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

It’s Biden’s World

Biden was one of the key architects of the bankrupty bill, which made it impossible to declare bankruptcy on student loans.

The result of the bankruptcy bill is that millenials and zoomers who went to university and don’t have rich parents can’t own a house and many have decided they can’t afford families. They expect to live in poverty for decades as a result. (Not going to university means you can’t even apply for good jobs.)

Biden pushed hard for three-strikes laws, the drug wars, and so on. He is responsible for completely destroying entire generations of poor black men and gutting inner cities.

Biden has repeatedly tried to cut social security. He didn’t just vote for war with Iraq, he pushed the lie that Iraq had WMD, and worked hard to promote approval for the war.

He actively helped repeal Glass-Steagall, setting up the 2007/8 financial crisis that caused a ten-year long “recession” for ordinary people.

We live in Joe Biden’s world. Joe Biden was there every step of the way, creating a world in which young people live in poverty, poor black (and white) men are in prison, and in which the rich get richer and everyone else scrambles to even keep up.

By any rational consideration, Biden is a bad man. Evil, even.

Let us move briefly to Sanders. Bernie’s key planks were Medicare-for-all and student debt forgiveness, with a large climate change plan.

There are now great cries that Sanders supporters should support and vote for Biden.

People supported Sanders so ferociously because his policies meant they could actually have health care they could use (Medicare-for-all) and might be able to not spend decades in debt, and thus start families and maybe even own a home.

In other words, Sanders policies would make them more likely to NOT DIE and to be able to live a decent life.

Biden’s policies do not do that. Period. So when you see upset Sanders supporters, understand that they’re angry that people who voted Biden don’t seem to care if they die or live in poverty.

Biden, even if Sanders likes him personally (a fact which should have had no effect on his strategy, and is one of Sanders ethical failings), is one of the top fifty or so people in the country responsible for how shitty the US is to so many people. That is Biden’s legacy. He’s a warmonger, and someone who has favored rich people over the middle class and poor all his life, and made sure that the poor and young were hurt–and hurt badly.

Trump may be worse, but this a case of Beelzebub vs. Satan.

The Left is not Democratic. It does not have the same beliefs as Democrats. It does not believe in war. It does not believe young people should be poor. It does not believe in increasing fracking and destroying the climate (which Biden/Obama did–and do). It does not believe that whether you can have health care should depend on how much money you have.

The two are not friends–they’re not even allies, because allies don’t make separate peace.

The entire argument for voting for Biden rather than Trump, if you’re left-wing, is, “We’ll throw you some scraps, and kick you slightly less often.”

I mean, OK, I guess?

But don’t act like it’s some great moral argument, or that the Left and Democrats are friends, or allies, or even exist in the same moral universe.

Democrats like Biden are people who have done literal incalculable harm to both Americans and foreigners throughout their careers. Those who prefer Biden to Sanders are people who want more evil done than good, claiming that it is less evil than Trump would do (which it may well be, especially if you’re American). But they don’t actually want good. They aren’t, on the whole, in favor of doing good. They are, on the whole, in favor of doing evil. (No, no, don’t tell me about Biden’s platform. His record is what matters.)

So, yeah, Bernie losing matters, and Americans will pay the price. Biden is evil, there is no question about that. He is so far from being good that he’s somewhere around the sixth circle of hell. The argument is, yet again, simply about voting for the lesser evil.

But a majority of Democrats did want the evil guy rather than the good guy, and that’s what they have.

So be it.

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April 9th US Covid Data


April 10th US Covid Data


  1. Eric Anderson

    It’s a rapist’s world.
    Americans have no problem electing rapists because the United States of America is literally a 250 years experiment in rape culture
    We raped the Native Americans.
    We raped cuba.
    We raped Iraq.
    We’re raping Afghanistan and Iran.
    We’re raping the environment.
    Need I continue?

  2. Aqua Lung

    Trump may be worse, but this a case of Beelzebub vs. Satan.

    Or better yet, it’s as though the choices are Joe Exotic (Trump) and Bhagavan Doc Antle. If Tiger King isn’t a perfect metaphor for so many things in America, nothing is. It’s a perfect metaphor for America’s politics. Carole Baskin metaphorically represents the progressive faction of the Dems. They seem altruistic but when you get right down to it, they’re opportunists too, hence Bernie and AOC and Ro Khana etc. voting for the most recent giveaway to the wealthy versus making them pay more taxes. Bhagavan Doc Antle is the non-progressive Dems and Joe Exotic represents the Trump supporters and the GOP.

  3. Zachary Smith

    But a majority of Democrats did want the evil guy rather than the good guy, and that’s what they have.

    This may or may not be true, but it was never put to the test. The 2020 Democratic Primary was a total fraud. Far worse than the one in 2016.

  4. Aqua Lung

    Eric’s right. It boggles the mind how many women, especially #MeTooers, want to line up to have their pussies grabbed. I guess grabbing pussy is a good thing. Silly me. All this time I thought it was wrong. Even so, I don’t think I could ever get myself to grab a pussy. It’s just not my thang even though it’s apparently the national pastime.

  5. DMC

    Well, it’s going to make not voting this cycle that much easier. Because, really, what’s the point? Hell, write in Ralph Nader, just to piss off the blue dogs.

  6. Aqua Lung

    The 2020 Democratic Primary was a total fraud. Far worse than the one in 2016.

    Maybe so, Zachary, and if so it means Bernie is a total fraud and therefore would have made a terrible POTUS despite his policy prescriptions. He has a duty and an obligation to call it out and renounce it and fight it if it was an obvious fraud. What the hell does he have to lose at this point. Any day now he can contract COVID-19. Instead, he voted for the giveaway to the wealthy. That is tragic and sickening.

    Has anyone received their money yet? We haven’t. What’s the hold-up? F*cking jokers. They ALL need to be strung up all up and down Pennsylvania Avenue for the world to see.

  7. Willy

    Instead of sitting around here listening to 450 whine, shouldn’t we be strategizing a strategy?

    I”d once theorized that most people seem to need to completely fall down before they decide to walk intelligently. Most people polled want intelligently progressive policies but it seems they need to fall down first.

    For a few years now I’ve been telling an in-law that both parties are corporate-corrupt. He’s a reasonably educated physician who appears to agree with me.

    When nobody else is around.

    But then I catch him talking all Trump-love with his conservative evangelicals in obvious displays of virtue signalling tribal unity. I’m wondering how I should approach him about this behavior. Not to change it, since it wouldn’t be in his own perceived best interests, but to get insights straight from the horses mouth.

  8. Aqua Lung

    Imagine the microphones are guns and this is a citizen’s arrest versus an impromptu press conference. There’s a strategy for you.

  9. Stirling S Newberry

    By the time his term is over, he won’t know it. That is if he gets one.

    92,109 and the days total is not done. Biden is not the choice that the elites should have come to.

  10. Mark Pontin

    Stirling N: ‘Biden is not the choice that the elites should have come to.’

    You go to war with the army you have, not the one you’d like.

    To quote someone or other. They needed a figure to stop Bernie.

    But yeah, I suspect their choice of Biden will trigger more problems for them and, consequently, for we proles.

  11. Aqua Lung

    There isn’t going to be an election. Not that it matters either way. We’re well beyond paper or plastic. Mass murderers are at the helm and they cannot be stopped. Nobody will stop this. It’s going to happen. They WANT it to happen. They WANT more than 3 million dead. The stock market is up up up on this news.

  12. Willy

    You need a critical mass of goal directed focus for successful revolutions. Otherwise some sociopath will come along and redirect the entire movement towards his own purely selfish ends.

    Genghis got people to entertain his conquer and destroy jollies, to pretty much do the exact opposite of the “right thing”. How do you get people to want to do the right thing instead?

  13. Synoia

    Genghis got people to entertain his conquer and destroy jollies..

    Conquer and loot. Get it correct.

