16 May 2019 – I promised you that in our next show I would get into the myths about Federal debt. This is that show. In addition, Will talks about why we should be going into space – for real. Some of the ideas sound crazy but I think there is enormous value in doing the work that takes us down those paths, regardless. There is so much possibility, why would we not get serious? At the top of the show we touch on the new agreement, between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, to establish a common travel area. Granted, this is a weak tea solution but it’s not nothing.
In case you want a quick list of the eight myths about Federal debt which I cover, here goes:
Carrying debt is bad for the Federal government
And the corollary, Federal surplus is good (this article provides perspective)
The Federal government uses our taxes to “pay for” government spending
There is a fiscal cliff
Passing Federal debt on to future generations is bad
The Federal government issues Treasury bonds (debt) to fund spending
Federal debt “crowds out” investors (Stephanie Kelton crushes Paul Krugman on this subject here.)
23 June 2018 – We are back (and trying to stay that way.) This is a grab bag show covering a number of international issues which are getting only cursory coverage by US media (for obvious reasons.) Will has news about currency plans for Scotland which, for MMT folk, is especially frustrating. On another front, remember all those times, pre-Brexit vote, when we said that the problem was going to be the Irish border. Well, the problem is the Irish border and it is both threatening to bring down the May government and cause the UK to “crash” out of the EU instead of Brexit in an orderly manner. Tune in to find out about the “Irish Backstop.”
In Extra Mad, Michele LeSure, our show editor, joins us to raise an important jobs issue which is just starting to break in Gainesville but could well spread to universities across the nation. Then we go back overseas to the Israeli Nation-State law and finally, to Iranfor the changes which are happening as a result of Trump pulling the US out of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. So, obviously, it’s a light show this week. 😉
Along those lines, things have not been light for me this summer and that is why the show has been off-air so much. My actual job had a number of really wonderful things happen but all of them have involved a huge and unexpected time commitment accompanied by a larger than ordinary amount of stress. But that’s not all, the announcement that Justice Kennedy was retiring really flipped a switch for me. I just had to stop on-boarding news, Twitter, podcasts…all of it. Kennedy was just, somehow, one hop too far. I have had to take a break. I’m getting back to the real world slowly, starting by concentrating overseas. I’ll get back stateside soon and, hopefully, will be refreshed and ready to plow forward to the election. Many carrots! – Arliss
19 June 2017 – This was one of those shows where Will and I covered a lot of ground. We did not have an interview (and there is no Extra Mad) so we just moved straight through the show with no breaks.
I began with a nod acknowledging Will for bringing on Math Campbell last week and taking time from the discussion of the UK snap election results to talk with Math about the fact that the new agreement between the May government and the DUP has destabilized the already precarious Good Friday Agreement. This week Gerry Adams and the group of the Sinn Fein leadership met with PM May and made their grievances known and clear. Interestingly, Adams also pressed May on the fact that her austerity economics has drained more than £1bn out of the Northern Irish economy, an economy already dramatically endangered by the coming closure of the border between the Republic of Ireland and the Counties.
I also took a moment to note that MP Jo Cox was assassinated one year ago this week and the memorial event her family planned, The Great Get Together (#Jo Cox, #GreatGetTogether, #MoreInCommon) spread deep and wide across the country as people joined to acknowledge their desire for less divisiveness and more unity. More than 100,000 listed events took place and millions of people participated in everything from fair-like activities held in parks to tea parties held at libraries, churches, mosques and synagogues and even in simple things like baking cupcakes for neighbors. In this week when members of Congress and their staff were terrorized in Alexandria, it seemed appropriate to take a look at what trying to heal could look like if we wanted it to.
In our Hopping Mad’s Lying Liar Lie of the Week segment Will’s contender was the inability of the Trump administration to have any actual idea if Trump went to see Rep. Steve Scalise. I nominated Trump’s “witch hunt” tweets and included my favorite response tweets. As it turns out, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) made the best case. He, of course, represents Salem, MA. ’nuff said.
