reimbursements and by enacting Steps #2, #4, and #5 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity.

What other problems are ahead? 
Cities will need to adjust their infrastructure for older people: Crosswalk timers will have to be reset to give them more time to get across the street, and far more curb cutouts for walkers and wheelchairs will need to be installed.

The problem, ironically, will be worse in the sidewalk-less, car-oriented suburbs America created to make Baby Boomer childhoods so utopian.

What happens to tens of millions of suburban residents when they’re 85 and unable to drive or walk to stores, community centers, or doctors?

All of the above problems, and many not even mentioned, can be solved with money, of which the federal government has an unlimited supply.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan: “A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

When THE WEEK Magazine writes about a non-working citizens problem, a retirement problem, a Social Security problem, a health care problem, a GDP problem, an infrastructure problem et al, what the publication really is writing about is a money problem.

Given an unlimited supply of dollars — which Congress has available to it — all these problems can be prevented and solved.

The very rich do not want you to understand that simple fact, because they wish to widen the Gap between them and you.

It truly is sad that even a liberal-leaning publication promulgates the Big Lie, that federal taxes fund federal spending.

By failing to differentiate between federal government finances vs. state/local government finances and personal finances, THE WEEK Magazine reinforces the myths that make the rich richer and the rest poorer.

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

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

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

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

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

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

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

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

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

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

9. Federal ownership of all banks

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

 

Translating the absurd. Does having less money make the nation wealthier? Tuesday, Mar 26 2019 

The Mueller /Barr report did not cover: Trump’s secret taxes, excusing Nazis and white supremacists, the fake Trump Foundation, the fake Trump University, paying Stormy Daniels et al, groping women, obstruction of justice, loving dictators Putin and Kim, phony loans from Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, inauguration committee, emoluments, security clearances, 10,000 lies, Trump’s refusal to testify under oath, nepotism, secret Saudi deals, campaign expenses, Trump Tower Moscow, secret meetings with Putin, and the GOP’s trying to keep the “exonerating” report a secret.

So, now that all those things are forgotten by the press, by the public and especially by the GOP, we can return to the federal budget.

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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.”

The following is yet another misleading article, meant to make you think the Monetarily Sovereign federal budget is like your monetarily non-sovereign household budget.

(The idea is to get you to accept reductions in such federal benefits as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other aids important to the non-rich.)

A translation of each section follows immediately after the section.

February’s Budget Deficit Was the Largest in American History
The feds are $234 billion in the red. Looking for hope? Sen. Mike Enzi has some ideas.
Eric Boehm, Mar. 25, 2019

The Treasury announced Friday that the federal government spent $234 billion more than it brought in during February, breaking the record for the largest monthly budget deficit.

Translation: In February, the federal government added more stimulus dollars to the U.S. economy than ever — $234 billion in economic stimulus.

Barack Obama’s Treasury Department set the previous record in February 2012 , with a deficit of $231 billion.

At that time, President Obama anticipated $1 trillion annual deficits for the rest of the decade 

Translation: Barack Obama’s government set the previous record in February 2012, by pumping $231 into the economy, which was necessary grow the economy after the Great Recession of 2008.

At that time, President Obama anticipated $1 trillion annual private sector surpluses for the rest of the decade —almost identical to the projections offered by Donald Trump in his 2019 budget proposal, delivered earlier this month..

That Obama budget was roundly criticized by Republicans in Congress, who railed against the president’s “failure to control spending.”

Obama’s record deficit helped organize Republican policymaking around plans to cap spending growth and balance the budget.

The Republican Congress slowed the growth in government spending and as a recovering economy boosted tax returns.

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

Translation: That Obama budget was roundly criticized by Republicans in Congress, who railed against the president’s “failure to impose austerity on the economy.” 

Obama’s record money creation helped organize Republican policymaking around plans to cap economic growth by balancing the budget. 

The Republican Congress slowed money growth, which starved the recovering private sector of dollars.

The current record-high deficit is largely the fault of the same Republicans who once attacked Obama for spending too much.

