Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rodger Mitchell — Why MMT frustrates the hell out of me


Well, I guess Mike Norman would agree with you, Rodger. Time to take the gloves off.

But it seem to me that at least some the MMT economists are pretty edgy for academics, and I don't know how much farther Randy Wray, Bill Mitchell, and Stephanie Kelton can go. UMKC profs Bill Black and Michael Hudson are also at the front line. Jamie Galbraith, too. They are prolific enough, and I don't detect a lack of passion for the cause. They are just not getting media coverage yet, although it is growing.

My own feeling is that concerted action by as many economists and financial professionals as possible, from whatever school of thought, is needed, instead of arguing with each other over finer points, while the neoliberal establishment is burning down the house.

It should be possible to some simple framing on the big issues like the damaging effect of deficit hysteria and public debt reduction, while calling for a demand-based solution instead of supply-side.

Monetary Sovereignty
Why MMT frustrates the hell out of me
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

46 comments:

Matt Franko said...

Rodger: "Obama knows the Truth. Geithner knows it. Boehner knows it. Congress knows it. The media, which are owned by the .1% know it. Every politician supported by big money coming from the Kochs et al, knows it and is required to toe the line. They lie because they are paid to lie."

Rodger is 100% WRONG.

Rodger's problem is that he refuses to believe that all of these VSPs can be made such big morons.

Rodger: Yes they can and have been, manifestly, irrefutably.

Rodger, I'm sorry but they all have been made MORONS, they are disgraced...

rsp,

Dan Kervick said...

MMT is a school of economic thought, developed primarily a small group of academic economists and by Warren Mosler, a self-taught amateur economist with a background in banking and finance. It is not a political action committee, or a think tank, or a social movement, or a political party.

If people want to change the world, and use MMT as an intellectual framework for their world-changing economic and social proposals - then go do it! Nobody is stopping you!.

I read lots of grousing on the MMT blogs on themes like the following:

"Why don't you change this word to some other word?"

"Why don't you frame things differently?"

"Why don't you drop this statement, that seems true, and replace it by some other more politically palatable thing that the Wall Street guys will go for?"

Here's my question to these critics:

Why don't you do it yourself? Get off your computers and off your asses, and go out there in the world somewhere and start changing things. You don't need a permission slip from the economists. You don't need to agree chapter and verse with everything they say. Use your own words; fight for your own ideas.

Form a political action committee. Form a grass roots organization. Form a party. Form a street theater group. Do whatever it is you're good at. If writing is your thing, do some writing and try to promote it. Do whatever works for you.

It's up to you. Stop looking for saviors. You can't expect a movement for social change to come from a small group of heterodox midwestern economists who have spent their careers trying to figure out what is going on, rather than sucking up to the powerful and building networks among the elite.

The role of scholars and academics has always been to get the ideas right, and their circle of direct influence rarely extends outside relatively small circles of academics. The fact that the MMT folks also have blogs is a plus. But stop bitching at them about not being able to put the whole political world on their shoulders and carry it to salvation. They are a small handful of people who are already overextended, with their teaching responsibilities, research responsibilities and administrative responsibilities in addition to their blogging, extra writing and occasional media appearances.

We're talking about five or six main people here. Give them a hand instead of acting like a bunch of film critics who just sit around saying "You're doing it wrong."

If you are "frustrated", then go forth and do more. Bill Mitchell writes 4000 words a day on MMT, and has addressed and criticized almost every other competing approach somewhere or other on his blog. Read up, arm yourself with ideas and then go forth.

Jonf said...

Roger is right that the message is slow getting out there. But you can't blame the professors. It is not their job. They do as much as they can. At the moment there is not enough of them. Dan is also right,go do it yoursef, like Mike has been doing.

But in the end we need a politician to say it out loud and to push the issue. So far no takers. That is where we suffer. I often find myself agreeing with Roger that these VSP are not such fools that they have missed the millions of words out there. Still we need a spokesperson in congress or some position of political import who can garner attention. Someone like Alan Grayson.

Dan Kervick said...

