There’s a lot of indication/speculation that Biden is negotiating over the debt ceiling after all. Biden wouldn’t do this if he had a primary opponent.
By talking AT ALL he’s validating Republicans threatening the world. Validating this long-term strategy to cut taxes to force democracy to yield.
The correct “negotiating” position is to say we need to restore the pre-Reagan tax rates on the rich and corporations! That was the beginning of this Republican game of ratcheting taxes down and then demanding austerity because “deficits.”
They SAID SO over and over again. Reagan’s budget director named it “strategic deficits.” Reagan said it was “cutting the government’s allowance.”
W Bush said it was “extremely positive news” when the budget went into deficit after Clinton’s surpluses (which caused recession) because it meant they could force more budget cuts.
The ONLY :negotiating’ position on deficits and debt is restoring the top tax rates from before Republicans started this game.
It was the plan. They forced these deficits on us on purpose. Reagan called it “strategic deficits.” It was a “shock doctrine” tactic, to get us to panic, and then move in with their “solutions.” So we are arguing about how much to cut out of the things We, the People do for our benefit, which the wealthy and their corporations get vastly wealthier and more powerful.
Big Money: It’s unregulated, gathers by the billions, causes inaction on the climate crisis, bank collapses, and an unaffordable life for billions of people. It sells itself, but now it has its own commercial.
In just over a week I am moving out of the country for good. The events of the last week have me wondering if I’m getting out “in time.”
“We did not leave because we thought Hitler would fail; we thought we would be able to endure the threats; it’s difficult to tear one away from ones home, culture and friends. Nobody could possibly see the “final solution;” it was considered immoral to leave, it was a feeling of duty to stay; where would you go and where would you stay. Opportunities decreased rapidly; in many situations one could not leave; an international conference convened by President Roosevelt did not permit the immigration of any more Jews. Finally, the borders were closed.”
These people mean it. America is an experiment. Democracy is an experiment. American democracy has not been around very long, and we have never been so perilously close to losing it. All the checks and balances have been removed by allies of these people. They mean it. The leader of the Senate is saying that Democrats hate “people of faith.” They mean it. Time magazine puts on their cover a person who calls for murdering us.
Society wants cars/antibiotics/furniture/houses/etc but doesn’t want to make them ourselves through our government.
In order to accomplish functions like these that government wants accomplished but doesn’t want to do itself, government “contracts out” those functions. Corporations are those contracts. Corporations facilitate aggregation and manage of resources (huge sums, labor, etc) that are beyond the scope of individuals. We “contract out” through corporate charters to get these things done for us.
When You Look At It This Way
When you look at it this way — that government is the way all of society’s functions are managed(of course it is) and that corporations & the “private sector” are just “contracting out” some government functions — it gives people a way to take back the power in their own thinking. Who is the boss of who? How should corporations be regulated? Who should be regulating them? Etc.
Where Things Went Wrong
Here is where we went wrong. Executives at corporations are allowed to use corporate funds to influence society and pay politicians to allow things that enrich those executives personally.
When government regulates, it does so because the regulations protect the public. So it seems logical the government (us) wants those regulations implemented!
What about when a regulation means there is expensive work to be done? A restaurant needs to be wheelchair accessible. Needs additional smoke alarms and sprinklers?
WE (government) want this done for our protection. Doesn’t it make sense for us to pitch in some $$ to get the job done? (And also to fight resistance to getting it done, and resentment of regulations that protect us…)
We live in a society, and getting things done for society is what government is for. Government is society’s way to make decisions about society’s resources, economy and future. Period. Anyone who tells you you don’t need government, or that government shouldn’t do this or that, is actually just trying to BE the government, for their own benefit.
EVERY decision about society’s resources, econony and future is made by government, one way or another. Period. Every. Single. One. Socialism, capitalism, communism, dictatorship, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy, etc are just descriptions of how that decision-making is divided up. It’s about who makes the decisions and who gets the benefits. All the “ideological” battles are really just all about keeping the public from understanding that.
In the US, supposedly a democracy where the decisions are ultimately made by “We the People,” we hear about the “public sector” and the “private sector” of our economy. What we call “the private sector” is really just the government “contracting out” the functions of managing society. Corporations are those contracts. From the recent post about corporations, Understanding What a Corporation Actually Is Can Help Restore Democracy,
We the People want to have factories to build cars or toasters. We the People could do this – build the factory, hire the managers, organize supply chains, provide insurance. etc. – ourselves but instead we have come up with corporations as a way to “contract it out” to private investors to accomplish these jobs for us.
