I propose renaming the “National Debt” as the “National Money.” Here is why.
Once upon a time, governments had to round up gold to “pay for” things. Kings would gather gold to finance armies and pay mercenaries for their wars. If they collected it from the population through taxes, fees etc it was called “revenue.” If they borrowed it, they would have to pay it back. That was actual debt. Later, nations used gold as a means of exchange and had to actually collect or borrow as much gold as they would spend.
But things have changed. Gold is out of the picture. (So are shells, gems and other historical means of exchange.) Governments allocate resources toward priorities and issue currency as a means of exchange. This is commonly called “spending.” They do not “collect revenue” nor do they “borrow.” They appropriate and issue currency. They tax the currency back to balance and regulate the amount of currency in circulation, and to address inequalities and raise or lower public priorities (like taxing cigarettes.)
Many of the terms used have not kept up with the changes. People still think governments “borrow” when they sell bonds. But bonds are for other purposes than raising money (rounding up gold.)
The budget “deficit” is the amount of currency spent into the economy but not taxed back. What today is generally called the National Debt is the accumulated yearly budget deficits minus any yearly surpluses. (Surpluses happened in the Clinton years.) It is a measure of the currency spent into the economy and not taxed back out.
The legacy use of the word “debt” misleads people into thinking it is “debt.” It is not. Governments that issue their own currencies have no need to collect gold or other “revenue” to “pay for” the goods and services the government decides to direct toward priorities. (Of course governments should not direct more resources than are available, this creates inflation.)
I propose renaming the “National Debt” as the “National Money.”
I hear a lot of “capitalism can work if it is regulated.” This misunderstands what capitalism -IS-.
Govt everywhere makes society’s decisions. In OUR system govt decided to “contract out” to the “private sector” to do lots of things. THAT is what “capitalism” is. We HIRED the private sector. We LET private capital invest, and pay them a bit of the profits as a management fee. We are the boss of them.
We are the boss of them.
We all have a misunderstanding of the relationship between government and “private” capital. We (government) ALLOW private capital to exist at all. “Regulation” is too mild a term for the relationship between government and the “private sector.” The “private sector” -IS- govt, just contracted out. The RULEs for that contract aren’t strong enough. We are the boss of them. Period.
This is about our OWN understanding of the relationship between government (us) and “private” businesses. We have lost sight of this.
So I have relocated to the UK. I live in a village near Cambridge.
We have an allotment, which we are setting up with a rabbit fence and a shed. The roof of the shed will drain into water tanks. Mostly that is for next year and later years. For now we have started growing potatoes. When the fence is in we will plant a bit more, but it is late in the season.
I feel more at home here than I felt in California. This song seems to describe for me why that is. Trains, gardens, allotments, regular people looking at rich people with no souls…
Maggie Holland sang her own song A Place Called England on her 1999 album Getting There. She re-recorded it in 2007 for her anthology Bones. She noted on the first album:
It took me a long time to finish this song—and I probably would never even have started it if I hadn’t emigrated to Scotland about six years ago. I tussled with it on long train journeys and hummed it to myself whilst grubbing about in the allotment. I could not have written it without the inspiration of Christopher Hill’s book The World Turned Upside Down, Leon Rosselson’s song of the same name, Naomi Mitchison’s Sea-Green Ribbons, William Cobbett’s Cottage Economy, Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come-All-Ye, Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, animated discussions with (rightly) proud and passionate Scots like Dick Gaughan (“The first place to be colonised in the British Empire was England”), and many a quiet and gentle gardener; Mr Harding, my aunt Amy Rawling, and my godfather Alan Wells, to name but three.
This YouTube video shows Maggie Holland in Antwerp, Belgium, at Folk in ’t Stad on 30 March 2012.
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.