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Bill, Here’s why The Trillion Dollar Coin Works

November 26, 2011 24 comments

Bill had an awesome comment on the last post.

He calls MMT “naive”!  He’s right of course.  And it’s why I am a fully throated supporter of the Trillion Dollar Coin.

How does this make sense?  I was going to post this in the comments, but Its better up top here.

Remember, simple ideas tend to go farther. Does your business plan fit on the back of a business card?  Can you explain it to your mom?

The Trillion Dollar coin passes these tests.

Bill makes a series of great, related points.

  • The “powers that be” do not want middle class prosperity
  • The people are easily mislead/distracted.
  • The Coin doesn’t solve any serious real world problems
  • bypassing the dominant narrative is nearly impossible

The Trillion Dollar coin doesn’t solve real world problems.  It solves the problem of getting the right solution into the mind of 100,000,000 people.

Here is my full response.

Hi Bill,

Great comment.

First, you’re right. The Trillion Dollar Coin doesn’t do anything that isn’t already possible. Neither does MMT.

I’ll point out something that is as subtle as a faint smell of smoke but as huge and powerful as the ocean itself: We are constrained by our imagination of the possible.

The Trillion Dollar Coin only has one important property. It makes it 100% clear the government can issue money at will.

What would this idea mean if 100 million people in the United States knew it to be true? Or how about just 5,000 thought leaders?

The problems you mention are real world problems that cannot be solved by either the Coin or by MMT. But you’re forgetting that these problems seem to be intractable because “we need to borrow money to be able to afford X, Y, Z”

The problem of government banking cartels? What if people knew the government was allowing banks to shovel money created by the governent into their own accounts?

Right now, many people actually believe these people earned the money and the government is stealing it. When people know it’s the other way around, what’s going to happen?

We’re also letting millions of people sit on their butts because “we can’t afford XYZ.” The Trillion dollar coin makes it 100% obvious the “Can’t afford” part is 100% wrong.

This is the power of the Coin. It takes the dominant narrative away from the elites you rant against. It bypasses the economists. It bypasses the government.

It’s strong enough of a meme to wash over nearly any elite objections to MMT.

Anytime you hear “we can’t afford it”, the response is “the Trillion Dollar Coin”.

Your point about being naive is so great. This is what my rant is about – the naive belief that all you need is a good idea and some pluck, and you’ll be crowned king o’ the world in a matter of months.

That’s why I am such a full throated supporter of the Trillion Dollar Coin. The Coin isn’t naive. It’s marketing that 100,000,000 people can understand.

Now I know about real resource constraints. They are huge, huge, huge. MMT doesn’t do anything for this at all. The current policy is far worse than what MMT implies.

When we aren’t faced with money constraints, we’ll be better able to face real world resource constraints. I know this isn’t well stated or even logically connected, but my own experience is that solving simple problems in my personal life makes solving more complex and pressing problems easier.

I hope you think through the Trillion Dollar Coin.  It’s like a good version of the Gold Standard.

The power of the TDC isn’t that it solves problems. The power is that it gives a framework to solve problems. It’s like a computer – useless on its own until it runs a program..

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Categories: Main

Trillion Dollar Coin: A Rant

November 23, 2011 10 comments

This is from a conversation held in the world of bits and bytes…

Hi All:

Every kid in the United States would be talking about a Trillion Dollar Coin if they knew about it.

We can sell a Trillion Dollar Coin.  The coin is 100% pure sizzle. MMT is the steak. We can’t sell “operational realities of crediting the Treasury account at the Federal Reserve”.  I almost fell asleep typing that sentence it is so boring.
I’ve worked for a while in a business where marketing was important – and the copywriters would be drooling over something as juicy as a Trillion Dollar Coin.
MMT is one of the great ideas in economics – and people in this group created it. It’s a certain path to higher human prosperity. I’m humbled to be involved in this discussion.
But this idea still needs to be sold to people. MMT is not easy to understand.
I’d imagine you’ve all had tough times getting the point across – even to highly intelligent people. I know I have.  I had a JPL rocket scientist – literally a rocket scientist – say to me “I have no idea what you are talking about” when I explained how MMT works. How many professional economists can’t understand it? Nick Rowe, anyone?

Here is what we know about The Coin:

1. Everybody on the planet would be talking about the Trillion Dollar Coin. It’s a Trillion Dollar Coin, for godsakes!  It’s exciting.  People would have an opinion about it, they would talk about it, they would debate it, they have fist-fights about it.

