The Big Lie is that the U.S. government cannot create dollars out of thin air. Therefore the U.S. government is “broke,” and has a “debt crisis.” Therefore programs that help average people, such as Medicare and Social Security, are “insolvent” and “unsustainable” and must be cut, since they are “not affordable.” (However the federal government can create infinite dollars for wars and for Wall Street bailouts.)
The average person knows that the U.S. government can “print” endless dollars, and yet the average person thinks that dollars are physical and limited.
To some extent this nonsense is understandable. For example, money only exists in the human mind. We symbolize the mental concept of “dollars” by putting marks on accounting ledgers and on scraps of paper (i.e. currency notes).
Even though dollars only exist in the human mind, and currency notes are not dollars, the term “money supply” suggests that money is physical and limited. Currency notes themselves are called the “M0 Money Supply.” Hence the confusion. At present there is $1.2 trillion “worth” of U.S. coins and bills in existence, about 60% of which is outside the USA. However these are just bits of metal and paper. “Cold hard cash” only has “worth” in the human mind. Hence, he who controls public beliefs and perceptions controls the monetary system. (For this reason, countries like Venezuela have passed laws saying that you can own a bank, or you can own a TV / radio station, but not both at the same time.)
Actually it might be more accurate to talk about money as though it was electricity, with a “current” and a “flow.” Adding money to the economy is like adding electricity to an electrical motor.
Simple confusion, however, is only one reason why people think that money is both limited and limitless. In previous posts I have discussed other factors involved. Here I want to mention the something-for-everyone factor again.
Something for everyone
You don’t like black people? Poor people? Whoever you don’t like, they are “stealing” all the dollars from a “limited supply.”
I mention this again because I just saw an article by syndicated columnist and cartoonist Ted Rall, who says that Bernie Sanders can pay for his agenda by slashing the military budget.
No one hates war and the military more than I do, but this is yet another case where use of the Big Lie is counterproductive. (“The military is sucking up all the available money!”) Once you pretend that money is limited, no matter how well intentioned you are, you instantly become a champion of increased austerity and inequality.
Sanders himself is a big champion of spending on wars and the military. But since the USA will remain militaristic no matter what, I will support Sanders if only to support Universal Medicare.
(Queen Bitch Hillary has sworn that Universal Medicare is an “idea that will never, ever come to pass.” That’s why, if she gets the White House, she will privatize Medicare to make damned sure the idea stays dead forever.)
And now for some parting shots at one of my favorite politicians…