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
Just saw John Sununu, one of Republicans favorite Bushie junk yard attack dogs all up in arms about the debt subject to the limit (the so-called national debt) reaching $16 Trillion dollars, and going on to tell people that every man, woman, and child in the United States now owes $50,000 to pay that debt off. Now, I'm here to tell you that all that is bull shit.
The debt subject to the limit is a debt incurred by the Congress and the Treasury Department because when the Government spends more than it taxes, the Treasury Department issues debt instruments in the name of the US Government even though it doesn't have to do that in order to deficit spend. These instruments make the Government a debtor. But they don't make any individual man, woman, or child in the United States a debtor. So, the idea that YOU owe $50,000 or even a single dollar is BS. You've signed no such note. You've not charged a single dollar on your credit card for this purpose. And you've not made a single promise that any portion of the national debt will be paid by YOU. Read more about "We" Don't Owe $16 Trillion; and You Don't Owe $50,000
I have a petition to President Obama up here. It's about minting that $60 T coin and ending austerity. The wording of the petition is:
”A 1996 law gives the Executive Authority to mint coins w/arbitrarily large face values and deposit them at the Fed. The President should immediately mint a $60 Trillion coin, and use the proceeds to pay off the national debt completely, cover all likely deficit spending by Congress over the next 15 years, and take the issue of spending cuts in programs that benefit the 99% off the table! Google "$60 Trillion coin" for background!”
Beyond Debt/Deficit Politics: The $60 Trillion Plan for Ending Federal Borrowing and Paying Off the National Debt
Well, here we are again, House leaders have agreed on a compromise continuing spending resolution at the same level as before from October 2012 through January 2013. It's likely now that the President(s?) will probably try to make the money available for deficit spending as of today, last through the time period of the continuing resolution so that one deal including both the budget and raising the debt limit can be made by March of 2013. According to the July 31, Daily Treasury Statement, there's $499,424,000,000 left until the debt ceiling. That's an average of $62,428,000,000 deficit spending per month for the next 8 months, ending March 31, 2013.
For the past 10 months, average deficit spending was at $114,802.3 Billion per month, and that amount was not enough stimulus for a full recovery. So, the likely 46% reduction in average deficit spending over the next 8 months is unlikely to be any more effective in pulling us out of the extended employment recession we are experiencing, than the deficits in the preceding 10 months were. On the contrary, deficit spending over the next 8 months is unlikely even to allow us to maintain the unemployment levels we have now. So, what ought to be done?
The most important thing that can be done is to change the fiscal context of politics from one of apparent scarcity "justifying" austerity to one where spending capacity is so plentiful, that Congress will be hard-pressed to impose austerity, because its justification in the form of apparent limitations on spending capacity will just seem silly. In the summer of 2011 I proposed a solution to the debt ceiling crisis calling for the minting of a $30 T platinum coin to overcome the problem and also improve the fiscal context for progressive legislation. Now, I want to update that post and apply it to the present political situation, where based on the above events, the next serious fiscal crisis is likely to happen in February and/or March of 2013. So, here's the update. Read more about Beyond Debt/Deficit Politics: The $60 Trillion Plan for Ending Federal Borrowing and Paying Off the National Debt
Apparently, neither Letsgetitdone nor Corrente is to have any credit, but at least the idea is getting out there. Read more about Platinum coin enters the main stream
(This Open Letter to Bernie Sanders was posted on November 20. I'm very glad I can now post it here on my favorite political blog.)
Today, you told the “Democrats stop caving in . . . ” to the interests of corporations, the tea party, wealthy individuals, and the Republicans in Congress. The only problem with your fiery statement is that you began it by “caving in” to them yourself. You did this by immediately legitimizing their frame of reference by saying:
“Here is something we all can agree on: Federal deficits are a serious problem.”