People would take vacations to see it if it was ever displayed.
Just mentioning would force economists and pundits to talk about it, debate it, discredit it, support it, ridicule it, endorse it. This is an idea that captivates the mind and forces people to consider it.
2. Many, many people embraced the coin in the month of July. MMT got more traction in just a few weeks than years of working on getting out the message.  That’s because people can understand the idea of the Coin.
3. Even people who don’t like MMT supported the coin. To us, it’s an obvious contradiction and impossible to support the Coin and not MMT.
But this isn’t obvious to most people.
Paul Krugman, Brad Delong and Scott Sumner don’t like MMT – but they supported the coin. These are people who have ranted against MMT as being fundamentally flawed.
Here’s Brad Delong:
These are extremely smart, professional economists. It took the coin for them to support of the main ideas of MMT, because it came in a version they can understand.
4.  Hyperinflation!!!   I’d love to have Cullen Roche on CNBC every week debating how the Trillion Dollar Coin doesn’t cause hyperinflation.
I’d love to see Cullen and Marshall and Mike and Warren being called onto Bloomberg TV to talk about the Trillion Dollar coin. Remember, any proposal is going to get smeared with hyperinflation no matter what gets proposed. The Germans are willing to blow up the world rather than face 3% inflation.
5.  Here’s a classic from George Carlin: “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”
Warren designs supercars in his spare time! When he isn’t busy revolutionizing economics or running for Senate, he’s patenting new race car engine designs.
We need people who aren’t PHD’s in economics to understand what needs to be done in 1 sentence.
“Make a Trillion Dollar Coin and use it to pay down a bit of the government’s debt.”
The coin is an easy way to understand what’s happening. They can visualize a coin. They can’t visualize
“”operational realities of crediting the Treasury account at the Federal Reserve” even though it’s the exact same thing.
It’s not the optimal operational arrangement, no. But it’s something my mom and dad can understand in single sentence. They might not agree with it, but they would at least debate it.
And in a democracy, that’s what we want.  We want the ideas of MMT to be part of the debate after Thanksgiving dinner.
I look at this as an opportunity to take an idea (MMT) that’s going to raise the standard of living for nearly everybody and have it be seriously considered by millions of people in the United States. It just needs a vehicle to have it easily understood.
You can be assured someone like Ron Paul is thinking and talking to people about doing something like the coin, with people who are also quite intelligent. It’s a matter of time before somebody else proposes something similar, but with horrible and punitive twists.
I’d like to remind you that part of politics is being memorable. Barack Obama didn’t get elected president by being a boring guy, and Bill Clinton is famous for dominating every room he steps into.
We’re still talking about the mythical “Welfare Queen” decades later, and “Supply Side Economics” still has supporters. Everyone here knows a “Flat Tax” does literally nothing to simplify the tax code, but it still has millions of supporters who see it as “a way to simplify the tax code.”
The next phrase like this could be “Trillion Dollar Coin”.  Once this idea is out there, people would talk about it for decades, and keep talking about it.
Categories: Main

A System-Changing Solution for the OWS Movement?

November 22, 2011 6 comments

What do you think about the new third party in U.S. politics?

I didn’t have any thoughts either- I just didn’t know there was a viable third party.

You are about to read terrifying information. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The political system is about to become explicitly corporate – down to the actual political party providing candidates for office.

But there is another path too – one that’s filled with far more democracy. And it’s gaining momentum too.

This is a guest post by Joe Firestone and Nancy Bordier – and it’s crucial information, and a call to action.

It’s our choice to live in Phillip K. Dick’s world, or Iain M. Bank’s world.

Nancy Bordier and Joseph M. Firestone

As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows, OWS members are weighing their options for obtaining redress of their grievances.

Holding and expanding the ground they occupy is an obvious priority. It draws worldwide attention to their grievances and increasing numbers. It gives them a place to meet, build relationships, discuss and debate their issues, and plan.

Foiling violent action on the part of the police and anarchists is a constant distraction, but it helps the movement develop rules of engagement for everybody. Civil disobedience and voluntary arrests is another avenue, as is direct action, like preventing the seizure of illegally foreclosed homes.

Seeking redress through the political process is even more problematic. Many OWS members believe it would be a futile exercise to try to get lawmakers who have been corrupted by special interests to pass laws in their favor. Using the ballot box to replace their elected representatives is difficult, if not impossible, now that the U.S. Supreme court has given corporations a green light to spend unlimited amounts of corporate funds to influence elections.

The nation’s two major parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are a major stumbling block to non-party candidates trying to win electoral victories over party-backed candidates. The parties’ grip on the nation’s electoral machinery, and their ability to raise huge amounts of money for their candidates from special interests, gives them decisive advantages over their adversaries at the ballot box.

Efforts to pass laws reforming this corrupt system appear equally futile. Few lawmakers would vote to overturn the laws (governing campaign finance, gerrymandering and elections) that get them elected and enable them to hold on to office.

Despite these obstacles, we think there is a way OWS members can use the political process to redress their grievances. It is by taking advantage of the Internet and a new web-based organizing platform to build winning voting blocs and electoral coalitions that OWS members control.

The platform has agenda-setting tools that enable bloc and coalition members to collaboratively translate their grievances into legislative agendas. It also has consensus-building tools the blocs and coalitions can use to screen, nominate and run candidates for office at all levels of government who will enact their agendas.

While this platform and the website being built around it, reinventdemocracy.net, are still in development, it is possible that they will be available in time for OWS members to elect enough of their own representatives to shift control of Congress away from the 1% in 2012.

The Internet has already played a pivotal role in empowering the OWS movement to spread its tentacles — and tents, throughout the country and the world. It has enabled the movement to broadcast a global rallying cry that hurls the fury of the masses against the “1%” and their political bedfellows who have plunged the remaining “99%” into dire economic and financial straits.

Here in the U.S., unemployed college graduates are joining hands with trade unionists, war veterans, senior citizens, community organizers, dispossessed homeowners, the chronically homeless, and growing numbers of the 100 million Americans living in poverty, or in the category just above it. In early November, OWS demonstrators in Oakland, California, carried out a general strike that shut down its port, the fifth largest in the nation, and brought the city to a standstill.

