Daily hygiene

If readers would like to see this blog deleted, please let me know. So few people come here that I’m thinking of deleting it anyway.

Anyway, to be a full member of society is to defend the lies of society. In most people this practice is voluntary. Even when people imagine themselves to be rebels, many still conform to the herd. For example, the “positive money” people imagine themselves mavericks for advocating public banking, when in fact they continue to echo the herd’s lie that the federal government gets its spending money from loans and from tax revenue.

Social lies are so pandemic and pervasive that they are like a plague that threatens to consume us if we do not practice daily mental hygiene. If we clean the lies out of our minds often enough, we will break their life cycle, and finally become immune.

I mention this because I have discussed the following topic before, and here I will do so again for the sake of daily mental hygiene.

To “finance” something means to provide money for it (i.e. to fund it) by whatever means, including the creation of money out of thin air. However most people falsely think that to “finance” something means to get a loan for it. Therefore when most people are asked how the U.S. government “finances” a war, most people falsely assume that the government takes out a loan for a war.

Consider this paragraph…

How did America finance WW II? How did Washington pay the lofty bills presented by GM, ITT, and the other corporate suppliers of war equipment? The answer is: partly by means of taxation – about 45 per cent – but much more through loans – approximately 55 per cent. On account of this, the public debt increased dramatically, namely, from 3 billion dollars in 1939 to no less than 45 billion dollars in 1945. In theory, this debt should have been reduced, or wiped out altogether, by levying taxes on the huge profits pocketed during the war by America’s big corporations, but the reality was different. The American state failed to tax corporate America’s windfall profits, allowing the public debt to mushroom. The U.S. government paid its bills, and the interest on its loans, with its general revenues, that is, by means of the income generated by direct and indirect taxes. Particularly on account of the regressive Revenue Act introduced in October 1942, these taxes were paid increasingly by workers and other low-income Americans, rather than by the super-rich and the corporations, of which the latter were the owners, major shareholders, and/or top managers. “The burden of financing the war,” observes the American historian Sean Dennis Cashman, “was sloughed firmly upon the shoulders of the poorer members of society.”

No. Wrong.

Financing the war was not a “burden” on anyone. The U.S. government funded WW II by simply creating the money out of thin air, as the government does today. This caused so much money to flood into the U.S. economy that it created a potential for disruptive inflation, since consumer goods were rationed, and were in short supply. (Simply adding money to an economy does not automatically cause inflation. What causes inflation is an extreme abundance of money combined with an extreme shortage of things to spend the money on.)

To fund the war, the U.S. government created dollars out of thin air. And to prevent inflation, the U.S. government pulled dollars back out of the economy by [1] introducing the federal withholding tax (which took dollars permanently out of the economy) and [2] by convincing workers to buy war bonds (which took money temporarily out of the economy until the bonds matured).

In both cases workers were lied to — i.e. the government told them that their income taxes and their war bonds “financed” the war. This lie was necessary during the war, since people don’t like to part with their dollars. The U.S. government needed to convince workers that if they didn’t pay taxes and buy war bonds, then they would all become enslaved by Hitler, who threatened to destroy the galaxy or…something.

After the war, the government continued to falsely claim that taxes were necessary to “finance” the U.S. government. The government continues to lie today in order to [1] maintain the gap between the rich and the rest, and [2] make workers grovel to politicians.

During WW II, war bonds could be purchased in stores, banks, post offices, you name it. To buy a war bond was to deposit money in a Federal Reserve savings account, just like buying a T-security today.  Indeed the formal name for a war bond was a “war savings bond.”

You could not use a war bond to buy anything, since this would have defeated the purpose of the bond, which was to get money out of the economy. Hence the bonds included the printed words “not transferable.” Money paid for bonds became non-negotiable “reserves.”

Today people falsely claim that Fed savings deposits have created a “debt crisis” for the U.S. government.

