John Andrew Rice

John Andrew Rice’s autobiography, I came out of the 18th century, has been reissued.

Rice is best known as the founder and guiding spirit of Black Mountain College. Rice gave Albers and many other Bauhaus artists their first job in the United States. The college had a huge impact on American art and poetry, so Rice’s book will be of great interest to art historians.

Rice was my maternal grandfather, so naturally I am delighted to see his book resissued. It is the story of growing up in the south in the aftermath of Reconstruction. Rice’s father, the Rev. John Andrew Rice, Sr., was a Methodist minister, and so the Rice family frequently moved from one parsonage to another. Rice was a toddler when his mother died, so he spent part of his childhood at Tanglewood Plantation, the home of his maternal grandmother. Readers are treated a witty view of the not always harmonious life of the Smith family. As Rev. Rice travels from one parsonage to another, readers are given a view of New Orleans, Tulsa, and Dallas in the early 20th century.

Rice recounts his education at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, and then his career as a teacher, then college professor, to the founding of Black Mountain College.

It is a witty and fascinating view of the great intellectual and artistic currents in 29th century America and highly recommmended.

Be a production equipment sponsor for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today

We have decided to offer sponsorship opportunites to individuals or organziations who wish to be equipment sponsors for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today. We have established an Amazon Wish List for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today.

We plan to make six pilot shows for YouTube and use them as a marketing tool. Production equipment sponsors will recieve acknowledgement in the program credits as will as links from the Real Fiscal Responsibility Today site. This will be true for both the pilot series and when we launch the show with whichever station picks it up.

This program promises to have an international and influential audience. This is a chance to raise your or your organization’s profile and bring it to the notice to the economic elite. If you have any questions about becoming an production equipment sponsor, contact me at marshall AT prestovivace DOT biz.

Real Fiscal Responsibility Today, progress to date, looking forward

As of this post we have raised $3,650 from 44 donors. With an average of $83 per donor, we will need 317 new donors within the next five days in order to make our original goal. These kinds of fundraisers often have spurts in the final days of a campaign and with your help we can meet our goal.

Even if we do not make our original goal we have made great progress. As of this posting we have sufficient funds for a single pilot, This is a major achievement, and we are grateful to all those who made it possible. We still hope to raise enough to make all six pilots, as this will help us demonstrate an audience for our show.

This effort has generated new interest in Modern Monetary Theory generally and in our project in particular. Because of this public show of interest, we have the possibility or raising the balance from other sources. This is why each new donor is so important. At this point the number of donors we have is more important than the amount given, because the number of donors shows public interest. Of course, if you are in a position to give a significant amount of money, we have some nice perks for you.

Please help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility Today!

How Real Fiscal Responsibility Today is changing the dialog

Recently Pavlina Tcherneva and Stephanie Kelton have been in the news. Warren Mosler Marshall Auerback have been interviewed on Boom Bust. It could be argued that all of these economists are news makers, and have been in the news before. Certainly they have all been in the news before, but never so many at the same time, never in so many publications, and never so prominently. So why now?

I put it to you that our fundraising effort for Real Fiscal Responsibility Today has demonstrated the popular appeal of Modern Monetary Theory. For weeks Twitter has been full of links from our supporters, and it has made a difference. Reporters love Twitter. Weeks of supporting tweets have had their effect, reporters and editors are paying attention to MMT economists in a way they have not before. Imagine what would happen if there were a weekly talk show! Help us make that happen, donate to Real Fiscal Responsibility Today!

How the Platinum Coin saved America and the Global Financial System

This time last year we were looking at the real possibility that the Republican controlled House of Representatives would refuse to raise the debt ceiling and force the US to default on its obligations. Had the Republicans succeeded in their purpose there would have been an unimaginable financial catastrophe.

Who would want such a thing? We only have to look at Greece and Detroit for the answer. The United States would have been forced to repudiate obligations to those too politically weak to defend their interests and sell off assets at fire sale prices to those politically strong enough to collect. No doubt that is what the plutocrats backing Ted Cruz had in mind when they put him up to it.

So what stopped it? In my never was humble opinion it was the platinum coin option. Matthew Yglesias gives us the short version:

It all goes back to sub-section (k) of 31 USC § 5112 “Denominations, Specification, and Design of Coins.” The opening subsections consists of boring specifications about the coins the United States issues. Subsection (k) says “The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.”

So there it is in black and white. Geithner can have the Mint create a $1 trillion coin. Then he can walk it over to the Federal Reserve and deposit it in the Treasury’s account. Then the government can keep sending out the checks—to soldiers and military contractors, to Social Security recipients and doctors who treat Medicare patients, to poor families getting SNAP and to FBI agents—it’s required by law to send—and the checks will clear. It’s a simple, elegant solution.

It all began with a comment on Brad DeLong’s blog from Beowulf, Joe Firestone took the idea and ran with it. With discussion centered at CorrenteWire, it spread across the Internet with the deepening of the fiscal/political crisis of threatened default. The platinum coin meme crested with a burst of #mintthecoin posts on Twitter. I came up with the idea of the #mintthecoin hashtag on an MMT Googlegroup, and Stephanie Kelton was the first to post it. From their the idea went into the mainstream press with even Krugman endorsing the idea to avert a default.