Translation: The current record-high private sector is largely the success of the same Republicans who once attacked Obama for giving the private sector too much.

According to an analysis from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, about 60 percent of this year’s expected deficit is the result of policies—mostly last year’s huge increase in spending that shattered those Obama-era budget caps—put in place by current legislators and signed by the current president.

Translation: According to an analysis from the extremely partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, about 60 percent of this year’s expected economic growth is the result of policies—mostly last year’s huge increase in spending that shattered those Obama-era growth caps—put in place by current legislators and signed by the current president.

They can’t blame a recession. They can’t blame Obama. After years of solid if not mind-blowing growth, the budget deficit should be shrinking, not expanding.

Failing to fix the budget now will have consequences for years to come.

Over the next 30 years, Social Security and Medicare are expected to run a combined $100 trillion deficit.

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

Translation: They can’t credit the recession. They won’t credit Obama. After years of solid if not mind-blowing growth, the stimulus should be expanding, not shrinking.

Failing to increase the budget now will have consequences for years to come.

Over the next 30 years, Social Security and Medicare are expected to run a combined $100 trillion deficit, that the federal government can and should pay for.

If you’re looking for a glimmer of hope, it might be found in the budget plan recently released by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R–Wyo.).

Translation: If you’re looking for a flash of terror, it might be found in the budget plan recently released by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R–Wyo.).

Enzi’s budget is supposed to reduce the deficit by $538 billion over five years by cutting spending—and also, alas, by projecting probably unrealistic economic growth in the next half-decade.

Translation: Enzi’s budget is supposed to reduce the economic stimulus by $538 billion over five years by cutting spending—and also, alas, by projecting probably unrealistic economic growth (because of Enzi’s disastrous austerity) in the next half-decade.

His proposal includes cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, which make up more than 60 percent of the federal budget in a single year.

Enzi’s proposal is a serious attempt to bring the deficit back under control, even though it would not balance the budget.

Translation: His proposal includes cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, which make up more than 60 percent of the federal budget in a single year. The rich always look for ways to cut benefits to the middle classes and the poor.

Enzi’s proposal is a serious attempt to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest, even though it might not completely destroy the middle- and poorer classes. 

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In Economics, everything devolves to Monetary Sovereignty and Gap Psychology.

  1. Economics studies the relationships among wealth, money, and human psychology.
  2. Monetary Sovereignty studies a money issuer’s power over the money it issues.
  3. Gap Psychology describes the human desire to widen the Gap below you on any economic or social measure, and to narrow the Gap above you.

The very rich control American politics. They never stop trying to widen the Gap between them and you.

Essential to that effort is convincing you of the lies that federal “debt” (deposits into T-security accounts) and “deficits” (private sector surpluses) are a threat to the U.S. economy and to future taxpayers.

The rich want you to accept the false notion that your federal benefits should be cut.

So long as their misstatements work, they will continue to promulgate those lies, and indeed, your benefits will be cut.

Only when you first understand the facts, and then protest the lies, will you be safe from the rich.

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

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

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

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

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

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

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

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

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

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

9. Federal ownership of all banks

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

 

Parental leave: A good idea. Congress: First ignore, then screw up. Monday, Feb 12 2018 

It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
.

The ignorance of the oppressed
and the treachery of their leaders.

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The single most important problem in economics is the wide and growing Gap between the rich and the rest. Therefore, anything that narrows the Gap tends to get my positive attention. “Parental leave” is one of those things.

Parental leave would be an important benefit to middle-income groups, a vital benefit to  low-income groups, and meaningless to the rich — exactly the kind of program I love, and exactly the kind of program the rich deplore.

There are infinite versions of parental leave, depending on the length and amount of the benefit. Fundamentally, it would recognize the fact that in today’s America, women of child-bearing age often are important money earners.