I think Obama is a guy who honestly believes the Peterson Foundation load he has been fed.

But a lot of other powerful people could understand MMT 100%, and accept its truth as a body of economic theory, but have no interest in modifying government policy. They are just not interested in maximizing the public good, especially if it means shifting power away from unelected elite institutions and plutocratic power centers toward elected governments and democratic constituencies.

Mike Norman said...

I scream it out and get attacked by people within MMT, saying that I should apologize and be more "diplomatic."

The MMT leadership are a bunch of wusses. Peter Schiff is mopping the floor with you. You don't know how to fight.

DaRkJaWs said...

Reinhold Niebuhr said it long ago that you can't change group opinions with rational conversations! It needs something more. I think anyone should approach change the way they want, as long as they don't invoke other people's names without their permission.

Chewitup said...

Jonf,
It will be interesting to see how confrontational Alan Grayson will be now that he has a second chance. His district is a bit different now in that he has a larger Democratic base than he did previously. He will be a strong Occupy and worker's rights advocate, but I don't have any idea if he is up to snuff on MMT. I could not tell from his website other than he wanted to audit the Fed with Ron Paul.
Time will tell. He supposedly has guts!

Dan Lynch said...

All post-Keynesians are frustrated that the powers-that-be act as if we were still on a gold standard. I think that is where Rodger Mitchell's frustration is coming from.

It is wrong to blame our fellow post-Keynesians, though. Sure, there's room for improvement, but mostly MMT is doing a good job and is pushing their message aggressively.

The real problem is that the powers that be want to protect the status quo. It's the Iron Law of Institutions. It may take a collapse to bring about real change.

Jonf said...

I recently said to someone who was saying we are going broke and running out of money that the government could not become bankrupt bc it issues the currency. A woman I know was there. She did not have a HS education. She jumped in and said " I knew that. If I could print money I wouldn't have any trouble with my bills but I was always afraid to say so."

So now the elites with educations from Ivy League schools can't figure that out? Roger's got a point. What is wrong with them?

justaluckyfool said...

Why MMT frustrates the hell out of me(Justaluckyfool)
They (MMTers) assume they are 100% right on 100% of the issues.
This may be a good thing, but their absolute refusal to defend their position at times is unexcused.
With a prayer I ask again, Hudson, Wray, Mosler, Black, Mitchell,
all others :
IS IT TRUE ?
(!) QE is a proven method that would allow the FED to purchase
unlimited amounts of assets for an unlimited period of time?
It is an Einstein style "simple" question.
(2) QE is presently being used to allow "private for profit banks" (PFPB)
to make tremendous profits for their own selfish use ?
Simple question.
(3) If 1 and 2 are true. Would it be true to say, "QE can be used to raise
tremendous profits(revenues) for the people for their own selfish use ?
Three simple questions that await a profound answer, not for one but for all
mankind.


WOW, you would have made Patrick Henry proud.
Could you, would you, please, either endorse or improve a battle cry,
“Tax Money, Not Income”, “QE 4 Prosperity”
Is it true ? :
(1) The Fed can QE unlimited amounts of currency for the purchase of assets for an unlimited period of time. (proven by Bernanke by QE 3 (infinity)
(2) The Fed can turn that revenue over to the US Treasury to be placed in the General Account.
(3) The only change would be that of taking the income (revenue) from these assets away from the “private for profit banks” and giving it back to the people.
“Give me equality, or give me death”.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell said...

Dan K.

All MMT needs to do is recognize the motivation. It's a pretty poor social scientist who is satisfied to describe "what is," and not want to talk about "why."

By providing a motivation, the MMTers would give more credibility to their ideas. "Why" does Obama want to cut Social Security? Is it because he is stupid or does he have a motive?

People will not believe he is stupid, so unless you provide them with his motive, you look stupid. (It's the "Why do you know this and Obama doesn't" syndrome.)

Revealing the motivation is absolutely vital in gaining credibility, and lacking the disclosure of this motivation probably is why MMT has not had broader acceptance, after all these years.

