Tag Archives: Fiscal Sustainability

The Value of the Right Ratio Is Zero

The public debt-to-GDP ratio is, perhaps, the most important measure used in discussions of the relative fiscal sustainability of nations. Nations with high levels of debt-to-GDP are viewed as having more serious fiscal problems than nations with lower levels. Nations having increasing ratios over time are viewed as becoming less fiscally sustainable, while those with decreasing ratios are viewed as more fiscally sustainable.

But is the public debt-to-GDP ratio really a valid measure of fiscal sustainability, or is it a measure that incorporates a neoliberal theoretical bias in its fundamental assumptions? In the United States the total value of public debt subject to the limit at any point is the total principal value of all the outstanding debt instruments sold by the Treasury Department. The GDP is the aggregate value of the production of goods and services in the United States within a particular period of time, adjusted for price changes.

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Functional Finance and the Debt Ratio—Part IV

By Scott Fullwiler

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] […] [Part 5]

This five part series will explore at length (warning!) and in detail (another warning—wonk alert!) the MMT perspective on the debt ratio and fiscal sustainability.  While the approach suggests a macroeconomic policy mix and strategies for both fiscal and monetary policies that most neoclassical economists currently believe are unsustainable, ultimately the MMT preference for a significant role for fiscal policy in macroeconomic stabilization is shown to be consistent with traditional neoclassical views on fiscal sustainability.

This fourth part integrates the content of the first three parts with the functional finance strategy for fiscal policy.  Warning again—this part is the longest and most detailed of the four. Continue reading

Richard Eskow Asks: Which Side Are You On?

By Joe Firestone

Richard Eskow of the Center for the American Future, posted a very good one a couple of days ago. He used the old union meme “which side are you on” to beat up the President and Congress about Social Security being placed on the negotiating table. I thought his writing on it was striking. Here’s some of it:

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New MSM Trillion Dollar Coin Wave: Here’s The Big Story

By Joe Firestone

The one thing that jumps out at you when reading the mainstream posts of the past week-and-a-half bringing Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS) into the forefront of attention again, for the first time since last year’s debt ceiling crisis, is that every mainstream blogger or commentator is telling a story about minting a Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC), or a few trillion dollar coins as an option the President can either use or not to get around the debt ceiling. But no one is telling us the much bigger story of the enormously increased authority to cause the creation of fiat money, delegated to the Executive Branch by the Congress in the 1996 legislation enabling PCS. And no one is telling us what the possible implications of this change are for our political and economic systems. Continue reading

New MSM Trillion Dollar Coin Wave Misses the Big Story: Bradford and Plumer

By Joe Firestone

In my last three posts, I’ve critiqued the new wave of mainstream posts and commentary on Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS) on my way to making the case that the MSM are missing “the big story” about PCS. These  include posts by Pethokoukis, Wiesenthal, Carney, Drum, Yglesias,  Yglesias, and an MSNBC cable segment by Chris Hayes. All of these have looked at PCS in terms of the Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC) and its possible impact on the impending debt ceiling shakedown. None have viewed it from a broader point of view. Let’s now look at commentaries by Harry Bradford, and Brad Plumer. Continue reading

New MSM Trillion Dollar Coin Wave Misses the Big Story: Drum and Yglesias

By Joe Firestone

In my last two posts I’ve been reviewing the new wave of mainstream posts and commentary on Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS) by way of providing background for making the case that the MSM are missing “the big story” about PCS. Thus far I’ve reviewed recent posts by Pethokoukis, Wiesenthal, and Carney, and an MSNBC cable segment by Chris Hayes. All four have looked at PCS in terms of the Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC) and its possible impact on the impending debt ceiling shakedown. None have viewed it from a broader point of view. Let’s now look at the commentaries by Kevin Drum and two from Matthew Yglesias here and here. Continue reading

New MSM Trillion Dollar Coin Wave Misses the Big Story: Hayes and Carney

By Joe Firestone

Did the MSM’s new wave of commentaries on platinum coin seigniorage (PCS) miss the really big story about it? Of course, I think it did, and I’ll continue my review of the MSM commentaries with the efforts of Chris Hayes at MSNBC, substituting as host on the Rachel Maddow show (12/05 at 9:20 PM); and John Carney at CNBC (12/06 at 11:54 AM). This is my second review post on this subject. Continue reading

New MSM Trillion Dollar Coin Wave Misses the Big Story: Pethokoukis and Wiesenthal

By Joe Firestone

In this post I said I would blog about the likely expected relationship between the different PCS options and inflation using the framework laid out by Scott Fullwiler!  But, after reconsidering, I thought I’d hold off until later, and, instead, first provide a discussion of the “new wave” of MSM-based blog posts on the Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC) “solution” to the upcoming debt ceiling conflict. As it turns out that will take a number of posts in itself. Continue reading

The Trillion Dollar Coin Is A Conservative Meme

By Joe Firestone

The Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC) is, first, an oversimplified meme, because there’s not one TDC solution, but lots of Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS) variations on that idea with differing implications for politics. Some just kick the can down the road, until the next debt ceiling crisis, or set up another trade between the Administration of something relatively valuable for something less valuable. Others would really change the political game. Continue reading

More Austerity Advice From the Very Rich: Buffett On Deficits!

By Joe Firestone

Warren Buffett’s recent op-ed in the New York Times is making a stir because it calls for a minimum tax on high incomes above $One million annually. But I was much more interested in some deficit targeting he proposes which exposes his ignorance about the sectoral financial balances model of macro-economics, and reveals him as a deficit hawk whose advice, if followed would be unsustainable and lead the United States into another deep recession. I’ll comment on a couple of paragraphs in Buffett’s op-ed. Continue reading