    That’s changed little, new process, same motivations.

  14. Mark Pontin

    Along the lines that Biden is a problematic yet desperately necessary choice for our elites, they have other, similar problems. As I noted in the other thread today, the CDC now estimates COV19 Ro at 5.7 (!) with no social distancing or lockdown —

    ‘High Contagiousness and Rapid Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’

    What does this mean, if our elites’ goal is to ride the pandemic with as little damage to the economy as possible while keeping the curve flat enough so hospitals can cope (while keeping any public trust)?

    It means that if the goal is trying to recover the economy from before this pandemic — let alone the pre-Trump era — such a strategy won’t work. Because nothing will do that. We’ve passed an inflection point and eventually, somewhere down the road, we’ll reach a new normal significantly different then the one so many fondly remember.

    In the meantime, nonetheless, the U.S. is likely going to be the poster boy for just using a bull rush to attempt to slam through the problem with brute force. The U.S. still hasn’t performed a country-wide lockdown and probably cannot. The business community is already exerting tremendous pressure on politicians to unchain the economy before it’s too late. The talk on the news is already focused on the ‘we’re seeing the signs of the curve flattening ’ meme.

    In the face of all the science and showing a complete lack of common sense, therefore, the U.S. will attempt to return to ‘normal’ behavior.

    The goal will be just getting the economy going and ‘trying’ to keep the flow of sick into the medical system somewhere below the threshold of overwhelming the healthcare system while we build herd immunity. ‘If we don’t do this,’ it will be proclaimed, ‘there won’t be an economy left to return to. Thus, we charge ahead and take our losses.’

    Simultaneously, every sparkly miracle suggestion like chloroquine, remdesivir, BCG, zinc this or that, etcetera will be promoted to placate those of the public paying any attention to the news that ‘we are working hard to solve this.’

    The bottom line, though, is U.S. elites will try hard to restart the economy, with herd immunity as an aimed-for byproduct.

    Given a 5.7 R0 or something approaching it, however, the reality will be a situation not dissimilar to that faced faced during the 1918 flu epidemic: COV19 isn’t as lethal as the ‘Spanish flu’ but its infectiousness is far — almost science-fictionally — higher.

    The science indicates there is a significant possibility that for a coronavirus developing a strong long-lasting vaccine may take years or, more specifically, may not scale, manufacturing-wise. (Full disclosure: the company, Moderna, that’s been the first to human trials with a potential COV-19 vaccine was created by a biotech VC partnership for whom I occasionally do freelance copy-writing; I tlaked to a partner about what Moderna is doing.)

    This then leaves ‘herd immunity’ as the default solution. In the view of the authorities and capitalists, “We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.” Hence, the argument that the cure is worse than the disease.

    The problem for our rulers and owners is that sensible people and organizations already locked themselves down, long before they were ordered to by the U.S. state. The state has been reacting to the reality on the ground, in order not to look like chumps. As a consequence, our rulers and owners will likely find that, when they do the grand re-opening, sales and business demand will be extremely meager for some time: reasonable people don’t put themselves and their nearest and dearest into an early grave “for the economy’s sake.”

    Logically, it would be more sensible for everyone to just maintain as near a holding pattern under lockdown as possible for the 18+ months (and maybe several years) till things really are all clear on the COV19 front, and real business demand returns. Simultaneously, provide a UBI so people can meet their financial obligations without endangering everyone else.

    But this is ideologically impossible with those currently ruling the USA since their ownership of the ‘economy’ is the foundation of their power.

    Thence, their power may very well not be sustainable — or sustainable only in terms of a massive clampdown using the kind of data surveillance used in China and possibly martial law. I don’t think the latter solution is actually feasible in the U.S., or at least could be destabilizing in much the same way that the use of the army was the final destabilizing factor in the U.S.S.R.’s fall.

    Change is coming to the U.S. Institutions and conventions that everybody takes to be as permanent and unalterable as gravity — for starters, obviously, its current healthcare system — are going to brutally vanish or transform in the next few years.

  15. Mel

    “strategizing a strategy”

    Indeed. Also start organizing some organizations. Ted Rall has written some about building a new party:
    IMO his advice starts a couple of steps in. If people can organize a Kickstarter to pay for a founding convention, then they can also start the policy discussions online now; any local nucleus groups could chime in when they feel ready. Existing policy groups too.

  16. krake

    Not new parties. Not new leaders.


    Learn from the fascists (not because they’re fascists; because they know how to win): identify the enemy.

  17. Mark Pontin

    Krake wrote: ‘Identify the enemy.’

    Seriously. That would be the start.

  18. Hugh

    What is important is the goal: what kind of a society do you want? And the policies that get you there. People come and go. People can be replaced. But the goal lives on.

    For Democrats and Republicans, it is all and always about the personalities. It is just assumed the overall plan is whatever the rich and corporations want. It says a lot about how degenerate our politics have become that they can’t even deliver a decent personality anymore, just ghastly, demented caricatures like Biden and Trump.

    What is so funny is most Democrats would think it was just nuts and totally perverse if somebody said that they were voting for Trump because he offers them nothing and is against everything they believe but then expect this voter to support their candidate because Old Joke offers them nothing and is against everything they believe.

    I also find it funny how a lazy and mendacious media will christen a politician with a nickname which they will use with this politician no matter how wildly inaccurate it is. My first experience with this was with John McCain the Maverick even though with a few notable exceptions McCain was consistently in the top three most conservative members of the Senate (and think for a moment about just how conservative the Senate is). It’s the same thing with Working Class Joe, a guy who spent 36 years as a US Senator championing the banks and 8 years as Vice President championing the banks. This guy is so far removed from anything working class that even the Hubble wouldn’t be able to find it. And to be bipartisan how weird is that Trump is always associated with the ghost written Art of the Deal. But Trump is monumentally and, if the stakes weren’t so high, laughably indecisive and the deals he has made in his businesses have led to serial bankruptcies and those as President to one political disaster to the country after another.

  19. Aqua Lung

    Mark, that was excellent. Well said. I agree with your analysis.

  20. highrpm

    “know your enemies. ” easy: pelosi/corporate media. a new party, a fresh start, for new gen’ers. (the oldsters can’t let go of the demons as their party security blanket. too crystallized. bernie couldn’t. why did he, an independent, choose to run as a demon?)

  21. Astrid

    DNC is just manifesting neofeudalism, where the electorate is obligated to vote for it…or else…something something Supreme Court. In return, it gives it’s PMC dead-enders the opportunity to feel superior to everyone to the right and left of them. They’re shocked when others find this system disagreeable. They’re educated fools whose eyes were trained to not see.

    We’ll see what happens when the poors are lured away with red meat and slightly better crumbs, the Boomers die from coronavirus plus exploded healthcare aftermath of the coronavirus, and the young PMCers realize they’re never going to pay off their student loans or afford to live without roommates. Yes. If it ends in 2 months, then we just landed closer to that dream of greater neofeudalism. But 6/12/18 months of this will make people desperate enough, perhaps.

    As for Biden the man, he is full on evil like 95 percent of national politicians (and top 0.001%). Their wealthy and power were all built on creating hell lives, abroad pre-1980, and now increasingly anywhere. Something akin to what was done to the masters of Meereen would not be adequate punishment for the evils they wrought. The Chinese emperor’s used to institute guilt by association for what they consider treasonous acts, to truly root out poison. It’s morally abhorrent, but perhaps the most fitting punishment for this misleadership class.

  22. krake

    Highrpm, Pelosi and the press (neoliberal and reactionary) are well paid clerks. Functionaries. Expendable. An adversary, not an enemy. Often a distraction. Esp. in spectacle societies.

    An enemy is not expendable within a social construct. The chief characteristic of an enemies is their necessity to the status quo, both their success and your oppression/defeat/decline.

    Remove any Speaker, rep, bobblehead, Senator, consultant, technocrat and the system replicates his replacement. With new immunities and protections.

