Who will play the Harlequin?

By J.D. ALT

In a recent essay (“A Strategic Thought”) I suggested that right now is an opportune moment for some brave progressive leader to step out and explain what modern fiat money is, why we’ve been using, in fact, it for the past half century, and how it changes the way we imagine our federal government pays for public goods. Whoever takes on this challenge, I suggested, would be treated as a harlequin by mainstream media and economic pundits—and would be marginalized and shunned by other political leaders on both sides of the aisle. No main-stream politician is ready to hear—let alone agree—that the federal government can issue and spend as many dollars as needed to accomplish whatever the nation has the real resources to undertake. No main-stream economic pundit is ready to hear that our federal “deficit” is a necessary aspect of a healthy fiat monetary system. No main-stream Republican or Democrat is ready to acquiesce to the reality that our national “debt” is not something we have to “repay” to anyone but is, in fact, the savings account of our private sector economy. No main-stream anybody who, by definition, depends on their position in the main-stream idea-flow for their livelihood and personal status, is ready or willing to hear, or even seriously listen to, any of those realities. Yet at some point all of it has to be formally presented and argued on the national stage—otherwise, modern fiat money, and the enormous possibilities it creates for human society, will continue to languish forever as a suppressed and poorly understood reality.

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VOTE AMERICA CARD

By J.D. ALT

Happy New Year. Now let’s get to work. There is much to be accomplished. The first order of business, from my perspective, is the issue of reinvigorating our democracy—specifically:

What are zealously proactive progressives thinking about? Instead of hauling the Republicans into court over their voter I.D. statutes, we should be exuberantly embracing the very idea of a voter I.D. Yes! Let’s take conservatives at their word: The purpose is not to make it more difficult to vote, or to discourage certain classes of citizens from actually casting ballots—the goal is to make certain that only qualified, living and breathing voters vote, and that they only vote once. We agree wholeheartedly! And to ensure this is what happens, we propose that every qualified U.S. citizen be issued a VOTE AMERICA I.D. card—and that a concerted, organized, federally funded, national effort should immediately be commenced to implement this goal.

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IMF Board Response to Lagarde Conviction Reaffirms Institutional Indifference to Corruption

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network. Topic of discussion is how the Legarde case reveals how power and money protect the elite. You can view the video below. If you wish to see a transcript, you can view it here.

A Strategic Thought

By J.D. ALT

I’d like to propose that it is important, right now, for existing progressive political leaders to stake out positions in support of direct sovereign spending for the creation of collective goods. If they must, they can call it “deficit spending.” What is important is that they very aggressively get on the record as proposing and supporting federal spending programs to to address specific issues that Americans are struggling with.

If this does not happen, there is a real risk that the newly empowered right-wing government of the Trump administration will propose to increase “deficit spending” first. If that were to happen, the progressive cause will have a serious dilemma: Do they push back against Trump―decrying the dangers of increasing the national debt!―or do they get aboard his spending train as more-or-less unnecessary baggage, and watch as it puffs and whistles its way into the hearts of the American heartland?

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Bill Clinton’s Surplus: Not Something to Celebrate

Video from Eric Tymoigne’s Modern Money students at Lewis and Clark College.

White Collar Crime Will Have a Field Day Under Trump

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network. Topic of discussion was that none of Trump’s economic picks – which now include three people from Goldman Sachs – were picked for their knowledge of economics. Video is below. You can view the transcript here.

After Meeting with Gore/DiCaprio Then Choosing “Fossil Fool” Cabinet, Trump is saying “I’m Evil”

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

In the past week, Donald Trump has with his cabinet choices on energy, environment, and now foreign affairs openly declared war on a stable climate and the future of humanity.  The manner in which he did these now, and soon-to-be more, heinous acts has been revealing about who Donald Trump is and how he can be expected to act in the future on a whole host of issues related and unrelated to climate.

While Trump in his campaign gave almost no signs that he had any interest in climate action, calling climate change a hoax and hewing to the now-standard Republican pro-fossil fuel “drill, baby, drill” line, Trump had in the last couple weeks flirted with climate action advocates and the mainstream press by suggesting that he had “an open mind” with regard to the reality of human-caused climate change.

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The Democratic Party’s “Centrist” Leaders Remain Clueless

By William K. Black
December 12, 2016      Bloomington, MN

On December 10, 2016, a New York Times article entitled “Democrats Have a New Message: It’s the Economy First” that unintentionally revealed that the Party’s “centrist” leadership and the paper remain clueless about how to improve the economy and why the “centrist” leadership needs to end its long war against the working class.  This is how the paper explained the five “centrist” leaders’ framing of the problem.

It was a blunt, plain-spoken set of senators who gathered last Monday at the Washington home of Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, dining on Chinese food as they vented frustration about the missteps of the Democratic Party.

To this decidedly centrist group, the 2016 election was nothing short of a fiasco: final proof that its national party had grown indifferent to the rural, more conservative areas represented by Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Jon Tester of Montana, who attended the dinner. All face difficult re-election races in 2018.

This non-centrist group was a gathering of five New Democrats.  President Obama self-identified himself as a New Democrat.  The Clintons and Al Gore are leaders of the New Democrats.  The leadership of the Democratic National Committee was, and remains, New Democrats.  On economic issues such as austerity, jobs, and full employment, the New Democrats are far more extreme than the (stated) views of Donald Trump.  The New Democrats are infamous for their close ties with Wall Street.  This means that the paper’s description of the Chinese nosh is as clueless as the five New Democrats kvetching about policy “missteps” that they championed for decades.  Of course, neither the paper nor the non-centrists mentioned that critical fact.  The blindness of the non-centrists to the fact that it is their policies that launched the long war by the New Democrats against the working class is matched by the blindness of the paper.

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – Not Austerity

William K. Black
December 5, 2016     Bloomington, MN

Bob Rubin and Alan Greenspan convinced the New Democrats, over a quarter-century ago, that the key to economic growth was to out-Republican the Republican Party in the fervency of their embrace of austerity.  This began the long war of the New Democrats against the working class that culminated in the loss of their candidate, Hillary Clinton, to Donald Trump.  Rubin’s and Greenspan’s support for austerity constitutes economic and political malpractice.  Austerity is the enemy of the general economy and the people of the world, but it targets for its greatest harm the working class.  As I have explained in earlier columns, Hillary was so devoted to austerity that she made it her major new policy theme in the closing weeks of her campaign – even as every poll warned her that she had enraged the white working class, a principal victim of austerity.

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Donald Trump, Why are You Aiming to Destroy the World of Barron, Arabella, Joseph, Theodore, Kai, Tristan, Chloe & Donald III?

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

Listen Donald,

Becoming President-elect was a grand coup for you, yet, with the path of climate denial and destruction you are headed on as President, you will be personally responsible for some extremely bad, real impacts on all Americans, even on all human beings, making you and them big “losers”.  It is no longer a matter of you playing a game for yourself in which you might be a “winner” but it means protecting and taking care of the destinies of all Americans, including your family, by making better decisions in policy and government actions.  It means moving from rhetoric in a campaign to real-world consequences that are potentially a HUGE catastrophe for all Americans and for humanity, caused or made immeasurably worse by you personally and your chosen actions.

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