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Riskonomics: Reducing Risk by Killing Your Worst Ideas: My New Book

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About 6 years ago I stopped posting at my All Life Is Problem Solving site, and shifted my blogging over to other sites devoted to economics and politics, often blogging under the handle letsgetitdone. But recently, I got the urge to finish some work I’d done in Knowledge Management, and I decided to complete a book presenting a Knowledge Management approach to the analysis and assessment of risk.

I’ve just done that and have published a kindle e-book with the above title, which of course, was my signal that I ought to be blogging here again. The following excerpt provides the book’s preface summarizing its rationale and contents. If you read this and are interested, you can buy it at Amazon, and, if you have not already done so, download the free kindle software that will allow you to read it. Here’s the preface.

Cover of Riskonomics
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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.

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For US Democracy: There Is Only One Choice

Cover of Real Fiscal Responsibility, Vol II

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

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An Excerpt from Real Fiscal Responsibility, Vol I: the Progressive Give-up Formula

Below is an excerpt from my most recent e-book: Real Fiscal Responsibility, Vol. I: The Progressive Give-up Formula. The book is volume I of II critiquing austerity politics at the Federal level in the United States. It exposes its fallacies, its closed-mindedness and futility, and especially its reliance on wrong-headed conceptions of fiscal sustainability and fiscal responsibility.

In this volume, I relate neoliberalism, the Washington Consensus, and austerity politics pushed by the powers that be among the DC Village progressives, and the ideas of fiscal sustainability and fiscal responsibility, to the perspectives of Modern Money Theory (MMT), including MMT-based ideas about fiscal sustainability and responsibility. I also explain what I mean by real fiscal responsibility, rather than faux fiscal responsibility, and apply these ideas to an analysis of the US Government during the term of Jimmy Carter. I begin my analysis of current progressive ideas and activities by examining the views of Senator Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, and then continue by analyzing the operation of the give-up formula among Congressional and DC progressives during the period 2009 - 2010, when the Democrats had big margins in Congress. I then move to the period 2011 – the present. Next, I analyze the Campaign for the American Future and its New Populism Campaign, and then conclude by relating the give-up formula to real fiscal responsibility.

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Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part V

This is Part V, and the conclusion, of the series providing my reply to Philip Wallach’s reply to my evaluation of his views on the platinum coin proposal and other options for settling debt ceiling conflicts. In Part I I discussed some preliminary mis-characterizations of what I said and, more importantly, why the commonly recognized fiscal policy rule that, at least over a number of years, government revenues ought to match government spending is fiscally unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible in light of deductions from the Sectoral Financial Balances (SFB) model.

In Part II I continued with a discussion of political legitimacy and usurpation issues and then covered some legal objections to using the $100 T platinum coin option related to the “intent” of the coin law. In Part III, I discussed a legal objection based on Wallach’s view of the intent of the coin law, which quickly morphed into a political objection about the desirability of mutual respect and comity among the three branches of government, as well as the threat to political legitimacy arising from the judgment that the platinum coin option is really “weird.” Read more about Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part V

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Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part IV

This is Part IV of my reply to Philip Wallach’s reply to my evaluation of his views on the platinum coin proposal and other options for settling debt ceiling conflicts. In Part I I discussed some preliminary mis-characterizations of what I said and, more importantly, why the commonly recognized fiscal policy rule that, at least over a number of years, government revenues ought to match government spending is fiscally unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible in light of deductions from the Sectoral Financial Balances (SFB) model.

In Part II I continued with a discussion of political legitimacy and usurpation issues and then covered some legal objections to using the $100 T platinum coin option related to the “intent” of the coin law. In Part III I discussed a legal objection based on Wallach’s view of the intent of the coin law, which quickly morphed into a political objection about the desirability of mutual respect and comity among the three branches of government, as well as the threat to political legitimacy arising from the judgment that the platinum coin option is really “weird.”

In this, Part IV, I’ll continue discussing the “weirdness” objection, and also cover Wallach’s views on Inflation and hyper-inflation, and Modern Money Theory. Read more about Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part IV

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Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part III

This is Part III of my lengthy reply to Philip Wallach’s reply to my evaluation of his views on the platinum coin proposal and other options for settling debt ceiling conflicts. In Part I I discussed some preliminary mis-characterizations of what I said and, more importantly, why the commonly recognized fiscal policy rule that, at least over a number of years, government revenues ought to match government spending is fiscally unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible in light of deductions from the Sectoral Financial Balances (SFB) model. In Part II I continued with a discussion of political legitimacy and usurpation issues and then covered some legal objections to using the $100 T platinum coin option related to the “intent” of the coin law.