Otherwise, you're left with saying that everyone in Congress and everyone in the White House and everyone at the Fed is too stupid to understand the basic simplicity of Monetary Sovereignty.

I don't believe it. Do you?

Those professors can use their knowledge of economics PLUS the motivation of the .1%, to make their points.

justaluckyfool said...

Do they not realize that PFPB (private for profit banks) as Soddy had written in 1926, 1933,
"
It was recognized in Athens and Sparta ten
centuries before the birth of Christ that one
of the most vital prerogatives of the State was
the sole right to issue money. How curious that
the unique quality of this prerogative is only now
being re-discovered. The" money-power " which
has been able to overshadow ostensibly responsible
government, is not the power of the merely ultra-
rich, but is nothing more nor less than a new
technique designed to create and destroy money
by adding and withdrawing figures in bank ledgers,
without the slightest concern for the interests of
the community or the real role that money ought
to perform therein.

The more profound students of money and,
more recently, a very few historians have realized
the enormous significance of this money power
or technique, and its key position in shaping the
course of world events through the ages. ... It is con-
cerned less with the details of particular schemes
of monetary reform that have been advocated
than with the general principles to which, in the
author's opinion, every monetary system must at
long last conform, if it is to fulfil its proper role
as the distributive mechanism of society. To allow
it to become a source of revenue to private issuers
is to create, first, a secret and illicit arm of the
government and, last, a rival power strong enough
ultimately to overthrow all other forms of
government. "

Tom Hickey said...

@ justaluckyfool

Not what MMT says.

justaluckyfool said...

@Tom Hickey
Perhaps, we now know why they don't ask, "WHY ?"
But why not ask, "Why are some banks Too Big To Fail"?
What amount of monetary default would cause "systemic failure"
Why, OMG, why is QE used to benefit
the TBTF (PFPB) and not "for the people" to benefit??
It can't possibly be.."Not what MMT says", could it ?

Tom Hickey said...

Of course it is not what MMT says. MMT is in the forefront opposing TBTF and for reforming the financial system.

Read the voluminous work of Bill Black, who sometimes joined with Randy Wray at New Economic Perspectives, the UMKC MMT blog, on this. See also Randy Wray''s work on it, too, although less voluminous than Bill's.

See also Warren Mosler's proposals for financial reform under Proposals at moslereconomics.com

Matt Franko said...

Rodger:

"All MMT needs to do is recognize the motivation. It's a pretty poor social scientist who is satisfied to describe "what is," and not want to talk about "why."

AGREE THE "WHY" IS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION TO GET RIGHT...

By providing a motivation, the MMTers would give more credibility to their ideas. "Why" does Obama want to cut Social Security? Is it because he is stupid or does he have a motive?

THIS QUESTION NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED ACCURATELY IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO BEST OPERATE AGAINST CURRENT POLICY...

People will not believe he is stupid, so unless you provide them with his motive, you look stupid. (It's the "Why do you know this and Obama doesn't" syndrome.)

SO JUST BECAUSE 'PEOPLE WONT BELIEVE HE IS STUPID', WE NEED TO CREATE ANOTHER ENTIRELY NEW FALSE PARADIGM??????

SO EVEN IF YES HE IS THAT STUPID, WE STILL CANT SAY THIS????

WHAAAAAAAAATTTT???????

SO IT IS BETTER TO ACCUSE OBAMA OF BEING PART OF SOME FABRICATED SINISTER SCHEME RATHER THAN POINT OUT HE IS RECEIVING COUNSEL FROM MORONS?????

WHAAAAAAATTTT?????

Revealing the motivation is absolutely vital in gaining credibility, and lacking the disclosure of this motivation probably is why MMT has not had broader acceptance, after all these years.

Otherwise, you're left with saying that everyone in Congress and everyone in the White House and everyone at the Fed is too stupid to understand the basic simplicity of Monetary Sovereignty.

