Stephanie Kelton appeared on UP with Chris Hayes

[Revised 1/12/13 @ 13:17]

Stephanie Kelton appeared on UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC  Saturday January 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM Eastern.

You can view selected segments below.


1.) Introduction

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2.) Myths in threats of government default

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3.) ‘Mint the Coin’ a viable option?

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4.) The odds the Whitehouse will take up the Trillion Dollar coin

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42 responses to “Stephanie Kelton appeared on UP with Chris Hayes

  1. Break a leg Stephanie!

  2. Stephanie-
    Was absolutely thrilled to see you on “Up” this morning. Chris Hayes is a great host that asks the real underlying questions. I could feel your intense frustration with the automaton-like responses from the two right-wing panelists but you have achieved a milestone – a step closer to mainstream status. Joe Weisenthal was also the king of clarity and focus.
    The “Trillion Dollar Coin” is a PR coup – for only the seemingly absurd catches the ear of the public and media.

    Thanks for being there in the spotlight.


  3. Watching this now. I’m disappointed in Hayes, but have a suggestion for Stephanie (or anyone else faced w/ ridicule over PCS or other MMT reasonings): let’s play the opposite hypothetical. Explain to me what happens when we pay off our “so-called debt” and how we run consistent surpluses w/o trade balance reversals and what that does to the economy. In other words, I’d like to see mocking exchanged for mocking, but to pointedly expose the incoherence of the opposition’s understanding of money. Just a thought.

  4. Great job this morning…

  5. Excellent job Dr. Kelton! The problem with this format is that you do not have the time to explain the basis for your opinion particularly when dealing with the neoliberal biases of the other panelists.

  6. Nice job, but that format stinks. You were sort of drowned out by way too many voices. Chris Hayes needs to cut back on the caffeine too.

  7. SK, great job this morning! Now we need you with your own show on MSNBC! Started to make some breakthrough on the nonsense that we don’t have enough money to put unemployed people to work.

    My favorite highlight:
    SK: talking about $100T sitting in the trsy acct. then spending $2T of it on badly needed infrastructure projects to put some of the 23M unemployed people to work.
    DG: responds, but then the rest of the world will laugh at us.

    Are you friggin kidding me?! The best reason for the govt not to use the TDC and put people to work is rightwing nuts are worried we might be laughed at? Try asking the 23 million unemployed if they want the TDC so they can be put to work!

  8. Knockout job Stephanie.
    I enjoyed the programme a lot. Good presenter and I thought Goldstein and Barofsky were also very impressive.

  9. Gret job Stephanie !
    I just wish that a) Hayes wouldn’t have agreed with the rather silly opening description given by the two rather dense neo conservatives types, sitting to you right I believe, and b) that they could have given to you more time speak it must be tiring to hold your tounge and hold quiet to let other, much less well informed panelists try to hog th scarce minutes. But, MMY has com a long way now and we can’t stop.
    Thanks sor supreme effort, RT and now this!
    William Alllen

  10. Erik Hinsvark

    Stephanie Kelton was on MSNBC?!!!!!!! Score 1 for MMT! Thank you Stephanie for representing MMT subscribers and for trying your hardest to explain what the economy actually does. MMT isn’t necessarily a theory but more so a fact. I can only hope you and others continue to get the press coverage you deserve.

  11. Great job! Although new at this I know enough to scream at my TV when they debate how the world is flat. The way you explained the PCS was dead on awesome. If we can get just one person to say “I’m going online to figure out what she’s talking about” thats all we need.
    PS I think Hayes is onboard with MMT. His questions seemed to aim at getting more MMT talking points in the open, while he went after the right side asking them to explain why it wouldn’t work. But, he is a lefty that knows taxes have to be higher, just like the righty knows the government spends too much. MMT supports neither. So they have no use for it. You know a wise man once said, I think it was Attila the Hun, “It is not enough that I succeed, everyone else must fail.”

  12. Great to see S. Kelton on TV! Good job given the setup.

    Not sure this would be persuasive to someone thinking the idea is insane. Maybe say that every deficit is coupled with creating new asset out of thin air? A bond, dollar bills, a coin etc. ? We are only going to spend what we would if financed with bonds, let’s separate the issues and win one battle at a time. This is not the time to persuade people we can spend more because we have platinum (people will think we are crazy) but that we can finance the spending any way we want. People’s eyes will open to the fact that creations of money goes on all the time, I think it would be a sufficient victory for one day.

  13. Stephanie Kelton

    Thank you for all of the supportive comments. You’re picking up on many of the difficulties one faces in situations like these. The biggest isn’t the format. It’s the fact that 99% of the population does not speak a language that is second nature to everyone who commented on my appearance. Chris explained this during the break. As he explained, most people don’t even understand what a bond is, never mind what the federal deficit is or how it is related to debt. I’ll keep working to hone the argument and learn a great deal reading comments from everyone who visits NEP!

