Stephanie Kelton and the Sequestration on UP with Chris Hayes

Stephanie appeared on UP with Chris Hayes this morning (3/3/13) discussing the sequestration. You can view the program by clicking this link or the image below.

51 responses to “Stephanie Kelton and the Sequestration on UP with Chris Hayes

  1. I’m glad someone at the table mentioned that the deficit isn’t a problem at all, but there was no explanation as to why. My guess is, is that Stephanie was the only person at the table who understands sectoral balances. Most people say the Federal deficit needs to be reduced but they have no clue that this is the saying the same thing as the non-govt’s surplus needs to be reduced. Of course everyone’s against reducing the non-govt’s surplus…

  2. Stephanie,

    I applaud your effort to get MMT reasoning out to a wider audience, however, I think your time is not well-spent on Hayes’ program. Hayes spends too much time talking and interrupting his guests. You simply didn’t get a chance to speak at length on any point. Unfortunately, you were left making bald assertions about how the long-term deficit just isn’t an issue.

    You are a tremendous speaker but I don’t see Hayes’ program as an effective outlet for your views.

    • golfer1john

      I agree. I had never seen the show before, and I was underwhelmed. Hayes tries to discuss tax policy without knowing the difference between a deduction and a credit. What a bozo. Chris Matthews wannabe. The main point of the show seems to be to beat up on Republicans by distorting their views.

      Stephanie needs to get on a serious show, one-on-one with a host who will ask her hostile questions and let her explain the answers. Chris Wallace would be the best candidate out there at the moment. I think in 1/2 hour she could bring him around to her point of view, or at least get him interested in reading some more MMT literature. THAT appearance would be real progress for MMT.

      • Auburn Parks

        I am sorry Golferjohn, but there was no distorting of republican views on the show. Republican LEGISLATORS have terrible policy proposals and are generally VERY immoral from my POV. This in no way means that every regular republican person is like that.

        • “The only way to make sense of the Republican position is to ignore when they say they care about the deficit”

          “they don’t care about the size of government either”

          And the general laughter and feigned surprise to suddenly, for the first time hear “honesty”, when the Republican on the panel said what Republican legislators have been saying since 2008.

          That’s just in the first segment or so. I couldn’t stand any more than that.

          It’s OK for you to think their proposals are immoral. They think Progressive proposals are immoral, too. There’s more than one religion in the world, and they often disagree about morality. The point is that if you want to have a substantive discussion, you don’t base your approach on belittling those who disagree with you. That leads to nonsense like this show, all heat and no light. (Except for Stephanie, of course, who did a good job of staying out of the cat fight, with rare and comparatively mild exceptions.)

          • Auburn Parks

            brother golfer john
            the lady from ATR herself said that at conservatives dont care much about the deficit per-say, because after all why would they care about the govt collecting such a historically low level of tax revenue (as a % of GDP).

            History does not look favorably upon the ‘repubs care about the size of govt” schtick. In what context I might ask. federal spending as a % of GDP averaged 22.8% of GDP between 1980 and 1992.
            If you think Bush was a small government conservative………..I just laughed out loud to myself thinking about that hilarious concept.
            Maybe we should look at total number of people employed directly by the federal govt (including military personnel) average number between 1980 and 1992…….5.1 million people (nominally higher and MUCH higher as a % of the population). what about since 2008…..4.3 million

            You are right on the morality front however, morality is relative. And I won’t continue to parse any more of the show with you. Have a good day brother.

            • From 1980-1992 the Democrats had the majority in the House of Representatives, where all spending legislation must originate, and Tip O’Neill ruled with an iron hand. Reagan and W. were able to get large increases in Defense spending after large reductions in the previous (Democrat) administrations, and unsuccessfully tried to hold the line on non-defense. Except from 2008-2010 when the Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority and could pass whatever they wanted, the budget is always a compromise between the parties. One wants A and the other wants B, and so they compromise and do both. Looking at total federal employment including military obscures the shifts between administrations, and those are what represent the difference in political philosophies between the two major parties.