We believe this movement is unstoppable. We also believe that it has the potential to shift the balance of power from the 1% to the 99% if its members join forces to combine the large scale collective action power of the Internet and the platform we describe below.

By so doing, they can collaboratively translate their grievances into legislative agendas, forestall efforts to embroil the movement in violent confrontations, and build winning voting blocs and coalitions to elect lawmakers who will enact their agendas into the law of the land.

Fixing the System

Currently, there are three major contenders for electoral victories in 2012. The Democratic and Republican parties, and a third party in formation, Americans Elect (AE).

The election prospects of the major party candidates are dimmed by the low regard in which a majority of voters hold the two parties and their elected representatives. A substantial majority of voters say they would consider voting for a third party candidate. That’s where AE comes in.

The unpopularity of the two major parties may give AE candidates the chance to be the exception to the rule that third party candidates usually lose. AE candidates could actually beat major party candidates if they attract the votes of two groups of voters.

The first is the 40% of the electorate that is not registered in either major party. The second are disaffected registered Democrats and Republicans who polls show would vote for a competitive third party candidate if he or she were running on a separate ballot line from either major party.

We view AE’s electoral prospects with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it would be highly desirable for a third party to run competitive candidates against major party candidates — provided it makes the parties and candidates more responsive to voters because they fear they might lose elections to the third party.

On the other hand, it would be undesirable for a third party run by a privately-run corporation like AE, whose board of directors writes the rules, to get into the process if it does not honor the will of the voters any more than the major parties.

[Note: Since AE declares itself a political party in documents addressed to state election authorities, we consider it a party even though it also defines itself as a “social welfare” organization.]

It would be even more undesirable if such a third party uses undemocratic means to nominate candidates, undermine other political parties and the political party system, and elect lawmakers unresponsive to their constituents’ demands that they address the inequality issues raised by the wealth and income gap between the 1% and the 99%.

Unfortunately, in our opinion, AE presents risks on all these fronts. Based on what we have learned about AE, we think it may turn out to be no more responsive to the wishes of the electorate than the two major parties. We also think its modus operandi might well erode fundamental democratic processes and the political party system itself.

With respect to redressing the grievances of OWS members, AE’s well-documented agenda appears to us more likely to favor the 1% than the 99%. The founders of AE and AE’s predecessor, Unity08, have frequently labeled their platform as a “centrist” platform, presumably situated in the middle of a political spectrum they appear to assume comprises a “left”, i.e. a Democratic platform, and a “right”, i.e. a Republican platform.

According to one AE spokesperson, AE’s “centrist” platform is apparently a fiscally conservative one:

“We need a fiscal plan developed that puts us on a path to reducing our debt and deficit while encouraging entitlement reform and cuts in defense and discretionary spending.”

If we are correctly reading between the lines of this statement, AE favors many of the same policies favored by the two major parties that have led to the wealth and income gap between the 1% and the 99%.

Needless to say, AE is within its rights to pursue whatever agenda it wishes. However, it is important to note that terms like “left”, “right” and “center” are widely viewed as having lost their authenticity as accurate descriptors of the electorate’s legislative preferences.

As linguist George Lakoff pointed out years ago, the claim that a “center” and “centrists” exist is empirically and statistically unfounded.

Pew Research Center corroborates Lakoff with research showing that the views of the electorate, and supposed “centrists”, diverge too widely to be categorized as “left”, “right” or “center”, according to a recent survey, Beyond Red and Blue.

The solution we advocate does not use these obsolete labels. It enables the electorate to build winning voting blocs and electoral coalitions around collectively-set legislative agendas that defy categorization as “left”, “right” or “center”.

These blocs and coalitions can work with political parties of their choice, but they will remain autonomous and independent of parties because they will be controlled by voters, and the needs and wants expressed in their legislative agendas will be defined by the voters that control the blocs and coalitions.

Below we describe how this solution works. In particular, we show how it compares with Americans Elect, with which it shares a number of common goals but diverges in far more important respects regarding form, substance and likely impact.

A Comparative Analysis

The system-changing solution we advocate is a web-based “bottom up” political organizing platform, the Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS), invented by political activist and co-author Nancy Bordier. OWS members can use the platform to join with voters of all persuasions to build self-organizing online voting blocs and electoral coalitions.

They can manage and structure their blocs and coalitions as they wish, and organize themselves in ways that prevent the emergence of organizational hierarchies that concentrate power at the top, as political parties tend to do.

They can collaboratively set transpartisan legislative agendas, which transcend the partisan ideological orientations of the major political parties, by using the IVCS agenda-setting, political organizing and consensus-building tools that will be available on reinventdemocracy.net.

They can screen, nominate and run candidates on the ballot lines of political parties of their choice, and build broad-based transpartisan electoral bases that have the voting strength needed to put their candidates in office.

This system contrasts with AmericansElect.org (AE), which we view as a “top down” solution since it is controlled by the board of directors of a single corporation. It is led by veteran Wall Street investor Peter Ackerman.

AE’s current objective is to conduct an online nominating convention to nominate a “balanced” presidential ticket for the 2012 election outside the two major parties. Based on publicly available AE documents and statements, we interpret “balanced” to mean “centrist”.