    Remove Mercer, Zuckerburg, GE, Thiel, Musk, enough venture capitalists, CentCom brass – and <> they own, then you start to degrade the replication system.

    Power is power-over. It is not separate from the people who get others to serve, surrender, obey. It is not a fungible commodity, or an achievement.

    If we are to break it, we must break the bodies that are it. Not form loser-coalitions of people who will soon themselves surrender.

  23. krake

    that should be ” they own”

  24. Mark Pontin

    ‘Remove Mercer, Zuckerburg, GE, Thiel, Musk, enough venture capitalists, CentCom brass – and then you start to degrade the replication system.’

    No, not really. You really shouldn’t be talking about these ridiculous ideas online. I’m only indulging you as a speculative plot notion for a science-fiction/political thriller scenario that occurred to me and I might write someday. I am absolutely not serious — repeat, I’m not serious.

    Especially if you’re working for one of the acronym agencies.

    Firstly: all the figures you mention have serious professional security such that, though that security currently has a vulnerability Ian has mentioned in the past, there’s only a one-time application. Do it once and they’ll never allow it again. Secondly: no one of the figures you mention is structurally vital to the continuity of the class. Thirdly: come on, a clean sweep of Centcom brass — na ga happen. Nor of the likes of Jamie Dimon, whom you didn’t mention. These people have serious security; I’ve seen it.

    However, in any system the antagonist looks for the actually indispensable choke and break points that nobody ever thinks about till they’re taken down. In terms of physical infrastructure, forex, this was an interesting demo —

    Now in terms of the sociopolitical infrastructure and ‘degrading the replication system’ there, an obvious analogue exists. On this site a couple of weeks back, there was discussion of a historian, Niall Ferguson, who has a book not mentioned then titled THE CASH NEXUS.

    The cash nexus. What choke points of the cash nexus that facilitates the corruption and graft in Washington can be, unlike the billionaire class, feasibly targeted? Obviously, K Street lobbyists and figures in certain affiliated positions that I’m not going to mention.

    And I’m absolutely not serious and this is merely an idea for a political/SF thriller I or someone else might write someday. Nor should you think anything else.

  25. Mark Pontin

    @ Hugh –

    I’m curious: are you the same Hugh who turns up occasionally on the comments thread of Peter Watts’s blog?

    Of course, it’s none of my business if you don’t wish to to say. (Presumably, too, like Bruce W. and a number of other commenters I recognize here from NC, you number among those who’ve triggered Y. Smith’s ire for good reasons or bad ones.)

  26. DMC

    At this point, it’s all in the virus’ court. Just surviving until election day may be enough to win it. What if BOTH the candidates snuff it before the conventions? Will there even BE conventions, or just a really BIG Zoom call? And will it even matter, if we’re sliding into some post-financial…what? Anarcho-syndicalist utopia or “Mad Max” crypto-feudalism? Certainly nothing that the current political order is going to be able to cope with.
    Having to resort to such crude means as removal from the corporeal plane(with prejudice) is indicative of a failure of imagination. The idea should be to make the people the current system considers “critical”, irrelevant. All they have is money. If the game stops being about money, then, where are they? We’re about to witness a very great deal of “air” let out of the economy, in terms of lost value in purely financial instruments(i.e. those with no physical component like a house and deed). Gold is practically unobtainable. The handwriting is on the wall.

  27. Hugh

    Mark, no, I do not comment at Peter Watts’ blog. I did have some run ins with Yves over MMT.

    I would note that currently MMTers are claiming victory for all the big money bills passing through Congress. But they shouldn’t be since T-bills will have to be sold to cover all these expenditures, as per usual in our quasi-gold standard system. Where real fiat money creation is going on is through the Fed and its multi-trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street. Fiat money creation does equal MMT. I incorporate fiat money creation in my own economic views and am a long standing critic of MMT.

  28. Zachary Smith

    I’ve been wondering about WHY this piece of garbage was written, and have come up with only one reasonable conclusion so far. If the DNC is planning to throw the 2020 election to Trump, blaming the loss on the damned Bernie Fanatics would make perfect sense.

    One other thing: Google News has had an awful lot of sympathetic headlines for Trump recently. I’ll admit that this might be an “advertising” thing which is tailored to Red State Indiana, and somebody in California could be seeing an entirely different screen. (people with a VPN could check on this sort of thing) In any event, doing this kind of lopsided coverage in states where the election would be putting a rather heavy thumb on the scales. The owners of Google are extremely wealthy, want endless wars for the Apartheid State, and have surely done very well with the 2020 Bailout. They may be asking – Why Not Keep Trump?

    Biden’s flaws are endless – he is truly the worst possible candidate to run against Trump – if you’re wanting to win the election. Old Semi-Senile Joe ain’t bad at all if winning isn’t the object. If he becomes the candidate, I begin to suspect Google and the rest of the Corporate Media will shine a big spotlight on every one of Biden’s many sins. And talk a lot about how Trump has “grown” into a decent president.

  29. Mark Pontin

    @ Hugh –

    What’s your beef with Yves’s take on MMT?

    Just curious. I don’t claim to be an expert but think I understand the basics, thus take MMT as merely a description of how a fiat money system truly works and see no specific policy recommendations as being inherently built in it.

    Essentially, it appears to be just George Knapp’s Chartalism from back in 1905–
    — in 21st century drag.

    Still, I confess I haven’t devoted study to it, so don’t know what I don’t know and may be a fool to express any belief about it. That said, MMT basics seem to me …well, pretty basic once you get your mind around them. As Keynes said: “The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.”

  30. Mark Pontin

    Zachary S. wrote: “I’ve been wondering … if the DNC is planning to throw the 2020 election to Trump, blaming the loss on the damned Bernie Fanatics would make perfect sense.”

    Doh. Is the bear a catholic, does the pope etc.? Wonder no more, but take as given.

    Hopefully, this timewe won’t have to hear about the perfidy of Putin and the Russians, but I’m not counting on it. No ploy is too pathetic or contemptible to be beneath the DNC.

    Speaking of which ….

    “Biden’s flaws are endless – he is truly the worst possible candidate to run against Trump.”

    It’s worse than that. With Biden, one can cast one’s mind back to the Breshnev-Andropov-Chernenko era just preceding the collapse of the U.S.S.R., and still not find any leader so old and frail, and so patently suffering from cognitive decline, that he cannot finish sentences.

    Obviously, Trump ain’t no great shakes, either. These are the days of the collapsing American empire ….

  31. Eric Anderson

    @Mark Pontin:
    Oh, boy. You just opened a can of worms.
    Love and agree with 99% percent of what Hugh posts. But we diverge on MMT. My take is MMT is just fine, as would be any number of different economic philosophies given a chance to be put into practice.
    Put simply, money does what the law tells it to. Properly understood, (idiot economists will always disagree because it pulls the curtain back on their lies) money, economics, finance, etc are all simply subsets of property law. Property is the bundle of rights and duties on which we all agree state power can enforce. Tell me how economics are different?
    If enough people say an economic system is so, and pass a law saying it is so, it IS so.
    The arguments the orthodox economists put forth are better understood as religious “natural law” arguments. Taxes don’t pay for things. They just keep you worshipping the state sanctioned religion.
    It’s all smoke and mirrors to keep the proles down.

  32. Benjamin

    @Mark Pontin

    His beef is that he doesn’t understand it and he’s raging against a strawman. The selling of bonds is part of an accounting fiction that needs to be done away with entirely. The money in that bill has already been created, debited to Treasury accounts. MMT in action.

  33. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “…because [the fascists] know how to win.”

    Yep, that’s why the Axis Powers won WW2–oh, wait… 😆

    Note: This wouldn’t post the first time, so blame the glitch if two copies of this show up.

  34. Eric Anderson

    Who knew I was a charlatan?
    I drew all the conclusions I came to on my own while studying property law.
    But, thanks for the wiki link Mark.

