These remarks were delivered solely in my capacity as a director of the Modern Money Network and do not reflect the views of any past or present employers.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Raúl Carrillo and I’m a director of the Modern Money Network (MMN), a student-driven interdisciplinary organization promoting public understanding of money, law, finance, and the economy (obviously embracing MMT as a foundation). By day, I’m an attorney specifically focused on consumer financial protection or as one notorious predator, Capital One, would say, “What’s in your wallet?” Perhaps a better way to put it, is that, in the Minskian sense, I help people manage their “survival constraints.”
William K. Black
September 26, 2017 Kansas City, MO
UMKC has just hosted a well-attended conference on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and job guarantee (JG) programs in which the federal government would provide the funds for employer of last resort programs. In conjunction, MMT and JG allow full employment to become the norm. MMT is based on reality, it explains how the monetary system in a nation with a sovereign currency actually functions. Most monetary theory taught in conventional economic classes is a fiction arising from carryovers from the era of the gold standard in which nations lacked a sovereign currency.
Jared Bernstein has just published an op ed in the New York Times entitled “Do Republicans Really Care About the Deficit.” Republican elites, of course, have not really cared about federal budget deficits for decades. That is a good thing that Democrats should embrace in a bipartisan spirit. Bernstein, of course, is correct that the Republicans are hypocrites about federal budget deficits, pretending to care about them when the Democrats hold power and displaying their lack of any real care when Republicans hold power and the context is tax cuts for the wealthy.
Italy is experimenting with giving tax-cuts to its citizens in exchange for public services―such as pulling weeds and cutting grass. Wow. What an amazing idea! The government issues a tax credit, and uses it to pay a citizen in exchange for the citizen’s services to the government. The government could even make this arrangement more formal by printing the tax credits on pieces of paper called “LIRIES” (or something like that) and paying for the weed-whacking services with this “cash.” That way the citizen who’s earned the “LIRIES” has the option of using them as payment to another citizen (who’d also like a tax-cut) for, say, a bag of potatoes. So, the first citizen pulls some weeds, gets paid in “cash” and then uses the “cash” to buy her dinner. If you thought about it, you could possibly run an entire economy in this fashion. The only thing you’d have to worry about, of course, is that the government might run out of the tax-credits it needs to pay the citizens to do the work! If that happened, where could the government possibly get more tax-credits? Could it collect tax-credits as “taxes”? Could it borrow them from all the street-sweepers and weed-whackers who’ve earned them? (In which case it would have to pay “tax-credit interest”―which just seems to exacerbate the problem!) Hmmm. I’m going to have to think about that one. But in the meantime, doesn’t this mean that any Eurozone country has the option to stay IN the Eurozone while at the same time operating its own local economy using its own local “sovereign” currency?
NEP’s Bill Black was on The Real News Network and discussing that several government agencies and at least 34 state attorneys general have opened investigations into the Equifax data-breach scandal–which is ‘the gift that keeps on giving.’ You can view with transcript here.
NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network and discussing the hacking of consumer credit reporting giant Equifax, and the company’s ‘cynical’ handling of it, is a far-reaching disaster that borders on criminal. You can view here with a transcript.
NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network and points out that former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers’ recent plea for greater unionization contradicts his actions as a member of the Clinton and Obama administrations, when he promoted financial deregulation, increasing the power of capital. You can view with transcript here.
By William K. Black
September 5, 2017 Kansas City, MO
In my immediately prior article I discussed how Politico fell for Third Way’s dishonest discussion of how Democrats should brand themselves as the party committed to jobs. I explained that progressive Democrats were the party of good jobs in part because they opposed fraudulent for-profit schools while President Trump, the Republicans, and the New Democrats were anti-jobs because they supported the rip offs. Trump, having run a for-profit “university” so fraudulent that.it was not even a real university, is the most glaring patron of these frauds.
Trump appointed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education because she is a fierce enemy of public education and loves the for-profit frauds. Recently, however, DeVos has taken a step so brazen that it adds proof to our family saying that it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody. DeVos chose a prior executive of DeVry, a for-profit school sanctioned for its recurrent frauds, to head the Education Department’s “enforcement” unit responsible for disciplining fraudulent for-profit schools. In any normal administration, this would be a scandal leading to investigations and resignations in disgrace. Under Trump, the latest DeVos scandal is already a forgotten footnote in an administration in which absurdity and sleaze are constant companions.
William K. Black
September 6, 2017 Kansas City, MO
The Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party (Third Way) is relentless in trying to bring back the days in which the Democratic Party’s leaders buried the Party in Wall Street’s pocket under the label “New Democrats.” That period led President Clinton and Vice President Gore to implement disgraceful policies that made Wall Street executives fabulously wealthy at the expense of people. To deliver on their promises to Wall Street, Clinton and Gore had to betray much of what the Democratic Party stood for. Clinton and Gore’s destruction of effective financial regulation, which President Bush exacerbated, created the massively criminogenic environment that blew up the global economy.
I have written several times and documented that Third Way is a creature of, and devoted to, Wall Street’s CEOs. Third Way’s con is describing itself as “centrist.” Wall Street CEOs are not centrist. They include the world’s most powerful and destructive predators and parasites. The “left, right, center” metaphor does not apply to a group like Wall Street’s CEOs. The latest media sucker to fall for Third Way’s con is Politico. Politico fell whole hog, calling Third Way a “center-left think tank.” Fortunately, Google’s recent purge of New America Foundation scholars has proved that “think tanks” financed by elite corporate CEOs are oxymorons run by regular morons. The one thing you can never do as a scholar at a faux “think tank” like Third Way is actually think – and then make public the perfidy of the corporate CEOs that fund the non-think tank.
By William K. Black
September 4, 2017 Kansas City, MO
When people do awful things and know they are doing awful things and want to continue to do them they compound their awfulness by playing cute. The cuteness demonstrates that they know that what they are doing is indefensible to moral people. The political “dog whistle” is an example of this cutesy tactic. Rachel Maddow’s September 4, 2017 program presented a classic example. She showed video of a white supremacist/Neo-Nazi praising Donald trump’s election victory to an all-white audience. The speaker ended his talk by proclaiming “Hail Trump” and extending his arm in a Nazi salute – except that he was holding a glass of water. His audience understood the “dog whistle” immediately. A number of them leaped to their feet to give answering, frenzied Nazi salutes – just as the speaker hoped. The speaker created this charade because he knew it was not acceptable to moral audiences to praise President-elect Trump as the new incarnation of Hitler and a group of his strongest supporters as neo-Nazis. The leaders of the worst people in America know they need to hide how awful their followers are from regular Americans.
I have not written any essays for NEP these last several months because I’ve been working on a longer piece. It’s now finished and available as an ebook on Amazon and ibooks. The title is “LOW EARTH ORBIT—A Novella about the Near Future.” The story imagines the circumstances under which MMT breaks through into political awareness and acceptance. The heroine is an economics professor named Stephanie Eccles. There are, of course, a few comments about what modern fiat money makes possible in terms of architecture. I hope everyone will read it.