As mentioned earlier, AE appears to be targeting the 40% of voters who are not registered in the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as disaffected members of the two parties who will vote for a competitive alternative to their party’s ticket if he or she were running on a separate ballot line from either major party.

What the two solutions have in common are their goals of

— Loosening the Democratic and Republican parties’ grip on U.S. electoral processes;

— Empowering the U.S. electorate to play a much larger role in elections than the Democratic and Republican parties have previously allowed them to play;

— Enabling voters to express their political views online, compare their respective views, and screen candidates to compare candidates’ views to their own;

— Empowering voters to nominate and elect candidates who will represent the will of their constituents more closely than major party candidates have represented the will of their constituents in recent years.

The two solutions differ in just as many respects as they converge.

The IVCS solution enables voters to define any legislative agendas they wish, form as many online voting blocs and electoral coalitions as they wish, run as many candidates as they wish, for any office, and place them on the ballot line of any party they wish.

In contrast, the AE solution is attempting to draw voters into a single party, platform and nominating convention to produce a single presidential ticket, which AE plans to simultaneously place on the ballot lines in all 50 states that it states it is in the process of obtaining.

Whereas IVCS-enabled voting blocs and coalitions can make their own rules and create non-hierarchical voting blocs and coalitions, AE’s corporate parent makes the rules and has created what appears to be a pyramid-shaped organizational hierarchy in which authority is concentrated at the top, apparently in the hands of the chairman of the board.

While IVCS blocs and coalitions can nominate any candidates they wish, AE’s bylaws and rules appear to limit voters’ nominations to those acceptable to a committee appointed by its board of directors, whose members serve at its pleasure.

Voters must nominate what AE variously defines as a “coalition ticket” and a “balanced ticket”. Article 1 of AE bylaws specify the goal of the nomination process to be that of nominating a

“coalition ticket responsive to the vast majority of citizens while remaining independent of special interests and the partisan interests of either major political party.”

According to its Pre-Convention Rules, the corporation’s “Candidate Certification Committee” determines “whether any proposed ticket is balanced” and which candidates meet meet this criterion:

[A] “ticket with two persons consisting of a Democrat and a Republican shall be deemed to be balanced. A ticket with two persons of the same political party shall be deemed to be imbalanced.” (See Section 8.0 of the bylaws.)

We see here a discrepancy. On the one hand, AE claims that the convention is the “first nonpartisan presidential nomination”. On the other hand, AE requires voters to choose candidates from the nation’s two major political parties, which are clearly partisan.

If the convention were truly “nonpartisan”, the ticket would comprise candidates that belonged to no party, since political parties are “partisan”, according to most common definitions, as are their candidates.

The bias toward a coalition Democrat and Republican presidential ticket also appears to violate AE’s core call to action, which is to “Pick a President, Not a Party”, according to a recent AE press release.

This throwback to the two major parties whose candidates AE is seeking to defeat, when combined with AE’s insistence on a “balanced ticket” comprised of a member of each party that AE is seeking to defeat, reveal what AE’s real goal might be.

We believe it is not merely to defeat major party candidates, but to replace both unpopular parties by migrating their supporters over to the Americans Elect party via a ticket comprised of at least one Democrat and one Republican.

From this perspective, AE’s underlying objective could very well be that of realigning U.S. politics around a single “centrist” party that supplants the two major parties, whose chronic electoral posturing have created a stalemate in Congress and paralyzed the federal government.

To attain this objective, AE’s spokespersons continually castigate the two major parties for being “partisan”. They claim that AE is “nonpartisan” even though its founders are on record as long-time advocates of a “centrist” agenda, and the instrument AE uses to gauge voters’ political views is biased, in our opinion, to skew results in a “centrist” direction, which is a “partisan” direction.

And even though AE says it is allowing voters to formulate the party’s platform and nominate its candidates, by expressing their views in response to an instrument containing an online survey of their views, and voting on nominees, AE’s board of directors has appointed committees to decide what the platform actually is and which candidates can be nominated.

We believe that if AE were genuinely committed to allowing voters to determine the platform, it could simply tally their responses and formulate questions corresponding to the tallies. If it were genuinely committed to allowing voters to nominate the candidates they choose, it would allow them to do so without the oversight of committees controlled by the corporation.

This potential for deviating from authenticity raises questions about the risks inherent in a political party being owned and operated by a private corporation. While AE’s corporate bylaws do give voters it qualifies the possibility of overturning AE decisions by a 2/3 vote, these allowances are virtually meaningless since few bodies ever attain a 2/3 majority. Accordingly, we find it unlikely that AE, a privately run corporation, can be held accountable by any constituency other than its board of directors.

Given this potential lack of accountability, we think it vitally important to consider the risks inherent in AE’s emergence as a political party capable of bringing about the collapse of the two major parties.

These risks are particularly relevant to the “99%” because AE’s founders, leaders and contributors appear to favor a partisan “centrist” agenda that supports the “1%” and, we suspect, are likely to do what they can to obtain from their nominating convention an agenda and candidates who will legislate in the interests of the 1% if elected.

In this light, it is well to bear in mind that the favored candidate of the founders of AE’s predecessor, Unity08, is reported to have been New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and that rumors continue to circulate that he is a prospective candidate for AE’s 2012 presidential ticket.