  35. Hugh

    I get asked often enough about MMT that finally I put together the short quick critique of it, which follows:

    “I should say that money for me is a medium by which we as a society create, direct, and

    manage our resources. When we use government to do this, it does so in 4 ways: taxing,

    spending, legislation, and regulation.

    MMT is wrong when it says that taxing is necessary for the state to enforce the use and

    value of money. It is the will of the people that underlie its use and value. Additionally, in

    the US, constitutionally, there is the guarantee of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment: “The

    validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be


    It is one of many contradictions in MMT that at the same time that it asserts that taxing

    gives money its value, it says that we should not go after the rich to pay taxes (it’s too hard)

    and corporations should be allowed to keep their profits (because they earned them).

    These positions as absurd as they are came from Randy Wray. I remember them well

    because it is why I was shown the door at Naked Capitalism. But they illustrate that many

    who embrace MMT don’t really understand what it is or stands for.

    The Jobs Guarantee is another example. In MMT, its purpose is to create a “buffer stock of

    labor,” a place to park excess workers during downturns until they are needed again by

    the private sector. There is much to dislike in this. It is a commodification of people. The

    intent was always to keep workers uncomfortable enough that they would always prefer to

    go back to the private sector and no real thought was given to the kind of work to be done.

    Under pressure from people like me, MMTers started talking about offering a living wage.

    I don’t think they ever accepted the condition that these jobs involve meaningful work.

    But it should. However, the more the jobs of the Jobs Guarantee become people centered

    the less they fulfill the buffer stock purpose of MMT, because most people would prefer the

    stability of a good public job than face the vagaries of the markets.

    This in turn raises several points. MMT believes in the magic of markets, that they provide

    the best possible outcomes available, as much as any mainstream neoclassical economist.

    MMT says money creation can continue without inflation until full employment. But if the

    Jobs Guarantee provides permanent full employment, what does this say about money

    creation and inflation? Another thing is MMT ignores what happens to the money it

    creates after it is created. And what happens to it is that it gets sucked upwards by the rich

    to the rich, increasing inequality. Even in the absence of inflation, this is not a harmless

    process. What it does is create bubbles and besides having the capacity to blow up large

    parts of the economy when they burst, even before, they have major distortive effects on

    the economy (stock price before what makes business sense or good for our society). MMT

    takes mostly a Minskyan view on bubbles: can’t see them coming (laughably false) and

    can only try to mitigate their effects, as with a so-so Jobs Guarantee.

    And of course, the central tenet of MMT is fiat money. The problem in the US is that it

    does not really have a fiat currency. It could have one, it even has had one on occasion, as

    during the Civil War with its greenbacks, but it hasn’t had one for more than a century,

    1913 to be exact with the creation of the Federal Reserve. Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 5

    of the Constitution gives the Congress the right to “coin money.” The Treasury

    Department continues to coin money, but this accounts for only a few percent of money

    creation each year. The rest is done through the Fed, and more specifically the regional

    Feds which are essentially private banking cartels. The result is that the US government

    functions as if it were on a gold standard, needing to finance its deficits because it has

    ceded most of its money creation power to the Fed. (I don’t know if you came across or

    knew a blogger named beowulf (Carlos Mucha), a self-described conservative, who

    introduced the concept of the platinum coin as a work around to this.)

    Re banks, MMT likes to say that banks don’t need reserves to make loans and that by

    making loans they create money. This is true but uninteresting. You do the same thing

    when you use your credit card. That’s because we live in a credit economy.

    Re sectoral balances, money created by government and spent in the private sector doesn’t

    mean much if money spent by government ends up in the hands of the rich.

    Finally, MMT, i.e. Modern Monetary Theory, is sloppily constructed as theory. Something

    people learn in the first 15 minutes of an undergrad logic class is the difference between

    inductive and deductive argument. A deductive argument starts with a set of premises and

    goes down a logic chain to a specific conclusion. An inductive argument takes a mass of

    data points and goes up a logic chain. But the chain can branch because by the nature of

    the argument there are no higher level pre-specified premises to close off branches. You can

    choose a branch but new data can show that another branch better fits the data. Science is

    like this. Where for example the Aristotleian universe of friction gave way to Newtonian

    mechanics which gave way in turn to relativity theory.

    Money is pretty far down the logic chain in economics. So it is pretty hard to use MMT as

    a basis for economic theory. But while it purports to be a monetary theory, its practitioners

    regularly use it as an economic theory and assert it will have certain economic

    consequences and not others. But people like me say, wait, on the one hand, you are

    asserting that MMT is just a description of what money is and how it works (both highly

    debatable from my point of view). On the other hand, you are asserting what money can

    and should be used for, but that is outside the purview of MMT because that is economic

    theory and a lot further up the logic chain. This is intellectually sloppy and the reason I call

    MMT a very poorly constructed theory.

    Anyway, these are a few quick points on MMT. Hope this helps. “

  36. Hugh

    benjamin brings up another aspect of MMT. It is creepily cult-like. You can only understand it if you believe in it. So really any criticism of MMT from the viewpoint of its adherents merely exposes the lack of belief of the critiquer. This is very similar to Trump supporters, evangelicals, etc. They believe because they believe. Begone, ye heathens. Yes, well, whatever. Been there, done that, about a thousand times before benjamin ever came along.

  37. Stirling S Newberry

    MMT just ignores people who question them on facts, it throws a wrench on their ugly theory.

  38. Astrid

    MMTers are economists, so they’ll do everything possible to avoid discussions about actual physical reality or morality or real humans. I do still think MMT is useful for critiquing the current standard general mishmash of things, just not something that can stand on its own legs.

    Smith, Marx, Ricardo, and Keynes had some interesting insights about the organization of complex human societies, but those ideas shouldn’t be considered anything more than philosophical inquiries. As it is, economists are a useful class of educated idiots/sophists creating cover to banks and PE for looting the real economy, by confusing the general populace with their nonsensical models.

    Yves is a good source of information and insight, but she is also a creature of her education, professional experience, and upper tier PMC network. So she is happy to defer to authority and professional credentials, unless the offense (as it is for Larry Summers) is too obvious and great.

    Also, even though she is very smart and principled, she is also convinced that she is always right. And her bedside manners whenever someone is perceived as disagreeing with her, is quite shrill and disproportionate to the offense. It’s probably a beneficial trade-off overall though, I can’t imagine someone doing the good work that she’s done over the years, if they didn’t have such a stubborn and self righteous streak.

  39. Aqua Lung

    The Chinese emperor’s used to institute guilt by association for what they consider treasonous acts, to truly root out poison. It’s morally abhorrent, but perhaps the most fitting punishment for this misleadership class.

    This is key. This is crucial. Without enablers, the addict cannot be an addict for long. The lawyers and accountants and marketers and the media are ALL enablers and complicit in this. If and/or when the table turns, the enablers CANNOT escape justice for they are the poison that will spread again if left unchecked. Fidel and Che understood this. The top 20% comprise the majority of the perpetrators. You know, the ones who own stock and are happy happy about this pandemic as is witnessed by the recent unprecedented gains in the stock market amidst this pandemic calamity. Private Equity is ground zero. This guy is a poster child.

    Mark has a great point, these f*cks have layer upon layer of security and they have license to murder like 007. They are uber cowards and bullies as is their security apparatus. Cowards and bullies fold and melt when they realize the threat is overwhelming. A fair fight scares them sh*tless and when faced with one they sh*t their pants. They must not go unpunished if and when that time comes despite them folding like cheap suits and betraying their masters. There can be no progress without justice and in order for there to be proper justice you must look back and reconcile the past before moving forward, much to Obama’s chagrin. Remember how he implored us to look forward rather than back? I do. I’ll never forget. I already knew he was an imposter and the first CIA POTUS cradle to grave ever “elected” but those words were code meant to say there will never be justice so long as the alphabet agencies exist. He even had the unmitigated gall, the arrogant temerity, to say he and his would never apologize for the sadistic debauchery they engaged in for the past seventy or more years in the name of what? That’s the million dollar question. In the name of what? Not in the name of freedom, that’s for certain. Rather, in the name of profit and power.

