Grand Bargain

John T. Harvey: Austerity Leads To... Austerity!

In the real world and the reality based community, there is talk about austerity from people who understand the nuances of it and macroeconomic accounting identities. They point out the undeniable fact that there is austerity in the UK, the Eurozone, and yes, the United States. This interactive chart will show this, though I can't embed it here. So instead, I will add a small snapshot of some of the data.

Net spending in the United States has steadily declined since it rose from 2008 to 2009 when the inadequate stimulus(only $500 billion of direct spending at about 1.5 percent of GDP) was passed. Stimulus packages don't exist in a vacuum, and you have to count all government spending, which basically shows how exactly the numbers, including the stimulus as this does, didn't close the output gap. And since the numbers didn't, that is actually austerity. After all, spending went up in the UK and Eurozone from 2008 to 2009 as well, and since then, their spending has declined. Even though it is on a higher level, it is being cut at an even more alarming rate with its fate set to go below our miserable level by 2017.

I have pointed this out before. Sometimes I get frustrated, and point this out harshly, because some pride themselves on denying this established data to support whatever a politician in their party says or does. I don't know why. Denying reality is not going to give resources to people who need them. There is a reason my last diary has been cited by the reality based Post Keynesian MMT community, in which I am truly grateful for and humbled by; it is the truth.

The real economy of jobs and wages continues to go nowhere thanks to the lack of deficit spending and an illogical debate in DC about how much austerity we need to appease the invisible bond vigilantes and confidence fairies. It is neoliberal deficit terrorist economic insanity based on lies. And on that note, it is my pleasure to republish a piece by someone in the reality based economic community whom I can now proudly say is a friend of mine, Post Keynesian MMT economist John T. Harvey. He, once again, brings clarity to these matters in a way that only he can.

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Senator Dick Durbin certainly has some nerve.

"Durbin said he is personally open to further privatization of Medicare as long a private insurers are forced to “play by the rules” that Medicare uses to lower costs, and that he realizes some of his liberal friends “are not happy” with his position.

If Obama backs cuts to entitlements, Durbin believes enough Democrats would support the president to get a bill through Congress.

“If a president comes up with a reasonable approach which ends up giving years of solvency to Medicare. ... I think that many Democrats will come around to that position,” he said. Obama’s imprint on the proposal would shield many members from grassroots anger, he said."

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The Sequester: Bipartisan Craponomics at Its Worst

Yes, because no one listened to those that warned(including myself) this would happen in 2010 with the Bush tax cut sellout leading to the debt ceiling debacle in 2011 to now, it looks like the sequester created by this White House and Congress is going to happen. Back then, there was leverage with the Bush tax cuts expiring for using the High Value Platinum Coin, invoking the 14th amendment, or legislating the debt ceiling away entirely. None of this was considered even as a temporary measure to avoid this epic failure fixing to hit our shores.

It's insulting to the public that none of this was even tried, because this sequester will be painful and more painful in the future. The political damage as we create more miniature crisis will be even costlier than what is projected as more bills have to be passed every few months which always get worse the more they are revisited, all needlessly created all in the name what I call deficit terrorism. Through each bipartisan crisis more austerity is brought out in these miniature Shock Doctrine scenarios especially on the debt ceiling. This austerity will eventually terrorize the public because a failure to govern or understand our economy.

Sure, it will take awhile to be phased in and each federal agency will implement its cuts differently, on its own timeline, but by April 4th, 2013 some real pain is likely to be felt by the public.

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John T. Harvey: "The Coming Recession: How Fiscal Responsibility is Economic Suicide"

As you might have heard the economy is contracting while unemployment remains high inching higher especially in real terms again while Washington is too stupid or corrupt across the board to notice. I can't say I didn't see this coming even as just an above average layman. All this focus on austerity is detrimental. After all, spending is actually income and so are deficits which are the life blood of the private sector in the economy when it comes to those sectoral balances you hear me always harping about.

And on that point I refer to Post Keynesian economist Wynne Godley as he along with MMT economist L. Randall Wray predicted this crisis in 2000 and that matters. Therefore it's safe to say the Post Keynesian school is pretty much vindicated. And part of this tradition can be read in Forbes magazine every month. Imagine that! I have thanks to discovering the work of the most excellent Post Keynesian/MMT economist John T. Harvey.

I have to thank NY brit expat for introducing me to John whom is not only a brilliant economist, but an all around cool guy who is very approachable and has an awesome taste in music. He stresses that the economics discipline hasn't made economics very understandable to the general public and he's right; however, you wouldn't know that by reading his many excellent pieces on why everything people think they know about debt and deficits is absolutely wrong. As John points out, it's not only wrong, it pervades this entire ignorant and corrupt political debate happening right now over this stupid sequester that was a creation of the White House and Congress.

As you will read down below, this horrible self induced debt ceiling pro austerity political show where never is heard an encouraging word like full employment, but instead for Peter Peterson's enjoyment, idiotic words praising deficit terrorism(budget balance and cutting our safety net) rules the day. It only amounts to economic decay and a likely recession on the way depending on how much deficit spending is cut in the coming days.

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It's Not 11th Dimensional Chess. The President Wants Working People to Clean Up His Mess

Once we realize there is no fiscal cliff and the whole premise is a myth, you think about why it was created. It was created so we can mop up after the 1% which owns all three branches of government including the President. Obama didn't add a raise in the debt ceiling to the Obama Bush tax cut deal he made in 2010 which created this political mess we are in right now.