In this installment I’ll continue with more discussion of political objections. Read more about Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part III

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Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part II

I began a lengthy critical reply to Philip Wallach’s reply to my earlier analysis of his paper in Part I of this series. There I covered some preliminary mis-characterizations of what I said and, more importantly, why the commonly recognized fiscal policy rule that, at least over a number of years, government revenues ought to match government spending is fiscally unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible in light of deductions from the Sectoral Financial Balances (SFB) model. In this Part II, I’ll cover some conjectures about political legitimacy Wallach offers about the consequences of minting a $100 T, some legal legitimacy issues, and some additional political legitimacy issues. Read more about Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part II

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Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part I

As I was working my way through the series of posts beginning with this one, news was announced that Republican and Democratic Party leaders in Congress, along with the President had come to agreement on the terms of ending the debt ceiling standoff in the context of a new budget deal. Their agreement provides for suspension of the debt ceiling until March of 2017; so the immediate need to turn to unusual solutions to a pending debt ceiling crisis is now gone, and, along with it, crisis-driven discussions about the platinum coin option.

Nevertheless, even though the immediate reason motivating renewed discussions of the platinum coin option is now gone, I still have some unfinished business dealing with the issues surrounding it. Late last week I replied to a paper from Philip Wallach of The Brookings Institution with a post at Naked Capitalism, as well as a number of other sites in the blogosphere. Now, Wallach has replied to my post, which mostly presents new arguments not in his original paper. Read more about Some Platinum Coin Objections from the Mainstream: Part I

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Fiscal Myths of Campaign 2016: A New Kindle e-Book

Most of the world, and most notably the United States, are in the grip of fiscal myths fostered by the ideology of neoliberalism. There is virtual unanimity across the major political parties in the United States in accepting the viewpoint of neoliberalism, and the fiscal myths associated with it.

This book is about these myths, the arguments showing that they are, indeed, myths, and the truths that can counter them. It is about Campaign 2016, and some of its issues, because the fiscal myths will certainly be used in the Campaign; since, for the first time in a very long time, there is a major party candidate running, who, because he advocates for a very broad agenda and for fighting inequality, will, sooner or later, find that some, and perhaps a large number, of fiscal myths are being directed at him by his opponents and their supporters, who want to persuade voters that his agenda is “fiscally irresponsible.” Read more about Fiscal Myths of Campaign 2016: A New Kindle e-Book

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The Platinum Coin Returns

Upon my oath, I didn't intend to bring back the coin proposal until much later in the re-newed process of Republican hostage-taking over the debt ceiling. After all, there's not much chance that the President would ever use the platinum coin option, because his budget policy direction of getting ever closer to a budget surplus, is best served by a “forced” compromise with the Republicans, that results in another few hundred billion in spending cuts for 2016, while allowing him to place the blame on them for that outcome. Using the platinum coin option would not have that result, because it would deliver a clear victory to him.

Of course, he doesn't want a default due to Republican brinksmanship either, so if the Republicans do drag everyone too close to the cliff, then he may decide to take some extraordinary measures and the coin is one that is available, so it's conceivable that he might choose this undoubtedly, from his point of view, distasteful option. It is for this reason, I suppose, that the Brookings Institution is warning him off the coin to weight his choice towards some more conventional approach. Read more about The Platinum Coin Returns

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Who Needs Balanced Trade? Who Needs Balance Budgets: A New Book on Trade and Fiscal Policy

The intensity of the conflict over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has died down since last June, after the Administration won its victory in getting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) through Congress. During the Intervening months, the efforts of the Special Trade Representative (STR) to complete TPP negotiations have continued. Read more about Who Needs Balanced Trade? Who Needs Balance Budgets: A New Book on Trade and Fiscal Policy

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Grexit: Exchanges on the IT Problem Continue

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I've already been over Louis Proyect's critical analysis of the chapter on the IT software problem in my new e-book. But in the comments on Proyect's post a significant dialogue occurred between two commenters at NC: Ben Johannson and Clive. Here I analyze and comment on that exchange. Read more about Grexit: Exchanges on the IT Problem Continue

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On the IT Problem of Grexit: A Reply

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I'd like to start by thanking Louis Proyect for commenting on at least part of my new e-book Austerity, Greece’s Debt Crisis and the Theft of Democracy namely the chapter entitled “The Information Technology Problem.” His opening paragraph begins by including an aside calling Professor William Mitchell's Read more about On the IT Problem of Grexit: A Reply

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Austerity, Greece’s Debt Crisis, and the Death of Democracy: A Book about Greece and Much More

The Eurozone is an instrument of the globalization process that is setting financial elites over all nations of the world, including the democracies. The situation in Greece exposes the true nature of the Eurozone institutions as a naked fact, beyond spinning, for all to see. They are popular sovereignty-thieves and democracy-killers, with the power necessary to shut democratic governments down. Read more about Austerity, Greece’s Debt Crisis, and the Death of Democracy: A Book about Greece and Much More

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