  40. Aqua Lung

    Visualization is important.

  41. Aqua Lung

    Tipping points. We will know we have reached a tipping point, when the table is beginning to turn, when the likes of “Yves” has to sell her body to the night to get by. She already sold her soul long ago so the only thing she will have left is her aged body for a biscuit. Call it Naked Nakedalism.

    I loathe “Yves” and the class of technocrats she is part of and represents. The enablers. I once worked side by side with these cretins and I rejected them for they are truly poison and Hugh is right, MMT is just more poison from this poisonous class of traitors but with a spoonful of sugar to help the rancid medicine go down.

    MMT is the fruit of the poor lemon and we all know or should know by now, the fruit of this poor lemon is impossible to eat.

  42. Dave Dell

    Astrid is correct. MMT bumps up against political reality. My take on MMT/Economic Reality is that taxes and the taxation system are used in a country that issues it’s own currency to create a demand for that countries currency, to enact social initiatives such as lowering wealth disparities, encouraging investment in new technologies (as an example) and, control inflation by raising taxes to pull money out of circulation when the economy is overheating. The latter is where it fails. Raising taxes is difficult to the point of impossibility. Certainly impossible to do in a timely matter to control inflation.

    That leaves us with the bizarre system we have today where politicians pretend that you have to tax in order to spend – true at the state and local level if there are balanced budget provisions in effect – when in reality taxing and spending on the Federal level are not linked in the slightest. All we do is pay the interest on the debt. All we have to do is pay the interest on the debt.

  43. rkka


    ““…because [the fascists] know how to win.””

    “Yep, that’s why the Axis Powers won WW2–oh, wait…”

    Without USSR they sure don’t. US gets Japan, no question, but by the time that’s done, Festung Europa is a real Festung rather than an eggshell smashed by a sledgehammer.

  44. Stirling S Newberry

    The curve may have bent for this outbreak. There is still lots of death.

    In the US the in racial divides:

    Black 1st, Hispanic/Latino 2nd … as usual melanin becomes an issue here in the great United States.

  45. A good chunk of all this theorizing seems predicated on the idea that no one could genuinely like Biden and simultaneously, paradoxically, that likability shouldn’t matter anyway. I understand this, because I can’t personally understand anyone likes Biden. But for many ordinary American voters, likability is used as an indicator and mental shortcut. And they like Biden as a person, and don’t like Bernie or his supporters as people.

    It’s a deep mistake to attempt to explain to Biden supporters that Bernie’s supporters are passionate because they need health care. That very explanation is obviously taken as emotional blackmail intended to override Biden supporters’ own priorities. Telling people you want to vote for your candidate that their own priorities don’t matter is obviously a mistake. I referred to Trump’s presidency in the past as a dire aesthetic emergency that many American liberals urgently believe must be corrected forthwith, before any discussion of needing insulin to live etc can take place.

  46. someofparts

    more of this please

    also this

    Only two-thirds of those who survive a case of the virus develop immunities. The young tend to be the ones who don’t develop it.

    Also they are not sure if people who get the virus a second time are even getting infected twice. It may be that the thing goes dormat and then flares up again.

    Am I the only one noticing the irony that germs are how Europeans wiped out so many indigenous people? Now it’s out turn.

    Maybe disregard for life is part of our cultural DNA, passed on across generations.

  47. Ché Pasa

    Stopping the spread of the virus wasn’t something that was a realistic goal. Ensuring that our hospital system is in such a position where anyone who could get better with quality care got that quality care was the number one goal. — Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, 04/09/2020

    Reeves says the quiet part out loud: goal is herd immunity, no matter what you may think. We’re not stopping the spread of CV because it’s not realistic (bugger those who are stopping or controlling the spread). We’re providing quality care to those who can get better. As for the rest? Oh well!

    This differs only slightly from Biden’s view that M4A “wouldn’t have helped” in the current situation because for example UK has something like M4A and they’re overwhelmed with virus and death –worst in Europe, right? — so there’s no point in Bernie’s push for M4A. See? Quality care for those who can get better, oh well too bad so sad for everyone else.

    80% recover without intervention, after all, no?

    Bernie may be a genuinely good person, Biden may be genuinely evil, but that’s really irrelevant in the context of elections. Bad people get elected all the time; good people, sometimes.

    They get elected to serve in a system that primarily serves — and has always served — the rich and the powerful, and most importantly the system itself. In other words, preserving the system of rule in perpetuity whatever it takes. Public service is not always necessary to the preservation of the system.

    When we let go of the notion that elections can or will get us what we think or say we want — which is fundamental systemic change — then we’ll have an opportunity to focus on what is necessary for that change to happen.

  48. Eric Anderson

    “It is the will of the people that underlie its use and value.”

    And if the will of the people decide to use a different system to “create, direct, and
    manage our resources,” and commit that system to law?

    Note — I’m not arguing the efficacy of any particular economic system. Just that there are no impossibilities because humans create the world in which they choose to live through the application of law.

  49. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Nazi Germany was always going to force the USSR into alliance with the UK. The other heart of Hitler’s mad dreams–besides exterminating (((That Certain Minority)))–was the conquest and expropriation of the USSR. Comrade Dumb-ass Stalin had warning after warning from his spies that the Ratzis were preparing one of their patented blitzkriegs, but he would not believe it. As in the great 1940 blitzkrieg, Hitler benefited from mental lapses by his enemies (the British and French generals in 1940, Stalin in 1941).

    Plus, after the war, we were able to discover that Germany actually got nowhere near making a fission bomb.

    Given Hitler’s neglect of the German Navy, plus the effectiveness of the post-WW1 treaties in hampering the development of the post-WW1 German Navy, Nazi Germany was never going to conquer the UK, either. So, even if the D-Day invasion had been repulsed, we would have the airstrip we needed to send our fission bombs, which were rather more powerful than sledgehammers, against Festung Europa. This means Germany was ironically lucky to lose when it did; had Little Boy and Fat Man been ready soon enough, at least one of them would have been used on Germany.

    Nope, the Axis was doomed by its very decision to make war. It would have been doomed much sooner, if the British and French generals of 1940 had known how to use tanks properly, or if the Maginot Line had actually been built all the way to the coast.

    This article is primarily about the economic imbalances in the Pacific War, but the chart up near the top shows just how deeply outmatched the whole Axis was.

    BTW, for anyone interested in the Imperial Japanese Navy of WW2, is a splendid site.

  50. Astrid

    My friends (maybe null friends, I do loath them collectively, but then I would have zero social life or professional network without them) are pretty much all well off PMCers with Trump derangement syndrome. Dubya bugged them a little here and there, Obama was awesome (he’s one of them), and Hillary Clinton was the final realization of their personal enlightened status as supporters of a woman president. Meanwhile I’ve been fuming for the last 12 years because to tell them what I actually think would get me ostracized faster than if I just declared myself a libertarian or a Teabagger.

    Even the ones who actual do public policy and should know better, are quick to excuse Democrats on being naive and weak, and then focus on demonizing the other side. Trump is trolling this group out of their living minds. They still think Pelosi can still be their hero if she just could get her point across to some moderate Republicans.

    These people are irredeemable… other people’s sufferings are abstract, just something to take up or drop depending on how it achieves their self actualization or professional goals. They might be able to act kindly in specific circumstances, but been back to their rigid conditioning when it’s R v. D. So I really don’t give a F why they support a Biden or a Harris or an Obama. They’re supporting evil, full stop.

    This pretty much expands to most of the voting populace of USA. Most voted for some flavor of warmongers and economic oppression. That they’re too stupid or willfully blind to recognize it is on them.