There are three times when these women and their families need financial help:

–During those pregnancy days when the women physically are unable to go to work
–At birth, and shortly thereafter, when again, the women are physically unable to work.
–During the months following childbirth, when the combination of physical weakness and the demands of infant care, impact family work ability

Every woman is different. True story: I know a young woman, who when pregnant, worked every day, then one day left the office to deliver her baby, and was back at work the next day. (Her mother took care of the infant.) That was exceptional, and not even advisable, but it was what she wanted and was able to do.

The purpose of this article is not to debate the amount or timing of the benefit, nor to determine whether it is “unfair” to families that don’t have children, or whether some women are malingerers who would take excessive and unneeded advantage.

Rather, the purpose is to discuss how any parental benefit program would be financed.

Here is what an article in the Chicago Tribune said:

Social Security Can’t Be a Piggy Bank for Parental Leave
The U.S. retirement system isn’t strong enough to support a proposal to let new parents borrow against future benefits.
By Michael R. Strain, February 9, 2018, 8:00 AM EST

During the State of the Union address last month, when the president called for helping “working families by supporting paid family leave,” Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence remained seated, unable to muster enthusiasm.

Republicans have traditionally opposed government-provided paid leave, but the Trump administration, led by first daughter Ivanka, is trying to change that.

The GOP, which more and more has become “the party of the rich,” tends to oppose anything that helps the so-called “99%.” Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, school lunch programs, food stamps all repeatedly are under fire by conservatives, who make two claims, both false:

–The recipients are lazy slugs, who game the system and who should work harder to support themselves.
–The federal government can’t afford the program.

The former is a function of Gap Psychology, about which you can read at, “Why you believe the Big Lie: The Gap Psychology con job.

The latter is the focus of this Tribune article:

The State of the Union speech breathed new life into the idea, along with a compelling proposal to fund paid leave without — its advocates claim — burdening employers, reducing job opportunities for women or increasing taxes.

The idea is simple and elegant: Allow new parents to collect early Social Security benefits after the arrival of a child, provided that they are willing to delay collecting benefits when they begin their retirement decades into the future.

Embedded in the “simple and elegant” idea, are three beliefs, two of which are true and one of which is dead wrong:

  1. Employers should not have to pay employees for not working. True. When companies bear this burden in any form — paid vacations, paid sick days, etc. — the cost simply becomes part of the salary consideration, so ultimately is paid by the employee.
  2. Families of child-bearing age should not be punished in the job market. True. There was a time when prospective employers actually asked women whether they planned to get pregnant.  That doesn’t happen as much anymore, but some employers still are reluctant to hire women between twenty and thirty years of age, especially to jobs that require a great deal of training and responsibility.
  3. Federally-funded family leave programs would require federal tax increases. False. The U.S., being Monetarily Sovereign, creates brand new dollars, ad hoc, every time it pays an invoice, so has no need for tax dollars.

Consider a 26-year-old new mother with five years of work experience earning $31,100 per year. Under this plan, she could receive 12 weeks of paid leave, at a rate of close to $300 per week. In exchange, she would delay claiming retirement benefits by about six weeks.

This idea is gaining traction. Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, is working with Ivanka Trump on drafting a bill. Earlier this week, two other Republican senators, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mike Lee of Utah, discussed the plan in a press call hosted by the Independent Women’s Forum, which first outlined the new approach.

Some prominent conservative intellectuals are also getting behind the idea.

A born-rich woman and a do-nothing Senator have created an idea that gives to the present and takes from the future, exactly what financial experts suggest one never should do.

If this reminds you of the disgraceful student loan program — in which young people are punished long-term by ongoing debt, you are correct.

Punishing families by taking money from future Social Security payments, is an idea one would expect from conservatives.

Helping the young by enslaving the old is a favorite GOP gambit, who simultaneously (and ironically) preach saving for the future.

To its designers’ credit, this is the best federal paid-leave proposal being discussed. My Bloomberg View colleague Ramesh Ponnuru agrees, writing that he hasn’t “seen a better plan.” Its underlying philosophy — that society should invest more in the young and less in retired individuals — is sound.

But it’s still a bad idea.

