It is literally painful to watch our political leaders’ efforts to rethink and restructure how we are going levy taxes on ourselves as a collective society. It is like watching a family member struggling with mental illness: the demons being wrestled with are imaginary—yet they have the palpable force somehow of a granite wall. And as the struggle with this palpable monolith unfolds, even we—the clear observers of reality—forget that it is imaginary; when we do remember, the pain becomes excruciating for the simple reason that we know it is completely unnecessary.
Why does our political system choose to believe and struggle with the imaginary constraint that taxes must pay for sovereign spending? How can we explain to ourselves, in the face of this rock-solid demon, that the simple logic of fiat money demonstrates that sovereign spending must occur first, with taxes collected after? How can we reassure our terrified and confused representatives in congress that if our sovereign government collects back fewer dollars than it issues and spends, the difference is not our collective “debt”—it is, in fact, our collective savings? But the demon will not allow us these explanations.
The good news is that President Trump has been slow to nominate heads for regulatory agencies, says NEP’s Bill Black in his appearance on The Real News Network. The bad news is that Trump will pick someone eventually to replace Richard Cordray. You can view here with transcript.
In what is being called the biggest merger in the history of the health insurance industry, CVS is making a $66 billion bid to buy Aetna. NEP’s Bill Black discusses the merger’s potential consequences with The Real News Network. You can view here with transcript.
Think of how many of our seemingly intractable local and national problems could be solved if only America had its own sovereign fiat-money system! Unfortunately, most Americans can’t even think about that question because they’ve never heard a proper explanation of what “fiat-money” actually is. Here, then, is quick solution to that problem:
Pollution causes far more deaths than tobacco, infectious disease or war, and causes 4.6 trillion dollars of economic damage per year, according to a major new study published in the British medical journal The Lancet. You can view here with a transcript.
The Senate voted 51-50 to repeal a rule that would have made it easier for consumers to sue the financial institutions that defraud them. The move is “outrageous,” NEP’s Bill Black on The Real News Network. “It should be a national scandal, and require resignations in disgrace.” It can be viewed with a transcript here.
Rep. Tom Marino has withdrawn his nomination as President Trump’s new drug czar after revelations he pushed through a measure that worsened the U.S. opioid epidemic. NEP’s Bill Black says Marino and other lawmakers have been bought off by pharmaceutical companies he says have acted as “illicit, criminal, drug dealers” on The Real News Network. You can view with transcript here.
By William K. Black
October 22, 2017 Kansas City, MO
This is the first in a series of columns I will write that are prompted by the joint 60 Minutes and Washington Post investigations of the role of Congress and the White House in making it far harder to sanction effectively companies selling massive numbers of opioids that they know will go largely to those addicted to opioids. I will use the case study to illustrate many important points that criminologists know about elite white-collar crime and how to limit it and sanction perpetrators.
In this column, I introduce one of the most important concepts in white-collar crime – “seeming legitimacy.” The most elite predators use the seemingly legitimate entities in the business, government, and non-profit sectors that they run as “weapons” of predation and “shields” against sanctions. The criminology term for this is “control fraud.” The same logic applies to non-criminal predation. I will show in later columns in this series that Representative Marino (R, PA), the worst of the political shills for the opioid Predator Class, repeatedly spread the falsehood that the worst of the opioid predators could not be predators because they structured their firm as if it were “legitimate.” As a former state and local prosecutor, Marino knows that CEOs running the largest frauds pose as seemingly legitimate firms because it optimizes control fraud.
There was recently a breakthrough of sorts in media coverage for MMT. The Huffington Post published a piece covering the “People’s Convergence Conference” in Washington, D.C. on September 8-9. The conference brought together leaders and activists from all corners of the progressive political spectrum—including the “Draft Bernie for a People’s Party” movement. The conference apparently succeeded in creating the roots of a coordinated alliance between the leading progressive parties—including the Green Party, the Progressive Independent Party, and the Justice Party—which agreed, among other things, to the possibility of holding progressive primaries that would then field a single progressive candidate in the general elections. Most notable, however, the Huffington piece concluded with the header: Progressive Economics: “How do we pay for it?”
In Post 20, a lot is said about the role that the rate of return on financial instruments—the interest rate—plays on the pricing on securities, but little was said about what determines that rate of return. Two competing theoretical frameworks explain what influences the interest rate, one of them emphasizes the role of real factors and the other emphasizes monetary factors.
Real Theory of Interest Rate: Natural Interest Rate and Expected Inflation
Gross Substitution and Indifference Condition: Determinant of the Nominal Interest Rate
The real exchange framework (Post 12) emphasizes the role played by real variables in the decision-making process of any rational economic unit. People are not fooled by mere improvement in monetary income because they only care about improvement in purchasing power given that only consumption provides utility. Monetary instruments have no other purpose than to smooth market transactions, and preoccupation about the liquidity of balance sheets and monetary outcomes are irrelevant. Capitalism is equivalent to a barter economy that uses monetary instruments.