Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A big MMT name disappoints


Malmo's Ghost said...


The list of policy prescriptions you ran off regarding Trump have all been historical Democrat Party positions. In other words pro labor, populist, liberal policy positions. I get people being skeptical that Trump will deliver on these. But with Clinton it's a certainty she won't.

It's a binary election, but Kelton does have another option for consistency and conscience sake. Jill Stein.

Tom Hickey said...

If HRC wins and the House doesn't flip, then the GOP obstruction of Obama will look tame. They will give her nothing but what they themselves want and they won't even give her that if she tries to own it, which she will since that is her m.o.

However, she and they may be open to the"grand bargain" involving "reforming" Social Security so they all look like Very Serious People and deliver the goods to Wall Street. But that's not even sure, since Wall Street is now Democratic turf.

This means that the only lever of power she will hold is over foreign and military policy, and she has already made clear that she is going to war.

Bob said...

This seems to be another case of lesser evil-ism, so announcing support for Jill Stein is out of the question. Kelton is following Bernie's path to nowhere.

Ryan Harris said...

I'd go easy on Kelton. She is part of a University and an academic, they have to express support for Hillary even if they find it distasteful, they are among the most fervent culture promoting the status-quo. There would be professional and social consequences for Kelton if she did not supporting the the Democratic Party nominee.
It would be like living in California and not supporting Hillary, its just dangerous, you have to pretend to agree when you travel there or get endless flack. The backlash can be disproportionate until everyone settles down and backs away from the altar.

STF said...

Since I work with Stephanie on a daily basis, I'll just say that it should be obvious that none of you are in her shoes right now and don't now even 1% of what might have gone into this decision. Please keep this in mind as you throw stones, try to justify, or whatever, and most of all, never, ever doubt her dedication to the cause.

Michael Norman said...

Scott, please, with the "cause" and "in her shoes" bullshit.

I'll tell you about a cause. To see a cause through you have to be willing to die for it. In her case I am speaking metaphorically, of course, but it means maybe not getting the academic validation.

Mosler gave up.

Everyone gave up. Not me.

And throw stones? Who do you think you're talking to? You think I didn't sacrifice? I took more shit and ridicule in the name of MMT than all of you combined. I gave up a lucrative TV contract on a major network.

I don't buy that "not in her shoes" crap. Sorry.

STF said...

Well, if it was about "academic validation" we wouldn't have started out as heterodox economists in the first place.

TofuNFiatRGood4U said...

I never agreed with the attacks on Mosler on this site but Kelton has gone over the line. She is not being noble here. It's about her self-interest, nothing more.

May we take your defense of her decision as being indicative of your own views?

At this point I'd rather listen to Cullen Roche burble on about how S = I + (S - I)
than listen to Stephanie Kelton expound on how algebraic nonsense (or consistent criminal patterns of behavior) sometimes/somehow isn't/aren't what they seem to be.

geerussell said...

I can't claim to know what went into Kelton's decision but I can certainly imagine very reasonable ways to arrive at it. Betting on the version of Trump the statesman who can be trusted to pursue a rational set of policies described in the video isn't an act of bravery or courageous sacrifice so much as just pure wishful thinking.

Most of the criticisms leveled at Clinton are legitimate but at least she's a known quantity that can be understood and where necessary opposed in fairly conventional terms. I supported Sanders, I'm not happy about settling for Clinton but frankly Trump is unconscionable and protest votes for the (also very questionable) minor party candidates are a waste.

As far as MMT goes, no candidate exists who'd pass some kind of macroeconomic purity test. Even Sanders' rhetoric was full of "pay fors" and other remarks falling well short of an "MMT inside" seal of approval.

Ignacio said...

Kelton is following Bernie's path to nowhere.

Sounds about right... Political positioning is likely to fail. Whatever Kelton thinks will achieve from within the institutions will fail because there is no saving from the status quo.

But well, we all know that most MMT academics from the Keynesian tradition ("save capitalism from itself") in practice, if you don't understand how rotten the current political frame is you are beyond salvation (like Bernie).

Malmo's Ghost said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malmo's Ghost said...

" but at least she's a known quantity that can be understood and where necessary opposed in fairly conventional terms"

You can't be serious. She's becoming more known by the day and the picture cast is one of incompetence and corruption heretofore not seen by any candidate in history at this point in a presidential election. She is literally a calculating evil bitch who will do anything to anyone so as to advance her fucked up globalist agenda. Electing her would only enable her more. WWIII will be a virtual certainty.