SO WHAT????? THE TRUTH HURTS SOMETIMES.... SO WHAT??? THEY DONT HAVE THE MATH APTITUDE OF AN ELEMENTARY STUDENT, THEY ARE DISGRACED... SO WHAT???? WE DIDNT DO IT TO THEM... ALL WE CAN DO IS POINT THIS OUT AND RECOMMEND REPLACING ALL OF THESE MORONS...

I don't believe it. Do you?

YES I DO!!!!!!!! 100%

RODGER, YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY OTHER THAN INNUENDO AND HEARSAY WHICH IS INADMISSIBLE...

Those professors can use their knowledge of economics PLUS the motivation of the .1%, to make their points.

IF THE PROBLEM IS 'THEY ARE DUMB" AND INSTEAD YOU GO ALL AROUND ACCUSING THEM OF SOME SORT OF EVIL CONSPIRACY...

YOU GET NOWHERE JUST LIKE WE HAVE BEEN...

RSP,

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell said...

Matt,

It's nice to hear that you and I are smarter than all 535 Congresspeople, the President, the Chairman of the Fed, all the economists they employ, plus virtually all the media -- but somehow I don't believe it.

It's easy to shout (in all caps, yet) that everyone else is a moron, but if every single one of them is stupid, why are they running the country and you're not?

Get real, boy. They know what they are doing. Too bad you don't know what they are doing to you.

paul said...

Rodger, the fact is it's a combination of both.

Yes, they are "smart", but at the same time they are ill-informed. Being ill-informed is not "smart".

A doctor can be very "smart" wrt medicine but stupid wrt to most everything else. My doctor knows and understands very little about economics, but he's smart because he listens when one speaks to him about it.

In most cases the difference between being smart or stupid comes down to making choices. Choices based on conventional wisdom makes you "stupid"...you are letting others do your thinking for you.

The fact that they are willfully ignoring logic and arithmetic to further their agenda doesn't make it a conspiracy either...most of them believe the bullshit they are promoting because it is in their own best interest and surrounding themselves with "experts" that tell them what they want to hear helps them promote their agenda.

They are encapsulated in a self-reinforcing belief that they are doing the right things. This is not "smart".

The word I'm searching for is corruption, our system is corrupt totally from the top down at every level.

This is what Matt is implying when he says they are "stupid". They are choosing short-term gain that is damaging to their constituents while believing they are doing the right thing.

This is not smart, to call it a conspiracy is to give them too much credit.

Our differences are not as great as you make them out to be. We are seeing the same things from different perspectives.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell said...

O.K. "Stupid" really means "corrupt" which really means "ill-informed" which really means "believing they are doing the right thing." Any more semantic twisting available?

The point, which seems to be getting lost is simply this:

MMT believes that explaining Monetary Sovereignty in ever simpler terms, somehow will awaken the populace to the fallacy of deficit reduction.

I believe that the populace does not wish to learn economics, and is bombarded with intuitive-sounding lies, and will not believe the logic unless given an emotional, believable vehicle.

The emotional, beleivable vehicle for presenting the truth is this: The .1% is spreading misinformation to widen the income gap.

When presented that way -- "It's not your fault. The rich are screwing you and your family to widen the income gap. Cutting the deficit is their way of taking from you and giving to them" -- the 99.9% are more likely to accept the message.

So call it "moronic," "stupid" or "believing," or whatever you wish, but present the full story of rich vs. poor, and not just the academic economics.

Education alone hasn't worked and will not work. The people don't want to be educated.

justaluckyfool said...

