31 October 2016 – Modern Monetary Theory innovator and torchbearer, Dr. L. Randall Wray is with us for most of the show in a deep dive interview on his book,Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist (here from Princeton University Press or here from Amazon). If you have been a listener for more than a couple of weeks you have undoubtedly heard me speak of Dr. Wray. I may have discovered MMT through Dr. Stephanie Kelton but it was Dr. Wray’s book, Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, which entirely captured my imagination, gave me hope as to how we get to where we need to go and (finally) made economics make real sense to my very pragmatic mind. Still, even though this was one of our longest interviews to date I could have easily asked another hundred questions–Wray is that interesting. I think you will be fascinated.
At the top of the show Will takes just a few minutes to knock down the persistent Clinton bashing related to Honduras. People, facts matter. Really. Twitter is just loaded-up with Bros who are convinced that Hillary backed a war in Honduras facts not withstanding. …very frustrating. I take a similar ride only related to the most recent e-mails FBI Director James Comey detonated into the election, likely breaking the Hatch Act while he was at it. According to Kurt Eichenwald, of Newsweek, who seems to have an inside source, none of the e-mails involved appear to be either to or from Hillary. None of the e-mails appear to have been withheld by Hillary from the investigation. The FBI has had the laptop with the e-mails for weeks and they were told about the e-mail accounts involved in April! Director Comey said, in the bomb he sent to Congress, that he has no idea what is in the e-mails. He just thought he would blow-up the election for the hell of it!
Sadly, Will and I will be off next week. Will has an election-related job and I am, of course, busy making sure the Rabbit American vote turns out. We will be back on the 14th. Carrots! – Arliss
24 October 2016 – We don’t have and interview today due to a last minute cancellation but Will and I had a LOT to say so everything worked out as it was meant to be. At the top of the show Will uses the example of the Vauxhall automotive plant, in Liverpool, to illustrate why Brexit is creating such a tenuous employment environment all across the UK. It is incredible that people thought they could place a protest vote for something every expert was telling them would damage their economy and yet they are still stunned that companies are talking about moving their operations out of the UK.
My first topic today is bees. The decline of pollinators is continuing and the first bees have recently been added to the Threatened and Endangered Species list . They will soon to be joined there by more of their sister species. Still, through on-going research we are steadily learning how, precisely, it is that we are killing the bees and finding that many of those factors are reversible if we start now…. Two good places to begin are the Xerces Society and the Great Sunflower Project. Every little flower helps. As promised, I have included a photo of the newly threatened buff-tailed bumble bee above for your enjoyment.
Will then comes back to talk about Donald Trump’s ongoing praise of dictators. From Vladimir Putin to Saddam Hussein to Mummer Gaddafi to Bashar al-Assad to Kim Jong-un to Rodrigo Duterte – Trump respects and admires each and every one. In fact, Trump wants to BE them. Fortunately, unless he plays that sort of character on Trump TV, we aren’t actually going to give him the chance.
My big block of the day, on Audit the Fed, begins on the broadcast version of the show but is only available in full on the podcast version. If you thought Audit the Fed was about auditing the Federal Reserve then you probably got suckered in by Right to Life and Right to Work too. Audit the Fed is about Congress taking control of monetary policy…because they handled Zika so well.
Will then closes out Extra Mad talking about why Mars is where all the science is. How we move our species forward, how we survive, will in no small part be determined by how serious we get about space.
And in closing, the loss of pollinators is already having a negative effect of carrot crops. CARROTS, people! This is serious. Carrots! – Arliss
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
26 September 2016 – We are finally back up to full power this week and have a truly terrific interview with Alex Lawson of Social Security Works! Because our listeners already have heard me talk about the mechanics of how Social Security works, Alex was free to wade out into the weeds where the world gets really interesting. He went into a great deal of detail about the dirty underbelly that the lying liars are trying so hard to keep us from seeing when they promote the privatization of Social Security. He also recommended that we take a side trip to the link for Social Security Spotlight where the (excellent) website lays out the economic impact of Social Security state by state.
At the top of the show Will talked about the importance and joy of celebrating Bi Visibility Day. I was especially caught by his pointing out why it is that the largest group within the LGBTQ community is also the most ignored. For my opening section I was less cheerful in giving an update on the latest news from the protectors gathered on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation along the Cannonball River. Like Keystone XL before it, the Dakota Access Pipeline is an enormous environmental threat and its construction has already caused the bulldozing of burial grounds, sacred sites and the locations of historic villages. Pressure from around the world has caused the Obama administration to reconsider but the project is by no means stopped. We must join in demanding an end to this and all similar pipeline projects.