In the body of the show I use the example of the central bank of Denmark warning its member banks about concerns related to the hot lending market despite the fact that all of those banks have passed ECB compatible stress testing. Meanwhile back in the US, the House voted to roll-back Dodd-Frank and the Trump administration is tamping down regulatory enforcement at every opportunity. This leaves only the Fed between us and the same economic disaster which nearly destroyed the economy in 2007. So – every time you hear the deeply misguided “audit the Fed” meme, I want you to remember this week and thank the Great Bunny that the US Federal Reserve is (relatively) independent and self-funded.
Will then spoke about the violent, so-called “left” DemExit movement and enumerated the ways in which they not really part of the left and definitely not part of the Democratic Party. Their dangerous, nihilistic rhetoric is really not about politics it’s just a self-justification for their rage. They are not interested in engaging in the public debate about policy. Truly, their only focus is on revolution in the streets and destruction. Just as progressives blame the GOP for not having called-out the violent, far right; progressives must now take responsibility and call out the terrorists on the farthest fringes of the left for both their views and actions.
I followed-on the subject of the responsibility to speak out by talking about former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s new book, Courage to Act. NOW Bernanke acknowledges the the economic crazy is all coming from one side, the GOP, and even goes so far as to blame the Obama administration for not having issued more progressive budgets and then fought for them. Ben, where were you then!?!
This show will air on 19 June and so I thought it was appropriate to take time to talk about the history of Juneteenth and why it is a relevant and important holiday for all Americans. I have to say I had to educate myself from scratch in order to even be able to speak in the most general ways about Juneteenth but I hope to listen and learn more in the coming year. By next year I would hope to lift up this topic with greater understanding.
One last thing – Rebecca Romans, thank you for the AMAZING TOUR and for all that you do in supporting progressive media. I know I speak for many podcasts when I say that we all love you! Many, Many Carrots! – Arliss
8 August 2016 – This week we had a lot of territory to cover and very little time due to scheduling issues. We have no interview or Extra Mad today but do start with breaking news on a new and unexpected humanitarian crisis. From there I plunge into Trump’s views on and utter lack of knowledge about nuclear weapons. (Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.) Will then moves on to the newest nation in the world, South Sudan, which represents an incredible opportunity missed and a sad story we will be hearing for a very long time.
Will wanted to spend some time this week really talking about several of the conspiracy theories surrounding Hillary and some of the misunderstandings/conspiracy theories which are frustrating regarding the Democratic National Convention and Committee. Will talks about the truly hideous conspiracy theory about Hillary having Vince Foster Seth Rich murdered recently. Will also, apparently for my entertainment, brings up an old theory where President Obama has ordered a nuclear attack against Charleston…South Carolina. He then chats about the false claims that the DNC rigged the primary election and I end up ranting while reminding everyone that the DNC is not a public organization and not part of the government. It’s a private organization, a club…a treehouse, and because this is the case the DNC gets to write its own rules. I also mention why I feel like Bernie delegates, to the national convention, had expectations which could not be met because they were not fully briefed by the Sanders campaign. I do feel bad that it happened this way.
I close out the show with a review on the recent report from the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the International Monetary Fund, “The IMF and the Crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.” This is a WOW report. The IEO has provided a very constructive but extremely brutal review of the many, many failures of the IMF in dealing with the European banking crisis. The thing I am most pleased by is that so many of the things the MMT community has been shouting for years now are bourn out in this report but this is small comfort beside the gravity of the impact of the errors made by the IMF and the troika.