BELOW: When you bought a war bond, you were given a piece of paper that you could later redeem for money when your bond matured. The money you paid was forwarded to the U.S. government, which destroyed it upon receipt, just as the federal government did with federal tax revenue, and still does today. Likewise when you buy a T-security today, your money is “deposited” in a Fed savings account. “Deposited” is merely a figure of speech, since money is not physical (and therefore is not “deposited”). The $20 trillion in Fed deposits (the so-called “national debt”) consists of mere numbers on spread sheets.

When you bought a war bond, the money you paid was removed from the U.S. economy. Your money was destroyed, because the money you paid did not “go” anywhere. Money is not physical. When your war bond matured, the Fed paid you off by creating new money out of thin air (plus interest) by simply crediting your checking account — i.e. by changing the numbers in your account. Today, T-securities function in exactly the same way.


The AEI proposal

QUESTION: Will we ever get Universal Medicare or Universal Social Security?

ANSWER: Yes, if public pressure builds up enough. Then the money-powers will use such programs to further screw us.

How? The neoliberal American Enterprise Institute has a suggestion: give us Universal Social Security, but make it “budget neutral.” Better yet, make it “budget positive,” such that for every dollar we get through Universal Social Security, three or four dollars will be cut from other social programs. Food stamps must be eliminated, along with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability, and veterans’ benefits.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) says this would “free up” $2.54 trillion dollars a year. That is, eliminating the social programs mentioned above would suck 2.54 trillion dollars a year out of the U.S. economy, thereby making the lower classes even poorer than they are now.

The AEI also suggests increasing income taxes on the lower classes, and eliminating 23 different tax benefits such as the Student Loan interest deduction and Earned Income Tax credit. This would suck even more money out of the U.S. economy.

Of course the Universal Social Security benefits themselves would be taxed, since the U.S. government “needs revenue.” Right?

That is, the benefits would be taxed to “finance” the benefits.

The AEI suggests a basic income of $13,788 for individuals over the age of 18. Therefore if you are elderly and you have a major illness, you will be screwed, since you will have no Medicare, and you will have nowhere near enough money to pay for medical treatment.

The beauty of this scam is that the peasants are so stupid they might eagerly put their heads in the hangman’s noose. For example, the peasants believe the lie that the U.S. government needs revenue, and needs to “save money.” The peasants will also believe the lie that this scam is “efficient,” and “eliminates government waste.” (Wasteful programs like Pentagon spending will continue as always.) The peasants will believe the lie that in order to have one federal benefit, they must lose a different benefit, and that their taxes must be increased to “finance” Universal Social Security. And they will believe the lie that the American Enterprise Institute cares about them.

The art of the swindle is to steal everything a man has, while tricking him into believing that he is benefitting from your theft.–>

BOTTOM LINE: The peasants will never get Universal Medicare and Universal Social Security as long as they believe the lies about federal finances.

And even if they did get Universal Medicare and Universal Social Security, they would still be screwed as long as they believe the lies about federal finances.

Re. the movie industry

I want to say a word (farther below) about the movie industry. But first…

The Budget Control Act of 2011 was supposed to cut (i.e. “sequester”) federal spending on the Pentagon, so that politicians would have an excuse to cut social programs for the masses. The cuts in social programs were enacted, but not the cuts for the Pentagon, since “national security” would be “threatened” if rich executives of military contractors got seven-figure salaries instead of eight-figure salaries. Indeed, each year those executives are given even more money than they ask for. This is unlawful, since it violates the Budget Control Act of 2011. However laws only apply to the little people.

My point: if I seek Universal Medicare, then everyone (including “progressives”) responds with, “How will you pay for it?”

However if I point to the Pentagon’s endless trillions and I ask, “How will you pay for it?’ everyone responds with, “What are you, a terrorist?”

On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $696 billion spending bill for the Pentagon, which is considerably more than the Pentagon asked for. And no one asked, “How will you pay for it?”