    • Tell me about it! I don’t think most people know what reserves are, or how the Fed sets interest rates, or how the Treasury spends…

    • John Rosenfield

      I was finally able to view your appearance on UP and read the transcript. You had an independent voice and your demeanor was excellent on the show.

      My wish for you would be a 15 – 30 minute interview by Rachel Maddow if you are still interested in MSNBC. Ms. Maddow is a detailed oriented individual who I think would be a good match for your type of economic presentation. You might not want to try to hit a home run the next time out in the television world — settle for a single or double. Maybe have in mind just one or two key principles. The most important one that I’ve heard you make is that the U.S. Federal Government can always pay its bills which is not the same principle as it is for households, businesses, large corporations and state and local governments. The U.S. can never be like Greece because the U.S. has an “independent” currency (the word independent has a nice political tone) and Greece does not.

      Your positions might need to have a degree of a political tone and somewhat less of an economic one. Remember that in the television world you’re a salesperson to the public at large, and what you have to sell for now is the best product around.

  14. Thanks Stephanie for trying to bring some sanity to the platinum coin idea.

    It is too bad that Chris Hayes is just part of screaming media that cannot see or understand anything outside of DC’s political realm. If Chris had only shut up about the coin being some kind of silly solution instead of calling it that at five times and listen to how it could be a solution. The idea that “US government can only spent what it collects in taxes or borrows” is so ingrained in every american. Most average Joe/Josephine taxpayer thinks his/her US government must get its household finances in order now (pay down debt and no deficit spending). When actually our country would greatly benefit from deficit spending on road building/infrastructure projects (real future investments) as you suggested. I really wish there was some sane place in public media where a rational and easy to understand person like herself could go and explain some of the ways that deficit spending can benefit the country. Chris’s two political commentators don’t bring any economical sense to this coin discussions. Fiscal restraint by government now will lead to a recession even CBO knows that. Taking away the payroll tax holiday at start of 2013 will adversely affect GDP growth. Why add to that with spending cuts?

  15. Joe’s face about 3:30 into the 4th clip is just great. You can tell that he just can’t believe that Heidi could be that dense. The last time I saw that face was from a guest on the O’Reilly Factor.

  16. Very exciting! I have emailed MSNBC twice now asking for more MMT exposure. Maybe an email campaign would help. I have been educating myself since last February using the youtube videos , Warren Moslers book and this website, so I know EXACTLY what you mean by people not understanding the language. I didn’t. But now when someone like Dr. Kelton gets air time I understand much more of what she is saying and listen with a critical ear to the counter arguments. Thank you so much. Keep on keepin’ on! The lightbulb is on in OHIO. I hope to see more MMTer’s on MSM.

  17. Pingback: Open Letter to President Obama by Stephanie Kelton |

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  19. Dr. Kelton, thanks for being the point-woman for a rational approach to untangling the lines of thought in the myth-drenched debt shouting match. Being a layperson myself, the MMT consortium here at NEP is enlightening me as to the nature of sovereign currency, economies, and the big debt debate more than all 27 years of my arts and letters education has. But with little background in finance, economics, or even math, the exact process by which money is created remains elusive for me. I would like to read an authoritative explanation somewhere; an explanation SO factual that it cannot be attacked by wishful-thinking ideologues. Perhaps the cognitive challenge in understanding money creation is in the jargon that has opposite connotations (i.e. a bank deposit is a “liability”), or in the mirror-image-like nature of private-sector surplus=public sector debt, or how the process of money-creation involves the Federal Reserve “crediting the Treasury’s “Bank Account.”
    The next cognitive hurdle is always how to proceed on the basis of that knowledge. The argument is typically that inflation is the inevitable consequence and that “financial markets will go crazy.” (It must be that ‘they’ were already crazy?) For that reason, the explanation for the process of money-creation should be immediately followed by a discussion of the causes/remedies for inflation, including historical data on debt/GDP ratio and what constitutes a balanced ratio. This could go on and on highlighting the growth of the population, money supply, etc…
    Oddly enough, as inexpert as I am in terms of economics knowledge, somehow I’m less ignorant (Thanks to NEP) than those goofballs to Dr. Kelton’s right (one of whom was an economic adviser to GWB{no surprise there}), but I’d like to see Dr. Kelton on some programs where the hosts have the presence of mind to shut the hell up and listen to a very clear voice — i.e. Kelton’s — that speaks in paragraphs, not soundbites. The best example is Kelton’s appearance on Harry Shearer’s “Le Show.” Kelton’s blog has a link to that excellent one-hour interview, and Shearer’s site includes a transcript.

