Dems Dangerous Debt Dance with Bluegal

16 April 2018 – There comes a time in every federal budget cycle when I have to find a way to talk about debt and, specifically, the Dems dangerous debt dance. This time I decided to switch things up and invited Frances Langum (Bluegal), from my favorite podcast, The Professional Left, to interview me and to provide push-back. Fran is someone for whom I have enormous respect but, like 99% of the Dems out there, she comes at economics from a purely Keynesian perspective…and that’s what I wanted. You are going to love the conversation and, I hope you find it an interesting way to get the MMT message out.

At the top of the show I refresh the information about the Rapid Response events taking place when (if) Trump does any of the following:  fires Robert Mueller, fires Rob Rosenstein, pardons any key witnesses. Please go to Nobody Is Above the Law to register for the event closest to you. Our democracy cannot be allowed to go down without a fight. Also, on the day you can tune in to Netroots Radio for a live stream as events unfold.

During the rest of the show Will covers an item you may have missed on your news feed, the angry Scottish badger, as well as some of the larger issues surrounding the US/UK/French strike on Syria. I get into Mick Mulvaney’s appearance on Capitol Hill to give his bi-annual report from the CFPB. Both Joan McCarter, of Daily Kos, and David Dayen, for The Nation, covered this particularly well.

Be vigilant folks, things are getting real. – Arliss

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Trade & Tariffs (Rebroadcast)

4 April 2018 – Due to the holiday weekend we do not have a new show this week. This is a rebroadcast of a special mid-week combined Hopping Mad and Irreverent Testimony entirely focused on trade. Travis Rosen and Rachel Hutcheson of Irreverent Testimony joined Will and I to talk about the domestic and international implications of the Trump Trade Tariffs and the basics of what international trade really means. This is a deep dive into what we should all really be messaging about trade and “why trade deficit” matters not at all.

Will and I have already recorded the interview for next week, with an election law expert, and we have a lot stored-up to add to the fire. Carrots! – Arliss


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Fadhel Kaboub of the Binzagr Institute – MUST Listen!

12 March 2018Dr. Fadhel Kaboub (@FadhelKaboub and @BinzagrInfo), President of the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and Associate Professor at Denison University, gave us such a wonderful interview that we dedicated the entire show to it including the compelling extended part of the interview. Dr. Kaboub became interested in modern monetary theory (MMT) early in his studies at a time when there was virtually no understanding of how the precepts of MMT could be applied to developing economies. His work in this area and his emphasis on the specific issues faced by the peoples and economies of the Middle East has become the leading edge of the conversation. You are going to be fascinated to hear him talk about how he believes Tunisia can fight imported inflation and political unrest with fish. Really. It’s brilliant. Also, Fadhel deeply understands the relationship between TIARA (There is a Real Alternative) and hope as a key to leveraging economic prosperity and political stability. I also enjoyed listening to his description of how the currency he has invented for his economics students, the Denison Volunteer Dollar (DVD), has crossed-over into the basketball program!

Will and I do plan to be back with a regular program next week. Carrots! –  Arliss

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Special! Mad Testimony on Trade

8 March 2018 – This is a special combined Hopping Mad and Irreverent Testimony entirely focused on trade. Travis Rosen and Rachel Hutcheson of Irreverent Testimony joined Will and I to talk about the domestic and international implications of the Trump Trade Tariffs and the basics of what international trade really means. This is a dive into what we should all really be messaging about trade and why “trade deficit” matters not at all.

Will and I will be back on Monday for our regular show. Carrots! – Arliss

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Real Progressives’ Steve Grumbine

5 March 2018 – WOW! We had an exhilarating, affirming, healing conversation with Real Progressives founder, Steve Grumbine (@sdgrumbine) who was on with us for the whole show. Steve is a long-time MMT evangelist and activist. He also has been active and is well known in Bernie & Green Party circles. I knew, from having heard his panel at the MMT conference in Kansas City last summer, that we shared many values and virtually all objectives and that was why I was determined to have him on as a guest. Still, I worried a little bit because the Hillary/Bernie divide runs so deep among so many. What I think we all learned as we spoke, and what I hope we were able to convey, is that there is little which divides us and much which unites us. This was a genuinely remarkable show. I learned a great deal and I think you will as well.