"
By providing a motivation, the MMTers would give more credibility to their ideas. "Why" does Obama want to cut Social Security is it because he is stupid or does he have a motive?
Perhaps the WHY of Social Security cuts is a misdirection play.
To underestimate just how smart an enemy is could lead to disaster.
The intention is not to cut SS, rather it is to show that SS needs help to make it better able to spend whatever amount it needs.
So want then becomes the "compromise?
The "WHY".
The private for profit banks will earn tremendous fees
by privatizing SS, a prize worth trillions.
They know that as proven by Ben Bernanke, ("Prediction. 2013 Noble Prize in Economic Sciences"by justaluckyfool) that QE can replace deficit spending so there is no "money" problem.
With a win for the PFPB , Why not then go after the other plum, Medicare.
Maybe , just maybe the PFPB are really the smarter guys in the room.
Are they not even today in the UK buying public assets that will allow themselves to further gain more sovereignty wealth?
Please, I beg once again, "An answer to my questions. True or false, How big a fool am I ?
“Perhaps this is just the way things always have been, and always will be.”
No so. Man thru freedom of choice changed what had been “happiness and prosperity” to “servitude and poverty”.
The means to return are still here on earth.
We need only to use them for all mankind instead of the 1%.
Why MMT frustrates the hell out of me(Justaluckyfool)
They (MMTers) assume they are 100% right on 100% of the issues.
This may be a good thing, but their absolute refusal to defend their position at times is unexcused.
With a prayer I ask again, Hudson, Wray, Mossler, Black, Mitchell,
all others :
IS IT TRUE ?
(!) QE is a proven method that would allow the FED to purchase
unlimited amounts of assets for an unlimited period of time?
It is an Einstein style “simple” question.
(2) QE is presently being used to allow “private for profit banks” (PFPB)
to make tremendous profits for their own selfish use ?
Simple question.
(3) If 1 and 2 are true. Would it be true to say, “QE can be used to raise
tremendous profits(revenues) for the people for their own selfish use ?
Three simple questions that await a profound answer, not for one but for all
mankind.

Tom Hickey said...

Rodger, Bill Mitchell is with you in his Christmas post here.

I could go on all day but I said it would be short so that is enough for today.
It all adds up to how mean-spirited nations are and how deceit and lies create smokescreens that allow this behaviour to continue to the benefit of the elites.
We need more revolutionaries … quickly.


Of course, the most famous academic revolutionary over the past decades has been Noam Chomsky. I guess we need some MMT revolutionaries.

The folks that are looking for a non-political approach supportive of the system can find a home at MR.

paul said...

"MMT believes that explaining Monetary Sovereignty in ever simpler terms, somehow will awaken the populace to the fallacy of deficit reduction" - Rodger

This is just wrong, MMT doesn't believe this and nether do it's major proponents.

The MMT academics are plenty confrontational and call bullshit as often as you do.

How successful have you been? How's your constant dialog with the Chicago Tribune working out? Gotten through yet?

I didn't think so.

Your approach isn't special, you're just experimenting looking for some way to get through just like everyone else.

The folks we are trying to get through to do not want to hear it no matter how we frame it or approach it. We have three generations of voters that were educated with the express idea of preventing us from understanding these things.

The system is designed to screw us, and running around screaming "conspiracy" isn't going to help...proving the Emperor has no clothes is a better approach until we are able to educate young people, before they have been ruined by the system.

This is going to take a long time to fix just as it took a long time to corrupt completely.

There are no guarantees we will succeed., but the fact that TPTB will never be able to trump arithmetic is an advantage we can exploit.

geerussell said...

The folks that are looking to establish their own politics as a normative baseline labeled "non political" can find a home at MR.

Fixed that for you. The apolitical claim is always either lack of self-awareness or intent to deceive.

Tom Hickey said...

This is going to take a long time to fix just as it took a long time to corrupt completely.

All tings being equal, yes. But all things don't remain equal and when big change comes, usually something catalyzes it, often a shock to the system like a war, depression or crisis, but sometimes just a trend coming to a head, as when Nixon unilaterally shut the gold window changing the global monetary system overnight.

The objective is to have your plan either at the forefront, prominently displayed, or at least on the table when big change comes and a fresh solution is called for.

At pressent it is not just an economic issue but also a social and political one involving crony capitalism, corruption, suppression of civil liberties and a whole range of issue stemming from neoliberalism as an ethical, social, political and economic ideology.

MMT just adds an economic dimension to a broader debate and it needs to fit itself into the broader debate. There are a lot of potential allies out there that just don't know it yet. These are the activists that most MMT'ers will never become because they are not suited for it. but we can influence them.

justaluckyfool said...

