Mark Dempsey: America’s recent austerity is strictly optional. The U.S. has made money without limit to bail out banks and prosecute wars. Why not improve the infrastructure?
Mark Dempsey: Economic rent is money paid for no productive purpose, owed simply because of the rentier’s political influence or social status. Classical economics also decried rent as what kept an economy from being truly productive.
Mark Dempsey: The next time you hear a national politician say “Oh we can’t have [blank]” where blank is anything from free college tuition to single-payer healthcare, “because we’d have to raise taxes too much to afford it.” … you know they are not telling the truth. Taxes make the money valuable; they do not fund programs.
Mark Dempsey: Yet we’re only short of money when it comes to climate remedies, funding schools, or grandma’s pension. But government just spent trillions for banks and Middle East wars without a peep from the Fiscally Responsible people.
Mark Dempsey: American government has the legal right to create literally unlimited dollars, so it can never be insolvent. It will run out of dollars when the Bureau of Weights and Measures runs out of inches.
Mark Dempsey: One Modern Monetary Theory economist suggests sending each American household $50,000 to pay down debts, which would not only be cheaper than the $16-$29 trillion Wall Street bailout, it would bail out Main Street instead of the banks.
Worrying about government debt is like worrying about the monster under the bed. The issue isn’t debt, it’s power.
Mark Dempsey: Why does the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate sector, whose frauds caused the current economic meltdown, get trillions at the drop of a hat, and social safety net programs and revenue sharing with states, whose needs are far more modest, get the “one-finger salute”?
Mark Dempsey: American’s health is so bad that even pre-teens are at risk for type II diabetes in increasing numbers. Cancer, heart disease and obesity stalk the land.
Mark Dempsey: Besides the history of local development, recent lapses by our politicians, who regularly bow to speculation and greed, don’t exactly inspire confidence. Wall Street speculators absconded with 40% of the world’s wealth, and only Bernie Madoff is in jail.
Mark Dempsey: The U.S. currently spends more than the rest of the world combined on its military but less than 2% of its budget on humanitarian aid, even if clean water would do more to promote peace.
Mark Dempsey: After having reduced taxes without reducing spending, the Republicans can now get Jerry Brown and the California Democrats to do the politically unpopular work of terminating programs that would otherwise be too popular to touch. It’s clever, but hardly non-partisan.
Unsurprisingly, my Republican State Senator, Dave Cox, e-mailed his constituents, saying reducing spending, not increasing taxes, is the answer to California’s $16 billion budget shortfall. He notes that the Legislative Analyst’s Office’s (LAO) proposed alternative budget would raise some additional revenues, and but responds saying “revenues are not the problem. …LAO anticipate[s] that General Fund […]