Friday, September 18, 2015

Congressman Ami Bera Disappoints ... Again

Congressman Ami Bera Disappoints...Again!
© by Mark Dempsey

Congressman Ami Bera sponsored a “budget workshop” from the Concord Coalition on Aug 24. So... supposedly Democratic Bera supports a Republican initiative!

And not for the first time… For example, Bera just voted to outlaw any mandated labeling for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We’d expect the the “Ensure Monsanto makes money” act from the corporate-friendly Republicans, not a Democrat, but Bera manages to disappoint.

Like Republicans, who frequently parrot corporate lobbyists, Bera also wrote--or rather plagiarized--an editorial favoring the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty. TTP would create an unelected court that could overturn any country’s laws, no matter how the voting public felt. As with GMOs, we must curb that pesky democracy!

Granted, it’s difficult to evaluate something so secret, but USA Today cites a government study predicting TPP’s effect: It adds nothing to GDP. The recently negotiated trade pact with Korea is the  template for TPP. Proponents touted that treaty as providing jobs too, but in the three years since it passed, our trade deficit with Korea has doubled, costing us 90,000+ jobs according to the same calculations proponents used.

So let’s just say it wasn’t that surprising when Bera invoked fiscal responsibility™ in sponsoring a presentation by the Concord Coalition--an organization funded by billionaire investment banker, former Nixon Commerce Secretary, Republican, Pete Peterson.

The object of the fiscal responsibility™ exercise was to see whether people would agree to cut Federal spending, particularly for entitlements™. The plutocrats hate Social Security and Medicare! They are both “big” government and keep people from poverty and ill health. We can’t afford to even think about that!

But luckily, the Federal government makes the money, so its spending is not constrained, certainly not by tax revenues, no matter how much the fiscally responsible™ might protest. Where would taxpayers get dollars to pay taxes if government didn’t spend them out into the economy first? Taxes make dollars valuable; they do not provision government.

So Federal “debt” is absolutely nothing like household debt. It’s not a burden on future generations, it’s a bookkeeping entry to indicate how many dollar financial assets are in circulation. Reducing debt sounds good if it’s for households; but Federal “debt” reduction means reducing citizens’ savings, making them vulnerable to a mugging by the vulture capitalists, like Pete Peterson.

The only real constraint on Federal spending would be overheating the economy to cause inflation. Inflation could (theoretically) be a problem if government got into a bidding war with the private sector. But bidding has to occur, or inflation does not happen. If government made a lot of money and put it in a savings account, no inflation would occur.

Would minting a few trillion-dollar coins to retire Federal “debt” cause inflation? Those “debt” dollars have already done whatever bidding they’re going to do. So no. (The financial sector would protest, though, because without government bonds, where would they park their money between speculative deals?)

And if that’s all too technical, then ask yourself where was this fiscal responsibility™  when the conversation turned to multi-trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East, or multi-trillion-dollar bailouts for investment banksters like Pete Peterson? Somehow we’re only short of dollars when social safety nets are the topic.

So the Concord Coalition’s propaganda serves the plutocrats who want to turn us all into debt peons, but harms the general population. Thanks Congressman Bera!

Sources for the above are the Modern Money Theorists (neo-Chartalists). Unlike conventional economists, they actually predicted the Great Recession.

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