Brain Melting Economics

Try wrapping your brain around this bit of MMT.

Now this may shock you, because nearly everyone believes a dollar bill is a dollar. But it isn’t. It’s just evidence you own a dollar. A dollar bill is a title to a dollar.

If you own a house, the evidence you own it is a paper called a “title.” But, the paper is not the house. A dollar bill is not a dollar; it is just worth a dollar.

Every day, the US Government Printing Office takes thousands of blank sheets of paper and prints them into sheets and sheets of dollar bills. Are they dollars? No, they are just worthless paper, like the paper your bank gave you.

The printing office sends these worthless dollar bills to banks, to give to people as evidence these people own dollars. But let’s say, on the way to a bank, the truck carrying the dollar bills crashes, and 10 million dollar bills burn up. Has the government lost 10 million dollars? No, because dollar bills are not dollars.

This is important because people often talk about the federal government “printing” money. But though the government prints dollar bills, it cannot print money. No one can print something that does not physically exist.

And this is important, because it helps you see that dollars are nothing more than accounting balances. Dollars can’t be seen, touched, smelled or tasted. They can’t be stored or shipped.

And all this is important, because it shows why the federal government has the unlimited ability to create dollars and never, never, ever can run short of dollars, if it doesn’t wish to. To create dollars, all the government does is mark up numbers in checking accounts.

And it’s really, really important, because it shows why Social Security and Medicare never can run out of dollars, no matter what benefits they pay and what taxes they collect.


Wisconsin Economy Improves Despite Republican Policies

Good news for the state, the two state-level indicies of economic activity in Wisconsin are finally, after a year, pointing in the right direction.  While many will attempt to credit Walker for this movement, one should remember that for many months, Wisconsin lagged far behind the rest of the nation in terms of economic recovery.  But as the national economy has rebounded, and, owing to the interconnectivity of the American economy, a strong coattail effect is at work here.

The fact remains that Wisconsin is, quite literally, the last state in the lower 48 to recover from the recession.  How is this a feather in Walker’s cap?  Anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of economics knows that a rise in national demand eventually lifts all the state boats.  I suppose that is too much to ask of the Walker administration.   Their efforts to scuttle the state economy over the last 13 months are now a matter of record.

First is the current, or Coincident Index

from The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

As you can see, only Alaska performed worse than Wisconsin, which remained unchanged from the month before.  I suppose Walker would like to take credit for a halt in the state’s slide into the economic abyss, but he can’t.  He’s benefiting from the coattail effect of the ongoing national recovery.

And now the 6-month forecast, or Leading Index

from The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Again, Wisconsin is poised for strong growth because we have so much ground to make up after the economic armageddon of Walker’s first year in office.

I honestly hope that Walker continues to try and run on his record of economic disaster for Wisconsin.  It should prove to be his undoing.

Pro-Walker rally planned for Saturday in Brookfield

Calling all patriots!

From Jim Price, Brookfield Patch:

A Brookfield rally Saturday in support of Gov. Scott Walker, organized by a local grassroots group, has been moved back a bit to coordinate with a larger political event scheduled for the same day.

“Walker Backers At The Square,” an informal gathering at Brookfield Square mall, is now set for 4 to 6 p.m. so there will be less conflict for those who wish to attend the daylong “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Milwaukee.

“This is truly a grassroots event,” said Meg Duffy, one of the volunteer organizers. “Homemade signs, signs pulled up out of the dirt in our lawns, just to promote Gov. Walker.

“We’ll be on one of the busiest streets at prime time for people coming home from work.”

Duffy and her fellow organizers are the same group that coalesced around a Facebook page to present the “Celebrate Walker” rally Jan. 21 in Wauwatosa, which ended up becoming a major political event.

Walker Backers at the Square is not intended to match that in scope, and no speakers are scheduled at this time.

“It’s just gonna be a fun event with a lot of like-minded people getting out together,” Duffy said. “We expect maybe a couple hundred people – who knows, maybe more.

“There will be special guests – although I’m not at liberty now to say who.”

Participants in the roadside rally are also being asked to consider volunteering time working phone banks from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Waukesha Victory Center, 1701 Pearl St.

“We have 72 days left to get the patriots out there” before the projected date for the recall, Duffy said. “So, let’s go.”


The Affordable Care Act will Stand

I’ve read and heard several analyses of the looming challenge to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and none of these analysts believe that the challenge represents anything other than a clever rhetorical flourish.  The challenge lacks any legal foundation.  This article from Linda Greenhouse, legal reporter for the New York Times sums up the challenge nicely.

Free of convention, and fresh from reading the main briefs in the case to be argued before the Supreme Court next week, I’m here to tell you: that belief [that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional] is simply wrong. The constitutional challenge to the law’s requirement for people to buy health insurance — specifically, the argument that the mandate exceeds Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause — is rhetorically powerful but analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection. There’s just no there there.

The legal argument made by the challengers is based on one word: “unprecedented.”

Unprecedented is a description, not an analysis. What’s unprecedented is the singular determination of the Republicans both on Capitol Hill and in the statehouses to deprive President Obama of his major domestic achievement.

The countless unprecedented things that Congress has done over the centuries were not, for that reason, unconstitutional. Social Security, Medicare, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Erisa), and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, the 1986 law passed to prevent hospitals from refusing to care for uninsured patients in acute distress, all come to mind. (From the perspective of today’s toxic politics, it’s a miracle that any of these laws actually got passed, but that’s a separate issue.) So there must be some problem with the Affordable Care Act other than “never before.”

I expect that the ACA, such as it is, will stand and hopefully serve as a stepping stone towards the eradication of the parasitic private health industry and it’s replacement by a suitable single-payer system.

Breitbart: The Stupid Rolls On

GOTCHA “journalist”(term used loosely) Jason Mattera is an andrew breitbart protege and Boy is he DUMB!

Recently U2 frontman Bono, warned everyone in America to not let politicians use the poor as a football during the upcoming election season. Standing up for the poor is something that does not sit very well with th far right extreme that these people represent so Mattera was on the case.

Super Journalist Matter tracked down Bono to work his best Gotcha “journalism” on BONO and boy our crack reporter got got:

This is just classic. Last night, the geniuses at were trumpeting a HUGE EXCLUSIVE STORY, in which their ambush specialist Jason Mattera scored an EXCLUSIVE interview with U2 singer Bono.

Only problem with this BOMBSHELL: it wasn’t Bono. Apparently, Mattera encountered a guy with an Irish accent wearing sunglasses who looked sort of like Bono, and conducted an EXCLUSIVE BOMBSHELL INTERVIEW that blew up in his face: ‘DC’s Bad Boy Reporter’ Ambushes Bono Impersonator by Accident:

When the mini-Breits realized that they had been bamboozled, they just 404ed the page, with no retraction or statement of any kind, and marked the video “private” at YouTube to hide the evidence of their hilarious screw-up. But of course, the Internet never forgets, and now the heirs of Andrew are stuck in a moment they can’t get out of.

By the way – far right hate talker extreme Sean Hannity loved his work:

During an appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio program yesterday, which includes a brief snippet of the Mattera interview with “Bono,” Hannity and Mattera touted “bad boy reporter” Mattera’s impressive ambush interview skills. Asked by Hannity how he managed to get an interview with “Bono,” Mattera replied that it was “basic shoeleather journalism.” (Hannity promised to run the video on last night’s edition of his Fox News program, but said on Twitter this morning that Mattera’s appearance was preempted by election coverage and that they would run the video tonight instead.)

H/T Crooks & Liars