We list below further steps AE is taking that, in our view, may well be intended to produce a platform and ticket reflective of AE’s preferences.

While they show considerable legal ingenuity in skirting around the electoral laws that have traditionally given the two major parties unfair advantages over third party candidates, they also show a disturbing willingness to undercut traditional democratic processes.

It appears to us that they may undermine the political primary process as a whole, and pose a systemic risk of further weakening the responsiveness of the political party system to the will of the people.

Here are several examples:

1. State laws allow eligible voters to register to vote in any political party they wish, and parties do not have the power to expel any voter or prevent them from voting in a party primary.

In contrast, AE bylaws specify that any person can be “terminated from Americans Elect without prior notice by the Board”. (See sections 2.4 and 5.4 of the bylaws.)

2. AE’s online nominating convention circumvents the state-by-state primaries conducted by the two major parties without replacing them with an equally responsive alternative as far as voter-candidate interaction is concerned.

Specifically, AE asserts in its bylaws that the “secure Internet connection” that it provides voters participating in its convention is a substitute for a “physical presence” in a state. (See sections 8. and 8.1. of Americans Elect bylaws.)

Whether AE’s “Internet connection” is a desirable replacement for face-to-face caucuses and primary campaigns at the state level is a doubtful and arguable proposition.

3. Unlike government-sponsored party primaries conducted at state level in which government officials are responsible for ensuring the accurate tallying of the ballots cast, it appears that AE, a private corporation, intends to have the votes cast in its online nominating convention tallied by its own corporate employees on its own in-house computers.

If AE had instead conferred this task on a third party without ties to the organization, the accuracy of the results could have been externally verified.

4. AE’s bylaws contain a provision stipulating that its online nominating convention does not require a quorum. (See section 8.3.)

Presumably, this also means that there is no minimum number of votes that must be cast by voters in a particular state before AE can legally place its presidential ticket on its ballot lines in that state.

Whether an online nominating convention that has no quorum is a desirable and legal replacement for state-level primaries is also an arguable proposition. For it might well lead to a presidential ticket nominated by an extremely small fraction of the electorate being placed automatically and simultaneously on AE ballot lines in all 50 states.

Quite possibly AE is unconcerned by the prospect that its nominating convention and ticket are not representative or responsive to the “vast majority of citizens”, for the reason that its overriding goal may be just to place on its ballot lines the ticket its committees have teased out of its online nominating process.

Once it does so, we think it likely that large amounts of campaign financing from the 1% will be expended to make the ticket appear responsive to the “vast majority of citizens” infuriated by the conduct of the two major parties, drive AE’s newly forged electoral base to the polls to vote for AE’s ticket, and quite possibly catapult the nascent Americans Elect party and its candidates into the winner’s circle on election day.”

5. At the same time AE is loudly protesting the two major parties’ their grip on the nation’s electoral machinery, and their use of it to prevent third party candidates from winning elections, AE’s bylaws appear designed to similarly restrict competition, by preventing unwelcome external challengers who do not participate in AE’s online nominating process from challenging the process, the nominees, or the outcome.

Section 8.6 of AE bylaws state that the “exclusive means” for any candidate to get on its ballot lines is through its “internet convention”. If state laws allow a “presidential primary election vote”, these votes shall be “advisory only”.

It remains to be seen whether AE’s assertion of these unusual prerogatives will be met with legal challenges at state level when it attempts to place a ticket on its ballot lines.

What is most concerning is that these short-cuts and end-runs around democratic processes may be only the initial phase of AE’s grand realignment strategy, whose overarching goal, we suspect, is to collapse the two major parties into a single major uni-party, the Americans Elect party.

Once the corporation obtains a presidential ticket from its self-styled convention process, and places it on the ballot in all 50 states simultaneously, we expect to see unprecedented sums of special interest money expended to elect its ticket. AE candidates will join the ranks of the Democratic and Republican candidates in holding their hands out to the same special interest contributors pushing the same special interest agendas.

If AE’s ticket draws enough votes away from the two major party tickets, it could actually elect a president and vice president nominated outside the two parties. The next best outcome for AE would be that its ticket draws enough votes away from the major party candidates to prevent the election of either of them, and thereby throws the determination of the outcome of the election into the U.S. House of Representatives.

While that outcome is unpredictable, it would seriously weaken the two major parties even though it favored the fortunes of future “centrist” AE candidates whose policies might well be no different from theirs.

Going forward, we suspect that if AE’s ticket receives 5% of the vote in a respectable number of states, thereby entitling it to remain on the ballot for 2014 and 2016, it will work out the inconsistencies in its legal status and function as a full-fledged “centrist” political party running candidates for all offices at all levels of government, and not merely the presidency.

If so, based on what we have learned about AE’s past history and current trajectory, we think these candidates are likely to favor policies that benefit the 1% rather than the 99%. If such a scenario is in the offing, the IVCS solution takes on special importance, particularly to the members of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

For we think the IVCS solution, and it alone, has the potential to empower not only the OWS movement but the entire U.S. electorate to forestall a possible AE takeover of U.S. electoral and legislative processes, assuming, as we do, that such a power play and realignment around a single party may well be in the offing.