"There are a lot of potential allies out there that just don't know it yet. These are the activists that most MMT'ers will never become.."
MMTers need a "David Axelrod, one that can see the ways and means to achieve a desired result."
He wanted to make a president and showed the world that in America a
single county could control the vote of the entire state.
Perhaps someone to help William Black and Michael Hudson, who have the ear of OWS, to convince them they must unite as ONE VOICE and have as a mandate:
""“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,..."
"WE THE PEOPLE SHALL TAKE BACK THIS RESPONSIBILITY BY THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE."
So help us God.

paul said...

Tom,

Bill Mitchell isn't saying anything different than we say here routinely in different ways every day, nor is Rodgers approach much different.

We all know this is what has to happen. We're friggin' hobbyists for Pete's sake. I ain't no Noam Chomsky (but I did spend the night in a Holiday Inn Express once).

When we disagree with MR's framing or PK framing or whoever we are being mean and nasty, encouraged to "play nice". MMT'ers have a reputation at economics blogs as being unhinged, fanatical. Then, when we show civility, we are accused of not being nasty enough. The community is schizophrenic, there's no other answer.

Again we're picking out semantic differences to disagree on, it's like we don't like the way the other guy frames something (you know…not the way we'd say it) so we reframe it and in the end it comes out pretty much the same anyway but we like it better because we said it.

Most of the discussion in this thread is over distinctions without a difference. If one reads the comments in this thread it becomes apparent that we are all basically saying the same things in different ways, while disagreeing vehemently.

Gimme a break. Let's go enjoy the holiday.

Chewitup said...

Which one of you guys is going to be the first to stick their head out the window and say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"?

Merry Christmas! Tomorrow, go get'em!

Jose Guilherme said...

Of course, the most famous academic revolutionary over the past decades has been Noam Chomsky. I guess we need some MMT revolutionaries

Chomsky is certainly (and deservedly) famous but he hasn't exactly been a big success in terms of translating his ideas into real political influence.

I'd say what MMT must rely on in order to gain relevance won't be as much the propaganda efforts of its proponents - that have been quite impressive IMO, considering how a handful of people have managed to put it on the map in so short a period, in a result that eluded the capacities of the PK school for decades - but rather political developments that may well take place in the near future but are still, for the moment, mere known unknowns.

Remember that story about Lenin talking to young followers in Switzerland during WWI and explaining to them that revolutionaries would only be able to see the success of their efforts in the next generation or so?

A few months later, thanks to a known unknown (a revolution in Petrograd) he was on his way to power.

Today, when you look at the situation in Europe - particularly in its southern fringe - with austerity policies slowly strangling the livelihoods of tens of millions of people you may well suspect that some event out of the ordinary might take place in the near future. Some country unexpectedly rebelling against the diktats of the EU and deciding to adopt alternative economic strategies whether "Europe" likes it or not.

There might be the place where MMT will finally become relevant, in practical and therefore poltical terms.

The main task of MMTers should thus be to get ready for such an event - just like Lenin was ready to take advantage of that unforeseeable yet likely development in 1917 Petrograd.

Disclosure: I'm fully aware of the differences between authoritarian 20th century Communism and pro-democratic 21st century MMT. This example is only for historical illustration, a sometimes risky enterprise in the country that Gore Vidal once called the U.S. of Amnesia :)

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell said...

Paul, perhaps as you say, everyone is saying the same sort of thing. My complaint is they are taking too long to say it.

Most MMT blogs and articles read like economic text books -- to be read by fellow economists and not understood by the common person.

MMT professors make brilliant arguments, and you'll realize it if you get through the first inevitable 2,000 words.

The public wants the shorthand version. Come up with a simple paragraph that we all can use, again and again and again, and we'll make progress.

That's called marketing, and it is the way the public's mind is changed. My complaint is that MMT doesn't seem to comprehend the importance of repetition of a single, simple theme.

It's what I do on my blog, but then I get hit with, "Oh, we're all saying that, and you're doing so well. So there!"

