Pavlina Tcherneva & the World Beyond Trump

2 October 2017 – Some days it’s hard to remember that despite all appearances, there is a world out there beyond Trump and all the many, many ways he is failing this week. The truly dazzling economist Dr. Pavlina Tcherneva (her excellent site is here) is with us for the interview. I was able to interview her in person at the First International Conference of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT Conference). We talked about how the, now famous, chart (see above)  she developed was able to influence the conversation around inequality and how a job guarantee program can add more than just jobs to a society. It is inspiring to know the modern monetary theory rests in the hands of economists, like Pavlina, who have a clear connection to the ground truth of the programs and policies they imagine into existence.

I start out the show with just a quick overview of my experience at the MMT conference. It was genuinely compelling and I was overwhelmed by all the ideas and applications of MMT to which I was exposed. You will be hearing about many of these in depth in the future and I promise you will be intrigued too.

Will then updated everyone on the events in Catalonia related to the independence vote. Spain is refusing to acknowledge the vote and tension is ratcheting up. Will has covered Catalonia in the past and promises a deep dive next week.

We touched briefly on Puerto Rico. Now that it is (finally) being followed by major media we are leaving most of that to actual journalists but people are suffering and our President, while golfing, is too busy trying to shame the Mayor of San Juan with tweets to actually send an appropriate level of support. It’s not just frustrating or inhumane, it’s evil.

In Will’s main block he talked about Brexit. Many are saying that all the economic ills projected by those who wanted to remain in the European Union have not come to pass and were therefore simply election scare tactics. Will points out the obvious, the UK is still in the EU and the pain from Brexit will not be felt until Brexit actually occurs. It remains reasonable to expect cost-push inflation (also known as supply shock) as the UK strikes out on its own.

In my block I briefly lay out my reasons for supporting Bernie’s current “Medicare for All” bill. This may surprise some of you but I find this bill to be essential and extremely well-timed. Don’t get me wrong, this bill won’t move and, ultimately, the bill that does move will look different but here’s the thing – we can’t legislate until we get elected. Will disagrees but I think “Medicare for All” is a good bumper sticker way to sum up the shared Democratic party value that healthcare is a right. I think having this bill under active discussion now gives us an opportunity to build coalition and consensus in preparation for a non-Trump future. No matter what, this bill has already moved the Overton Window and that in and of itself is critical. Bernie has written a solid bill and he is gathering important voices. There is long, hard work ahead to build unstoppable grassroots momentum but this is how healthcare gets changed for real. It will take all of us…and it should. Carrots! – Arliss

Since recording this episode, the Spanish government has acted without restraint or dignity in Catalonia, attacking unarmed civilians with a wave of brutal repression. Many folks who oppose the referendum say that holding it is illegal. That may be true, but it isn’t an excuse for state violence. Spain had every ability to refuse to acknowledge the vote, which was itself an act of civil disobedience. But instead of responding to this act with restraint, and refusing to acknowledge the results, they chose to wage an unnecessary and unnecessarily brutal campaign of violence against the Catalan people. These actions bring the legitimacy of Rajoy’s governance of Catalonia into question. Things will likely only get worse in the coming days. I will report in depth on the situation next week, and talk about Kurdistan and its referendum as well. –Will

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NRA Ad Abomination & Trade War Trouble

3 July 2017 – Will is on vacation this week (and next) so I am joined on the show by two of our three new associates, Joel Dent and David Paquette. David, a self-professed connoisseur of lies, starts us off with a spectacular lie direct from a true master of the subject, Senator Orrin Hatch. I respond with a whopper from Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry but Hatch won the day on style points. Here, by the way, is David’s recommended maple syrup video. “The moment” is right at the very end but the whole thing is hilarious. Remember as you watch it that this is the man curating the nuclear arsenal of the USA.

Joel brought us the latest NRA ad which is so filled with hate that it just blows right past “abomination” as a descriptor. After the election, the NRA and the gun manufacturers had a problem. With Obama gone and no enemy to focus on how are they going to sell mountains of guns? They need a new enemy and they have found one…all of us. Joel uses video shot during one of the Milo Yiannopoulos protests (also here) as an example of the depth of the problem. He also quoted from some alt right gun blogs here and here. The psychosis is both depending and spreading.

I go back to my roots a bit to talk about the modern money take on trade and how trade works in economies like ours. The meme of the trade deficit being a problem is the same as the meme of the US needing a balanced budget. Both are ludicrous on the face if you take a minute to think about it. We give away pixels (fiat money) and get real goods and services in return. That’s the best possible deal especially when there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of making sure that everyone who wants a good job has one…except, of course, political will. *sigh* All of this is especially pertinent because while the whole country is looking the other direction, Trump is starting a trade war with our closest allies!

We have no interview this week (so no Extra Mad). Again a thank-you goes out this week to Michele LeSure, for her assistance in editing this episode. Michele will be on the show next week so you will have the chance to hear from her too! If you are in the US, enjoy your holiday! Many carrots! – Arliss

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Dr. Randall Wray on Minsky

31 October 2016Modern 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

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