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Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Guns. If I were in the NRA, I would not want this man to represent my viewpoint. Increasingly, that man has become the face of American conservatism. As an American liberal, I'm cool with that.

Taxes. Most of the "Pigovian" taxes mooted here bug me. But taxing people who talk during movies? Yes! In my view, the only words anyone should ever be allowed to say once the lights go down are  "Excuse me, but I think my pacemaker just stopped working." And even then, learn how to fucking whisper. 

AIG is suing the American government, even though Uncle bailed out that supremely crooked company not many years ago. Elizabeth Warren is outraged.
AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough. Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks—tax breaks that Congress should stop.
The coin. Here's still more on The One Coin to save us all. (Thanks to let'sgetitdone at Corrente.) The big question is: Whose face belongs on the coin? I say Ronald Reagan's -- simply because I would like to see conservatives rise up in opposition to a Reagan coin.

Or maybe Batman...? Everyone likes Batman.

The argument at Corrente is far more radical than anything you're likely to read anywhere else. Letsgetitdone thinks we shouldn't stop at a trillion dollar coin...
Wiesenthal's main additional stated objection to extremely high value PCS on the order of $50 - $100 Trillion is the inflationary impact he expects it to have. I've already analyzed the likely impact of a $60 T coin on inflation in a fair amount of detail in an earlier post, based on Scott Fullwiler's comprehensive framework. My analysis shows that there would be no inflation due to the effect of $60 T PCS itself on the economy.
You'll have to hit the link to follow the argument in detail. Basically, it comes to this: Since the payments to the Fed and to our creditors wouldn't go directly into our workaday economy, there would be no inflationary effect.
That leaves deficit spending. In the case of a $60 T coin, and a national debt of $16.4 Trillion, we'll assume that $43.6 Trillion would be left in the TGA for future deficit spending. However, the fact that the credits are in the TGA doesn't mean that the Treasury could spend them. In fact, it can only spend them if Congress appropriates deficit spending. So, the bottom line is that the $43.6 T doesn't go into the economy until it's appropriated. Then some portion of it can be inflationary if Congress deficit spends past the point of full employment; but if it doesn't, then there won't be demand-pull inflation. And, if it does, then the inflation will be due to unwise Congressional appropriations and not to using PCS.

In short, there's no way that PCS in itself can have an inflationary impact, no matter how high the value of the platinum coin is.
Yeah, well...the idea of a $60 T coin still freaks me out.

On the other hand, the very possibility of a $60 T coin really does underscore the fact that money is, and always was, a surreal and arbitrary concept.
Hey. Anyone who projects spittle on Morgan can't be all bad.

Of course, if you're looking for a non-MMT solution to the debt, you could simply apply a small transaction tax to security and derivative trades. Have look at:

At the Bank of International Settlements website. The turnover in exchange traded derivative contracts in North America runs about 145 trillion dollars in 3Q2012. That is approximately 3.5 times the Annual GDP of the entire planet - and that was an unusually slow quarter. A 1% tax on those trades would pull in $5-6 trillion dollars in annual revenue. That would convert our current deficit to a $4-5 trillion annual surplus, allowing us to pay off the entire national debt in about 4 years.
Joe, can you do what you do overseas?

Perhaps it's time to man the lifeboats.
Those BIS figures are for notional principal, not actual turnover. But still, they are enormous. The largest part of the global derivatives market is in interest rate swaps, and much of that market is cross-currency. Cross-currency derivatives, whether or not in the form of interest rate swaps, probably dwarf international trade by an even greater multiple than the derivatives market as a whole dwarfs world output. A breakdown of international trade, which can only be a matter of time, would cause famine in countries such as Britain. Given social conditions, that is. The secret guru of the British ruling elite has always been Thomas Malthus.
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