              When Bush was elected in 2000, the MSM pundits said the people would be disappointed. I said the most disappointed would be conservatives who thought they had elected one. Both of us were right. He was reelected only because of a weak opponent. Like the libertarian lady said, W was not the choice of small-government conservatives, then or now. But Hayes is also right, the Republicans are stuck with his face on their logo even if they don’t like his policies.

              The bottom line is that Presidents don’t always get everything they want. The current one did, for 2 years, and look what happened. Romney’s 20% across-the-board tax cut is looking better all the time.

              And a good day to you, too.

              • Auburn Parks

                Come on golferjohn
                This is certainly not the place to hash out all the things we are talking about here. The data I presented is true, but the impact and context can and should be open for debate. The first paragraph of your latest reply is also factually accurate and its impact and context are open for debate.
                However, this line is really disingenuous:
                “The bottom line is that Presidents don’t always get everything they want. The current one did, for 2 years, and look what happened.”
                the 60th vote in the senate, Al Franken, was not sworn in for 6 months after the start of the session (July, 7, 2009) due to the legal\recount battle between he and Norm Coleman. And then Sen Kennedy died on August 25, 2009. Meaning the Dems had a filibuster proof 60 vote majority for less than 7 weeks. Repubs filibustered every single major piece of legislation in that congressional session.
                Just be honest about the facts, intelligent people can always disagree respectfully. I don’t know if you are aware of the actual historical timeline, but if you weren’t… you are. Misrepresenting something on accident happens all time and is an honest mistake (after all, no one person can know everything) but to willfully misrepresent things on purpose is intellectually dishonest. I am going to go ahead and assume the former for you, since we are on the same team, as it were, with MMT.

  3. This program doesn’t do you justice. You’re pretty much drowned out by too many competing voices. Hayes interrupts way too much also. Ten minutes of a one on one would go much further in promoting the MMT message. A Firing Line type discussion would be even better. Sound bite TV (Chris Hayes is the best of this format, but still lacking) is the antithesis of the aforementioned formats.

  4. Hi Professor Kelton,

    I saw you on Chris Hayes today again. It is always a pleasure to watch you and listen to your thoughts on economics. It’s a shame that venue does not serve you well. I think you have to be more like Mike Norman to do well there and unfortunately you are not the type of person who yells at people and berates them while in the process of delivering excellent points regarding MMT and economics in general. His videos contain great pointers on mastering those techniques though. They’re actually very inspiring.

    Maybe you could get on one of those CSPAN programs where you could discuss your ideas or debate them without getting drowned out by half a dozen egocentric loudmouths like today. Just ditch that “rasslin” stuff.

    Regardless of all that, just let express to you my heartfelt appreciation for what you have provided here at this website, and what you taught to me through your videos and the like. I have learned a world of economics in a very short time because of your efforts and your associates at UMKC. Without the perspectives on economics that you provide here people could feel really doomed.

  5. Auburn Parks

    Stephanie and fellow MMTers:
    Even though Prof Kelton cannot give a full expose on MMT when she goes on UP w\ Chris, we must not underestimate how vitally important it is to do these types of soft marketing appearances. Hundreds of thousands of people watch Chris’s show. It is literally the BIGGEST audience that MMT has ever had access to. Her appearance and performance can do nothing but INCREASE traffic to NEP and MMT. And depending on how she interacted with Chris during the pre show and commercial breaks, she could very well be slowly opening Chris’s eyes to the reality of MMT, and make no mistake to turn Hayes into an MMT asset would be the single biggest victory for us to date.
    And on a side note, even though we are all disappointed that Stephanie couldn’t expound even more on the mechanics and reality of MMT, Chris’s show is the best news information show on TV. No other show has the time to delve as deeply into a particular topic because of the 2 hour format. I know that this isn’t saying much, not because of how good his show is, but primarily because of how absolutely terrible every other news show is on TV. (save for maybe Bill Moyers or Charlie Rose because of their dedicated hour formats to one person\subject.)
    So lets not hate on Chris. Instead, as a community we should do our best to email Chris and try to expose him even more to MMT. We need to have some allies in the mainstream media whether we like it or not. I don’t see fox or cnn having MMTers on their networks. Don’t hate, we need allies and not enemies