Here’s why we place such confidence in IVCS’s potential:

1. OWS members can mobilize far greater numbers of voters than AE can bring into its fold, by using IVCS tools to bring together U.S. voters of all persuasions into consensus-building processes to translate their grievances into legislative agendas.Voters using the IVCS solution have the potential to exert a far greater political impact than AE nationally and locally because AE supporters can only sit at their computers, answer AE’s questions and sit back passively while AE committees run the show. That’s because IVCS users will get more deeply involved in starting their own ongoing dialogues and debates about their own self-defined issues, setting their legislative agendas, and building and managing voting blocs and coalitions to elect their own representatives to enact their agendas.

2. The IVCS solution enables voters to counteract AE’s potential weakening of voter participation at the state level, by using IVCS tools to democratize and re-invigorate the electoral process at the grassroots.

Voting blocs and coalitions formed with IVCS tools will be able to inject a new dynamism and give-and-take into electoral politics. They will foster a healthy competition among all players, — blocs, coalitions and parties — to develop legislative agendas, negotiate common agendas with prospective candidates, and nominate and run slates of candidates that have broad popular appeal.

3. The IVCS solution will involve voters of all persuasions in developing a dynamic mix of interconnected blocs that will be constantly merging into ever larger coalitions, all seeking to develop and update common legislative agendas and forge electoral bases large enough to get their candidates elected.

4. Voters of all persuasions will use IVCS agenda-setting tools to set “transpartisan” legislative agendas that cross party lines and attract broad cross-sections of voters to their blocs and coalitions. As their numbers grow, they will be able to use IVCS consensus-building tools like the voting utility to help them make decisions.

These blocs and coalitions will spontaneously merge into a decentralized nationwide network of interconnected, interacting blocs and coalitions that supplant political parties as the driving forces of U.S. politics, even while creating alliances with democratized political parties of their choice.

5. To get their candidates on the ballot, blocs and coalitions can put them on the lines of any political party by registering sufficient numbers of their members in the party, collecting enough signatures from party members to get their candidates on the ballot, and getting out enough qualified voters to elect the candidates.

6. The IVCS solution has the potential to encourage greater numbers of candidates to run for office because they will be able to rely on the support and voting strength of IVCS-enabled voting blocs, electoral coalitions and electoral bases.

This positive dynamic will greatly reduce the influence of special interest campaign contributions in U.S. elections because these candidates will not need such contributions to get their message out. For their message will already be known to the members of the blocs and coalitions backing them, since many of them will have participated in setting the agendas and nominating the candidates in the first place.

7. Voters, and especially members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, can use the IVCS solution to usher in a “transpartisan” voter-driven era in U.S. politics that will be neither “left”, “right” nor “center”.

While there will always be “partisan” issues favored by certain “parties” of voters, IVCS provides voters unique problem-solving and consensus-building tools for reconciling differences regarding legislative priorities and collectively-setting legislative agendas.

Voters will be able to convert partisan differences into common agendas, including the partisan preferences of any political party, AE included.

IVCS consensus-building tools will enable them to build large electoral bases that permit them to outflank and outmaneuver political parties with whom they are not aligned.

Yet they can use these same tools to build winning electoral bases and coalitions with any political parties with which they wish to align around shared legislative agendas and common slates of candidates.

8. Finally, one of the most significant contributions of IVCS tools, especially the agenda-setting and political organizing tools, is that they enable voting blocs and coalitions to use their agendas as legislative mandates for which their members can hold their elected representatives accountable at the ballot box when they seek re-election.

If incumbents cannot provide tangible evidence and concrete track records showing they have exerted their best efforts to enact voters’ written legislative agendas, the voting blocs and coalitions that got them elected will defeat them when they seek re-election.

Voters will at last be able to prevent politicians from saying one thing on the campaign trail and then doing another when they are in office.

Conclusion

The members of the Occupy Wall Street movement have demonstrated an understandable reluctance to establish hierarchical structures and decision-making rules. They prefer unanimous consent over other formulas.

What we hope is that the members of the movement will recognize that the IVCS platform enables them to build non-hierarchical political organizations like the self-organizing voting blocs and coalitions described above, and use them to obtain redress of their grievances through the political process.

Their blocs and coalitions will maintain their responsiveness to their members and their fluidity because their members will be controlling them and making all the rules.

If any members disagree with the way things are going, and encounter insurmountable obstacles in their efforts to redirect the things they object to, they can exit the blocs and coalitions and start their own. They can use the same IVCS tools available to all blocs and coalitions for attracting new members.

We believe the IVCS platform is uniquely designed to empower movement members and the 99% to join forces to translate their grievances into convergent legislative agendas in the near term.

We are confident they will be able to elect enough of their own representatives to shift control of Congress away from the 1% in 2012, enact their agendas, and at the same time empower the electorate to obtain permanent control of the nation’s electoral and legislative processes and outcomes.

(Cross-posted from Correntewire.com)

Instant Classic Shooting up the Charts

November 17, 2011 8 comments

This is an instant classic.  Do not underestimate the power of this.  ht Clonal:

 

Categories: MMT, Video Tags: , ,

NYC 2.0 hits the front page of iTunes Store

November 16, 2011 Comments off

My friend Rick has a “new” series and it’s hit the front page of the iTunes store as “New and Noteworthy”.

