Real Fiscal Responsibility, Vol. II: The Peterson Network, Inequality, and the Failure of Neoliberalism
This is how the mission of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was defined by the White House on February 18, 2010:
The Commission is charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Specifically, the Commission shall propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015. This result is projected to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio at an acceptable level once the economy recovers. The magnitude and timing of the policy measures necessary to achieve this goal are subject to considerable uncertainty and will depend on the evolution of the economy. In addition, the Commission shall propose recommendations that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook, including changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.
And here is what President Obama’s web site had to say about deficit reduction in 2012:
Right now, President Obama is working with leaders of both parties in Washington to reduce the deficit in a balanced way so we can lay the foundation for long-term middle-class job growth and prevent your taxes from going up.
We need big, big changes in the United States. Many of them will require the Federal Government to spend unprecedented amounts, including deficit spending to enable us to solve problems that have languished, creating needs, for many, many years.
How can we get these changes legislated through a political system that has been increasingly less responsive to most people over the past four decades. There’s only one way that will work without revolution.
We need a movement for change powerful enough to replace the present establishment of House and Senate legislators and presidents wanting to preserve their way of looking at how to do things, with another group that has concluded that change is desperately needed and must be accomplished come what may, whatever the cost in long established customs and traditions in both Houses of Congress and among the vested political and communications elites in the Washington, DC/New York “village.” But not just any changes will do. Read more about For US Democracy: There Is Only One Choice
The trade agreements currently being negotiated by the Obama Administration are potentially enormously important in their possible impact on the United States. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated by 12 Asian-Pacific nations, and, if agreed to by Congress could be expanded in membership later on under the President's sole authority. Read more about Declarations of Dependence: A New e-Book on the Neoliberal Nation-Subjugating “Trade Deals”
Wikileaks did us all another service yesterday by releasing the “Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP): Investment Chapter Consolidated Text,” and collaborating with the New York Times to get the word out. Jonathan Weisman wrote the story for the New York Times. Apart from providing a very high level and very selective summary of what the chapter says, the article contains talking points used by proponents and opponents of the TPP. I think a close commentary on the article and associated issues would be useful. So here it is. Read more about The New York Times Covers the TPP: A Commentary
Let's get this out of the way. I agree with Piketty's overall conclusion in Capital about inequality, that: the distribution of wealth in many industrial nations is highly unequal, wealth concentration has been increasing; and there is a high likelihood that the extent of wealth inequality will continue to grow unless appropriate fiscal policy is used to reverse current trends. However, I don't agree with:
-- the framework he uses to define and specify “capital”;
-- the way he looks at Government finance and net worth; and
-- the fiscal policy proposals he offers to reduce Inequality and put a stop to current trends of growth in the capital to income ratio. Read more about Piketty's Neoliberal Capital
UK anti-TTIP protests reflect urgent need in both US and UK for explicit "carve outs" in FTAs to protect the full health care policy space, including single payer, an NHS system or whatever is necessary to bring about real affordable health care
From euractiv comes an article about the uproar over NHS privatization.. which is being blotted out of the UK media...
UK anti-TTIP protests to focus on NHS privatisation.
I'm quoting it here:
“Locking in liberalisation laws”
But protestors are still worried that once a service is privately owned, it will become “extremely difficult” to renationalise it.
Slovakia's legal battle to implement single payer VS. special corporate "rights" under "free trade agreement"- Read the documents
Recap: Slovaks were fed up with the ever rising cost of health insurance, so in 2006, they elected a government that ran on a platform promising to limit the profits of the insurers and transition to single payer. Read more about Slovakia's legal battle to implement single payer VS. special corporate "rights" under "free trade agreement"- Read the documents
Storm brewing in US states as they finally realize TTIP trade pact's "standstill" signs away their rights and attempts to irreversibly "freeze" future environment, chemical, food safety, and fracking laws, creating a potential minefield for the nation.
This could be a very important development. The links below give more information.. It should be noted that the US media has for at least the last 20 years, almost completely avoided covering these horrible trade deals in any more than the most superficial manner possible. So, although this standstill/investor-state problem with the FTAs is extremely important to dozens of areas (healthcare, where it blocks needed changes is a big one) the US media leaves Americans in the dark, perhaps intentionally. Read more about Storm brewing in US states as they finally realize TTIP trade pact's "standstill" signs away their rights and attempts to irreversibly "freeze" future environment, chemical, food safety, and fracking laws, creating a potential minefield for the nation.
Will Obama's Irreversible Secret Fracking Deal raise US prices for NATURAL GAS too much? Can families afford to heat less energy efficient rented and owned homes if US LNG prices rise to global norms? How much rental housing could be lost?
Trade deals are pushing to permanently, irreversibly eliminate longstanding US restrictions on natural gas exporting which could mean heating, cooking gas, hot water, etc. costs (all natural gas related costs) in the USA could easily go up a great deal. The US energy industry is clearly very excited about the United States becoming a major natural gas supplier to the world.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas_prices Read more about Will Obama's Irreversible Secret Fracking Deal raise US prices for NATURAL GAS too much? Can families afford to heat less energy efficient rented and owned homes if US LNG prices rise to global norms? How much rental housing could be lost?
Single Payer Groups Agree - Secret Trade Deals Are Stealth War On Real Affordable Health Care, Attempt to Void Democracy
They Can't Hide This Crime Forever!
http://www.pdacommunity.org/home/94-esj-articles/3194-secret-tpp-deal-wo... Read more about Single Payer Groups Agree - Secret Trade Deals Are Stealth War On Real Affordable Health Care, Attempt to Void Democracy
In my last post, I took issue with a recent column by Catherine Rampell, who tries to make the case that seniors haven't paid for their Social Security and Medicare because they “generally receive” more in benefits out of these programs than they pay into them. Rampell relies on an Urban Institute study to make her case. Since that post, she's offered another that replies to some of the questions raised by commenters on her earlier effort. I'll reply to that new post shortly, but first I want to present key points emerging from my analysis of Federal monetary operations in my reply to her earlier post. See that post for the full argument.
First, once Congress mandates spending, there is no way that the Treasury can be forced into insolvency or an inability to pay its obligations as long as it is willing to make use of all the ways it can cause the Fed to create reserve credits in Treasury spending accounts which can then be used for its reserve keystroking into private sector account activities that today represent most of the reality of Federal spending. Read more about More Misdirection from Rampell in the Service of Generational War
A newly announced media has received a great deal of advanced praise from the left, but its owner's political leanings might shape its direction in a way progressives may not like.
Many MMT posts and other writings on fiscal responsibility, including my own, focus on the myths of neoliberalism, pointing out why they are myths and developing an alternative MMT perspective in some detail. Off hand, and I may have forgotten something, I couldn't think of a brief positive MMT narrative related to fiscal responsibility containing primarily the truths, rather than the myths. Read more about An MMT Fiscal Responsibility Narrative: Some Truths After A Second Crowd Sourcing Revision
Many MMT posts and other writings on fiscal responsibility, including my own, focus on the myths of neoliberalism, pointing out why they are myths and developing an alternative MMT perspective in some detail. Off hand, and I may have forgotten something, I couldn't think of a brief positive MMT narrative related to fiscal responsibility containing primarily the truths, rather than the myths. Read more about An MMT Fiscal Responsibility Narrative: Some Truths After Crowd Sourcing Revision