We are also chained by social custom. For example, it is socially acceptable to support the filling of prisons with Black people, but you may not say the ‘N’ word in public. You may not question 9-11 lies, or U.S.-sponsored terrorism, or lies about federal finances, nor the Supreme Holy of Holies…

On a different note, what’s wrong with the following paragraph? I saw it here.

A bill introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) would allow taxpayers to earmark a portion of their taxes to reduce the federal deficit. Taxpayers would make the selection to push ten percent of their taxes toward the deficit on their annual income taxes. The bill, called the Debt-Buy Down Act, would also force Congress to make cuts to match the amount contributed by taxpayers to ensure the money goes to reducing the deficit.

Wow. If you’re going to whine about the fake national debt “crisis,” then please understand the difference between the deficit and the debt. At the federal level, tax revenues reduce the federal deficit, but have nothing to do with the “national debt.”

Congressman Flake obviously means the “national debt,” but his bill remains absurd. If you want to send money to “pay down” the “national debt, you can already do so at this web site. Of course, you might as well flush your money down a toilet, since the money you send will be destroyed, and since the “national debt” will not be “paid down,” and doesn’t need to be.

According to the U.S. Treasury, here is what various parties contribute each year to “pay down the debt”…

Since these donated millions are tax deductible, it doesn’t matter whether you pay taxes, or you donate instead to the “national debt.” Either way your money is effectively destroyed upon receipt.

Such idiocy is why we can’t have things like Universal Medicare.

Let’s move on to a different topic…

Today in a supermarket checkout line I saw DVDs for sale. The discs had “The Fate of the Furious,” a movie released in the USA on 14 April 2017. I didn’t see it, and I have no interest in it. (I haven’t gone to a cinema in 16 years.) Multiple sources agree that “The Fate of the Furious” was a lousy movie. Nonetheless it is the second biggest money maker in 2017, close behind “Beauty and the Beast.”

How can a movie be so awful, yet so popular?

The answer is that 82% of “The Fate of the Furious” profits were collected in China, where audiences love movies with lots of explosions in 3D. (In Asia, 78% of movie screens are 3D. In the USA only 39% of movie screens are 3D.)

The movie industry involves politics. One movie, titled “The White Helmets,” refers to U.S.-sponsored terrorists and head-choppers that masquerade as “humanitarian workers” in Syria. The movie’s lies served U.S. government propaganda purposes so well that the movie was given an Academy Award for Best “Documentary” (sic) Short Subject.

On the Chinese side, Hollywood may be controlled by Jews, but the Jews dare not offend their Chinese benefactors. That’s how dependent the Jews now are on Chinese financing for movies. This means that Richard Gere, for example, cannot get movie roles (despite being a Jew) in any movie that involves Chinese financing (which is half of all movies now.) Gere has been a longtime critic of China’s control of Tibet.

Year after year the sales of theatre tickets continue to plummet in the USA and Canada, while sales skyrocket in China. The Chinese are building theaters faster than they can fill them with movies. In 2016 they added more than 7,500 cinema screens, pushing China’s national total beyond the USA’s total, which has stayed at 40,000 screens since 2013.

Very soon (projections range from a few months to two years) China will overtake the U.S. as the largest generator of box­-office revenue in the world.

The Fate of the Furious made $388 million in China (the most of any Hollywood film there to date) but China’s own The Mermaid (a sci-­fi romantic comedy) made $527 million in China.

The Mermaid was made in Qingdao China, where the Dalian Wanda Group (headed by billionaire Wang Jianlin) is building the world’s largest movie­ production facilities. The Chinese call it their “Movie Metropolis.” The studio at the heart of the giant complex will be surrounded by hotels, a yacht club, a theme park, a celebrity wax museum, and a hospital.

Although Chinese audiences prefer foreign movies to be full of action and explosions, many of the movies made in Qingdao are drama for adults. Americans like some of these (e.g. Ocean Heaven) and dislike others (e.g. Beauty Remains and The Great Wall).

The Great Wall was the most expensive feature ever shot in China. It was popular in China, but it flopped in the West. Overall, Chinese investors took a $75 million loss on it.