Obama says, "You have to live within your means; so should your government." Short. Succinct. Believable.

What do you say to top that?

Tom Hickey said...

Chomsky is certainly (and deservedly) famous but he hasn't exactly been a big success in terms of translating his ideas into real political influence.

Revolutionary academics like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn in the US have been sowing the anti-neoliberal seeds in the "next generation" for several generations. There have been plenty in the UK and Europe, too.

There are a lot of revolutionaries out there now as a result. All it will take is a catalyst to ignite the fire of change.

What is not out there yet is MMT as an economic solution. As a result a lot of people are diagnosing the problem correctly but have been unable to come up with satisfactory practical solutions that would be scalable economically. Most of the solutions offered are too utopian or just impractical.

Tom Hickey said...

Rodger, I have been saying for a long time, "It's the framing, stupid," Now Randy is saying it, too.

You are right in this. We need to craft "elevator speeches" that get the main points across clearly and trenchantly in a way that not only gets the points across simply enough for anyone to understand but also fires people up and motivates them to action.

I don't see it as increasing the amplitude as much as improving the messaging. The theory and evidence are there but that's not what is going to grab most people, While it is necessary, it's not what you lead with.

Jose Guilherme said...

What is not out there yet is MMT as an economic solution

I wouldn't be so pessimistic at least in what concerns the non Anglo American worrld.

For instance, I follow regularly blogs and tweets in Portuguese. And I often see young MPs - influential ones - sending their followers to stories published by a certain school in Kansas City :)

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell said...

Tom,

How about:

"Cutting the deficit is how the government takes dollars from the middle class and gives them to the rich."

Rodg

Tom Hickey said...

Good to hear, José. The US is still stuck on "the old religion" of neoliberalism and there are no serious contenders now that "liberal" and "Keynesian" have been turned into pejorative terms. Neoliberals have pretty successfully tarred anything but a neoliberal stance as "socialism," "communism," and "Keynesianism," as meaning essentially the same thing. As a result, even the people in politics that do know about MMT, as I am sure Alan Grayson, does for instance, are not talking about it., even though hei is otherwise outspoken. Certainly Sen. Bernie Sanders staff knows about it, judging from the economic advisors he appointed. As Warren reports in 7DIF, MMT is not politically correct to mention in political circles. Bonkers.

Tom Hickey said...

Rodger, the way the Right has been successful in framing the debate is testing their messaging empirically. I think we need to do that to see what people actually respond to.

The problem is that neoliberals have convinced people that unless the deficit is cut, the economy will shrink and jobs will be lost. Polling shows that people have fallen for this based on the govt-as-big-household analogy, which seem intuitive to them. This means that the response to this has be intuitive, too.

Only testing will tell what messaging is stronger.

Tom Hickey said...

For example, one of the most powerful and successful messages of conservative neoliberals is "small government, low taxes, strong military, and traditional values." This has been tested to work. It is also a coded message that unpacks as a whole neo-fascistic ideology.

Advertisers know that testing reveals that the most powerful single word by far is "free." Again, neoliberalism exploits this in "free markets, free trade, and free capital flows." Again, these are coded words that are the façade for neoliberal exploitation of workers worldwide.

At the same time, anything that does not fit the paradigm is demonized, e.g., "socialism," or "communism" or marginalized, e.g., "liberal," and "Keynesianism."

Neoliberalism has been carefully crafted and the way to oppose it not by repeating its framing but by creating an opposite framing and a message that carries it powerfully.

So far that is non-existent, and this is not limited to MMT. Without it, the opposition is fighting an uphill battle with neoliberals rolling boulders down on them.

I do think it is possible to take some of those words back from them, though, like "free." They have spun the terms into an opposite meaning, and there is no reason to concede this to them.

Matt Franko said...

Rodger,

The crimes you allege are very serious.... Suggest you find a seated federal Grand Jury and provide testimony....

In the meantime I will continue to simply point out how unqualified and stupid these people are.... With plenty of examples and cognitive science...