Corporations are the contracts government makes when it “contracts out” its functions. Period. Government charters corporations to do things government doesn’t want to do itself. Those charters come with conditions and rules.
Except our currently captured government doesn’t enforce the agreements.
A Currently ‘Hot’ Example
Government contracts out money creation. We charter banking corporations to do that function of government for us. The Post Office could do that as well, but we, for various reasons, choose to let a few “capital” holders – wealthy people – do that and reap the returns.
Corruption allowed the finance industry to operate outside of sensible government oversight, even as the world has experienced the consequences of this over and over again. So here in Silicon Valley and around the world, tech employees are waiting to find out if they’ll get their paychecks or get laid off next week. The world is wondering if contagion will spread that fear. Again. (Last time, because of corruption, not one banker type was held accountable. Not one.)
Also here in Silicon Valley it is raining harder than almost ever – except for a couple weeks ago. Flooding everywhere. I mean, torrential, incredible rain pouring down right now. This is because corruption has caused governments to allow the industry causing this to keep putting more and more carbon into the air even as we all know what the consequences will be.
The news lately has been about train derailments devastating localities. This happens because corruption allows wealthy rail-owners to keep governments from making them operate safely.
Inequality is now completely out-of-control. 60% of Americans now live paycheck-to-paycheck, not even able to raise $500 to cover an emergency like a car breakdown. The government doesn’t raise the minimum wage or otherwise address this because of obvious corruption. Million upon millions are spent convincing these people to blame government for this and vote for those backed by that money, and abolish democracy. “I am your retribution.”
The Supreme Court “rules” that this is all OK. Any amount of secret money is allowed to influence elections. People trying to fix this face millions of dollars spent smearing them in LOCAL elections. This Supreme Court we have is the way it is because of corrupt money spent to put them there.
I really think the upcoming Debt Ceiling fight is going to be a turning point of some kind. The right intends to let the country default to stop “government spending.” They mean it.
Biden’s choice is to let that happen, cave like Obama did, or enforce the Constitution, which says the govt has to pay its bills.
For those insisting that “Mint the Coin” as a solution to this is a “gimmick” – (as if the debt ceiling wasn’t just a gimmick) – compare that to what we do now:
The idea that the constitution providing the power to "coin money" implies the ability to charter Federal Reserve Banks that can issue paper currency and open book entry accounts is much more of a gimmick than just… coining money.
Our federal budget is not like a family “kitchen table” budget. We stopped using gold as our currency a long time ago. We don’t mine or “round up” money at the federal level. Our government does not get “revenue” from taxes. It does not “borrow” money, it prints it.
(In this clip economist Stephanie Kelton explains that our government does not operate like a family “kitchen table” budget):
We (representative democracy through our Congress) decide that we’re going to allocate our resources toward accomplishing something, and we issue dollars as an exchange medium toward that. There are things Congress should do along with issuing currency (which we are not doing because of neoliberalism): Make sure we allocate resources we have (allocate toward steel increasing capacity before allocating toward using more steel than we have) and tax enough to balance the distribution (tax the rich) and soak up some of those circulating dollars.
Breaking away from the idea that the federal govt operates with “kitchen table economics” is a paradigm shift. You see it completely one way (deficits, debt, govt spending are bad), and then when something clicks you can’t see it that way anymore, only the new way (MMT, govt issues currency), and then you are frustrated seeing so many getting it so wrong.
Our government issues currency. So of course we could just “mint a coin” to issue dollars to pay off bondholders. But if we did that, the most dangerous question arises: If we can just issue money to pay bondholders, why can’t we issue money to … do things that people want and need?
Shake The Foundation
Minting platinum coins with a face value of $1 trillion and depositing them with the Federal Reserve is Constitutional and solves the problem. But it brings up questions that shake the foundations of neoliberalism. If we can “mint coins” to pay bondholders, why can’t we mint coins to do things that people want and need? Instead of just relying on private capital (the rich) to make investment decisions and get things done in our economy?
So Biden can do the right thing and just … pay our bills. But then the neoliberal order breaks down. If We (through Congress) can decide to … you name it, then why are we depending on “the investor class” (capital) and “market solutions” etc to decide where to invest, allocate resources, do the planning and everything else?