(Thanks to DailyKos commenter 2laneIA for suggesting this post and the title)
It's only a few days now until August 2nd. Perhaps a compromise on lifting the debt ceiling will be reached before then. Perhaps none will be reached. Perhaps the President will veto a compromise if it doesn't extend the ceiling sufficiently to support deficit spending until after the 2012 elections. If a debt ceiling extension is voted down, or if the President vetos an unacceptably small extension, then what is to be done? I've now run into six primary options the President can select among to avoid default. The six are:
-- Challenging the debt ceiling based on the 14th Amendment Section 4
-- Selective default
-- Proof Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PPCS)
-- Running an overdraft at the Fed Read more about What If a Debt Limit Extension is Voted Down?
Dear Dems and Mr. President,
I've been a lifelong Democrat. But now, I don't know anymore. I'm still registered alright; but when I look at your behavior, I think I'm a freely floating voter resource now, and I'd probably respond to a poll as one in that amorphous blob of independents that stands for “the two parties suck; but we don't agree on much else.” I'm sorry about that. I really had high hopes after the 2008 election, that a new period of Democratic resurgence had come, and that the Reagan era had ended. Read more about What's Wrong With You? An Open Letter to Congressional Dems and the President
Congress provided the authority, in legislation passed in 1996, for the US Mint to create platinum bullion or proof platinum coins with arbitrary fiat face value having no relationship to the value of the platinum used in these coins. These coins are legal tender. So, when the Mint deposits them in its Public Enterprise Fund account at the Fed, the Fed must credit that account with the face value of these coins. Read more about Beyond the Debt Ceiling: The $30 Trillion Plan for Ending Borrowing and the National Debt
President Obama has really taken to Twitter. Not only is he now actually tweeting from his own account, the White House is throwing its first “tweetup” this afternoon. The over 2 million followers of the White House Twitter account will have the opportunity to tweet their questions at the prez, who will answer them via video at a Twitter Townhall 2 p.m. this afternoon.
Yesterday, we actually ran over the debt ceiling of $14.294 Trillion by $50 Billion or so, which means that the Treasury has issued $52 Billion more in debt instruments than is allowed by Congress's debt ceiling, which, in turn, means that the current Administration stands in violation of the Law. In reply to this, some will say that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional so the President doesn't need to observe it. However, in the present context, I don't think that's true. Here's my argument. Read more about President Obama: Stop Breaking the Law; Use Coin Seigniorage
An Open Letter to Bernie
If you're really tired of the bullying then I think you need to stop believing in and start denying the basic premise the Republicans, the Blue Dogs, most Democrats and the Administration are all using to bully you and us into agreeing to spending cuts in key discretionary programs and entitlement programs, and also into not moving for more spending on jobs, better entitlement programs, including Medicare for All, and better discretionary programs we need to solve our many national problems. That premise is that the United States of America, the issuer of its own fiat currency, and the ultimate source of all US Dollars can run out of the money needed to continue to deficit spend and to pay its bills. Read more about Bernie Says: “. . . We're Tired of Bullying . . .”
I don't really mean to single out Gallup here. Well, I guess I do; but they're certainly not the only guilty party in the polling industry of doing what I'm about to rail against. Let's begin by stipulating that public polls cannot escape ideological and selection biases in how they frame questions and alternative closed end response choices. Nevertheless, if poll results are to be considered even minimally descriptive of public opinion, they must make a concerted effort to include multiple frames and not exclude response choices that go beyond the dominant ideology. After all what good are polls that channel opinion in pre-determined directions compared to those that allow respondents to express their own tendencies? Read more about Gallup Scores Another for the Plutocracy
As the United States Government approaches “running of money” to pay its bills, news articles and pronouncements by politicians about the debt ceiling dispute focus on several things. First, they talk about the dire consequences of defaulting on our obligations. Second, they talk about the need for spending cuts that will put us on a long-term path to balancing the budget, getting a Government surplus, and improving the debt-to-GDP ratio. Third, they talk about the debt ceiling preventing the Government from issuing further debt instruments to “fund” paying for its obligations. Read more about Brinksmanship On the Debt Ceiling