Will then really spent time time getting into the role that journalism is playing in the protests in Charlotte. That journalists have stopped operating as journalists and now are only feeding the clicks necessary to support advertising has destroyed one of the cornerstones of our democracy. When the people lose their voice, they lose hope and then where do they turn?
I spend just a few minutes talking about how banks create money and why new money is pulled out of central banks by private sector banks instead of being pushed out as is the common view.
One last note, if you haven’t checked us, ImHoppingMad, out on Instagram yet, the six Team Arliss bunnies are now there providing their own brief comments on politics, economics and, of course, carrots. Carrots! – Arliss
1 August 2016 – It is always glorious when we can have the well-known banking expert, economics wonk and blogger, Frances Coppola on the show. We were thrilled to welcome her back this week to talk about threats to the independence of central banks. We also discussed her recent panel at the Financial Times Festival of Finance where she consistently pointed out that the rise in populism expressed both through the Brexit vote and in the Trump candidacy, is all about the local.
Will and I had a lot of fun at the top of the show where he reveled in the number of GOP pundits who had to admit they loved the Democratic National Convention and I revealed what is, perhaps, the single most important polling result of this election cycle.
Will then goes on to tear into what we know (and what we don’t) about the relationships between Donald Trump, members of his campaign staff, Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin and various Russian surrogates and agencies. The word “traitor” does indeed come to mind. Seriously.
I spend my time on an overview of the economy of India, the modernization efforts and challenges and a bit about the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) including its recent upheaval. Since the soon-to-be former Governor of the RBI may very well be the incoming head of the IMF, after Lagarde steps down later this year, it’s worth getting to know a bit more about him. Rughuram Rajan is a neoliberal economist but he is also extremely accomplished, qualified and would be a much stronger voice for developing nations.
In spite of Trump, this has been a great week to be a Democrat and Will and I are still in the post-convention glow. In the next 100 days this country may well rise or fall. Let’s get to work. Carrots! – Arliss
11 July 2016 – We could not begin without acknowledging that yet again our nation has suffered terrible losses: Alton Sterling, Philander Castile, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa. Will sums up our feelings by reading parts of Hillary Clinton’s speech in Philadelphia which, we feel, speaks for us.
It’s hard to believe there was anything else important in a week like this past one but there was and I get to two of the big pieces of financial news. The US Federal Reserve released the stress test results of both the quantitative (DFAST) and qualitative (CCAR) testing of the thirty-three largest US banks. Stress testing is one of the big gains which emerged from the Dodd-Frank Act. In order to pass banks must prove that they can withstand specific “severely adverse scenarios.” The scenarios are both different and more difficult each year. This year all the banks tested passed DFAST and all except the US subsidiaries of Deutsche Bank and Santander passed the CCAR. I know you don’t think this really applies to you but that brings me to my second segment for the show….
The UK really is in a crisis, both political and economic. In the midst of all the chaos the one steady, calm voice of national leadership has come from Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England(BoE). In a critical speech on 30 June (PDF here), Carney delineated what the BoE has done, is doing and will do as the economic disaster of Brexit trundles forward. Alone among major UK governmental departments or associated institutions the BoE had a Brexit contingency plan and they have put it into action. Carney steadied markets and calmed the City with his cogent, realistic assessment and announcement of actions which the BoE is taking. Carney also reminded everyone that the most recent round of UK bank stress testing did include a Brexit scenario and that UK banks have been found to be capable of withstanding losses more than twice those they sustained during the global financial crisis. In addition, Carney noted that the BoE will be making sure that banks are making loans both to business and to individuals and he let banks know that the BoE will not be taking its eye off the regulatory ball either, ring-fencing will progress. In this period of complete UK political breakdown, Carney looks like the only adult in the room and proves it by managing to walk and chew gum at the same time–times ten. Oh – and central banks can make all the difference in a crisis.
Will got into the one other big piece of news from this past week, the matter of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. He made a point of fact-checking and adding to the information that is out there and he clarifies the difference between Clinton and those who have willfully and knowingly divulged classified information. There is a reason no prosecutor in the country would bring the case, Hillary’s mistakes do not meet either the letter or intent of the law. We will all, regardless, spend another two years listening to the GOP yammering on about it but it’s good to get the facts straight at the top.
Next week we are hopping down the bunny trail and our show will consist of interviews we have done while at Netroots Nation in St. Louis. If you are there, please come on by and visit with us. We will be on radio row (on and off) in the vendor hall. We’re bringing treats! – Carrots! Arliss
6 June 2016 – Will and I were unable to record a new episode this week so we are reprising our episode from March which featured Alexis Goldstein of Americans for Financial Reform. Alexis gave us a truly exceptional interview on Dodd-Frank and given that our interview last week was on the foreclosure crisis, with David Dayen, we thought touching back to our conversation with Alexis made sense.