Next week I’ll get back to talking about inflation and unemployment but this break was well worth it. Many Carrots! – Arliss

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White Men, BS & Deficits vs Investment

26 February 2018 – Perhaps this time we will be willing to finally talk about the elephant in the room, white men and guns. We will never be able to ask the right questions or find workable solutions until Americans acknowledge that white men are not only usually the shooters but purchase most of the guns, organize the gun shows, protest in favor of their gun-based religion, own the gun manufacturers and are the legislators. The problem is white men from top to bottom.

Will begins the show talking about Jeremy Corbin and the Czech spy fiasco in the UK and then moves on into his main block on the subject of bulls*t. He ranges from the right-wing conspiracy theories about so-called “crisis actors” to left-wing nonsense that the “Russia stuff” is a smokescreen conceived by Hillary.

I burn the barn down (lol) explaining why neoliberal economists are completely wrong when they say “deficits crowd out investment” or that deficits cause inflation. It’s amazing that they continue to push this unproven drivel to the detriment of the real overall economy.

Next week I will cover the relationship between unemployment and inflation while Will will cover something genuinely compelling. Many carrots! – Arliss


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Our interstitial music today had an addition. The Flobots “Handle your Bars,” which was in response to the mangling of their song by an infamous YouTuber. I’ve posted links that song, and the original song below.

Flobots Handle Your Bars (Response Song)

Flobots – Handlebars (Original Song)

We Cannot Win Until We Win & Carolyn Fiddler

19 February 2018 At this point it really all boils down to one thing, we cannot win until we win. Everything we cover on the show today boils down to that. Prosecuting those who colluded with Russia, opening our hearts and borders to Syrian refugees, securing our elections, passing gun safety legislation – none of these are doable until we have taken Congress back (and even then it’s going to be a tough fight.) AND we can’t just win on the Federal level – states are key and that’s why we wanted to have Carolyn Fiddler, the Daily Kos Political Editor and Senior Communications Advisor on the show this week. Carolyn is a specialist in state races, something I know we do not cover enough. We promise to do better because, we cannot win until we win.

In the top bock of the show Will asks you to take a look at a video made by friend of the pod, Landon Shroder, which is the first in a series telling the story of Syrians who have fled to America. I don’t care who you are, this one will reach into your heart and remind you that humanity, kindness, life and love are things which bind us together. Lots of things are tearing us apart but can we please, please, please agree that kindness simply must be a shared value.

In my main block I cover the MMT take on inflation. It’s a real thrill ride. Carrots! – Arliss

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We referenced a heartbreaking video on Syrian Refugees living in the US. You can view that video here.

The Good, the Strange & the Stock Market

12 February 2018 – We’re BACK!!! At least, we are back on the air. I’m still traveling so I’ll keep this really short. At the top of the show Will emphasizes the importance of continuing to work toward victory in November and not making the mistake of thinking we are already over the finish line. I get into the latest in the Brexit talks with the EU insisting that Northern Ireland remain within the common market.

In his main block Will talks about the shifting sands within the German government and why this may be a generally hopeful sign. In my block I try to explain what the hell is going on in the stock market and why it is in no way a reflection of what is happening in the real economy.

Now, I must hop. Cheers! – Arliss

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Donor’s Relief Bill, Sexual Harassment & Fire Department Health Insurance

4 December 2017 – Though Will is still on vacation, I am joined by two of our associates. Basically, we came at the subject of framing from many different directions throughout the show.  I start with a fairly deep dive into dynamic scoring. I know––you can’t wait, right?!? While scoring methodology is one of those suuuuuppppper dry subjects, dynamic scoring in important because of the framing space it supposedly grants to Republicans and because this frame is so good at getting us to take our eyes off the carrot. Paying attention to what actually matters in this reality means that we MUST STOP talking about deficits and stay focused on our values, on the real economy and on the welfare and happiness of our people – and by that I mean #AllOfUs.

