There are many labels I’m proud to wear. A few at the top of my list would be Husband, Father, Friend, Partner, Entrepreneur. I must admit that Patriotic Millionaire was never on that list, and likely never would have been. That is, until I was introduced to the group’s Chair, Morris Pearl, and learned firsthand about this dynamic organization’s values and goals.
I signed up, not to wear a new title – which is frankly a bit embarrassing for someone like me – but to add my voice to the vital movement of rescuing our democracy from the grip of money and bad economics.
The year 2008 changed everything for me.
Like me, you probably had friends, businesses, co-workers and maybe even family members directly affected by the recession. The collapse of the financial sector, the prolonged economic slump that followed and the near disintegration of the Eurozone made me realize how little I actually understood the macro economy, despite my career in business.
How could such extraordinary events occur and inflict so much suffering on the population? Are crises like these inevitable, or can we prevent or mitigate them? Is this a failure of capitalism or of our monetary system, or our politics, or… what?
These were the questions that drove me to immerse myself in the study of how modern economies and banking systems function. In the process, I have had the pleasure to connect with and learn from some of the world’s leading economists on the subject of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which is revolutionizing the discipline of economics.
I say revolutionizing, but in reality it is only rediscovering basic knowledge and common sense that got lost along the way.
Capitalism, in cooperation with our government and its institutions, can really be made to work for all of us. We can live in balance with our planet’s ecological systems, as long as we’re willing to learn and reform. I joined the Patriotic Millionaires to help inform our friends and compatriots about the many ways that we can get our nation’s economy working for everyone, and in a way that creates sustainable prosperity.
The Patriotic Millionaires are rightly focused on the problems of growing economic inequality, inadequate income for workers and the undemocratic influence of private wealth and corporate lobbying on our political process. I decided to join because I saw an opportunity to explain how these problems relate to our reliance on a failed economic paradigm.
In subsequent blog posts I will further develop some of MMT’s most essential ideas — ideas that could help us regain control over our economy, and build a more equitable society.
MMT provides a framework for rightly understanding how a modern monetary system should work and serve the common good. It is essential that we begin understand this, if we are going to make our public policy address the challenges above. So stay tuned. I will be writing more.
Until then, here are a some thoughts and concepts to get the discussion started:
- We issue our own currency, and this makes all the difference. We must stop comparing currency issuers and currency users in the same manner.
- It is not fiscally irresponsible for governments to issue currency for public purpose (in fact, that’s exactly why we created the legal institution of national currency).
- Deficits are perfectly normal for nations, like ours, that have large imports and whose population saves.
- Our so-called “national debt”, since it is denominated in our own sovereign currency, is not a problem and is never unsustainable.
- Our children and grandchildren do not need to be saved from Treasury bonds, no matter how many we have, and they will never need to pay them off.
- China isn’t our banker (they just save our money due to trade).
- “Can’t afford” is a terrible excuse for Congressional inaction on issues that are critical to the economy and the public welfare. We can afford whatever we can achieve together with our available resources, up to the point that we increase inflation.
- There is no scenario where the US Government can be said to be “spending money we don’t have”. We “have” whatever money Congress authorizes.
- There is no excuse for leaving people who want to work unemployed.