  51. RobotPliers

    I know two Biden supporters, though likely there are more in my social circles that I just haven’t talked politics with:

    1) Late-middle aged professional woman, supports Biden because he “knows how things work,” has so much experience, most likely to get things done or at least stop the Republicans. The most competent candidate.

    2) Lates 30’s professional man, admits Biden wasn’t his first choice but is fine with him if he chooses a woman or person of color or gay man or etc. as Vice President, ideally someone young, and gives said person a boost to the Presidency in 2024. Was thinking of Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg specifically. Sees Biden as simply a placeholder who will stop things from getting worse, who can then hand off the Executive branch to a younger “not (white straight man)” in 2024.

    Both of them are utterly deluded, imo.

  52. Buzzard

    I was a Sanders supporter. Back in February I was at a bar with a few other Democrats, and we were all talking about who we supported in the primary. One older guy in his 70s, kind of the community elder statesman for the county party (and naturally a Biden supporter) just assumed I liked Buttigieg because, after all, I am a gay man. I responded with “he’s weak on health care, and besides that, I want a president, not a mascot.” It was a mindset that was completely foreign to him — to vote for a candidate for policy/issues reasons. Identity politics is a sickness that ensures that we almost always have bad people running for office.

  53. KT Chong

    Donald Trump’s first attack ad on Joe Biden, and it’s pretty devastating:

  54. nihil obstet

    “I’m not going nuts” isn’t quite in the same league as Nixon’s “I am not a crook”, but it’s not a bad first effort at high-lighting an unfortunate phrase.

  55. anon

    That Donald Trump attack ad on Biden disgusts me but it is very effective in highlighting Biden’s mental deficiencies while also tapping into the racist, anti-Asian/China, and xenophobic tendencies of his supporters.

  56. Mitchell

    This is absolutely correct. Biden is a complete fraud and a liar. He claims to be on the side of the people but he truly is part of the establishment and in support of Corporate America. This is disgusting and I can\’t stand him.

    This video perfectly demonstrates and underlines exactly how we can overcome Biden\’s lies, seduction, and twisted ways. We will ascend, comrades.


  57. Benjamin

    Phew. It’s clear from the comments here that none of you MMT critics actually read much from MMTers.

    The problem with dealing with people like Hugh is that his criticisms have all been answered, in detail, ad nauseam. Go to some place like Bill Mitchell’s blog and Mitchell write massive walls of text exploring the nuts-and-bolts of MMT. And then Hugh will just ignore all of it (if he ever even read it to begin with) and gish gallop his way right past. Then he’ll call us cultists who never answer his questions.

    Most MMT writers explicitly advocate high taxes on the rich, not to generate revenue but to curb their power.

    MMT not only doesn’t ignore physical reality, it hammers the point that the only restraints are physical ones. “We don’t have the money for that” isn’t a valid excuse; the only restrictions resources and labor.

    Our ‘ugly theory’ is an objectively accurate description of fiat money created as it already exists, in the real-world.

    @Aqua Lung

    What the actual fuck? Are you just and you’ve changed your name? Weirdo.

  58. Benjamin

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    The Blitzkrieg never existed; it was a media creation. The majority of the Germany military was horse drawn and didn’t move much faster than Napoleon’s armies.

    And the Japanese were well away of their massive disadvantage compared to the US. Which is why they weren’t fighting to invade the US, or even crush its military. The entire purpose of the Pearl Harbor and Philippines attacks was to bloody the Americans noses so much that they would agree to a negotiated peace and not interfere in the Far East. The original plan was to actually invade and hold Hawaii, which would render the US incapable of naval operations deep into the Pacific.

    From the Japanese perspective they were forced into the war: they stumbled into a quagmire in China thanks to a combination of the rogue Kwantung Army and bad communications, which caused the US to embargo vital resources to Japan, which ‘forced’ Japan to seize European holdings in the Far East to get more of those resources, which it couldn’t do without going to war with the US.

  59. Mark Pontin

    Hugh wrote: “MMT is wrong when it says that taxing is necessary for the state to enforce the use and value of money.”

    Ah. Well, we will agree to differ.

  60. The reference in the posting to Beelzebub reminded me of Gurdjieff’s “Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, or an Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man” – and the harsh condemnation of the morality of political figures brings to mind, as a counterpart, what Beelzebub says about the raven-beings who inhabit Saturn:

    The verbal intercourse of these beings, ravens, of that planet Saturn is something like ours.

    But in regard to their utterance, it is in my opinion the most beautiful of any I have ever heard.

    It can be compared to the singing of our best singers when with all their Being they sing in a minor key.

    And as for their relations with others, they – I don’t even know how to describe them – can be known only by existing among them and by experiencing them oneself.

    All that can be said is that these bird-beings have hearts exactly like those of the angels nearest our ENDLESS MAKER AND CREATOR.

    They exist strictly according to the ninth commandment of our CREATOR, namely: ‘Do unto another’s as you would do unto your own.’

  61. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Thanks, Ben. I did not know there was controversy about the accuracy of the term “blitzkrieg”. I may bestir myself to look into that, in my Corona-chan-enforced leisure. No promises, though. 😀

    I did know that the Japanese leaders did not actually think they could conquer the USA, but they were still fools to take the chance they did, as the ultimate results demonstrate. The wise move for them would have been to swallow their pride and withdraw from China, which would have caused their country no physical injury, rather than start a war they had no reasonable hope of winning. That’s what they get for actually believing that medieval honor-and-glory Bushido bullshit.

  62. nihil obstet

    MMT is an academic theory about how money works in a state that is sovereign in its own currency. I encountered it at Corrente and Naked Capitalism, where it is presented as the key to good US policy, specifically by teaching the average voter that concern for how to pay for programs is unwarranted. I think I am more widely and deeply read in political theory and economics and I have some objective indications that I’m not unusually stupid, but the MMTers could not explain to me why MMT is a good talking point for good policy.

    At first at Corrente, I noted that being able to spend what you want means the conservatives can keep spending on wars. The response was no, MMT includes commitment to good social programs. OK, I said, tell me what else MMT includes. You want me to support something, I need to know what’s involved. I never got a straight answer. Instead, I’d get a list of links to articles on MMT. This is how they’re going to reach the average voter? What’s the point? And then in discussions, the MMTers avoided responding to arguments by invoking rhetorical terms for logical fallacies – straw man, poisoning the well, ad hominem. Lambert eventually started defining the terms and trying to show how they applied, which I took as an indication that I wasn’t the only one who objected that they didn’t mean what he thought they meant.

    And there were lots of charges of dishonesty. If they said something and you didn’t agree, you were lying. I remember once Hugh directly quoted an MMTer (Randy Wray, I think) and Joe Firestone replied that Hugh was lying. When it was pointed out that it was a direct quotation, Firestone replied that thought had evolved, and it wasn’t the latest position.

    I go to this length because of comments here like,”The problem with dealing with people like Hugh is that his criticisms have all been answered, in detail, ad nauseam. “ I heard that over and over when I was reading the MMT controversies, and Hugh was banned as I understand it because he kept up the criticisms. So what do you want? For people who disagree with you to just leave you the communication spaces? I don’t agree.

    As for a statement like, “Most MMT writers explicitly advocate high taxes on the rich, not to generate revenue but to curb their power.“ It was Randy Wray who argued against taxing the rich over at NC, and this was accepted at the time as MMT orthodoxy. So MMT is policy as well as description. MMT is academic theory and subject to academic development, infighting, territory-staking. If there’s a reason to try to draw the average voter into the fight, it hasn’t yet been made clear to me.

  63. Benjamin

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “rather than start a war they had no reasonable hope of winning.”

    They had every chance of winning the war they planned for. And in fact they steamrolled through all their Far East objectives. They just didn’t expect the US to not back down. And it very well might have, if it had lost Pearl Harbor as the original architect of the attack plan had wanted.