Hopping Mad Associate, Alexis Dent, is up next. For those of you who are regular listeners, you will notice that Joel has changed his name to Alexis and he begins his block by briefly telling us about that before talking about the current conversation which is everywhere these days, sexual harassment. Alexis is not sharing or commenting upon the latest stories or scandals, rather he is talking about what he believes to be a shift in some of the long-standing victim-blaming agendas and his concern about the inevitable backlash. He also takes a few minutes to address the fact that not all victims are women and while this is a time for women to have their say, all of those who have been the victims of predators are to be believed, supported and empowered.

HM Associate David Paquette is back with us again to keep diving into health insurance related issues. This time he uses an excellent framing, likening health insurance to the fire department. I did not know anything about the insurance industry efficiency scoring of fire departments but Dave explains it well and appropriately. He moves from there to a discussion of the use of emergency rooms as primary insurance of last resort and how The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) came into being. Another fascinating story I did not know. Dave ties all of this back to the Donor’s Relief Bill, currently known as the Republican Tax Plan, in a very timely way.

In Extra Mad I close out the show with a terrific article, from SplinterNews.com, by Raúl Carrillo (@RaulACarrillo), of New Economy Project, and Jesse Myerson, of Hoosier Action, The Dangerous Myth of ‘Taxpayer Money’. This is an outstanding article about framing and how we talk about public money from the point of view of two experienced and accomplished activists. I recommend that you read it and share it WIDE.

Will is back next week! Carrots! – Arliss

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JD Alt Dreams in MMT Reality

6 November 2017Architect and author JD Alt again graced us with his thoughts, this time talking about his new novella, Low Earth Orbit. The novella takes the functionality of modern monetary theory and applies it to solve major issues facing a society on the brink. The novella lives at the intersection between architecture, environment, society and economics with a light touch which will bring you back to it again and again in the future. Low Earth Orbit demonstrates the dreams of which reality is made and I could not recommend it more.

I begin the show with background information about Trump’s nomination for the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome “Jay” Powell. Powell is currently on the board of Governors of the Fed and it is thought that he will continue the practices of his predecessor, Janet Yellen. Trump could have nominated a number of truly despicable people, including Mike Pence’s favorite, John Taylor. Instead, the next Fed chair is known to be hardworking, calm,  interested in both sides of any question as well as being…frankly…rational (something in short supply these days.) In Trump-adjusted terms, Powell is basically a “win.”

Will pushes back against the not particularly factually-based spin being tossed about by former DNC chair, Donna Brazille. Here’s the bottom line:

We need a functional DNC which works for everyone.

We MUST win in 2018.

Nothing else is as important.

Will then moves on to a discussion of the upcoming race in Virginia. Virginia, he notes, tends to vote contrarian and is not necessarily the bellwether some are insisting upon. The race is being impacted by Trump’s impossible claims around coal and restoration of coal-based jobs while job training lacks a viable program.

Hopping Mad Associate, Dave Paquette, who is, himself, a registered nurse, updates us on the opiates crisis and the latest, minimal actions by the Trump administration. While Trump claims to have declared a “national emergency,” with all the funding and support such an act involves, in reality he only declared a “public health emergency.” The fund available for use in such emergencies is $56,000. So, not even sofa cushion change. Meanwhile, the family-owned Purdue Pharma has been profiteering wildly from sales of opiates. Purdue’s owner, the Sackler family, simply must be pulled out into the light of day. More than 2.5 million Americans are thought to be addicted. Overdose is now the leading cause of death for adults under the age of fifty. In 2016 up to 65,000 people (depending upon how the count is done) died from opiate overdose but, somehow, it is not a national emergency.

We will be back next week with an unusual interview I think you will love. Until then, carrots! – Arliss

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