One of us is right.

I don't see any harm in a two pronged approach.... Rsp

Tom Hickey said...

The crimes you allege are very serious.... Suggest you find a seated federal Grand Jury and provide testimony....

Not easy when there is a double standard of justice and the Obama administration has openly signaled that the privilege will not prosecuted for crimes committed.

Tom Hickey said...

The messaging also needs to take into account cognitive biases like loss aversion.

People Hate Losses and That Affects U.S. Budget Talks By Cass R. Sunstein

Tom Hickey said...

The double standard of justice can also be used to tap growing rage over unfairness. You know, what the privilege call "class warfare." They are free to practice it but no one else it.

paul said...

For the record, i tend to agree with Rodgers arguments, very little disagreement actually.

I appreciate independent thinking (a lot) in a world where there is constant pressure for us all to think alike.

I just couldn't see the reason for singling out MMT as causing so much frustration…frustration caused by MMT'ers not being equally as good at marketing.

We just have to keep looking for the "sweet spot". Try something and if it doesn't work try something else.

Tom Hickey said...

The way to resolve the issue is to "arm" activists and progressives in general with MMT so they discontinue shooting themselves in the foot with unworkable solutions that would have the opposite effect of what they advocate.

There's plenty of outrage out there just waiting to be harnessed. They need to read 7DIF for starters. A lot of them are already reading Bill Black and Michael Hudson, and probably some are reading Steve Keen, too.

justaluckyfool said...

What a fantastic disclosure: "Disclosure: I'm fully aware of the differences between authoritarian 20th century Communism and pro-democratic 21st century MMT. This example is only for historical illustration, a sometimes risky enterprise in the country that Gore Vidal once called the U.S. of Amnesia :) "
Perhaps an "event may occur sooner than one might think.
Set the stage:
"Call for the Impeachment of Obama If he selects "The number one bankster( Demon) for Sect of Treas. Proof of his betrayal of the "people".

justaluckyfool said...

RMM, "Obama says, "You have to live within your means; so should your government." Short. Succinct. Believable.

What do you say to top that?
Obama says,
"You can’t raise revenues by lowering taxes unless you get the money from somewhere else.”
So why aren't you doing just that, "raising revenue somewhere else?"
Is it because it is easier to betray "the people" rather than
"financial group"?
How's this for simple, short, succinct, and proven possible:
"QE Banks $200 trillion at 2% for 36 years"
Raise revenue of $11 trillion per year from that "somewhere else".

And please, Rodge, Wray, Black, Hudson, Mosler, show me that it is not a proven method of taxation.
Or call for Ben Bernanke (not a banker)to be nominated for the Noble Prize in Economic Sciences
and maybe,perhaps Obama's presidency rated along side that of Lincoln. Surely as Lincoln freed the slaves, Obama could free the people from poverty and servitude.
13th Amendent
"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude..., shall exist within the United States..."

justaluckyfool said...

Tell me, please, How is "QE is "Most of the solutions offered are too utopian or just impractical."
A method proven by Ben Bernanke that allows the Feds to purchase an unlimited amount of assets while at the same time not increasing "deficit spending ?
We need only to change the beneficiary of QE, i.e., for the people instead of the banks.
Sure QE $200 trillion for the banks
to make loans for the people at 2% for 36 years would not "be too utopian or just impactical" and would receive 100% support for surely the banks would find a way to use %11 trillion a year "for their owners own personal, selfish purposes.

Once again I ask, "Please put me to rest, show me where my opinion
of Black, Hudson, Soddy and others
is wrong.
The banks have proven that they are NOT trustworthy.
"The People" may not be either, but
I would rather be screwed by the people than have the banks continue unabated.
Plus , no matter what; we can always change.
justaluckyfool (Google Account)

paul said...

"How's this for simple, short, succinct, and proven possible:
"QE Banks $200 trillion at 2% for 36 years"
Raise revenue of $11 trillion per year from that "somewhere else"."
- justaluckyfool

Question, where will the banks get the $11T to pay the interest?