    • bubbleRefuge

      Agreed, agreed, agreed. This is great progress. Believe me. MMT in the mainstream media started as a tiny bulletin board hosted by Mosler and now its getting mainstream media attention. The format was amenable to really getting MMT point across. Dr. Kelton did the best she could I think given the format.

    • Is it not possible to voice a well-intentioned criticism of a particular forum without being characterized as a hater?

      The frame that has been pounded into the mind of the public is that the deficit is a big problem right now and a bigger problem down the road. A lot of reasonably intelligent non-economists (myself included) have been convinced that the MMT approach to macroeconomics makes a lot of sense. However, it takes a while to get one’s mind around the notion that money isn’t what you thought it was and guess what, the Federal budget isn’t like your personal budget or the budgets of State and Local government. Most people don’t think about economics except on the most superficial level of the accounting of one’s own budget. Which brings me to the crux of my concern about Hayes’ recent program. The notion that the deficit isn’t a big issue right now is way outside the discussion that the average person hears or thinks about. One only gets one chance at a first impression and without some discussion about why the deficit isn’t the issue that people think, the risk is run that the idea will be marginalized in the public mind and ignored in the future. Hayes and Bernstein said that almost no one thought like Professor Kelton outside of UMKC and a few others.

      Professor Kelton did a terrific job in the few chances that she was permitted to speak. I hope that she is given more opportunities to shed some light on this topic. It is desperately needed.

  6. I agree with Auburn Parks’s evaluation of Stephanie’s appearance. These are great opportunities. Also, even though Chris interrupts his guests a lot and has too may on a panel. There’s a world of difference between Hayes and Matthews, apart from their age, and Hayes would be valuable ally if he came to understand MMT.

    That said, format wise, the best show for Stephanie is Rachel Maddow’s. Rachel has a 0ne-one format, and she can also go deeply into analytical details, and rarely over talks her guests. She’s much more of an Obamabot than Hayes; but I think she will nevertheless listen, converse, and learn.

    • Excellent point. How do we get her on RM?

      • If she can keep doing Chris, then eventually Rachel will take notice. Stephanie may have to appear on MHP first however.

      • Jonf,
        Rachel Maddow would be a terrrible choice. She does this commercial on MSNBC where she’s braggin about Clinton’s surpluses and how the Repubz love the deficit. How can you have Professor Kelton go on there when Maddow is spouting mindless Democratic party line talking points that are totally contrary to what Professor Kelton has said on that particular topic?

        I’d say send Mike Norman there to staighten her out. (of course I mean that in a strictly figurative sense)

        • Auburn Parks

          “I’d say send Mike Norman there to staighten her out. (of course I mean that in a strictly figurative sense)”

          this gave me a nice big belly laugh

        • golfer1john

          No, those are reasons Rachel would be a good choice. One of the most important things to do is confront and explain MMT to those who hold opposing views. MMT needs to change minds, not just engage in a lovefest with others who are already true believers. A 1-1 format with someone who will allow the guest to give a full explanation is a good forum. If the host is inclined to interrupt, then Mike would be better than Stephanie, but if the discussion is quiet and focused, I think Stephanie is more persuasive to those who aren’t already converted. Converting Rachel would be fine, but the real target is the audience.

    • financial matters

      Yes, very good discussion for mainstreet media. I thought Stephanie was able to get in some good points in a very rational and thoughtful manner.

      • financial matters

        In fact I would say that she gave the show an element of grace which elevated the general level of discussion.