Presently we have no discussion of a default. Mitch McConnell has promised a government shut down if the Republicans take the Senate; but there is no talk of default. The platinum coin has made the threat to refuse to raise the debt ceiling an empty threat. This is what simple blogging has done. Imagine if we had a larger platform from which to speak. Imagine what we could do if week after week we could expose the hollow news-speak of our times. Help us do that, help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility Today.

Modern Monetary Theory and the Overton Window

The Overton Window, Illustrated

Definition and discussion of the concept is below. The main points I want to convey with this image:

- There is, or there should be, a constant tug-of-war on the edges of the Overton Window on any issue.

- There is a place for everyone and anyone along the Left side of the rope, as long as we’re all pulling in the same general direction.

- The current location of the Overton Window is so far to the right of any objective political spectrum, that what are now considered Extreme Left Positions are really not extreme at all.

Our current political discourse is distorted by the false doctrine that some sort of purpose could be served by balancing the federal budget. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a country with a fiat currency, whose debts are payable in its own currency, there is no purpose in a balanced budget. Once ordinary citizens understand this, the public policy opportunities are dramatically shifted in favor of the people.

So how do we educate the public about fiat currencies? How do we open up the discussion? by creating a talk show where these issues will be examined story by story, week by week. Help us do it, help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility.

Pavlina Tcherneva’s chart

The Richest…

Everyone is talking about this chart, the New York Times, the Washington Post, everyone. Because this chart makes clear what many of us have been saying, that workers no longer receive a fair share of the wealth they create and that inequality is reaching crisis proportions.

This marks another triumph for Tcherneva and Modern Monetary Theory in breaking through to the mainstream. But to penetrate the popular consciousness, to shift the debate in favor of ordinary people, we need both repetition and explanation. We need an economics talk show that will highlight work such as this on a weekly basis, so that the public is presented with a sustained examination of economic phenomenon from a Modern Monetary Theory point of view. Help us do it, help us launch Real Fiscal Reality Today.

The lapdogs who do not bark

You might have expected after the revelations about regulatory capture of the Federal Reserve by Goldman Sachs our news industry would be ablaze with nothing else. Carmen Segarra’s interview with This American Life is riveting, and the ProPublica report concerning the secret tapes she made of Federal Reserve meetings is gripping.

So what happened? Why isn’t our press all over this story? I can only guess at the combined pressure of Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, and the White House to kill this story, but in an earlier era it would have availed them naught. Public interest would have overwhelmed everything else. But in today’s press culture compelling stories like this are over looked for war mongering and what can only be described as bilge.

Our talk show Real Fiscal Responsibility Today will deal mainly with Modern Monetary Theory; but we will also be discussing the culture of corruption. We will be inviting whistle blowers like Segarra to appear on our show along with long time corruption fighters like Bill Black. Help us shine a light on the vampire squid. Help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility Today.

Our dumb discourse

Oh fergawdsakes

by digby

The question is do the soccer moms eat chicken and NASCAR dads drink coffee? At the same time? Only our punditocracy can sort it out for us and tell us what it all means:

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday described the 2014 midterm elections as a battle between “Starbucks nation” and “Chick-Fil-A country.”

He split the U.S. into the Democratic urban areas that drink Starbucks and the Republican rural areas that eat Chick-Fil-A.

According to Todd, there are a few Senate seats up for grabs in Chick-Fil-A-loving states like Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, giving Republicans the advantage. And he said that the major battlegrounds are Colorado and Iowa.

This is beyond dumb. If this were really the case the Democrats would have the 2014 election sewn up because Starbucks has way more locations than Chick-Fil-A, which has zero localtions in Montana. But of course this is just blather that Chuck Todd, for reasons best known to himself, chooses to visit upon his remaining viewers.

Chuck Todd could ask former Senator Bob Graham, someone with a history of getting national security right, to appear. Or he could ask Senator Mitch McConnel if he really plans another government shut down. Or he could invite Howie Klein of DownWithTyranny to ask Steve Israel about his leadership of the DCCC, the most under reported story of the 2014 election. But no, all Chuck Todd offers us is blather, and I think this is what we can expect in the future.

Real Fiscal Responsbility Today will be an economics show, which will only deal with economic side of our political discourse. We will not engage in the horse race side of it. However, we do plan to set an example that will demonstrate that we need not settle for blather.

Capitalism runs on sales

The Economy: Does More Government Help or Hurt – Complete Program

Presented at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch on September 16, 2014. This is the complete program and includes Dr. Haslag presentation and the Q&A session after both presentations.

“Businesses hire when they are swamped with demand, not when you dangle a tax cut carrot in front of them.” This may sound like captian obvious; but it is the sort of commense observation you will never hear on our current talk shows. Which is why we have decided to create our own talk show. Help us launch Real Fiscal Responsibility Today.