  20. This woman teaches our kids… economics???


    Kids… pick your universities well.

    Apparently they don’t vet their professors for sanity.

    • John Rosenfield

      Dr. Kelton is a well known and highly respected economist and college teacher who cares deeply about the well-being of the citizens of the United States.

      • Be careful feeding trolls. Similar to stray dogs and cats, it only encourages them to come back.

        • These kind of crazy, nonsensical ideas take and hold flight ONLY among closed groups of like-minded thinkers.

          When they’re exposed to a mass audience, as they were the other day in a rerun of Haye’s show UP, you should fully expect rational folks to roll their eyes and respond as I did, and even as Chris Hayes — a FAR lefty –did.

          The funniest part is when she looked at the Repub contingent and proclaimed “well, you’re just wrong”. Much like Al Gore declaring “the debate is over” regarding anthropogenic global warming — which is FAR from true.

          No debate is ever over when it comes to science, or the economy, and anyone who claims such virtually eliminates themselves from any further serious discussions.

          Science, nor economics, can be dictated.

          And neither can be dumbed down into a teeter-totter or fraudulent hockey stick graph as well.

          • See what I mean.

          • John Rosenfield

            Actually I am not like-minded with Dr. Kelton. There are areas of her teachings that I agree with, areas that I do not, areas that I am ambivalent about and areas that I do not yet or may never understand.

            Nevertheless, I stand by my original reply.

          • “The funniest part is when she looked at the Repub contingent and proclaimed “well, you’re just wrong”. Much like Al Gore declaring “the debate is over” regarding anthropogenic global warming — which is FAR from true.”

            Agreed! You know who else claimed the war to be over? Hitler!

        • John Rosenfield

          The risk was well considered. That’s why it took me a couple of days to make the choice to reply.

          • You’d be wise to close down comments so your little cocktail club of nodding pin-heads can continue to agree with each other unfettered, and unchallenged.

            If not for the recent rerun of the Hayes show, no one outside your little circle would have found this obscure website.

  21. Want to put America back on a path to longterm recovery, actually paying down our massive debt, and increasing federal revenue for decades to come?

    1. Repeal the PPACA, but keep the pre-existing pool provision, and enact *meaningful* medical tort reform.

    2. Repeal every job-killing/anti-business regulation Obama has added since Jan 20, 2009

    3. Put all marginal income tax rates back to the Bush levels, and lower the corp tax level.

    Just those three steps alone would set America back on a *Constitutional* path to long term recovery.

    The debate is over.

    • Since you’ve actually made real arguments, I feel that revokes your provisional troll status. I’m sure John will chime in here too since he’s already engaged you.

      I take it you are new around these parts because you’ve come on to an MMT site to argue HOW we can “…pay down are massive debt, and increase federal revenue…” MMT is actually all about the argument that we DON’T need to do either of those two things. So you need to back up your high horse there, cowboy. I’ll address each of your points only under the framework of “put America on a path to longterm growth” and ignore the other two provisions.

      1. You will find large agreement here on repeal of the ACA. I would hazard that most folks on this site would prefer a single-payer public option. Also medical tort reform is never a bad idea.

      2. You’ll have to be more specific if you want an actual argument. This reads like a quote you stole from Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly. Stupid regulations are stupid and needed regulations are needed, no matter who the president is. You want to argue merits of individual pieces of legislation? Fine. But lumping everything done over the past 3 years and labeling Obama and calling them all bad is a sure sign that you should go back to watching Fox News and leave MSNBC for the grown-ups.

      3. I don’t think you will find much argument here against lowering taxes. Although, most people here would support eliminating regressive taxes like FICA before worrying about the highest marginal brackets.

      Sorry to have been a jerk originally, but for future reference, these are not CNN forums or YouTube comments. Come here with actual opinions not ad hominems toward one of our most hard-working professors.

      • I’m not an economist, I ‘m a 30-year self-employed person with numerous contacts with others of the same ilk, including work associates and customers I work for, whom I’ve had long conversations about reading our current dire economic situation, as well as many doctors whom I’ve had private conversations with in their homes (while I’m working) regarding the PPACA.

        So I’m not about vague theories and nonsensical ideas that are bounced around in academic circles to perpetuate grants and seek awards. I’m all about what the hard reality is in business, and what Barack Obama’s policies are doing TO this nation. And I’m not here because of MMT, I just Googled the professor after seeing the insane (IMHO) comments defending the TDC and rampant gov’t spending and expansion.

        As far as single payer.. NO! We need only look to the UK and Canada to see the failure of single-payer, and there’s no reason to abandon the principles that built America into the World’s envy, and destination for folks seeking opportunity, in very short order: competition in the private sector, with gov’t not IN the way, but OUT of the way, and primarily providing for safety nets, and national security.