It’s another one of his usual hyper-smart, massively compelling media creations.

It’s about technology in NYC.  NYC appears to be a hotbed of technology and art that is perhaps unprecedented in human history.

I found the episode about counting every tree in New York particularly interesting.  It’s remarkable.

 

Categories: Main

Smells like…Victory

November 14, 2011 57 comments

I’ve been thinking about what victory looks like for the MMT crowd.

Long run – well, that’s obvious.

But short run…what does victory look like for us?

What compromises would we take?  Who would be good allies?

Any thoughts on this are welcome.  Please discuss!

Categories: Main

Obscure 1996 Law gives President Obama the power to end this Recession Overnight

November 8, 2011 19 comments

Could a Coin end this recession overnight - and break the stranglehold of Wall Street?

How heroic, low level hill staffers snuck a “save the middle class” clause under the nose of the banking industry.  You – and your kids – could have job and a hefty pay increase tomorrow.

Find out why the big wigs don’t want you to know this secret information that would end this recession in a few days.

I was just another casualty of the ongoing recession that supposedly “ended” in 2009.  You’ve heard my story before from your friends:

  • My Company struggled to find any business at all
  • Pay frozen for years despite rising gas prices
  • Not enough work even to fill up an 40 hours, much less get overtime

Then the really bad news hit – I got let go due to “downsizing” at our company.

Now I wasn’t some bigwig who had a golden parachute worth millions. Nope, I had a sliver of savings and a mortgage on a house worth 30% less than what I paid for it just 6 years ago .

Frankly, I had realized it was bad out there, but until I lost my job, it really didn’t hit home.  I sent out hundreds of resumes – and got exactly 3 email responses.  I called friends, relatives – even my mother in law – and nobody knew of a single job available.

Panic Sets In

I was in a panic, because I couldn’t make next months rent.

I’d done everything right for years. I was angry –  I worked hard for so long, saved and lived within my means. I showed up for work when I was sick. I was an ideal employee.

And I was stomping mad.

Here I was, 30 days from being out on the street.  How could this happen to me – or really to anyone I know?

What was so wrong that a guy like me couldn’t find a job?

The problem was businesses just don’t have enough people who want to buy their products.  No business will hire anyone if they aren’t making money themselves.

Companies don't hire when they have high profits. They hire when they are Swamped with Demand.

I don’t blame these businessmen.  They aren’t supposed to get me a job.

When there are this many people out of work, no business will be swamped with customers 10 deep – which is when businesses really hire people.  People just don’t have the money to buy much.

I was starting to think nothing could help. I didn’t have a job – and any businessman with a brain wouldn’t hire anyone anyway.  They just didn’t have the business.

So imagine my skepticism when I was browsing the internet, and a little known blogger claimed the recession could be over in just a few days…yeah right, dude.

Go smoke your funny cigarettes and just stay out of my way – I’m on a job search.

This blogger claimed the recession could be – should be – over, because President Obama can choose to pay off our debt at any time, and cut taxes on the middle class at the same time.

As I read though their poorly written, photo-copied material, I suspected that they might be insane.   But then I looked up the laws myself – and there they were, just as they had said.

It was all true.

President Obama has the power to end this recession tomorrow – and cut taxes on the middle class.

The only thing stopping him is that he doesn’t know this law exists!     

Could we have a Massive Economic Boom?

President Obama could tell the U.S. mint to create coins that would pay off our debt and lower taxes on the middle class – which would kick off a massive economic boom.

The Trillion Dollar coin would unleash what might be the greatest economic boom in human history.

We’re coming off what’s been a huge depression for the middle class.  Unlocking their spending power for the first time in decades would cause astonishing changes – all good for people looking for jobs.

Not only that, but all this activity would cause businesses to be swamped with customers – and when businesses have customers, they hire, hire, hire.

Instead of 5 people for every job, we’d have 5 jobs for every person.

Former “Mill Rat” Stumbles across a Secret Concealed from the U.S. Public

Hi, I’m The Traders Crucible, and I’ve been studying the economy for the last 20 years.  I’ve worked with a hard hat on and a jackhammer in my hands, and I’ve traded for hedge funds in London.

I’ve seen working people lose hope year after year for decades. I grew up in Highland Indiana in the shadow of the steel mills.  My town was a steel mill town, where you were supposed to have a stable middle class life as long as you did your job.

Of course, this entire way of life was destroyed over the last 20 years.

During my career, I’ve spent most of my time looking for the economic drivers of trading profits.  To do this well, you need to become an expert in many fields – accounting, finance, mass psychology are just a few of those areas.

And yes, I’ve had the $1,500/bottle of wine or two.  😉

But deep down, I’m a Steel Mill rat. I grew up in a lower middle class town.   I paid for college by working with a jackhammer in my hands and a hard hat on my head.

The story I told earlier isn’t my story – but I know people personally who do have that story.  We all know people with this story.

They worked hard, played by the rules – and were screwed by the system. 

Since my specialty is figuring out the way the economy really works, I thought I’d apply my expertise to figuring out the fastest way to end this recession.  In fact, most of good trading involves knowing when the economy is going to turn good or bad.

But after 20 years of studying the economy, I wasn’t really any closer to having an easy solution for our recession.