Yes, it’s a bad idea, especially since it does not ask “society” to invest more in the young” — it asks the elderly to invest more in the young —  nor is there any merit to giving less to the elderly.

And now comes the heart of what conservatives want — the widen the Gap between the rich and the rest part:

Spending on Social Security is projected to rise by 1.5 percentage points of annual economic output over the next three decades.

Policy should be focused on decreasing projected spending to preserve Social Security for future generations.

Social Security spending needs to be cut, not redirected.

This idea, being promulgated by the rich, tells you two lies:

  1. Social Security benefits are so lucrative, they can be cut without punishing the elderly, who anyway, aren’t productive members of our society
  2. Federal taxes pay for Social Security.

Lie #1 is ridiculous and disgraceful. Social Security benefits already are shamefully low, below poverty levels, and the notion that the elderly can be cast aside as no longer productive is beyond contempt.

Lie #2 is just that: A lie. The truth is that federal taxes — FICA, income taxes, any other taxes — do not pay for anything. They do not pay for Social Security. They do not pay for Medicare. They do not pay for the military, or for roads or for the White House, or for Congress.  Not one dime of federal taxes is used for anything.

When you send your tax dollars to the U.S. Treasury, they instantly disappear from any measure of the money supply. They no longer exist in the economy. They effectively are destroyed.

By contrast, when you send your dollars to your state and local taxing authorities, those dollars are deposited in a private bank, where they remain in the nation’s money supply.

That is a fundamental difference between a Monetarily Sovereign government, like the U.S. government, and a monetarily non-sovereign government, like your state and local governments.

State and local governments need income in order to spend. The federal government neither needs nor uses income. It creates brand new dollars, ad hoc, by paying bills.

And one wonders what else Congress might want to finance using future Social Security benefits if a family-leave plan creates that possibility.

Depending on the party in power, the federal government always can afford that party’s favorite projects.

Currently, the favorites are the military and the “Wall.” They will be funded, even while taxes are reduced.

The federal government never has, and never will, run short of dollars, which is why all concerns about federal deficits and federal “debt” are misguided

Social Security will soon pay out more to retirees than it receives in tax revenue and interest income, and its “trust fund” reserve is projected to be exhausted in 2034.

By the time today’s new parents reach retirement age, either benefits will have been reduced or taxes will have increased.

Social Security does not use tax revenue to pay benefits, and the so-called “trust fund” is a bookkeeping fiction. Of what purpose is a trust fund for a Monetarily Sovereign government that has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency?

Image result for blank 4- column table of items

No Monopoly money? Make a table like this. No column needed for the Bank, which never can run short, even with no taxes.

If you ever have played the board game “Monopoly,” you know that the Bank never runs short of money. Players can use any item as asubstitute or keep a record of transactions. The Bank creates Monopoly dollars, ad hoc, every time it pays a bill.

The federal government operates the same way as the Monopoly Bank. If you can’t run short of money, why be concerned about running short of money?

Future lawmakers could decide that retirees shouldn’t be “penalized” with lower benefits because they took paid time off. Any policy where the benefits are enjoyed today and the costs aren’t realized for decades should be met with skepticism.

This was not a concern for the GOP Congress, who gave benefits to the rich in the form of tax cuts, and the “costs” never will be realized.

On balance, then, it’s best to think of the family-leave plan as another middle-class entitlement program. Given projected federal debt and deficits, another entitlement is something the U.S. does not need, however laudable the goal. (This is especially true in light of the fact that four out of 10 working women already report access to paid time off following the birth of a child.)

If there is anything the rich hate, it’s “entitlement programs,” specifically entitlement programs for the 99%.

Entitlement programs for the rich, such as special tax breaks for non-salary income, are just fine, however.

Apparently, the writer of the article, Mr. Strain, believes that if 40% of working women have access to some unknown amount of paid time for some unknown duration, under certain, unknown circumstances, the problem is solved.

