David Dayen: The Left Is Taking Aim at Pelosi’s Deficit Obsession

David Dayen writing over at The New Republic: The Left Is Taking Aim at Pelosi’s Deficit Obsession,

There’s also one major hurdle left to topple: the “pay as you go” rule, commonly known as “pay-go,” which demands that all new spending get offset with budget cuts or tax increases. Progressive critics argue that this creates an unlevel playing field, where Republicans blow giant holes in the tax code, as they did last year, while Democrats must pay fealty to the deficit. These critics are now mounting a fight to unshackle a future activist government.

[. . .] Obviously, Pelosi and her allies on pay-go consider the rule good politics, allowing them to rebut charges about “tax and spend” liberals by insisting that every new program is fully paid for. If anybody actually cared about the deficit, instead of habitually using it as a weapon to rein in the opposition party, maybe that logic would be compelling. But even if the politics make sense, the rule leads to bad policy, …

Democrats have fallen for deficit-scare politics for too long. Republicans understand money, and understand that they can spend (or cut taxes) to deliver for their constituents. And they understand that they can trick Democrats into not delivering for their constituents (We the People.) It is time for that nonsense to stop.

“Government Can’t Run Out Of Money”

The crazy idea that We the People can have nice things is reaching a wider audience.

Over at HuffPo, in Stephanie Kelton Has The Biggest Idea In Washington, Zach Carter writes about how “MMT” is catching on,

“Modern monetary theorists believe that confusion around money has distracted economists from the real things that affect the economic health of society ― natural resources, technology, available labor. Money is a tool governments use to manage these variables and solve social problems. It is not a scarce resource that governments have to track down in order to pay for projects.”

Please go read. It’s worth it.

“The basic idea is that the government can’t run out of money,” Kelton said. “It creates money just by spending.”

There Are No Real Republican “Deficit Hawks.” Here’s Why. Part 2

This posts changes a few words from a previous post.

Democrats are making a terrible mistake fighting the Republican tax cuts spending increases by saying they add to the deficit, that they will “blow a hole in the budget,” etc.

Why are Democrats saying this? They are using the “increase deficits” line because they think they can appeal to a few “deficit hawk” Republicans who spent the Obama years complaining about government sending and “deficits.”

It is a mistake for Democrats to think they can “get Republican votes” by mouthing Republican deficit-fear rhetoric without understanding the strategy behind their rhetoric.

Strategy: Republicans Create Deficits, Stoke Deficit Fear, Then Campaign Against Government Spending

Here’s the thing. There are no real Republican “deficit hawks.” Republicans stoke deficit fear, and then say they are opposed to budget deficits. But they always, always increase deficits. On purpose. There’s a reason.

Continue reading “There Are No Real Republican “Deficit Hawks.” Here’s Why. Part 2″

The Word Is Spreading – DownWithTyranny

At DownWithTyranny, Happy New Year– So How Do We Pay For All The Stuff Bernie Is Campaigning On?

You’ll need to understand this stuff when you argue with your brother-in-law next Thanksgiving. By then, even he may be admitting he likes, for example, Medicare For All, but is worried how we’ll pay for it. Unless he’s already a student of Stephanie Kelton’s economic work, he probably has no idea.

The DownWithTyranny post links to TruthOut’s somewhat hard-to-read “But How Will We Pay for It?”: Modern Monetary Theory and Democratic Socialism, by Sean Keith and Alexander Kolokotronis.

There Are No Real Republican “Deficit Hawks.” Here’s Why.

Democrats are making a terrible mistake fighting the Republican tax cuts by saying they add to the deficit, that they will “blow a hole in the budget,” etc.

Why are Democrats saying this? They are using the “increase deficits” line because they think they can appeal to a few “deficit hawk” Republicans who spent the Obama years complaining about government sending and “deficits.”

It is a mistake for Democrats to think they can “get Republican votes” by mouthing Republican deficit-fear rhetoric without understanding the strategy behind their rhetoric.

Strategy: Republicans Create Deficits, Stoke Deficit Fear, Then Campaign Against Government Spending

Here’s the thing. There are no real Republican “deficit hawks.” Republicans stoke deficit fear, and then say they are opposed to budget deficits. But they always, always increase deficits. On purpose. There’s a reason.

Continue reading “There Are No Real Republican “Deficit Hawks.” Here’s Why.”

Should Government Balance The Budget?

We hear a lot that government budgets need to be balanced “like a household budget” that is decided “around a kitchen table.”

To balance the budget government has to either tax us more or spend less on things that make our lives better. That takes money out of circulation and does us no favors.

With less money in circulation businesses and households have to turn to the banks to borrow. And they have to pay interest to those banks.

Balancing the budget causes the private sector to turn to the banks and go into debt? The “financial sector” makes big bucks from that while the rest of us have less? Hey, wait a minute… who is pushing this “balance the budget” nonsense?

Trump’s Budget Director Explains MMT (Sort Of)

Atrios had a nice catch this morning. Trump’s Budget Director Mick Mulvaney explained that our government needs to run budget deficits to grow the economy.

Atrios linked to a Bloomberg Politics piece, The GOP Tax Plan Is Already Hitting Speed Bumps, that quotes Mulvaney,

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is signaling similar flexibility, saying on CNN Sunday that decisions about deductions remain up in the air as “the bill is not finished yet.” He took it a step further on Fox News Sunday, by adding that a tax plan that doesn’t add to the deficit won’t spur growth.

“I’ve been very candid about this. We need to have new deficits because of that. We need to have the growth,” Mulvaney said.

Budgets that don’t add to the deficit won’t spur growth.

So there’s that.

Whoa, Cowboy!

Take a look at the op-ed by Stephanie Kelton in today’s LA Times, Congress can give every American a pony (if it breeds enough ponies).

Kelton introduces the idea that a government that issues its own currency can create money from nowhere, writing,

“Whoa, cowboy! Are you telling me that the government can just make money appear out of nowhere, like magic? Absolutely. Congress has special powers: It’s the patent-holder on the U.S. dollar. No one else is legally allowed to create it. This means that Congress can always afford the pony because it can always create the money to pay for it.

Now, that doesn’t mean the government can buy absolutely anything it wants in absolutely any quantity at absolutely any speed. (Say, a pony for each of the 320 million men, women and children in the United States, by tomorrow.) That’s because our economy has internal limits. If the government tries to buy too much of something, it will drive up prices as the economy struggles to keep up with the demand. Inflation can spiral out of control. There are plenty of ways for the government to get a handle on inflation, though. For example, it can take money out of the economy through taxation.”