Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ellis Winningham — Fix the Debt – One Group’s Efforts to Cause an Economic Depression


Best takedown of the Peterson crowd I have seen.
In the profession of economics, there’s a lot of derp*. I mean, a lot of it. In fact, when it comes to economics, derp is everywhere. On TV, derp is there: from Fox Derp, Bloomderp, CNBDerp and Derp Dynasty, to MNSBDerp and Derp Maddow. Newspapers too, like The New York Derp and The Wall Street Derp. In Congress, derp makes itself at home. In the Oval Office, derp sits behind the big desk and conjures up macro policy. But, these advocates of economic derp aren’t the subject of our discussion today. I wish to address one particular group that is well-known for extreme derp. Its website, in fact, is 100% derp. There’s not a single, intelligent, realistic statement to be found contained within it; from the front page to the “Donate” section. Even the search function results in derp. It hands out T-Shirts with derp printed on them, which then become signs for the people wearing the shirts that says, “I want to rid America of US Dollars!” It uses derp to cause citizens great anxiety and fear at the thought of savings accounts that pay interest. Derp is its life blood; it’s daily bread and without it, the group wouldn’t exist at all. No, I’m not talking about nutty organizations like the Concorde Coalition or the Heritage Foundation. They promote economic derp, but they also deal in other types of derp. I’m talking about an organization that is dedicated exclusively to promoting the most pernicious form of economic derp. I’m talking about the Count Derpula of economics fear mongering called, Fix the Debt.…
Deep derpitude.

Ellis Winningham
Fix the Debt – One Group’s Efforts to Cause an Economic Depression

* Noah Smith explains "derp"in What is "derp"? The answer is technical. It used to be called "dogmatism."

8 comments:

Andrew Anderson said...

The way to fix the debt is to pay it off as it comes due with new, good ole non-interesting paying fiat and to issue no new debt that yields over 0%, being risk-free.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Andrew, Milton Friedman and Warren Mosler backed your "zero debt" idea. There's much to be said for it. Alternatively perhaps debt should be allowed as long as the interest on it is negligible, like the 0.5% or so that Japan has. The advantage of that, seems to me, is that it's more difficult to spend Treasuries than cash, thus there's less likely to be a sudden spike in demand and inflation resulting from everyone having piles of cash.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Anyone know what Peterson actually pays to academics and institutions which sign up to his organisation?

Another suspicious aspect of the Peterson Institute is that when articles appear in publications like the WSJ and Financial Times by academic X who HAS SIGNED UP to his organisation, the articles always refer to "X of the Peterson Institute".

Now that's a bit odd, because the Peterson Institute doesn't actually consist of much apart from Pete Peterson with his huge bank balance and cheque book which he uses to buy academic credability. Saying "X of Harvard University" is fair enough because Harvard does a huge amount of teaching, research etc. But "X of the Peterson Institute". I mean who's fooled by that? Presumably more people than we'd like.

I assume that when Peterson sends $$$$s to an academic, one condition is that the academic asks the WSJ or whoever to mention Peterson when submitting an article to the WSJ etc.

Ralph Musgrave said...

The link to "Peterson" at the start of the above article doesn't seem to work.

Random said...

Its hilarious stuff Ralph

Tom Hickey said...

Thanks Ralph. I fixed the link.

Andrew Anderson said...

Alternatively perhaps debt should be allowed as long as the interest on it is negligible, like the 0.5% or so that Japan has. Ralph

Welfare proportional to wealth is not negligible; it's a fundamental flaw in our system.

Besides even negative yeilding sovereign debt could be made relatively attractive by:
1) Imposing even more negative interest on accounts at the central bank EXCEPT for individual citizen accounts* up to, say, $250,000 US.
2) Precluding the use of physical fiat, aka "cash", as a means to escape negative interest rates.

*This raises the possibility of individual citizens, especially the poor, renting out their unused account space to banks and the rich - for a price.

Matt Franko said...

Media are lazy pussies Ralph...