Finally, advocates of the plan are quite wrong to suggest that it won’t burden employers. It’s true that it wouldn’t require employers to finance the leave taken by their workers, but it would impose other significant burdens.

Subsidizing time away from work through the Social Security system would increase both the number of parents who take long periods of leave and the weeks of leave new parents take.

The increased use of leave would materially disrupt business operations, particularly for smaller firms.

Image result for servant and master

The poor are lazy.

This is under the theory that middle- and low-paid people are congentially lazy, and will look for ways to cheat the system.  (Of course, rich people never do such things.)

Since women tend to be the main users of parental leave, businesses would probably respond to this disruption by hiring fewer less-educated women of child-bearing age, offering women fewer hours of work per week, and by promoting fewer women into management roles.

The costs of paid leave will disperse throughout the labor market, creating invisible victims whose employment opportunities are diminished.

“Hiring fewer less-educated women of child-bearing age, offering women fewer hours of work per week, and by promoting fewer women into management roles” is exactly what happens now.

The difference is that today families not only are punished because they might have children, but also are punished when they actually do have children. A federally-financed family leave program could remove the second punishment.

Paid leave has many benefits. But the costs of letting families borrow against Social Security to finance it are too high.

Michael R. Strain at mstrain4@bloomberg.net; To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.net

Yes, paid leave has many benefits, especially if funded by the federal government, and isn’t another version of the awful student loan program, that gives today and punishes forever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

 

The nine politicians in black robes Friday, Oct 6 2017 

Image result for freedom

Freedom

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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There is a difference between ideology and party politics. The former is concerned with issues. The latter is concerned with blind loyalty.

Political parties do not bind themselves to an ideology, but rather focus on winning elections.

You probably have been told that the Supreme Court is a mixture of conservative and liberal Justices, something like this small table, showing the “attitude” (fundamental belief) of each Justice. Image result for supreme court party politics

In reality, The Supreme Court acts like the 3rd segment of the legislative branch.

Like a politician, each justice clings to the party that nominated him (her).

In short, the Supreme Court is ruled by politics, not by law and not by ideology.

The Justices make new law in the same way the Senate and House do: On the basis of political expedience.  Each Justice interprets (twists) the words of the Constitution to fulfill political allegiance, even resorting to the claim that some of the Constitution’s words are completely meaningless.

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution reads, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

It is difficult to argue that the framers intentionally included the bolded words, knowing they were to have no meaning.

Yet, our most famous, self-described “originalist” judge, Antonin Scalia, who prided himself on following the exact, plain-word meaning of the Constitution, argued exactly that.

He said the words, “well-regulated militia” had no meaning whatsoever — that they were an introduction like “Ahem,” a kind of legal throat clearing.

Republicans claim to be “conservatives,” but they are not. A real conservative wishes to conserve the past or at least the present. That desire is not what defines today’s Republicans.

Some de facto elements of today’s Republicanism are:

1. Pro-life, pro-death penalty, anti-birth control, pro-religion, pro-gun.  There is an ideological disconnect between pro-life and pro-death penalty and pro-religion.

If your religion believes the killing of fetuses is murder, why would you favor the mass distribution of murder machines and the killing of prisoners?

And if you oppose abortion, why would you oppose the birth control that would reduce the demand for abortions?

These are not conservative positions. They are not ideological positions. They are Republican political positions.

For instance, the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, legalized abortion by a 7-2 vote. Six of the seven justices in the majority were Republican appointees.

The State of Massachusetts passed a health care reform law in 2006. Governor Mitt Romney was a Republican. The law became known as “Romneycare.” Clearly, politics, not conservative ideology, was responsible for the subsequent Republican hatred of Obamacare, which was a virtual clone of Romneycare.

2. Pro-Christian, anti-nonChristian, anti-black, anti-brown, pro-white,  anti-immigrant. Many Republicans would deny having these beliefs, but whether or not stated overtly, the evidence is in the voting.

One only can wonder how a follower of Christ’s teachings can vote against the well-being of blacks, browns, and immigrants.