Will is traveling this next week but we will be back on 22 August with an all new show. – Carrots! Arliss
27 June 2016 – Well, THAT happened. Brexit basically ate the news cycle of much of the world this past week. Who knew so many people could find legitimate use for the word “gobsmacked.” We were lucky to be guided through the chaos by Scottish National Party Councilor Math Campbell-Sturgess. Will has been wanting to have the Inverclyde Council representative on for a quite a while and this seemed like the moment. In fact, the timing was so good that Will trimmed down his block and I ditched mine completely because there was just too much ground to cover. I am especially interested by the way austerity is playing in elections and politics around the world. It’s insidious. We also talked about the upcoming Scottish referendum on leaving the UK, the terrific leadership of Nichola Sturgeon, the mess that is trying to pass as the Labour Party, the horror that is the Conservative party, commonalities between current UK and US politics, land reform and the general future of Scotland. Also, I think Angela Merkel joined Nichola Sturgeon on a very short list of people who managed to look like world leaders this week.
I began the show with a short tribute to Amjad Sabri, the sublimely talented Sufi Qawwalis singer and musician who was killed on Thursday in Karachi, Pakistan. He was a man who had devoted his life to a message of peace and love. His loss is unspeakably great. In tribute to Amjad, all of our interstitial music this week is his.
Will took a few minutes to hit the highlights of the ruling by the Hague on the case being brought by the Philippines against China over the Spratly Islands. The Philippines won. Enforcement is another matter entirely. *sigh*
It was a big week and I don’t think anyone knows what comes next. Hang on to your ears! Carrots! – Arliss
20 June 2016 – Both of the main topics this week, inequality through the lens of philosophyand Brexit, ended up stretching me to a new perspective. In both cases I default to the economics and the associated numbers but it turns out this wasn’t the week for that. Dr. James Brusseau is an author, a professor at Pace University and recently hosted a new documentary, the Wealth Inequality Workshop. Most people think about inequality in terms of the political sphere or the economic sphere but James brings a new voice, philosophy, into the conversation and in so doing the realization that the reason so many of us talk past one another on this topic is because we are starting from opposing perspectives on the equality/freedom continuum. Once you listen I suspect you too will be surprised at where you find yourself in the end.
Will and I are both on Brexit this week. I thought I was going to be talking about Brexit economics but following a Twitter conversation with a listener I ended up really thinking about the emotional content that has come to be so closely wrapped into Brexit. I tried to think about it in several different ways, as an MMT wonk, as a pragmatist and as just a feeling being. All of this was made immeasurably more sad by the assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox (photo above). Her loving, generous, brave life was taken by a man acting on a wave of the current of hate which is insidiously sweeping through the Leave side of the referendum. It’s easy to recognize because it is here in the US too, in the campaign of Donald Trump and even, to a lesser degree, in that of Bernie Sanders. As is the first line of the editorial in The Guardian about Jo’s death, “The slide from civilization to barbarism is shorter than we might like to imagine.”
#MoreInCommon – Carrots! Arliss
Just a quick note, I mentioned almost offhandedly the complexities of the relationships that surround the European Union.Wikipedia actually has one of the best breakdowns charted out here. That explains all the ancillary agreements and groups that surround the EU.
13 June 2016 – We always think our interview guest is going to give us a strong interview but there is no way to predict when an interview is going to be breathtaking. Ariella Barker, advocate and activist for persons with disabilities (PwDs) gave us a truly stunning, erudite and heartfelt interview. It is no surprise that this is our longest interview to date. Ariella had a lot to say and all of it was important. I tracked Ariella down after I read her 18 May blog post, “‘Berned’ by Bernie,” which was suddenly all over my Twitter timeline one day. You. Must. Read. This. Blog. Post. There is a reason it went viral. Even more than this post though, I was astonished by the revelatory honesty and genuine humanity of Ariella’s blog as a whole. She goes by “shiksappeal” on WordPress and that is only one of the lovely things about her. I always gravitate to smart people who can laugh at themselves. Ariella is my kind of person. I guarantee you will learn an astonishing amount about the political issues with which the PwD community is grappling. I did. Did you know PwDs are the largest minority community in the United States! Fully 20% of all Americans fall into this group. Twenty. Percent!!! I had no idea and I suspect that most people don’t. Shiksappeal is a natural storyteller and she teaches by sharing her life with us. I, for one, am so grateful.