Trump was never considered corrupt, and certainly not evil, until the DNC morons and their MSM lackeys caricatured Trump as something he most certainly is not. I, for one, think that out of the 16 or so GOPers Trump ran against he was by far the best person for the little people. And there is no doubt whatsoever that Clinton doesn't give two shits about the average Joe's and Jane's. She an elitist snob unlike few others. Period.

I've never seen a recreation out of whole-cloth of a person like is being spun about Trump, who has been a prominent figure for over 40 years. He might not be Abe Lincoln and no one need vote for him. But if the argument is that Clinton is the lesser of two evils I'm afraid that bs is beyond delusional. There is absolutely zero justification for supporting her.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Scott Adams: "Did Clinton know her supporters paid people to incite violence at Trump rallies? Answers YES and NO are both disqualifying." #Trump

John said...

Mike and Malmo are, unfortunately, quite right: Stephanie Kelton doesn't have the courage of her convictions. As Malmo says, Kelton does have an impeccable candidate in Jill Stein. What's Kelton going to say when Killary guts Medicare, social security and starts another mad war? And I say that as a huge admirer of Kelton.

It's really unbelievable that so many people don't have the courage of her convictions. As much as I despise the so-called "conservatives" and neoconservatives, you have to give them their due. They don't back down, and they fight their corner. Meanwhile, the so-called "progressives" fold before the fight even begins.

As Mike says in one of his videos, stop being scared little cats! Be big dogs! BIG FUCKING DOGS!

John said...


You're right about most of the stuff about Trump, as you nearly always are, but doesn't all this make Trump's election rhetoric all the more depressing? He's royally fucked himself. Every time there's a chance he can turn it around, he gives the psychobitch another open goal. Perhaps you still think he's going to win. I don't think that there's that many shy Trump voters who are misleading the pollsters, and will turn the race around. In most of the key states Killary is up, which means a landslide win. We're looking at the election of the least fit person to become leader of a major country. Even Yeltsin and Berlusconi were more fit to hold office.

Malmo's Ghost said...


USA is screwed no matter who wins election. Hopelessly divided. I'll consume a few pints a night till election and try to cope until then.

GLH said...


STF said...

Truly amazing that someone who spent the last 20 years developing the paradigm everyone here believes in is thrown under the bus for signing a letter that had nothing in it inconsistent with MMT. Obviously HRC's policies are frequently inconsistent with MMT. But so are Bernie's. So are Stein's. But our access to the high levels of policy has skyrocketed in the past 2 years well beyond anything we'd accomplished there in 20 years largely because of Stephanie's efforts and substantial talents in that arena. None of us has changed; if anything we're more emboldened than ever because our message is increasingly less outside the realm of reasonable policies in this arena, again, aided hugely by Stephanie's talents there. For instance, the fact that we show up more in the mainstream media since Stephanie went to DC isn't a coincidence.

But none of this happens overnight. People in the policy arena and mainstream press have to trust you; they have to believe you aren't insane or you won't ever get a second chance, maybe not even a first chance.

As I said before, NONE OF YOU knows virtually anything about what's going on here. Your comments here prove this beyond a doubt. If you still feel the same way, then that's your prerogative; perhaps you're happier being marginalized while yelling about how the world needs to change than you would be working to understand how you can actually have influence to really effect change. We've also been on both sides of that, and we know which one we are going to choose.

Tom Hickey said...

I keep emphasizing the necessity of combining idealism with realism. I am an idealist at heart AND also recognize in my old age that the weakness of idealists is generally that they do not take into consideration getting from here (where events and institutional are now) to there (the end in view).

Policy is useless without strategy and tactics. It's like setting a policy of an enemy's unconditional surrender without having a credible plan for achieving this iteratively and incrementally.

Most of us agree that the policy objective is to install an MMT-based policy politically ASAP. However, we may disagree over strategy and tactics. That's fine.

However, there are people that are actually fighting this fight at the front, while the rest are on the periphery. This is not a reason for the periphery to be reticent in offering advice and constructive criticism.

But in the end, those directly involved at the front where decisions are in the position of having the responsibility to shape the strategy and tactics based on a OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).

I have said for some time that I am abstaining from the politics and have declared that as a veteran in wartime I cannot in good conscience support either Trump, who has declared support for torture, or HRC, who has a history of promoting wars of choice based on liberal interventionism. This does not mean, however, that I regard others supporting one of these candidates as being immoral. That is a normative choice.

A recent study suggests that the US population is being adversely affected psychologically by the election campaigning. This is likely owing to the length of the process, which now begins immediately have the midterms, and the media milking it by treating it as infotainment. Whatever, nerves are on edge and so interaction is becoming edgy, threatening more heat than light.

