Bernie Sanders has an ambitious agenda. Too ambitious, insist his critics (including, especially, surrogates of Hillary Clinton). He would break up the big banks, reverse the redistribution of income and wealth to the top (that accelerated under the triple whammy of the Bush-Clinton-Bush administrations), restore and improve our nation’s infrastructure, and provide employment and better wages at the bottom. The critics proclaim that his programs cannot “pay for themselves”.
Using conventional macro models, Professor Gerald Friedman at UMass showed that they would. He was then attacked for using the conventional models that all conventional economists use. Apparently, these models are fine when they support austerity, but are out-of-bounds for use when they support progressive policy. Adam Davidson (of NPR’s “Planet Money”) has noted that in spite of the empirical results, even Friedman admits that perhaps only 4% of economists believe that Bernie’s programs can pay for themselves.
[Revised 4/18/16. Added Part 2 and link to Part 2]
Bill Black, adviser to Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton supporter Paul Hodes appear on The Real News and discuss whether the Dodd-Frank legislation is effective at preventing systemic risk from Wall Street monopolies. You can view the videos below or on The Real News‘ site with a transcript. Part 2 on Real News.
Money is the blood of capitalist enterprise and finance is about money now for money later. As such a well-developed financial system is essential for economic activity in a capitalist economy. The broader the range of promissory notes that can be issued, the more accommodative the financial system is to the demands of the productive system. Households cannot fund the purchase of a house with a credit card and there is no point in buying groceries with a 30-year mortgage. While all this may seem obvious, economists have been divided about the relevance of finance for economic activity. This divide ultimately rests on different premises on how to do economics, which John Maynard Keynes characterized as Real Exchange Economy versus Monetary Production Economy.
I’m pleased to announce the book The Millennials’ Money is now available. Many of its parts were first vetted here at NEP, and readers’ comments and suggestions were extremely helpful in finalizing the text. There is a nice endorsement on the back cover by Stephanie Kelton. A deeply felt thank you to NEP and all of its readers! The book is structured in three sections:
The introduction, “The Ideology of Money Scarcity—a Brief History,” is an overview of how, after 1971, the U.S. found itself using a modern fiat money system but continued thinking and behaving as if U.S. dollars, like gold, were a scarce commodity.
By William K. Black
April 11, 2016 Bloomington, MN
This is the second part of my series on how Hillary and Bill Clinton and Paul Krugman have pivoted in response to Bernie Sanders’ series of electoral wins and are racing hard right on finance and crime. In my first column I wore my criminology “hat” to explain how Bill was disinterring outrageous (false and racist) positions that Hillary and he had once championed. This was all the more bizarre because Hillary and Bill had recently repudiated those positions. In the mid-1990s, Hillary and Bill sought to spread a “moral panic” about subhuman black “super predators” in order to secure passage of the crime bill that led to mass incarceration and then to maintain the 100-to-one disparity in sentencing for crack v. powder cocaine once it was known that the scientifically baseless sentencing disparity was leading to a dramatic rise in the incarceration of blacks and Latinos. I also deplored Bill’s false claim that Black Lives Matter protesters were “defending” those who murdered black children.
An expert in banking corruption and finance has joined the Bernie Sanders campaign. William K. Black, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-KC, is Bernie Sanders’ new economic advisor. Black was one of the central figures in exposing and prosecuting corruption in the savings and loan crisis from the late 1980s and mid-1990s. His addition to the Sanders campaign brings important knowledge in laws pertaining to finance and banking.
The savings and loan banking crisis resulted from a multitude of causes, one of which were two laws that helped deregulate them. The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. That law allowed credit unions and savings and loans to offer checking deposits, and to charge any loan interest rate they chose.
Read the rest here.
(Crossposted from Huffington Post. Postscript added for NEP)
Remember several weeks ago when Hillary Clinton was complaining that Democrats did not consider her a “progressive?” Bernie Sanders’ big win in Wisconsin ended that tactic and propelled Paul Krugman and Hillary and Bill Clinton to race to the right, inadvertently proving Bernie’s point that they are not progressives on the key issues.
In the last week, Hillary and her surrogates have pivoted hard right and retreated to their long-held positions on the major issues. Indeed, in several cases they have gone even farther to the right than the policies they pushed over a decade ago – even though those policies proved disastrous. They also inadvertently demonstrated the terrible policies that were produced by the Clinton’s vaunted “pragmatism” and compromising with the most extreme Republican demands. That was the story of Clinton’s infamous welfare “reform” – a policy both Clintons championed. Tom Frank details in his new book entitled Listen, Liberal how the Clintons’ “pragmatism” and zeal to work with the worst elements of the Republican Party led to the welfare “reform” bill. Zach Carter has just written the article I was planning to write about that travesty. He entitled it “Nothing Bill Clinton Said To Defend His Welfare Reform Is True.” I encourage you to read it.
I am now officially an economic advisor to Senator Sanders, and this column reflects some of that advice. Part of my advice is not to take money from Wall Street felons. (I am not taking credit for Bernie’s decision — at most I supported a decision he had already made over a year ago.) One of the reasons I reinforced Bernie’s decision was witnessing the problems President Obama experienced given his taking very large contributions from Wall Street. I channeled the prescient warning that Professor Thomas Ferguson (U. Mass, Boston) gave a group of us in 2008. He predicted, accurately, that Obama would not lead an effective crackdown on the endemic fraud by Wall Street elites that caused the financial crisis. Tom (he is a personal friend) is the expert on campaign finance. He authored the classic book on campaign finance entitled Golden Rule (as in the observation that he that has the gold makes the rules.).
We could, of course, retire the Bank Whistleblowers United’s Lemons title – for ignoring or trivializing elite fraud – by awarding it permanently to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The current award is particularly close to our hearts because it involves DOJ ignoring the sworn testimony of one our founders, Richard Bowen. DOJ did not ignore Bowen’s testimony because it was discredited, but because it was proven accurate – and should have led to the indictment of Citigroup’s top leadership team.
Two recent revelations prompt the timing our Lemon award to DOJ. First, it is five years since the release of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) report, so the criminal referrals that FCIC made were revealed. Citigroup’s senior managers were the subject of two, separate criminal referrals by FCIC. One of those two referrals was based on Bowen’s testimony. (Bowen’s explosive interview by FCIC’s staff was also made public.) The mainstream press has ignored the referral based on Bowen’s testimony.