JD Alt on “The Millennials’ Money”; AltRight & the Trump Economy

17 October 2016 – I have been talking on the show about JD Alt’s book, The Millennials’ Money, since it was still a series of posts on the modern monetary theory (MMT) blog, New Economic Perspectives. This book is that good and it’s that important. JD not only covers the basics of MMT effectively and in an especially accessible manner, he goes much further and explains why it has particular applicability to millennials and how it can be the tool they need to make the changes in the world they have been calling for so articulately. JD’s ideas for using MMT to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society genuinely made me think deeply. And guess what, there’s an app for that (or there could be.) JD is an architect by trade so his drawings, showing how MMT works, are unmatched and are core to the success of his first MMT book, the best-seller, Diagrams & Dollars. The inclusion of his diagrams in The Millennials’ Money makes the book even more useful. Perhaps the most important thing JD brings to the MMT discussion is some truly original and interesting thinking on how we re-frame the debate to make the obvious nature of MMT as apparent to everyone else as it is to us right now. The Millennial’s Money is available from Dog Ear Publishing and on Amazon.

This week Will starts our talking about the cluster bombing of Syrian civilians by the Russians. Cluster bombs are fragmentation weapons which deploy many smaller bombs and are anti-personnel ordinance on a major scale. Will then goes on to talk about so-called “New Mysogyny” and the Altright. Apparently, there are various pods of men who are so under-developed emotionally that they think women rule the world and are running a massive conspiracy to keep men down all the while being considerably less intelligent than are men. (Because that makes sense. LOL!) But these guys in the Manosphere are so far gone that they are working to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and are blaming their involuntary celibacy (which they refer to as “incel”) on everything except their own repulsiveness. Will recommends David Futrelle’s website We Hunted the Mammoth for insight and appropriate mocking of these tiny, tiny “men.”

I start out with something you knew had to be coming, a run-down of the “achievements” of Indiana Governor and GOP Vice Presidential Candidate, Mike Pence. Suffice to say here that Pence is dangerous but unlikely to be a threat to anyone in the future as he rides off into the sunset of what will be his non-starter of a 2020 Presidential campaign. I then finish-up detailing the lies Trump told about the economy during the first debate. This does not really matter since the Trump campaign is toast but these old tropes are regularly trotted out by the GOP so it is worth putting a stake through their heart.

Remember that voting is open in many states. Be sure to vote and to get all your (sane) friends and family to the polls to do the same. A big win for Democrats will help us crush the “the vote is rigged” meme beneath our foot, grind it under our heel and then scrape it off on the nearest patch of grass. This election is the most important in decades. Never doubt it. Carrots! – Arliss

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5 thoughts on “JD Alt on “The Millennials’ Money”; AltRight & the Trump Economy

  1. Well, I hope I am not the only one listening! As a physicist myself and apparently a neighbor of JD Alt, I found this interview very engaging. I am glad that the daunting task of getting the idea of sovereign money accepted is being discussed. Sometimes MMT blogs exude an attitude that these concepts will just ‘sell themselves’. Some thoughts:

    I believe the message has to be distilled down considerably – a few sentences.
    As a start, a network of articulate spokespeople must inundate the misinformed progressive media -blogs, podcasts (e.g. Majority Report, Best of the Left)
    A ‘role play’ dialogue should be engaged in.
    TED talks –
    Live debates at universities challenging professors with enough courage to engage.
    Reverse the language of limited money with provocative statements: Rather than saying, “the national debt doesn’t matter”, which is incorrect and dismissive, say “the national debt is a fiction’. It begs the question, ‘what do you mean?’
    Meet with legislators and challenge them directly.
    Utilize Focus groups.
    Honestly address the challenges and moral hazard that would arise if the government did have access to unlimited funds.

    One statement you made which may have been too facile is that we have enough money both for battle ships and addressing climate change. Sovereign money is not infinite. It is limited by available resources. It is not clear to me that we have enough manpower to accomplish both.

    As a physicist you might appreciate that technology can’t do it all with regards to climate change. “In fact, using renewable energy to reverse climate change is projected to take long past the time by which significant emissions reduction is said to be needed (by 2020); it’s been projected to cost $36.5 trillion and be completed no sooner than the year 2035 ” J. Anhang Environmental Analyst and Climate specialist with the World Bank. You might be interested in interviewing some very concerned researchers who have calculated that animal agriculture accounts for at least 51% of CHG emission. As you might imagine, this claim has been the subject of controversy and denial but it is still within range of the more conservative UN calculations. Scary.

    Again, thanks for the great information!


    1. Paul –

      Stephanie Kelton has been on “The Majority Report” and a multitude of other progressive shows many times and, in fact, years ago I heard her being interviewed by Sam Sedar and that is how I found MMT in the first place. She has tried to get accepted for a TED talk but no-go on that so far. Otherwise, she frequently does media and is, by far, the best spokesperson for MMT.

      My shortest summation of MMT is generally, “It is not the job of the Federal government to balance the budget, it is the job of the Federal government to balance the economy.” And then, “The US used to be held back by the gold standard, the gold standard ended but nobody noticed except the Federal Reserve. We need to notice.” In both cases people ask questions and that leaves an opening for explanation. I do come at MMT very differently than do the original MMT core. So does JD. That’s why I thought it was so important to get him on talking about his book.

      As for meeting with current legislators, Stephanie was hired by Bernie as the Chief Economist for the Minority for the Senate Budget Committee. She met with tons of legislators and made no progress. I think it has to be a bottom-up thing and that’s why I join JD Alt in thinking it will flow up through millennials.

      When you talk about limitations I realize that you probably missed the show I did on immigration. We have the material to address both climate change mitigation and battleships. What we don’t have is the labor pool. That’s why God/The Great Bunny made immigration! (Wink!) 🙂

      I agree with you on animal agriculture and climate change. I currently live in the Midwest out in a very rural area completely surrounded by acres and acres of crops planted to feed cows. As a vegetarian for the past 40 years, I find it discouraging. As a Rabbit American I find it discriminatory.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments!

    2. Paul –

      You sent a lengthy comment on the most recent show (the one with the Denise Oliver-Velez interview) and I made a lengthy reply and both have completely vanished. No idea why. I didn’t purposefully delete your comment and I did take time to address all your points. Then WordPress ate the whole thing. Very frustrating.

      – Arliss

  2. I have tried to find the extended version of the interview with JD Alt without success?
    Any ideas?

    1. both the downloadable version and the streaming version are at the bottom of the blogpost on our homepage. There was a (strange) error on the page but it is fixed now so you should be able to find the interview easily. JD was terrific so I hope you enjoy it! – Arliss

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