    “That’s what they get for actually believing that medieval honor-and-glory Bushido bullshit.”

    Two things: one is that there basically never was any such thing as medieval Bushido. A codified ‘way of the warrior’ wasn’t developed until well into the Edo period, when bored samurai, relegated to being bureaucrats, a professional warrior class with no wars to fight, started philosophizing about what it meant to be a samurai in an attempt to justify their continued existence. What separates a professional fighter from the peasant if there is little or no fighting to be done? A bunch of crap about honor and values, supposedly unique to the samurai class, was the answer they came up with.

    Actual medieval samurai, the Oda’s and Takeda’s etc, wouldn’t have understood any such thing as ‘Bushido’. The retreated and engaged in deceit all the time.

    On top of that, much of what people think they know about a codified Bushido was basically made up by one guy, Inazo Nitobe, in a book he wrote for westerners in 1900.

    And second: regardless of the existence or not of a genuine original Bushido, the Bushido of Imperial Japan in WW2 was entirely fraudulent. No Edo period samurai would have accepted it. Samurai were a social class. Bushido was a set of rules of conduct for them, and them alone. The idea of it being valid for the entire military, let alone the entire nation, would have been inherently offensive to them. And the whole idea of devotion to the Emperor being a Bushido thing, or even a Japanese thing, is basically a Meiji ‘restoration’ fabrication.

    Anyway, the leadership of Imperial Japan was eminently rational and didn’t believe any of the ‘bravery will stop bullets’ nonsense. That was propaganda for the troops. Yes they felt national honor was at stake in China, but that isn’t much different from the kind of gibberish someone like Churchill would engage in. Other, more important, factors included the sunk cost fallacy: they had already spent hundreds of thousands of lives and vast amounts of cash there (they thought the war would end when they took the capital of Nanjing. It didn’t.).

  64. Benjamin

    @nihil obstet

    “MMT is an academic theory about how money works in a state that is sovereign in its own currency.”

    No, it’s a description of how a currency sovereign already operates (‘Modern Monetary Theory’ is a bad name).

    “At first at Corrente, I noted that being able to spend what you want means the conservatives can keep spending on wars. The response was no, MMT includes commitment to good social programs.”

    No, the point is that you can spend the money on anything, but MMT advocates want to spend it on beneficial things and not war.

    “OK, I said, tell me what else MMT includes. You want me to support something, I need to know what’s involved. I never got a straight answer.”

    Bullshit. Jobs Guarantee, Medicare for All, infrastructure investment, schools. MMTers are constantly talking about the things they want to fund.

    ” I heard that over and over when I was reading the MMT controversies, and Hugh was banned as I understand it because he kept up the criticisms.”

    He was banned because he was a parrot who just kept saying the same things over and over no matter how many times people tried to explain things to him, or to direct him to the already voluminous documentation (seriously, not explaining things in depth is not a valid critique of MMT. It’s proponents never stop writing). A post from Hugh was basically spam.

    Maybe you and Hugh should actually try reading some of those links people were always providing you with. Because when you say ‘MMT has no policy ideas’, it looks a hell of a lot like you’ve literally never read even a cliff notes explainer, to say nothing of the much more in depth articles.

  65. Astrid

    All I can say is that having read through my share of MMT theorizing over the last 10+ years, it seems just as fuzzy and sloppy as all other economic thinking. There are some useful insights as to what money is not, but a truckload of oversimplifications, assuming such and such, and generally coming across as another bunch of academics hunting for tenure and more prestigious appointments. And yes, the highly academic practice of cold shouldering of anyone who dares to question them, because obviously the questioner lacks intelligence, or good faith, and tenure.

    Michael Hudson put up a recent NC post on debt jubilee that somehow just completely overlooked that TARP resulted in moral hazard of current corporate indebtedness and that being in debt, especially highly, billions upon billions in debt is an extremely privileged position. Plenty of comments (including mine) picked up on that, I didn’t see him bothering to respond to any of that criticism.

    The cute add-ons of beneficent spending using money creation overlooks that USA is a corrupt, evil hegemon in rapid decline. It has a governing structure that is incapable of benefiting its populace or ending foreign war.

    Definition of money wouldn’t matter with effective government. Without it, you can define money or democracy or moral rectitude however you like, wouldn’t change a thing.

    Money is just money, it’s not genuine wealth, which comes from genuine productivity and power and security and resiliency. The US is hollowed out throughly on productivity. Its elite still had its hands on certain levers of power, but appear only capable of wielding it to inflict misery on the powerless other, and only if it benefits its patrons. Without capability to produce and effectively wield power, changing definition for money doesn’t mean much.

    So while MMT might open some interesting doors, it’s not even started to address the bigger problem of late imperial capitalism, climate change, or cussedness of humans in almost always going for the worst available option.

  66. nihil obstet

    I missed the cliff notes explainer. Can you give me a link to it?

    Bullshit. Jobs Guarantee, Medicare for All, infrastructure investment, schools. MMTers are constantly talking about the things they want to fund. So MMT is a list of things you’d like to fund? Do you all agree? That’s simple enough.

    You do know that your reactions really kind of scream “cultist”, don’t you?

    Michael Hudson has a good article over at NC today, in which he explains the background and purpose of MMT. I think it’s a good example of how MMTers ought to discuss matters.

  67. rkka

    “ Comrade Dumb-ass Stalin had warning after warning from his spies that the Ratzis were preparing one of their patented blitzkriegs, but he would not believe it.”

    He expected a ‘42 attack, but hedged in ‘41 by declaring a ‘special period of military threat’ in April ‘41 & started a partial mobilization. He started accumulating a strategic reserve along the Dnepr in May.

    “As in the great 1940 blitzkrieg, Hitler benefited from mental lapses by his enemies (the British and French generals in 1940, Stalin in 1941”

    The Nazis got a cheap win in 1940, but paid such a horrendous price for their 1941 victories that the German infantry branch was 625,000 riflemen short for the ‘42 campaign. That’s why Army Groups North & Center remained on the defensive in ‘42.

    “Plus, after the war, we were able to discover that Germany actually got nowhere near making a fission bomb.”

    If the USSR had been knocked out of the war in ‘41, the US wasn’t getting one either. The 213 division (60 armored) Marshall believed necessary to land in France & destroying Nazi land power in a drive on Berlin left to small of an industrial labor force for things like Lend-Lease, the Manhattan Project, & the B-29 program.

  68. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Thanks for the link, Benjamin. It looks quite interesting. 🙂

  69. Eric Anderson

    “Definition of money wouldn’t matter with effective government. Without it, you can define money or democracy or moral rectitude however you like, wouldn’t change a thing.”


    That’s my point above. The economic ‘system’ really doesn’t matter so long as it does it’s job equitably so as not to create a significant portion of the populace that thinks the system provides for thee but not me.

    All the back and forth arguments above concern issues of moral/ethical administration of the particular system.

    And people wonder why I place economics among the humanities instead of social science.

  70. mago

    Y’all do like yourselves some squabbling about stuff that’s beyond really putting food on the table living like you do but all that aside, I do believe that Aqua Lung Jethro Tull may truly be 450 incarnated.

  71. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    @rkka: Are you sure the USA’s industrial base would have been too small to allow the Manhattan Project, assuming the USSR could somehow have been knocked out in 1941?

    Please take a look at the chart near the top of this page (granted, the article deals largely with the Pacific War, but the chart covers all of the major powers, in whichever theater of the war).

    @Benjamin: I read the article. Genda’s idea of follow-up attacks might well have helped, but Nagumo was too cautious to go for it, unless Nagumo could somehow have known just how damaged U. S. forces really were–plus, Nagumo had to think about fuel consumption, which was always a problem for the IJN.

    Genda’s idea of quickly striking and invading the other U. S. islands in the area on the way back also bore some merit.

    But invading Oahu itself? That was never going to happen, and here’s why:

  72. Benjamin


    “Money is just money, it’s not genuine wealth, which comes from genuine productivity and power and security and resiliency.”

