The Smart Bunny’s Guide to Debt, Deficit and Austerity: A Review

One of the most important parts of the collective effort to spread the good news about the Modern Money Theory approach to macroeconomics is popularization of MMT views. We need short simply-stated cultural artifacts that tell people what MMT has to say and what some of its policy implications are for fiscal policy that can deliver a greater measure of economic and social justice to people.

The newest effort to popularize MMT has now begun. It is a series of Kindle e-books, really e-pamphlets, written by an occasional blogger and international businesswoman using the web handle Arliss Bunny. Yeah, I know, I know. Please contain your enthusiasm for silly jokes about the handle. Just remember how you felt the first time you ran across a Dummies book.

Arliss is very serious about communicating key insights to people who need to know about MMT, and she is doing that using humor, a vigorous style, simple assertive statements, and utter contempt for those who want to keep people in thrall to false narratives about the macroeconomy and Government fiscal policy. Her first e-book in the series, The Smart Bunny’s Guide To Debt, Deficit, and Austerity is now available at the link. It’s cheap (2.99 USD) and you’ll get some good laughs out of it, effective sound bites, and some new ways of putting MMT propositions you haven’t seen before.

The Smart Bunny’s Guide To Debt, Deficit, and Austerity covers: the nature of fiat money; how households are different from Government, Government debt as a constraint, debt and deficit terrorism, the job of the Government in the economy, how government spending works, the relation between Federal debt and private sector financial assets, lies about debt and who benefits from them, gold standard thinking, the Fed as the representative of private interests, an inflation reality check, differences between the US, the Eurozone nations and a basket case like Zimbabwe, deficit spending, austerity, the fall of the Reinhart and Rogoff debt cliff hypothesis, austerity: cause or effect?, the role of business confidence, and what to do about austerity.

Here’s Arliss’s own blurb from Amazon:

”The Smart Bunny’s Guide to Debt, Deficit and Austerity” assumes that you have a real life (meaning you aren’t a wonk or a blogger) and that you have a half hour or less to figure out why all this stuff everyone is saying about debt, deficit and austerity is starting to smell like a five day-old fish. Author, Arliss Bunny, suspects that, unlike politicians and pundits, you might have actual brain activity. Melissa Irwin’s hilarious illustrations may annoy Arliss but you will be entertained. “The Smart Bunny’s Guide” is short, simple and truly brings the funny. What more could you ask from a book about economic policy? Seriously, how often has Paul Krugman made you laugh? Exactly. Read this book.”

Yes, it’s edgy; and pretty cool. I like edgy and cool myself. How about you?

20 responses to “The Smart Bunny’s Guide to Debt, Deficit and Austerity: A Review

  1. The link does not work, at least not for me in Australia.

  2. http://imgur.com/HRdWIZn
    or
    http://imgur.com/Ae46GOr
    admittedly im not great at it, but perhaps some of your readers?

    We need a meme campaign. Try making a few at imjur.com its free and fast.

  3. http://imgur.com/LtkawH4

    ha that will be my last one….

  4. Doug Reaves

    It looks like it’s only available for a Kindle. Will it ever become available for those of us who boycott Amazon?

  5. Gerry Spaulding

    Will there be a .pdf version available for purchase for those kindle illiterates out here?

  6. Amazon distributes a lot of free options for reading Kindle files on many platforms.

    Kindle Readers

  7. Hey Prof,
    Might want to jump on this one.
    PayPal Gives Man $92 Quadrillion Windfall, Takes It Away Without An Explanation
    http://consumerist.com/2013/07/16/paypal-gives-man-92-quadrillion-windfall-takes-it-away-without-an-explanation/
    and this one mentions the platinum coin:
    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/01/a-platinum-coin-as-big-as-the-ritz.html

    • Sorry. The platinum coin article is from January. My mistake. I thought it was a second article commenting on the Paypal event.

  8. To make up for my bad link I sent earlier, let me post this one from Frances Coppola at CreditWritedowns.com
    http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2013/07/the-wastefulness-of-automation.html

    It poses the scenario of what could happen if automation by AI powered robotics becomes so efficient that there is no longer a need for most human labor. I think it an excellent question that often occupies my brain, and one that might be profitable for MMT to address, if it hasn’t already.