Yet the poor and middle class are supposed to "stop whining and complaining" and just mop it up as if it's one of the menial 60% of low wage jobs created that were part of this "recovery" where 93% of the income it went to the top 1%? I don't think that's fair. He needs to ask his Wall St buddies in his Treasury Department to share sacrifice. We have sacrificed enough in the name of the fantasy evil deficits from the land of Mordor causing fantasy default. Think about this when Nancy Pelosi was lying to you about this sellout ultimately helping the middle class last night.

From blatant robbery to money laundering, here are the biggest scandals of 2012 banking history.

#9. Middle-Class Wealth declines by 35 percent

On July 18, 2012, the U.S. Bureau of the Census made it official: The middle-class is getting poorer. The median family -- that family exactly at the mid-point of the wealth ladder --- saw its net worth collapse. (Net worth is all assets minus all liabilities.) In 2005, the median family's wealth was valued at $102,844 (in inflation adjusted dollars.) By 2010, the latest Census figures showed a drop of 35 percent to $66,740.

And we're supposed to celebrate this?

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Chained CPI is a Cut. You Either Care About People or You Don't.

And when one make excuses for chained CPI without doing any research because they'll blindly follow whatever a politician proposes regardless of the consequences, that is a choice of action taken. Action that actually shows how one does not care about people. It can be witnessed. It can be read and it can be judged, so I will be doing so now.

Pointing this out harshly will not hurt seniors like the action of cutting their SS income while their cost of living of has risen roughly 0.27 percentage points faster per year than the CPI-W which is what is used now for their COLA. When one is defending this action orally or in writing because of their perceived party loyalty, though it's not really party loyalty because this isn't what FDR envisioned whom defined the modern Democratic party, that shows disdain for the most vulnerable in our society and that is a fact.

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Obama and Boehner’s Grand Betrayal: Gullible Democrats Buy Into Good Cop, Bad Cop Theatre

Yes, we know what is driving the latest performance behind this fiscal sham.

It's basically good cop, bad cop; or bad cop, worse cop theatre to get you to sign off on this grand betrayal as UKMC economist William K. Black aptly calls it.

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Laboring Under This Administration's Anti-Labor Ties

And no, I'm not talking about the past anti-labor ties like former COS Rahm Emanuel who called labor unions "f-ing retarded" and condescendingly opined about "where are they going to go?" if they expect more from Democrats. No, I'm not talking about the NAFTA and China PNTR hatchet man that helped crush US industry before he became mayor of the President's home town of Chicago attacking the teacher unions that helped elect this President. And I'm not talking the former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and JP Morgan Executive that also worked with Rahm and the Clinton administration to pass NAFTA either.

Of course, there still are plenty of anti-labor ties to choose from such as Jeffrey "China! China! China!" Immelt who serves as chairman of his outside panel of economic advisers while retaining his post as chairman of the board and CEO of the GE; the non tax paying conglomerate that outsourced its X-ray division from Wisconsin to China. Of course I don't need to which brings me to the main point of this piece.

(h/t Rick Pearlstein)

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Warning: Swallowing the President's Bitter Pills May Cause Harsh Austerity

We are being told that the mess this President caused when he helped pass the Bush tax cuts in exchange for 1 year of unemployment insurance - which was unnecessary because Republicans caved on UE extension before - WITHOUT even securing a rise in the debt ceiling by putting his full trust in John Boehner with the full faith and credit of the US was "worth it." This of course gave Boehner immense political power and the right hostage needed to cause the debt ceiling debacle just like I predicted. Well here are are again dealing with the fallout.

Already? Obama Tells Supporters to Expect 'Bitter Pills'

As the Huffington Post, who listened in on the call, reports:

The president, speaking from a White House phone, cautioned listeners to expect disappointments during his second term. As he has in the past, Obama warned that he was prepared to swallow some bitter pills during the negotiations, including some that would agitate the base.
 

"As we move forward there are going to be new wrinkles and new frustrations, we can't predict them yet," he said. "We are going to have some triumphs and some successes, but there are going to be some tough days, starting with some of these negotiations around the fiscal cliff that you probably read about."

Though his encouragement to his activist base may be encouraging to some, the President's preemptive admission that he's willing to give away bargaining chips so early in the game will surely irk those who criticized Obama for his negotiating style throughout his first term. That will be doubly true for progressives who have publicly called for a more hardline stance when it comes to defending key social programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

We know from the president's interview with the Des Moines register that much of what was in the memo revealed by Bob Woodward as part and parcel of all of this nonsense we shouldn't even have to be dealing with in the first place is a starting point. Oh yes, many will screech about how Simpson Bowles is dead because the commission was a failure, but the horrible ideas live on through our elected leaders that keeps bringing them back to life.

Obama vows debt-cutting ‘grand bargain,’ immigration reform in Des Moines Register interview

"I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs," Obama said. (The White House quickly clarified that he meant $2.50 of spending cuts for every dollar in new tax revenue.)

"We can easily meet—'easily' is the wrong word—we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years ...

This is not going to help the unemployed and it's economic illiteracy. When you hear things like, "We all agree we must pay down the deficit," it might as well be, "We all agree on economic illiteracy. Come on. Everybody's doing it." Anyone who is still making excuses for this doesn't even understand why this fake fiscal cliff, really an austerity bomb as Brian Beutler of TPM puts it, is coming back up in the first place.

“The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” – William Faulkner

This is quite literally true so for all those "that was then this is now" excuse makers, you have a lot of studying and reading to do.

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