The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Fighting Back Against the Drive to Slash Entitlements

Back when I was at FDL I had a chat with the Peterson Foundation folks.  They struck me as sincere, but off-balance.  To the extent that Social Security is in deficit at all any problems are decades out (which they admitted), and while Medicare has issues, the simplest and easiest way to cut medical costs overall is single payer, something they won’t push.  More to the point, somehow “entitlements” always get mentioned first, and not things like Defense spending.

But the folks at the Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In Conference have a broader point: that fiscal sustainability, according to Modern Monetary Theory, isn’t based on debt-to-gdp, or how much the private sector will lend.  The government can spend a lot more if it needs to, and doing so is a good idea if it leads to full employment and gets economic growth going again.  They are having a free counter-Fiscal Summit on April 28th, the same day as the Peterson foundation has its summit.

There’s going to be some interesting speakers and topics at the summit, so if you can make it to DC, it’ll probably be worth going:

— What Is Fiscal Sustainability? (Team Leader: Professor Bill Mitchell, Research Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the University of Newcastle, NSW Australia, and blogger at billyblog.)

— Are There Spending Constraints on Governments Sovereign in their Currency? (Team Leader: Stephanie Kelton, Assistant Professor of Macroeconomics, Finance, and Money and Banking, University of Missouri, Kansas City, and blogger at New Economics Perspectives)

— The Deficit, the Debt, the Debt-To-GDP ratio, the Grandchildren and
Government Economic Policy; (Team Leader: Warren Mosler, International Consulting Economist, Independent Candidate for the US Senate in Connecticut, and blogger at

— Inflation and Hyper-inflation (Team Leader: Marshall Auerback, International Consulting Economist, blogger at New Deal 2.0 and New Economic Perspectives); and

— Policy Proposals for Fiscal Sustainability (Team leaders: L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Pavlina Tcherneva, Assistant Professor of Economics at Franklin and Marshall College, and bloggers at New Economic Perspectives)


Why, Virginia, Would You Think the President Isn’t Willing to See Abortion Rights Slip Away?


Krugman is trivially right and essentially wrong


  1. thank you ian.

  2. Tom Hickey

    Here a list of the chief MMT bloggers that progressives will want to be familiar with:

    Marshal Auerback Blogs at New Deal 2.0

    Scott Fulwiler blogs at New Perspectives

    Bill Mitchell has his own blog

    Warren Mosler has his own blog

    Winterspeak has his own blog

    L. Randall Wray blogs at New Perspectives

    Also check out the guest bloggers at New Perspectives

  3. It’s the corporate bosses who are now due all entitlements.

    The rest of us get zilch.

    Carolyn Kay

  4. alyosha

    However small compared to billionaire Peterson’s efforts, this gives me hope. Thanks.

  5. Hi Ian, Thanks very much for covering this and for your thoughts about it. these are very welcome, but I must offer a small corrective. The Conference is planned for the 28th and we are doing our best to make it a reality. We have, as you say, a great program, are near to tying down a great venue, and have a web site up to market the Conference and serve as a co-ordination and action site for fiscal sustainability according to MMT after the conference.

    However, we started down this road only a little more than a week ago a day or two after I posted this diary at FDL, , Correntwire, and at my own site: That time frame has made it difficult for us to to raise very much in the way of funds yet, and even with a low budget we will have substantial travel expenses to take care of. So, we still have that final piece of the conference puzzle to put together, the funding, before we can say for certain that the “teach-in counter conference” will happen. However great the need for it is.

    The Peterson Foundation has “all the money” in the world and we have nothing but our knowledge that they are very, very wrong in their views, and will cause great suffering to working Americans if they prevail. Nevertheless, we will do the best we can to get people to realize that their Government has a responsibility to fulfill public purposes that it has been ignoring since at least the late 1960s, and that this responsibility needs to be fulfilled by solving the many outstanding national problems that have been accumulating for 40 years.

    We will also do our best to get people to realize that what happens to budget deficits, the national debt, and debt-to-gdp ratios are not excuses for the Government’s failure to live up to its responsibilities. Because what happens to these indicators is an effect of its failure to act as it should, rather than a cause of our problems

  6. Hi again Ian, we’ve made further progress. We now have sponsorship of the Department of Management at The George Washington University and a venue at The Marvin Center, Room 310 (The Elliot Room), for 8:00 – 4:00 PM. Our program has been revised accordingly and we are raising money through an actblue page. See fiscal for word of our accelerating progress. It looks like this will happen. So, thank you again for your kind support. I hope you’ll track us for new blogs and new information on The Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In Counter-Conference. We’re going to have quite an answer to Peterson.

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