  9. Arliss Bunny

    Hello, All. Thank you for asking about additional formats. I am making some corrections to the current edition over the next week and then, yes I have directed my human staff to provide as many different formats as possible once the initial Amazon “exclusive” 90 days are complete. I will post the links on my Twitter account, ArlissBunny, as soon as they are available.

    • Joe Firestone

      Arliss, Come back and post them here too, please, and also please thank your human staff for their fine work.

    • Hi Arliss,
      Over the many years I’ve tried to get people to understand the economic reality of MMT, most refuse to read any of the material I’ve sent them. Hopefully, yours will be the one people start reading. I’m about a quarter of the way through it and it is quite enjoyable…..good job!

    • Hi Arliss ~ I am guessing from your name that you are a boy-bunny. Wish you would have been there to meet the girl-bunny who lived with us back when Reagan was Prez. (She didn’t like him. Whenever he came on TV she went behind the couch to loudly thump.) We fondly called her Raisin because even though she kept most in her private litter-filled “raisinbox”, she often left some raisins on the floor around the house. She issued raisins at will and had a monopoly on raisin issuance in our house. We thought this monopoly, and bunny greed, would eventually cause raisin hyperinflation. Never happened. What a bunny!

  10. Pingback: The Smart Bunny’s Guide to Debt, Deficit and Austerity: A Review | Fifth Estate

  11. Well I hope this makes a bigger impact than I have. I’m going to recommend it to my friends, most of whom are university graduates, several with MBA’s and, one who has a first degree majoring in economics.
    I’m not optimistic. I talk about MMT and Moslers 7 deadly frauds until I’m blue in the face and they still don’t get it. That’s how complete the academic programming has been. Or maybe it’s more than that, perhaps it’s that they really like the phony baloney lifestyle the current paradigm has delivered to date?

    At any rate it seems like there are strong headwinds as Bernanke puts the economic situation.
    Best of luck Arliss Bunny!

  12. golfer1john

    If you want to persuade your conservative friends, don’t give them this. The ad hominem attacks are off-putting, enough to obscure the economic message, or even to discredit it. When the argument is valid, the name-calling is not just gratuitous and unnecessary, it is harmful, because it introduces doubts about the validity of the argument. It is the tactic of those whose argument is flawed, and it has no place in MMT. That sort of rhetoric will get you lumped together with truthers and birthers, and you’ll get the same credibility that they get.

  13. Hi All,

    I was thinking about designing a computer board game in the economic simulation genre with a couple of friends. I am thinking I’d like the game to focus on fiscal and monetary policy of competing nations/States. I want the game play to be open to a number of different strategies (Gold std, Fiat Currency, pegged currencies, etc).

    The mechanics I haven’t even begun to work out. But I’d be interested in anyone’s suggestions on how to model basic macro economic phenomena with Supply/Demand … Inflation/Deflation … Tax/Spend … Employment and International currency market components.

    Now I know this is a huge question, and the models are as complex as one can imagine, but if one suspends disbelief, and tries to simplify the model into a handful of operations and functions that capture the essence, this would probably be good enough.

  14. Arliss Bunny

    Yes…because providing conservatives with facts and a reasoned argument has worked so well….. They are already a lost cause and nothing I or anyone else can say will make a difference because they are not motivated by facts.

    The point of the Smart Bunny’s Guides is to speak to the far, Far, FAR greater majority of people who know something is wrong with conservative economics but don’t know or have the time to suss through the endless, dry economics literature. Those people DO understand the underlying anger and incredulity because it is theirs. Also, if you don’t think pointed humor is the way to convey important information, you have entirely missed the core value of the content produced by Jon Stewart and company. The way people talk with one another has changed due to the mediums of communication. If you have yet to grasp this, I can’t help you. The political tide is turning in this country and MMT has an opportunity to be part of the language and policy of the increasingly outspoken, powerful, motivated and, for the first time in decades, organized Left. Economic policy is political. MMT is not inherently so but because MMT puts the balance of an economy (instead of a budget) at the center of its core, it necessarily includes the overall welfare of the society (employment etc.). Anyone who thinks politics and economics are not inextricably bound can return to their ivory tower and pull up the drawbridge because the rest of us live in the real world.

  15. Hey Joe! I’ve been looking for some additional discussion of Iowa Housewife’s perspective. Can let me know if it went any further? Thanks, rap.