In my block I am finally turning toward Brexit, the 23 June referendum when the UK will vote to either stay in or exit the European Union. The two campaigns, Leave and Remain, are neck and neck and there is so much more on the line than most people realize. Certainly there is more involved than most in the Leave camp are taking into consideration. One of those things would be the end of peace in Northern Ireland. No joke. I spend my time this week talking about Ireland v Brexit and how both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will be deeply damaged, both economically and culturally, should Leave win the vote. Next week I’ll be on the economics of Brexit. Basically, both this week and next Will and I are all Brexit all the time. (You had to know it was coming, right?)
I was a busy bunny this week. I was on the 10 JuneKagro in the Morning show with the always interesting David Waldman. David had spent time in each of his two previous shows talking about Social Security and I had some additional information which I hope was helpful. I was also fortunate enough to be a guest on the newest episode of Irreverent Testimony. Travis and Rachel are such a joy. Smart, snide, funny and never afraid to say what they are thinking – they give me hope for the future. We talked about the end of the Dem primary, what it means for Rachel and I as women to see this moment in US history, potential VPs and the hot mess that is Trump.
With that I will leave Will to say a few words. Carrots! – Arliss
We had a last minute change to the program because of the attack on the Pulse LGBT Club in Orlando. Arliss and I had a long conversation about that, about grief, and about healing. We talked about giving Orlando space to grieve. Sunday was a very difficult day for a lot of us. – Will
28 March 2016 – In the interest of full disclosure, as a Rabbit American I admit a bias on the topic of rabbit welfare. Toward that end Will and I were able to have attorney Mara Hurwitt join the show to talk about the legal complexities and issues related to rabbits. Mara is a long-time educator for the House Rabbit Society, a leading international rabbit rescue organization. Mara has provided pro bono legal support for a variety of animal welfare organizations and has worked at the Federal level to protect wild horse herds (which, in my opinion should be considered a national treasure). Rabbits are the third most abandoned domestic animal in the nation yet few municipal facilities or private rescue organizations are both equipped and knowledgable enough to meet their special needs. Rabbit abuse is rampant and seems to be on the increase but things are changing and Mara is a part of making that happen.
Will begins the show with the newest in crazy from North Carolina. Later in the show he brings the history with an overview of the Irish Easter Rising. I start out with, of all things, graffiti in Cairo. I draw almost exclusively from an article in The Guardian but you absolutely must take a moment to look at photos of this fragile, moving and significant art here and here. My main segment is on 21st Century Glass-Steagall legislation and this is the last of my banking regulation series. Next week I get back to modern monetary theory. Yippie!
We have no Extra Mad extended interview this week. It’s the busiest weekend of the year for rabbits – so many eggs and too little time. – Carrots! Arliss
Psst – from top to bottom, the rabbits in the photo are my office crew: David (age 3), Neo (age 3) and Bethy (age 12).
29 February 2016 – This week, we talked Iranian, Irish, and Scottish elections. I discussed Labour’s demise in Scotland, and talked about how they’ve never recovered from the death of Donald Dewar. It looks as if Labour is heading for yet another defeat in the upcoming Holyrood elections.
Arliss went over some banking terms (I know! What could possibly be more exciting?) because the jargon of the financial industry is a language of obfuscation. In order for us to understand what the heck these people are talking about, we need to learn what is essentially a separate language. That’s by design. If nobody can understand the words Banksters use to describe what they’re doing, then nobody can legislate against them. This is the first of a multi-part series which will get deeply into the weeds of banking reform.
Following that, we had a fantastic conversation with Charles Gaba(aka Brainwrap) of acasignups.net, who talked about the massive entity that is the US healthcare system and some of the options available for healthcare reform. He explained to us how even minor changes in theory become sweeping changes in practice, and we discussed in detail how Marco Rubio and the GOP killed even the modest Co-Op non-profit options that we sought to create when the Public Option was blocked.
Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!