        • Well, YEAH! But that’s not the sort of show he’s going for.

          • financial matters

            😉 Actually I thought some of his points weren’t to bad. I liked his suggestion that instead of sequester he thought the automatic fallback position should be a trillion dollars of direct govt spending (hopefully he meant truly direct as in MMT style) and a trillion dollars of debt reduction. (private sectoral debt I hope he meant)

  7. Stephanie looked nervous and reluctant to speak up. She owns the facts on this; she needs to be more outspoken and take command of the conversation.

    • Auburn Parks

      Hey Mike, why don’t you make videos more often? ~7 min a week, come on man, I need more 🙂

    • mojo.rhythm

      You need to be on there Mike. You have the perfect style for these knock ’em down, drag ’em out tag team blitzes.

    • I thought she was too reticent.

    • bubbleRefuge

      Not sure about this Mike. She’s a graceful academic and comes across as serious and pre-pared. I don’t think its in her nature to be as aggressive as you are.

  8. Stephanie wanted to talk about Economics not Politics.
    The show was about Politics. The presenter and the other guests started the flow and then went with it.
    Just one of those things.

  9. I thought Stephanie Kelton’s responses were wise. I could see her often wishing to interject but she wisely chose not to do so. So when Stephanie spoke she made a point.

  10. mojo.rhythm


    I’d love to see you on Real Time With Bill Maher as part of the panel. We need to make it happen folks!

  11. I thought the show was fascinating, especially when Mattie Duppler revealed that she is a deficit owl.

    Chris Hayes has nearly 200k followers on Twitter, so I’m really excited about the growing influence of MMT.

  12. Any press is good press of course, but I agree this is definitely not the best route to go for Stephanie.. I personally detest almost all mainstream news whether it be skewed left or right, but Charlie Rose seems like a decent option to consider as well. I’m not a huge fan of his, but it is a half hour or hour long show and he has all kinds of different viewpoints on his show. Krugman on there tonight I believe..

    • I’m definitely not a fan of Charlie Rose, either—he’s the quintessential establishmentarian and he interrupts his guests way too much—but his show would be a pretty good venue.

      Even better, I think, in terms of format and the temperament of the host, if not the audience reach, is Moyers & Company—Bill Moyers seems much more receptive to heterodox economics. (Less than two weeks ago he had on well-known Marxian economist Richard D. Wolff and Wolff will be on again in a future show to follow up (!) with answers to viewers’ questions.) His show is also somewhat less topical than Rose’s and focuses somewhat more on major “themes.” Plus, Moyers’s site has a section for guests to “dig deeper” (i.e., supplemental information on each guest and their views) and provides a full transcript of each show. (Oh, and Bill Black was a guest on an earlier incarnation of Moyers’s show so Moyers is not unfamiliar with UMKC and I’d surmise that Black is familiar with how to get “booked.”)

  13. Stephanie:

    There is a circumstance under which your appearance on “UP With Chris Hayes” could be very effective, and the model for that is Chris’s interview on the subject of feminism on February 9th with only two guests (Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas). It was a departure from his usual fast-moving, larger panel, which is good in its own way, but allows little opportunity to plumb narrower issues at depth.

    After that Feb 9th interview with Steinem and Thomas (whose “Free to Be You and Me,” by the way, was a favorite for our children in the 1970s!), I wrote the first of two emails to Hayes pitching MMT. In this first one I complimented him for narrowing his focus and going deeper on the subject of feminism with Steinem and Thomas. Then I suggested that he should use that same more tightly-focused format and invite you back by yourself or possibly with one other person to discuss MMT in depth. I told him I thought MMT deserved many hours, but that he should consider at least a half-hour to an hour alone with you and, perhaps, one other person (Bill Black? Michael Hudson?).

    Later in the month, after he interviewed Krugman, I sent Hayes a second email, begging him again to allow some focused time for MMT.