        I stand by my suggestions above (as a beginning), and to make it even simpler: we must get back to a Constitutional-style gov’t, and away from the Euro-socialist/gov’t-centric model Obama is creating. In fact if the Founders were here today, we’d have another Revolution against King Barry, I have no doubt. What he’s trying to create here is just what they left behind, and fought bloody battles to break free of.

        In America, our federal gov’t should be like a well-designed computer anti-virus. Running quietly in the background, guarding against outside (and inside) threats and fixing broken files, but not hogging resources. We shouldn’t even have to think much about it, nor be burdened with all the extra steps and resource-draining regulations and fees, when we wish to create and run business, and expand.

        What we are marching into UNDER Obama is just the opposite. It is burdensome, oppressive, favors the collective over the individual, and is very foreign stuff in a nation founded upon the God-given rights and freedoms of the individual.

        Bottom line: this nation was and is beautiful as-founded, but will not survive if this current trend of massive debt and gov’t expansion isn’t reversed.

        • John Rosenfield

          Tom and aj,

          Sorry about not responding promptly. My wife wanted me to accompany her while she was out shopping for candy that is on sale the day after we celebrated Easter.

          I think that all three of us are the type of people that have to consider the everyday cost of living.

          Both of you have given me a lot to think about. Give me a day or two to consider a reply.

        • Tom, I can’t take apart your entire political belief system in a blog post. I disagree with almost every statement you’ve made. You’ve basically recited to me the Fox News talking points. This site is dedicated to MMT, which (as simply as I can put it) is the idea that government spending is not the evil thing that most people think it is. From that simple, but counter-intuitive premise results all the rest. I discovered this site after asking myself how much government spending mattered. I came from a slightly more progressive place, in that I assumed it as some % of GDP. Starting from the perspective that all government spending is bad, you have a vastly higher hurdle to overcome, and I don’t think anything myself or John can say will convince you otherwise.

          I’ve spent over two years studying the work in this field after coming out of an undergrad degree in econ and a graduate degree in business and finance. Others here — like Stephanie — have spent the entirety of their academic careers pursuing this subject. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to show you that it really doesn’t take that long to understand the underlying concepts that justify the conclusions. On UP, Stephanie only has the time to state the conclusions and can’t address all the underlying reasons.

          Your initial attack on Stephanie, I found highly troll-like, which is why I was poking fun at you. If you truly want to understand MMT, I’d suggest you start with the link at the top of this site that says “MMT Primer”. If you want to know more about MMT and have trouble understanding some of the topics, I can help. If you just want to argue against Obama (not many people here are big fans of his, although for different reasons than yourself) or quote the Fox News / Republican party line you’re just wasting time as this is not the forum to debate those topics (especially not all at once).

          • damn, no edit button. “doesn’t” in the second paragraph should be “does”

          • John Rosenfield

            Tom and aj,

            Hang in there.

            I have written a comment which I’ll post tomorrow. I’d like to sleep on it to see if I need to make some adjustments. The comment may be of some interest to both of you.

  22. A few things here:

    1. The folks at this site are often at odds with Krugman as he doesn’t understand MMT either.

    2. I never watch MSNBC (excepting, of course, to watch Stephanie) nor do I read dailyKOs. I’m at this site puretly do to my interest in economics.

    3. YOU came HERE. If you are not interesting in having an intelligent debate and you don’t wish to understand our subject of expertise (the point of this whole site) why are you here?

    4. I offered to help you understand MMT, but that is not what you wanted. You just wanted to flame up an argument, at which you have succeed. Thus are a troll.

    Good day, sir. You shall not be missed.

  23. The abrupt comments stem from the frustration of trying to explain simple things to people who refuse to understand them. Most of the MMT literature consists of facts, not theory. Take these two simple ideas. I bet you disagree with them, but they happen to be true. So when you deny them, I’ll try to be polite, but I’ll be thinking “why is this guy being such a dense idiot.” Sometimes that builds up so much that it just comes out. the fact that these folks can restrain themselves to the above phrases is commendable.

    Here’s the two ideas.

    1. The US government, since it has the power to print money, cannot ever unwilling run into a solvency problem. That is, it can always print money to pay off its bills. (yes that CAN cause inflation, doesn’t change the fact that it’s true)

    2. Government balance + domestic balance + foreign balance = 0. That is the sectoral balances model. What it shows is that all 3 of those sectors affect each other. If we pay more money to the foreign sector (trade deficit) and the government runs a balanced budget, it reduces the balance in the domestic sector. Thus, it is not possible to run a trade deficit, balance the government budget and grow the private sector at the same time.

  24. Pingback: UP with Chris Hayes | Stephanie Kelton