3. Anti-Jew, pro-Israel. Another head-scratcher. Christ was born, lived, and died a Jew, and was, in fact, a rabbi.

Being anti-Jew, but pro-Israel can be justified (if justification even is possible) only if anti-Muslim feelings are greater than anti-Jew feelings –“the enemy of my enemy” idea.

4. Anti-big government, pro-big business, anti-gay marriage, pro-“strict law and order.”  The anti-big government people believe the government is too intrusive and burdensome on our lives, while inexplicably believing big business is not intrusive or burdensome.

 The same anti-government people believe the government should intrude forcefully on the lives of gay people, and on individuals accused of street crime.

4. Pro-military spending, anti-social spending, anti-deficit spending, anti-science, anti-arts. “Anti-science” manifests itself with climate change denial and evolution denial.

“Anti-deficit” always gives way to “pro-military.”

What is the commonality of the above? They are not conservatism. They do not express a conservative ideology. Some do not “conserve” anything, some are mutually nonsensical, and some merely are bigotry.

There is but one commonality: They all are today’s Republican political positions. 

Imagine this scenario:

You are a renter who is suing your landlord. A plain reading of the law favors your position, but you know the judge was appointed by a powerful politician, who also is a landlord. Thus, the judge has a personal bias favoring landlords.

Statistics show that in the vast majority of tenant vs. landlord cases to appear before the judge, he rules in favor of the landlord, no matter what a plain English interpretation of the law says.

That is not ideology. The judge’s decision is based on politics.

I have just described to you, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today’s Supreme Court is composed of nine Justices, of whom four repeatedly lean politically Republican (Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Samual Alito, and John Roberts) four repeatedly lean Democratic (Elena Kagen, Sonia Sotomayer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer) with one being a “swing vote,” but with a Republican tilt (Anthony Kennedy).

Each of the judges is being influenced by some notion, not included in the law or the case itself. This unity is what one would expect of a political party, not of a group of impartial judges.

All of the so-called “conservative” judges are, in fact, Republican, not conservative, judges.  

Similarly, all “progressive” judges were appointed by Democrats though the Democratic party is not truly progressive. President Obama, with his cuts to social programs and his massive number of immigrant deportations, mashed a large dollop of Republican belief into his progressivism.

But the left-wing of the Supreme Court is quite reliably Democratic.

The current Republicans, now being the “party of the rich,” consistently vote to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest. This is not a conservative position; it merely is the current political position of the Republican party.

The poor are more likely to be killed by guns and the pro-death penalty, more likely to be blocked by anti-gay marriage laws, far more likely to be punished by anti-poverty rulings, housing discrimination, the loss of medical care, and bigotry.

A Supreme Court that repeatedly favors the rich and opposes the poor, acts like Republican politicians in black robes.”

But, consider the four “progressive” Justices.  What unites them?

The contemporary common political conception of progressivism in the culture of the Western world emerged from the vast social changes brought about by industrialization in the Western world in the late 19th century.

Progress was being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor; minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with monopolistic corporations; and intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists, thus claiming that measures were needed to address these problems.

While Republicans (faux conservatives) wish to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest,  Democrats (faux progressives) claim to wish to narrow the Gap.  In reality, both sides are pro-Gap widening; the Republicans merely more so.

America has two parties: The strong Gap-wideners, and the weaker Gap-wideners.

In Summary: The Republicans are not ideologically conservative, and the Democrats are not ideologically progressive. They are political.

Similarly, Supreme Court bloc voting is not the result of ideology but rather, of party affiliation.

Is America better for having a Supreme Court that favors the Republican lean toward the rich, or would a Supreme Court that favors the Democratic lean toward the middle and the poor be better?Image result for supreme court party politics

Whatever your answer, you should know that in the Supreme Court, the law often is ignored and ideology often is forgotten. But politics never are either.

In summary:

The Republicans are not conservative. The Democrats are not liberal. The Supreme Court is not ideological.

It’s all party politics for the nine politicians in black robes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

 

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