A Toxic Congress Prevents the Economic Recovery

My own analysis showed that President Obama needed to cut taxes substantially on the middle class.

This is the only segment of our economy that is large enough to create sustainable, healthy demand for U.S. businesses.

But I could not see a way that President Obama could get middle class stimulus bills passed through congress.  The political situation in congress is so poisonous, so toxic.

It doesn’t make any sense.  These people are supposed to be helping us.

But then, I ran across this seemingly crazy idea.

Not Enough Money? Are you Kidding me? We’re the richest country ever!

Everyone knows we are the richest country in the history of the world.  If this is the case, why are so many people struggling?   We have the ability to live like Roman Emperors – but there isn’t enough money to go around?

Are you kidding me?

Here is the crazy idea…

We should have the government issue a $1t coin, and pay it’s way with the coin! 

We don’t have to borrow money from China, or go begging to Wall Street for their table scraps.  The full program would:

  • Drive unemployment to 2.5%
  • Fix our roads and schools
  • Give a hefty tax cut to every person that works for a living
  • Cut the biggest taxes on small and medium businesses

Remarkably, the U.S. would probably have less debt than it does today.  The made up debt ceiling crisis? Couldn’t happen again!  The Trillion Dollar Coin solves this problem.

But you don’t have to believe me.  You can go to famous economists:

” he (the President) could – under a quirk of existing law – have turned drama to farce by minting a large platinum coin – say for a trillion dollars – and using that to buy back public debt held by the Federal Reserve, so that the debt ceiling would never have been breached. (There would have been an uproar but no other economic effect.) “

James K. Galbraith

or Yale professors of Constitutional Law:

Ironically, there’s no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds.

Jack Balkin, Yale Professor

This idea was vetted by the Economist as “So Crazy it just might work”, and Slate piped in “The Treasury secretary has the authority to mint certain coins of any denomination, with no need for the value of the metal to equal the value of the coin.”

What would happen is:

1. The Treasury would mint the coin, and sell it to the U.S. Federal Reserve for $1,000,000,000

2.The Fed would credit the U.S. Treasury account with $1T

3. The president could then cut Social Security taxes, knowing we can never go broke.

It’s clear that this idea would work – and solve our economic problems almost immediately

Here is  31 USC 5112(k), if you need to take a look.

31 USC 5112(k) was passed in 1996.

Look closely at the language. It’s clear some smart staffer put in a clause that would allow the government to coin all of the money it could ever need.

Not only that – if we got this coin minted and deposited, we’d no longer be under the boot heel of Wall Street banks.  We don’t need their money anymore – we’ve got our own.

In other words – we’re able to afford it, and Wall Street can’t stop us.

But President Obama doesn’t know just how powerful he is.  I don’t think President Obama even knows about this obscure law.  He doesn’t know he could end this depression -and probably sweep himself to victory in 2012 in the process.

I bet he’d listen to the Trillion Dollar coin idea then.

He could direct his Treasury Secretary to make this coin tomorrow.

But if he doesn’t know, he can’t take action on this.  It’s like asking me to speak Russian – I just don’t even know the first thing about it.

And that’s why I am writing this today.

We need to get President Obama to know about the Trillion Dollar Coin.

Let Obama know how to end this recession – The Trillion Dollar Coin and #OWS at the White House

We need to let President Obama know that he can end this second great depression with a signature on a one page document.   We need to tell him exactly what he needs to do.

Of course, we could send emails to the White House, or cranky letters to the editors of our home town newspapers.

But….How about an #OWS in front of the White House – carrying pictures of the Trillion Dollar Coin?

Do you think the mainstream media could ignore thousands of people?

All Carrying signs, telling us exactly how to end our economic problems?

Come on!  no way.  The secret would be out – and once its out, its a done deal.

Now, I guarantee this works.  We’re already seeing the impact of #OWS on the mainstream media.  The recent covers of magazines are all you need as proof for this.

But here is the greatest part of the Trillion Dollar Coin idea – it doesn’t even need to be issued to have impact! 

Once people realize we can coin our own money, without the interference of Wall Street, what’s to stop us from doing it without the coin?  Nothing!

So this is something that is guaranteed to work  – as long as people find out about the Trillion Dollar Coin.

Again – we just need an #OWS in front of the White House, and pass out a few flyers on how the Trillion Dollar Coin works.  Our economy will be fixed in a few weeks – and your friends will get jobs!

But if we dont’ act, if we just keep this secret to ourselves, well, you can imagine.  Two years from today, the economy will be even worse.

Most economic forecasts are predicting a recession.  At least in 2007-2008-2009, people had a bit of savings to fall back on.  Today – they’ve got nothing.

We already have 15% of the population of the United States on Food stamps.   52% of the unemployed arent’ getting help.

It’s bad out there. Unless we do something quickly – and something big- this economy could crash.

We need to get President Obama on board with solving our economic problems.  The way to do this is through getting the Trillion Dollar Coin minted asap, and cutting taxes on the middle class.

We’ve been lucky enough to have a detailed proposal worked out. We know what we need to do to break the banks.  We know how to get this done.

Let’s get it done!

(P.S. The easiest way to do your part is let people know about the Trillion Dollar Coin.  If you know anyone from the #OWS movement, send them here or here.)

Categories: Main
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