The Economic Agenda for America: A Commentary

By: Sunday December 7, 2014 5:30 pm

Senator Bernie Sanders just released his “Economic Agenda for America.” While that agenda is certainly more progressive than the talk we hear from Democrats, and certainly is progressive in its expression of generalities. It is not nearly sufficiently progressive in its specifics.

 

Beware of Policies and Legislation Based on the Generational Accounting Scam

By: Sunday October 12, 2014 4:03 pm

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF) and its allied army of associated deficit hawks want the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the General Accountability Office (GAO), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to do fiscal gap accounting and generational accounting on an annual basis and, upon request by Congress, to use these accounting methods to evaluate major proposed changes in fiscal legislation.

Late Night: A Case for Increasing Social Security Benefits

By: Wednesday October 8, 2014 8:00 pm

Some time ago, in the pages of USA Today, Duncan Black, better known to some as Atrios voiced the immediate need for increased Social Security benefits of 20% or more even if it means raising taxes on high incomes, or removing the payroll tax cap on salaries.

Black is right about the need for increased benefits; but legislating that increase doesn’t require increasing taxes. In fact, Congress should both increase benefits and remove the payroll tax entirely.

The Re-Invent Democracy Platform and MMT

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 5:53 pm

Proponents of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) approach to macroeconomics have had many successes since the approach was first synthesized in coherent form by Warren Mosler. There have been successful predictions of economic conditions: much work showing that the historical record accords with the MMT point of view, rather than the views of other approaches and paradigms, and also many instances where representatives of other approaches to economics have suddenly begun to use economic views first put forward by MMT economists.

Why Modern Monetary Theory Is a Dicey Bet for Liberals

By: Saturday September 27, 2014 5:20 pm

It’s the extension of Modern Monetary Theory beyond monetary theory where I start to have reservations. Using Modern Monetary Theory as the basis for public policy is tricky because in addition to justifying liberal priorities like funding safety net programs or a job guarantee, it can also be used for neoliberal ends like slashing taxes and eliminating the minimum wage.

When Modern Monetary Theory stops being a monetary theory, vague notions like “public purpose” and “productive capacity” come into play. Marshall admits we already have Modern Monetary Theory for big banks, as evidenced by the bailout and other extraordinary measures. Who is to say public purpose hasn’t been served by that? Who’s to say there isn’t an abundance of productive capacity bottled up in our entrepreneurial job creators just waiting to be unleashed by the elimination of the capital gains tax?

Real Fiscal Responsibility: What Chris Hayes Said

By: Tuesday September 9, 2014 7:12 pm

I’m interrupting my series on US Government Real Fiscal Responsibility since the Carter Administration to write about something Chris Hayes said relating to Real Fiscal Responsibility. Back in February of 2014, he tweeted:

“If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of veterans.”

Real Fiscal Responsibility 5; Carter: Environmental Degradation

By: Sunday September 7, 2014 6:40 pm

This, the fifth post in a series evaluating the fiscal responsibility/irresponsibility of the Governments of the United States (mostly the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Federal Reserve) by Administration periods, beginning in 1977 to 1981 with the Jimmy Carter period, will cover the performance of the Government on the environment and climate change aspect of “public purpose.” The previous posts discussed some basic definitions and assumptions of the series and evaluated Government performance relating to economic stagnation, living wage full employment, price stability/inflation, implementing universal health care, and educational reform.

Real Fiscal Responsibility 2; Carter: Stagnation and Unemployment

By: Sunday August 31, 2014 7:05 pm

This post continues my series evaluating the fiscal responsibility/irresponsibility of the Governments of the United States (mostly the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Federal Reserve) by Administration periods beginning in 1977 with the Jimmy Carter period. My first post explained why I chose to start my evaluation with the Carter period, and also laid out my related definitions of fiscal sustainability, and fiscal responsibility.

Real Fiscal Responsibility I: Preliminaries

By: Sunday August 31, 2014 5:20 pm

This is the first in a lengthy blog series that will evaluate the US Government’s record on Real Fiscal Responsibility, Administration period by Administration period, since the Administration of Jimmy Carter in 1977. In evaluating the US Government’s record, it’s important to state clearly that I will be evaluating more than just each Administration and its activities.

The record of fiscal responsibility is not the product of the Executive Branch alone. It is the outcome of the interaction of the Executive with the two Houses of Congress and the Federal Reserve System, even on occasion the interaction of one or more of these with the Supreme Court. All bear joint, though not equal responsibility for the record of Government fiscal responsibility or fiscal irresponsibility, as the case may be, during each Administration period.

Trying to Make Sense of a Manic Monetary Theory

By: Sunday June 8, 2014 3:50 pm

My main reservation with Modern Monetary Theory is probably this: It is named a monetary theory, yet its proponents expand its scope – in all directions, it sometimes seems – to include topics that have nothing to do with monetary theory. I think it’s reasonable to expect a monetary theory to describe the way money works, and nothing else.

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