    I barely understand MMT myself (I’m plodding along trying to understand it). But from what little I’ve learned so far, I can see that it has tremendous policy implications and it could be extremely valuable to have it get adequately treated in a semi-popular venue like Hayes’ “Up.”

    So, I suggest that if he ever offers you an invitation for such a format, you might do well to accept.

  14. Here’s Hayes email, in case anyone else might want to urge him to give more adequate attention to MMT:

    “Chris Hayes”

    It’s probably time for my third attempt to convince him by email (I may be approaching pest status, though).

  15. Thanks to everyone for watching and hoping for more opportunities. Chris is a wonderful host and, although conversations can take on a life of their own (just as they might at your own breakfast table), I am very happy to have a seat at the table. I can tell you that Chris wants to do a panel on the big question: Does the U.S. have a long-term deficit problem. He already said he wants me back for that. So hopefully we will get the opportunity to lay out a compelling argument in front of millions of Americans who (I believe) are truly ready for a hopeful and optimistic message — an antidote to the deficit hysteria that is empowering Pete Peterson and his minions.

    • A very good discussion would be a two person with Jared and yourself. He seems to agree that deficit/debts cannot be run forever and that there is a long-term problem. So, if you can be booked with him, and can give him something to think about, then maybe that would be a great gain!

      • I wwould rather it be with RM so Rachel can ask the questions and let Stephanie answer them. No filters other than honest quest for information.
        I would also suggest that Stephanie not pull any punches. I mean by that simply say it out loud as per Warren:
        “THERE IS NO LONG TERM DEFICIT PROBLEM!!!!!!” Let that sink in. No need to immediately try to qualify it.
        There are other things just like that. Why do our experts have to say immediately that ” I did not say deficits won’t cause inflation.” Really? Then lets move on, nothing to see here.

        • “The thing people don’t understand about public debt is that it acts much more like a wealth than debt in our economy. Everyone is familiar with household and private debts that place a burden on a debtor and they think about public debt on these terms. And it’s true that in the accounting sense you can say that government has debt. But every debt in our economy has a dual role: it acts simultaneously as an asset to the creditor as well as an debt to the debtor. What you owe me is as much an asset to me than it is liability to you. If government has debt it means that non-goverment sector has an asset. Goverment debt fills our portfolios and pension funds. And it’s not a burden on a government in a same sense that private debt is a burden on a private citizen. Government issues it’s own liabilities. It can never run out of dollars.”

          I would go on explaining things something like that. Feel free to copy it anyone who wants to, I don’t mind. If there are some errors in grammar that is because I’m not even native english speaker.

      • bubbleRefuge

        I would like to see the discussion between Dr Kelton and Robert Reich or Paul Krugman. They are perhaps the pre-eminent voices in the Democratic party proclaiming there is a long term deficit problem.

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  17. Krugman recently — on February 10th on Up — told Chris Hayes that MMT theorists think “deficits never matter.” I wrote to Hayes and pointed out that MMTers understand that inflation (if it is seriously occurring) would be a constraint on deficit spending. Likewise the exchange rate. Did I get this right?

    • I tought he said something about buildup of excess reserves outside zero lower pound, where MMT and mainstream theory predict different kind of outcomes. Mainstream theory predicts that hyperinflation will occur while MMT predicts that nothing will happen. Pretty standard exposition.

  18. Mattie Duppler: “Deficit’s don’t matter. [..The] deficit’s like the lexicon-it’s more a rhetorical device. It’s not actually the product we’re focusing on. [..] Size of government is the problem. [..] Deficit, you know, that relates to people–it’s a narrative people understand.”

    In other words, because conservatives have failed to scare enough voters into believing government is “too big”, they’ve resorted to lying to them about the catastrophic effects of our government debt.

    Wow-it’s not often you hear honesty like this coming from the right.

  19. Charlie Rose would work. I’m always glad to hear counterpoint to Jared Bernstein. He pushes us further into orthodoxy with his impassioned “wisdom” from the Clinton era.

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