    This is literally one of the core points MMT hammers relentlessly. It isn’t saying “just print money and everything will be fine”. It’s saying “we need to be doing a variety of things, none of which are being done because ‘we just don’t have the money for that’. But that’s a lie and here’s why…”.

    @nihil obstet

    Really, you’ve *never* seen a summary explainer? Fine, have one:

    “So MMT is a list of things you’d like to fund? Do you all agree? That’s simple enough.”

    MMT is a description of fiat money creation (taxes don’t fund spending; the money is created out of nothing on demand), and then ideas about what can be done with that power.

    The endless disingenuous ‘but Bernie, howyagunnapayforeet???’ we’ve been subjected to for months (nay years) about Medicare for All is a prime example of why we need MMT (Sanders greatest failure may be that he never used his platform to forcibly inject the concept into public discourse).

    My reactions are those of someone who see’s someone else who claims they have an understanding of something, and then proceeds to make a bunch of utter nonsense criticisms.

  73. Zachary Smith

    Benjamin –

    They had every chance of winning the war they planned for.

    I disagree. Your link included a 35 page article about Commander Minoru Genda. This fellow survived the war when many others in the Imperial Navy did not, so Genda didn’t have too many people alive to dispute his version of events. The Japanese destroyed most written records, so very few documents remained to contradict Genda. Needless to say, his version of the pre-war events made him appear to be a genius.

    An invasion of the Hawaiian Islands would have been a good supplement to the Pearl Harbor raid, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Genda had a low rank – equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel in the WW2 US Army. The Japanese Army had their own ideas about how the war ought to be run, and grabbing the oil and tin and rubber was Job One to them for the few troops they released for the Southern Operations.

    The rest of your post looks good. During the run-up to the war, Japan and the US held each other in utter contempt. Having a child-like faith your opponent will fold like a wet noodle is a poor reason to start a conflict – especially against a country with 20 times your industrial capacity. Surviving WW2 Japanese veterans must have gotten some satisfaction when they watched the US make the same stupid mistake in the invasion of Iraq.

  74. Aqua Lung


    Behold the resistance. Behold the revolution. They’re proving my point. There will be no resistance. There will be no revolution. Spineless idiots will get what spineless idiots will get. But hey, they feel puffed up when they can bully bits and bytes on the internets. Pathetic.

    The pic I posted is a scene from the latest episode of Devs. The bald or balding guy is security for a silicon valley tech firm. He is a former CIA agent and a psychopathic murderer. He got what was coming to him (he was garroted by a Russian undercover agent) and if any of you had a backbone you would upvote and support any commentary that asserts such scum should get what’s coming to them.

    Something I typed above surely hit a nerve. Perhaps it’s because many of these commentators fall within the group I described as the enemy and their mission is containing the marginalized fringes and bringing the wayward back to the fold.

  75. nihil obstet


    I hope sane people are skipping our act. Which of us is feeding the straight lines and who’s doing the punch lines? Inquiring minds will differ. Anyway, my issue is that whatever MMT is, it is not a way to reach a significant number of voters, and in my experience with reading about it, I’ve seen it used as a way of assigning moral turpitude to those who don’t convert to it and then toe this week’s party line on it. It’s rather like the Democratic Party faithful who insist that the left beat Hilary Clinton by not supporting her enthusiastically enough.

    On what the campaign should focus on: The endless disingenuous ‘but Bernie, howyagunnapayforeet???’ we’ve been subjected to for months (nay years) about Medicare for All is a prime example of why we need MMT (Sanders greatest failure may be that he never used his platform to forcibly inject the concept into public discourse). See, I think the endless disingenuous statement isn’t going to be silenced by anything much — after all, serious studies show that M4A costs less than the current system. If the opposition can keep nattering on about “How do you pay for a less expensive system?” do you genuinely think that the average voter will pause from arguing with her insurance company to realize, “Oh, yeah, MMT shows I don’t have to do this”?

  76. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Jethro Tull and Sea-Monster-Wannabe want to rouse the rest of us to homicidal rage.

    Just what agents provocateurs would do…

    “The first guy who suggests violence is always the undercover cop.”

    And before Officer Aqualung and Officer Krake make the expected puerile schoolyard taunts, let me remind the community that machismo is a stupid idea for stupid little boys in grown men’s bodies (you know, like the current president*).

    I find it interesting how the intelligence level goes down as the testosterone level goes up. It’s enough to make one wonder if Evolution made a mistake in selecting for sexual reproduction, and thus creating a need for us males, who don’t seem very useful for anything else.

  77. Benjamin

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    And yet he was still smart enough to kick Hillary’s ass for half the money.

  78. highrpm

    “The endless disingenuous ‘but Bernie, howyagunnapayforeet???’ we’ve been subjected to for months (nay years) about Medicare for All ….”
    just ask nancy and schum and aoc…norecordvote on stimulus#1#2#3#4#5#6….#99,,, MMT is here. and has been for years. all for wally and holly.

  79. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    If you mean Benedict Donald, no, he wasn’t smart enough.

    His master, Sith Tsar Putin, and Putin’s gremlins, were smart enough to steal a victory* in the Electoral College.

    Meanwhile, Zack Beauchamp explains how Senator Sanders lost.

    tl,dr version: Marxist class politics is a stiff, bereft of life; it rests in peace. Despite the efforts of the Purity Left to nail it to the perch, it is obviously pushing up the feet. It has rung down the curtain and joined the Choir Invisible. It is an ex-politics!

  80. Benjamin

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    I like that you’re calling something else dead while pushing a long disproven conspiracy theory.

  81. nonnymouse

    ivory bill, you\’re the gatekeeper huh? the wizard who knows who to scare the sheeps with

    krake is ole firebrand jack crow

    something he wrote tickled the keys:

    yo yo yo:

  82. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Disproven in your eyes, Benji.

    Because, for reasons which baffle me, you Purity Leftists hate the Democratic Party more, much more, than you fear the Treason Party (fka Republican Party), which has metamorphosed into an actual fascist party–and one which serves a hostile foreign state, to boot.

    You lot are a fascinating collection of living fossils, which may be why I keep returning here. It’s like coming upon a flock of passenger pigeons.

  83. highrpm

    “living fossils”? corporatocracy parties. oh the simplicity of bipolar choices. at least try adding a third one, peoplespartydotorg

  84. Benjamin

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    No, objectively it’s been disproven. The Mueller report (and this is where you say Mueller is an evil Republican so it doesn’t count. It’s been so fun to watch these figures swing wildly back and forth between Hero Of the Republic™ and arch-traitor in the eyes of Liberals. The same thing happened with Comey, multiple times as I recall) systematically dismantled all of the pillars of the various conspiracy theories. The sole remaining hope of you conspiracymongers was ‘but there were indictments!’. Yes, propaganda indictments that were never meant to actually be proven in court. When Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering actually fought the charges the cases started collapsing like a house of cards, before finally ending with a whimper last month when the Justice Departmant dropped the charges against them entirely. And now Concord is suing the US government for 50 billion. They aren’t going to let this go. Good for them.

    And not only did Russiagate turn out to be bullshit, it was obviously, to a hilarious degree, contrived bullshit from the very start to everyone who was actually paying attention and not drinking the kool-aid. It was made up by a bunch of Clinton staffers, sitting around eating takeout food in a hotel room the night after losing as they desperately looked for an excuse.

    You really are clueless if you think the GOP are fascist yet. You’re in for a real shock in the years ahead, because what comes after Trump is likely to be much, much worse (and probably far less inept).

    And, yet again, which you will probably continue to ignore, is that this isn’t about ‘purity’. It’s about ‘actually decent’. Sanders was the first Democratic candidate in a long who was not completely abhorrent.

    You’ve won; the Party remains in your claws. And dementia addled Biden is your prize. Reap what you’ve sown.

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