Yellen ain’t tellin’

Both Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke occasionally admitted the truth about U.S. government finances, but Janet Yellen never does. Twice a year she meets with the House Financial Services in a room where a “national debt clock” is permanently installed to remind politicians to always keep lying. Recently Yellen sat before the clock, and as numbers furiously whirred behind her, she warned that the federal government faces an “unsustainable debt situation.”

In a sick society like ours, do-nothings like Yellen are paid well for merely bullshitting. Meanwhile a Wal Mart cashier, for example, is looked down on for doing productive work. Indeed, every time I see someone doing manual labor, I think, “That person is doing something useful for society.”

Speaking of debt clocks, below is one that I’d like to see. Pundits, professors, and politicians chatter about the “national debt crisis” (which is bullshit) in order to distract you from thinking about private debt such as student loans (which is a true crisis).

I once saw a student loan debt clock in my own town. It was quickly removed by order of the city council at the behest of the local state university. I guess the university (and the evil bankers behind it) thought the sign would have an effect like this…

Let me change topics and comment again about Ellen Brown Syndrome (EBS), the illness in which a person falsely believes that all money is created by banks as loans, and that government spending is actually government borrowing . This same illness in the U.K. is called Positive Money Syndrome (PMS). British victims of PMS have their own web site.

My point is that one of the engines of this illness is the natural human urge to blame all our suffering on things outside of us. EBS victims have decided that the central bank (e.g. the Fed or the Bank of England) creates all the money, and thereby rules everything, and that all other banks are its evil minions.  In this way EBS victims pinpoint the cause of all our woes. For the EBS victim, the task is to reveal this Great Truth to others.

My view is different. As I see it, we have a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone knows that the federal government can “print” limitless money, yet everyone pretends that they don’t know. For me the task is to encourage people to stop bullshitting and admit what they already know.

For EBS victims the only time the U.S. government created money was during the Civil War when it issued “greenbacks.”

(NOTE: EBS victims acknowledge that 3% of the overall money supply consists of coins and currency notes that are not borrowed from banks. The victims do not grasp that coins and currency notes are not actually money. They can be used as money, but they only represent money. Actual money is not physical, and is therefore limitless. Money, like points on a scoreboard, is a strictly mental system of accounting that is represented by numbers in bank accounts. Each year the U.S. government creates about $4 trillion out of thin air, simply by crediting bank accounts.)

Over at Counterpunch, one writer gets a few things right, because he’s not an economist.

The flow of money from Wall Street and the Federal government illuminates the priorities of empire. Given its imperial position, the U.S. can (metaphorically) print its way to funding the projects that connected plutocrats favor. For instance, where did the funding for Bush’s slaughter in Iraq and Barack Obama’s bailouts of Wall Street come from? Balanced national budgets are an imperial enforcement mechanism turned inward.

Correct, except there is no “metaphorically” about it.

Regarding where the money for wars comes from, the U.S. government simply creates it. Most people falsely think the U.S. government borrows its war dollars from China or…someone.

In recent history ‘emergency’ Federal Reserve policies combined with Obama’s bailouts for Wall Street and austerity for the rest of us constituted the largest wealth grab by connected plutocrats in modern history. And here’s the punchline— because of the U.S.’s (and the ECB’s) privileged position vis-à-vis money creation, there was no need for the austerity. Had Democrats (1) cared and (2) not been equally culpable for the Iraq war they could have pointed out that money is always found (created) for the priorities of empire.

Correct. You win a prize. (Choose one only.)

For those interested in theory, the link between MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) and Marxism would come through taking monetary theory out of the anti-history of mainstream economics and placing it in a (lived) context of class conflict (or ‘capitalist republicanism’ if you prefer).

Careful. When you mention Marx, you turn off people (especially people who have no idea what Marx actually wrote).

Uh…no. No it isn’t. That’s like saying the theory of aerodynamics is “Marxist.”

