By L. Randall Wray
Here’s a summary of the plan Bernie Sanders has set out, along with my comments (in italics).
1.) We need a major investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. $1 trillion investment to create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive.
Agreed, but let’s not settle for a mere 13 million jobs. We need twice that. And, of course, the “price tag” is irrelevant—so long as we create useful jobs that pay living wages, we can “always afford” to pay for them. By creating jobs we are not just investing in infrastructure, but we are also investing in our people, enhancing their participation in our society and providing them with the means to support their families. We can always afford that.
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.
Here’s a commentary on it.
1. We need a major investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure: roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports, railroads and schools. . . . A $1 trillion investment in infrastructure could create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive. . .
Today, I received an e-mail from the Friends of (the very popular with progressives) Senator Bernie Sanders. In it the Senator says:
I’m joining with the members of Progressives United to send a clear message to President Obama that we will stand with him when he vetoes Republican legislation that attacks the well-being of the struggling middle class.
Join me and members of Progressives United to urge the president to VETO any Republican legislation that attacks working families.
NO to cuts in Social Security. NO to cuts in Medicaid. NO to converting Medicare into a voucher program. NO to new trade legislation that sends our jobs overseas and hammers our middle-class workers. NO to cuts to nutrition programs, education or environmental protection.
YES to raising the minimum wage. YES to a massive jobs program rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. YES to transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels. YES to pay equity for women workers. YES to overturning Citizens United.
We already know what “compromise” will mean from a Republican Congress: their way or the highway. In order to win in the future, President Obama must stand strong for the American middle class, and we must support him.
Tell President Obama: Standing firm is the only option, and that means committing to VETO legislation that attacks working families, and fighting for legislation that defends their needs.
By Joe Firestone
Paul Krugman’s recent post makes some good points about the myth of the undeserving poor. But does he have a nervous tic? When criticizing conservative economic views, doesn’t he always seem to genuflect slightly to conservative opinion in order to appear “reasonable”? In this post he says:
“I’ve noted before that conservatives seem fixated on the notion that poverty is basically the result of character problems among the poor. This may once have had a grain of truth to it, but for the past three decades and more the main obstacle facing the poor has been the lack of jobs paying decent wages. But the myth of the undeserving poor persists, and so does a counterpart myth, that of the deserving rich.”
What “grain of truth” ever existed in this story? Where is the empirical evidence that the poor were ever more “lazy” than the rich or had other “character defects” (Not K’s words) that the rich don’t have in abundance, as well? I don’t think there is any. What the conservatives believe is pure BS. Some people are certainly “lazier” than others. But there’s no evidence that this aspect of character is class-based. It’s just prejudice, myth, and conservative fairy tales, which they embrace in place of authentic religion, run rampant.
By Joe Firestone
This is the concluding post in a four part series on the “Top” reasons why the national debt should matter. In Part One, I considered “Fix the Debt’s” claim that high levels of debt cause high unemployment and argued that this is a false claim. In Part Two, I followed with a review of the historical record from 1930 to the present and showed that it refutes this claim throughout this period, and that there is not even one Administration where the evidence doesn’t contradict “Fix the Debt’s” theory. In Part Three I showed that the other four reasons advanced by “Fix the Debt” also had very little going for them. In this part, I’ll give reasons why the national debt does matter, and why we should fix it without breaking America, or causing people to suffer.
Posted in Joe Firestone
Tagged $60 Trillion Coin, austerity, bernie sanders, CBO, CPC Budget, debt-to-GDP ratio, deficit spending, High Value Platinum Coin Seigniorage, HVPCS, John Conyers, medicare for all, MMT, modern money theory, national debt, Peter G. Peterson, “Fix the Debt”
By Joe Firestone
Like many others, I’m not worried about the so-called fiscal “cliff,” and the ravages to the economy that are likely to occur if Congress doesn’t do something about it before the end of the year. That’s because a lot of the impact can be cushioned in the short run by Executive Branch manipulations while negotiations continue to go on. But if measures aren’t taken to reverse the contractionary effect of the sequestration-induced changes, we’re looking at deficit cuts of $487 Billion over 9 months of the fiscal year. Continue reading
Posted in Joe Firestone
Tagged bernie sanders, CBPP, debt-subject-to-the-limit, debt-to-GDP ratio, deficit, Economists for Peace and Security, Fiscal Responsibility, Fiscal Sustainability, jamie galbraith, MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, national debt, Robert Reich, Stephanie Kelton
By L. Randall Wray
As I reported over at Great Leap Forward,a new study by two UMKC PhD students, Nicola Matthews and James Felkerson,provides the most comprehensive examination yet of the Fed’s bail-out of WallStreet. They found that the true total cumulative amount lent and spent onasset purchases was $29 trillion. That is $29,000,000,000,000. Lots of zeros.The number is quite a bit bigger than previous estimates. You can read the first of what will be a series of reports on their study here: I want to be clear that this is a cumulative total—and for reasons I willdiscuss in this post it is the best measure if we want to understand themonumental Fed effort to restore Wall Street to its pre-crisis 2007 glory.
It is certain that no government anywhere, ever, hascommitted so much to benefit so few. Wall Street owes the Fed a big fat wetkiss. That’s a kiss Chairman Bernanke apparently does not want.
Last week he extended the Fed’s veil of secrecy over itsbail-out of Wall Street by trying to counter a recent Bloomberg analysis of theextent of the Fed’s largess with a fog of deceit. Apparently the Chairmanforgot the lesson we learned from Watergate: the cover-up is always worse thanthe original indiscretion.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 – Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and other nationally-renowned economists agreed today to serve on a panel of experts to help Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) draft legislation to reform the Federal Reserve.
Sanders announced formation of his expert advisory panel in the wake of a damning report that faulted apparent conflicts of interest by bank-picked board members at the 12 regional Fed banks.
Top executives from Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, General Electric and other firms sat on the boards of regional Federal Reserve banks while their firms benefited from the central bank’s policies during the financial crisis, the Government Accountability Office investigation found. The dual roles created an appearance of a conflict of interest, according to the GAO.