Politically, if Trump wins, MMT has no inside advantage on which to build. IF HRC wins, there is a possibility of building inside advantage based on progressive leverage. The best avenue seems therefore to build progressive support within the Democratic Party. There is no progressive presence in the GOP at this time, although the GOP is in flux and the situation is developing. So it would be unwise to write off that avenue completely, even though there are no obvious doors at this point.

Ignacio said...

Tom I have seen enough delusional statements from progressives in the last decade to write a pretty long book full of them ;) Always watching the same result, pulling them to the right and supporting leadership rotten decisions because 'lesser evilism' (wtf does that even mean) or 'political positioning', 'real politiks' etc. etc. etc.

I'm not judging Kelton here, is not ven about her, but the general clueless attitude of progressives. Is just sad seeing progressives being played when they believe they are playing others with the same result over and over.

And HRC is still an assassin, incompetent, neoliberal, warmonger. In case we were judging it on moral grounds (which is not my point).

Tom Hickey said...

All true, Ignacio. I recognized that back in the Sixties-Seventies and decided not to play that game but to strike out an create my own future with people of like minds.

The US was actually much more "liberal" in the American sense then. FDR was still the overarching figure politically owing to the New Deal that as largely intact and Democrats owned both branches of Congress and the judiciary. The big issue domestically was civil rights and "the great society."

However, my military experience serving at the time that Vietnam was just heating up left me alienated from US politics and the mainstream of US culture and institutions. I had friends that were involved in the Gulf of Tonkin incident that led to the escalation of the a war that took over 50K lives of US servicemen and destroyed the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

So I an other had good reason then to just bail and do out our own thing. It was a good decision and I would not change it if I had the opportunity for a do-over.

We are in a similar situation now, but the national mood is much different for several reasons. First, the draft was replaced by a professional army, taking the political pressure off. Secondly, the Sixties and Seventies was the time of the Countercultural Revolution in the US that did successfully transform US culture. It was a time of foment. Moreover, $'s were pretty easy to come by then, too, and that supported idealism in a way that the present circumstances do not for younger people.

I can only view the present situation from by own POV, which has developed over the years but remains heavily influenced by the 40's and 50' when I grew up and my early years of adulthood in the 60's and 70's.

I am amazed that there aren't people in the streets yet, but the Countercultural Revolution began with the Beats of the late 50's and only began to erupt in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement in 1964. Civil Rights got people into the streets in the late 60's and the anti-war movement began picking up steam then.

It was not until Nixon carpet-bombed Cambodia in 1972 that the universities erupted and huge mass protests were mounted. Finally the news had to pull back the veil that it had imposed on itself. But it was really Nixon's overreach with Watergate and the destruction of the WH tapes that toppled the government. It was really the liberal judiciary that brought Nixon down. That would not happen now. Much much worse has happened without a whisper.

I would say that the US has now moved back to something analogous to the 50's when the imminent nuclear confrontation of the USSR and the West was a daily possibility. The Russian state, military and people know this. They are drilling for it, as we did in the 50's. The West is mostly clueless, and the news silent.

The different now, of course, is the Internet. But it remains to be seen what difference it will make. The information content is wildly disproportional between truth, truthiness, wishful thinking, projection, dissimulation, disinformation, propaganda, and psyops. It is almost impossible to pin down the truth in important areas.

Obviously, MMT is not going to save us politically from such a toxic environment. I certainly understand why many are incensed at anyone perceived to be cooperating with the forces that are visiting the world with possibility of destruction, just as the anti-war movement was incensed at Nixon and regarded him as the devil.

I suspect that is this only just beginning to heat up and it will occupy most of the attention in the 2020's as the world goes through a tough transitionally period socially, politically, and economically, and probably militarily as well. Tierra del fuego is looking pretty good right now.

John said...

STF, tell that to the people of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, etc. Anyone who supports Killary should take a long look at themselves.

The issue would perhaps be different if Killary and Trump were the *only* two candidates, and a clear highly vocal case was made for lesser evilism. The issue would also perhaps be different if it were said, yes, Killary, is a repugnant evil psychobitch, so vote Stein where it'll make no difference to the outcome of this election (but will help the Greens in 2020) but vote Killary where the vote is closer, thereby blocking Trump's path to the presidency. That is a morally defensible position, and many have made it. To support someone as vile as Killary, and with no disclaimer whatever, is morally indefensible, and doesn't do any progressive any favours when Killary turns out to be as deranged as everyone with any sense already knows. If Jill Stein is a bad candidate, fine, say so. But clearly anyone with any sense knows Stein is the best candidate easily in modern times. It's not like Stein doesn't need the support of one of the best economic thinkers on the planet.