Will we as a species ever mature past our collective stupidity?

Addicted to suffering

The article above is full of lies from beginning to end. In reality, Social Security has no “funding woes.” The FICA tax does not pay for Social Security, any more than a “points tax” would pay for points on a sports scoreboard.

There are several reasons why the corporate media outlets tell nonstop lies. One reason is that average people want them to lie, since average people like to worry and complain. They are bored by excessive peace and tranquility, since it deprives them of things to hate.  They prefer to be miserable, and to blame their misery on something other than themselves.

Not all people are this way, but enough people are to keep the lies going.

Thus, when you explain the facts about money, people attack you, since you have challenged their misery.  They say, “You’re wrong! The dollar is about to collapse! The end of the world is near!”

Israelis and Westerners (especially Britons and Americans) get nervous when they are not at continual war, and are not living with imaginary “threats.” This is why Israel will never completely exterminate all Palestinians. Israel needs them. (Incidentally the Israelis have now cut all electricity to the Gaza Death Camp. But remember, Jews are “victims.”)

When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Westerners became anxious. What would they do without their beloved “axis of evil”? Finally they were saved by the 9-11 false flag.

Some people fantasize that if extraterrestrials visited the earth, it would lead to global peace and brotherhood. Nonsense. Humans would incorporate the extraterrestrials into the common need to suffer. The “global war on terror” would become the “galactic war on terror.” Poverty, inequality, and the police state would increase. The more benevolent the extraterrestrials were, the more they would be condemned as a “cosmic threat.” Everyone would believe whatever lies the corporate media outlets told them, since people love to worry. People make sense of their world through lies, hate, and misery.

Again, not everyone is this way, but enough people are to sustain the nightmare.

If you tell people there is no need to worry, since there is no such thing as a Social Security “trust fund,” people act like children who are told there is no Santa Claus.

Wisdom, it seems, consists in learning how to live among fools.

Just now I “biffed”

In the world of skiing, motorcycle racing, or skateboarding, the colloquial expression “to biff” means to fall down hard. Visualize a person’s face slamming into the ground; the sound of the impact combining with his suddenly exhaled breath to create a “biff” sound. This is why a racer or skateboarder sometimes says, “I was doing great, but I biffed at the last turn.”

Perhaps the expression originated in comic books.

Anyway I often “biff” when I read articles about economics. That is, I think the writer may be on to something, but then the writer suddenly screws up. “Damn!”

The item below is an example. In one paragraph the first three sentences are okay, but then…BIFF!

It’s a popular myth that government debt is a bad thing. And it’s a dangerous myth that we have reached the limit of government debt that we can afford and that any new government spending must be paid for with taxation. It’s a fact that the UK government does not need to issue debt. In the modern era of money the Bank of England can create any amount of money that the government requires without having to borrow or tax a penny of the sum in question. That is because all money is created out of thin air when banks lend money, including when the Bank of England lends directly to the Treasury.

No. The Bank of England does not lend to the British Treasury. This writer suffers from acute EBS (Ellen Brown Syndrome); an incurable mental condition that makes people think all money is created by banks as loans.

According to the EBS delusion, the U.K. government borrows its spending money from the Bank of England, and presumably must pay it back…uh…someday. Or something.

In reality, banks do indeed create new money when they make loans, but the U.S. and U.K. governments likewise create money when they spend. And they spend by simply instructing banks to credit accounts (i.e. to change the numbers in bank accounts). This involves banks, but no borrowing.

The writer also says that “all money is debt.” That is true, but not all debts involve loans.

For every credit there is a debt, and for every debt there is a credit. If I have a dollar in my hand, then I have a claim (i.e. a credit) to one dollar’s worth of “full faith and credit of the United States.” Who is in debt to me? Everyone who thinks my dollar is worth a dollar. That is, everyone who agrees to “owe” me their recognition of my claim to a credit of one dollar. No loan is involved.

When you leave your coat in a cloakroom in exchange for a token, the token is a credit for your coat. It signifies that you have a claim to that coat, and that the cloakroom is in “debt” to you for one coat. That is, the cloakroom agrees to honor your claim (i.e. your credit) for your coat.

This is not mere sophistry. The refusal to properly understand the concepts of “credit” and “debt” is one reason why people insist on believing the lie that the U.S. and U.K. governments are “broke,” and therefore we cannot have Universal Medicare, etc.

Think of a credit as a claim. A debt is an agreement to honor a claim. If you lend me a dollar, then you have a claim to that dollar. You have a credit for the dollar. I am “in debt” to you, meaning I owe you a recognition of your claim to the dollar. But even when a dollar is not lent to me, it is still a credit, and therefore entails a debt, but not in the sense of a loan.

Because the writer is confused, he contradicts himself. First he says the U.K. government borrows its spending money from the Bank of England. Then he says,

“Whatever happens, the UK government will always be able to repay its debts, because it can always electronically create the cash to do so. It has that right. No one else has it in the same way. And creating that money is effectively costless: it happens simply by entering data into a computer.”

Correct, but how does this entail loans from the Bank of England? It doesn’t.

Then the author proceeds to wade deeper and deeper into meaningless gibberish that is not worth untangling.

No wonder the average person doesn’t care about economics.

Classic Krugman

Before I mention Paul Krugman, last Saturday in Panama Beach FL six members of a single family plus four other swimmers were swept out to sea by rip currents. A few people tried to save them, but they too became stranded in the water. Finally beachgoers formed a human chain and pulled everyone to safety. Now everyone’s hugging and hive-fiving and — wait a minute! If people think this Good Samaritan stuff is so sweet, then why do so many people hate social programs that keep individuals from drowning? Screw their hypocrisy.

It’s like when people place flowers at the scene of a shooting. I call bullshit on that too. The time to have compassion for people is when they are still alive.

Anyway I just saw a blog post by Paul Krugman, the arch-neoliberal who calls himself a “progressive.”

(Krugman’s bullshit won him a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008. The prize itself is bullshit, since it has no connection with the Nobel Committee. Friedrich Hayek was given it in 1974 and Milton Friedman in 1976. It comes with $1.5 million in cash for dispensing bullshit.)

In the article, Krugman praises Romneycare ObamaCare and attacks Universal Medicare. “Bernie Sanders is wrong about this and Hillary Clinton is right.”

(Krugman was sure that Hillary would be crowned, and he praised Hillary every single day, hoping she would repay him by giving him a cabinet post. But Hillary lost.)

Single-payer would require a lot of additional tax revenue — and we would be talking about taxes on the middle class, not just the wealthy.

Like I said: bullshit. Elsewhere Krugman has said, “MMT people are just wrong in believing that the only question you need to ask about the budget deficit is whether it supplies the right amount of aggregate demand. Financeability matters too, even with fiat money.”

Lying like this gets you a Nobel Prize.

It gets worse…

Switching to single-payer would impose a lot of disruption on tens of millions of families who currently have good coverage through their employers. You might say that they would end up just as well off, and it might well be true for most people — although not those with especially good policies.

Classic Krugman. Most workers today have no healthcare at all, even with Romneycare ObamaCare. (I don’t have any myself.) Some workers do have it, however, and Single Payer would save their employers billions per year, which would boost the economy. Everyone would have coverage, and workers would not have to stay in awful jobs just to keep their healthcare.

Then Krugman praises Romneycare ObamaCare again, which was cooked up by the insurance giants.

Not everyone agrees with Krugman’s lies, but thousands of people read those lies each day. Below is his daily blog…

Of course, Krugman is not the only liar out there. A couple of days ago I saw this…

The Washington Compost is so obsessed with lying about “Russiagate” that for them to mention Single Payer shows that they are very worried the masses might demand Single Payer, even with the lies about federal money.

The Compost writers are so stupid that the more they drone on about “Russiagate” (which no one cares about), the more the masses will call for Single Payer.