Again, I say all of the above as an insanely huge admirer of Stephanie Kelton. Perhaps I've missed it, but I haven't seen the Amazing Randy, William the Conqueror, Great Scott, Saint Matthew or any of the other MMT superheroes doing the same. Stephanie Kelton has nothing to gain from doing this, and so she must truly believe that endorsing someone who is quite frankly a neoconservative on foreign policy and a conservative on domestic policy is the right thing to do. Please, don't give me any nonsense that Killary is a progressive or a liberal or whatnot. She's a hardcore neocon itching for war with Iran and heaven knows who else, hence all the establishment neocon support, and wants to gut Medicare and social security, hence all the nod and a wink establishment GOP support. Let's just be honest about these things. That's who Killary is, and everyone with any sense knows it. So why endorse a warmongering maniac and the whore of Wall Street? And without any, ANY disclaimer?

Anybody who thinks Stephanie Kelton will be an economic adviser to Killary or have any influence whatever needs their head checked. It'll be the same weirdo maniacs: Summers, Rubin, Geithner, Romer and the rest of them. Killary may bring back someone like the pointless Robert Reich to mislead all the saps that she cares about working Americans.

John said...

Tom, I'd go so far as saying that a country without a draft cannot be a real democracy. I'm the only person I know who supports a draft, with EVERYBODY of military age doing time on the frontline. The greatest anti-war gift is the draft, especially these days.

Tom Hickey said...

I agree, John. The US has a civilian controlled military. OK for a representative "democracy" that is really a an oligarchic plutonomy.

But for actual democracy a citizen military is a necessity for self-defense, which is the only justification for maintaining a military.

As the founding fathers knew from the history of Europe, keeping a standing army is a recipe for disaster, both foreign and domestic.

STF said...

thanks, John

Again, though, you show that you don't understand at all what's going on in the background when you say Stephanie "has nothing to gain from doing this." There's everything for MMT to gain. there's a reason why Bernie "endorsed" HRC, and it's not because he agrees with her or trusts her judgment anymore than he did 6 months ago, or that he felt he needed to "sell out" to salvage his career or the movement he started. Quite the contrary--he's never had more power and influence than he does now. Note also that these letters are not just drafted and then the authors go around hoping to find willing signatories--it's a much more background process than that. They have in mind who they want to sign; they find out what it will take to get those people to sign. Stephanie has worked her way up to now be on the short list of "those people" they wanted to have sign.

Bob said...

Another dead letter filled with empty promises that can only be realized if we vote for so-and-so. Forgive our skepticism for not believing that "this time" will be different.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Bob for President.

John said...

Sometimes you miss the details on a thread, and so I've only just realised STF is Great Scott!

Well, Scott, I can only hope you're right. The thing is that, for about the past year I've been reading all you guys and will never be able to thank you enough. It's just such a disconcerting thing when you see someone you admire so much supporting someone who's worthy of at best a prison cell, and only because I don't support the death sentence, although I wouldn't mind dropping her out of a helicopter over Baghdad and finding out how the people there feel about her.

Economically, I'm not sure how much more of "centrist" economic policy America can take. It looks ready to blow. If Kelton and others can be influential, then great. We can replay this argument in a couple of years!

Tom, quite agree, standing armies are the worst possible *defence* policy and undermines evert facet of democracy and ratchets up nationalist fervour. People forget that the US and the UK prevailed in WWII with a draft, and that any major war will require a draft. So let's make it part of the national culture.

Tom Hickey said...

John, the US has a "national guard," aka "weekend warriors," which is something like a citizen militia, so that is good. But the focus now is only a relative small forces of professional fighters dominated by special forces and high tech, using contractors for non-combatant roles and the CIA in addition to special forces for covert operations. The military is becoming increasingly technological and the emphasis is away from boots on the ground, America boots, that is. Now the US prefers to use proxies, even if they are terrorists. Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

Tom Hickey said...

They call it "leading from behind."

Six said...

Kelton on HRC National Debt comments, for what it's worth:

"Are the Dems really going to do this to themselves again? HRC's "not a penny to the debt" reminiscent of POTUS' "were out of money now."

STF said...

Hi John

Well, I don't want to put words into Stephanie's mouth, but my interpretation is that she signed to indicate she endorsed the things listed in the article, not necessarily endorsing HRC. People will have different interpretations, though. I hope people have noticed Stephanie ripping on HRC relentlessly on Twitter regarding the "not a penny of debt" statement that she then doubled down on in the debate.