Hasierarako ikus J. D. Alt (arkitektoa) eta DTM
JD Alt Interviewed on “The Millennials’ Money”
Monday, 17 October, on the weekly progressive radio program Hopping Mad with Will McLeod and Arliss Bunny, JD Alt was interviewed about his book The Millennials’ Money. The broadcast version of the interview, which aired on Netroots Radio at 8AM Eastern on Monday, 17 October, was twenty-two minutes long. The podcast version of the interview is about twice that. The podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and on the Hopping Mad website.
JD’s book was previewed here, on NEP, in sections as he was going through the writing process and many NEP contributors participated in comment threads which influenced aspects of the book. If you have not read it in its entirety, The Millennials’ Money is quite worthwhile in that it not only brings JD’s excellent diagrams, from his best-selling ebook Diagrams & Dollars, to a hardcopy format covering the basics of MMT but then goes beyond that with some genuinely interesting thinking on how the millennial (fourth turning) generation can best use MMT to solve some of the immense challenges they face.
As one of the hosts I may have a silly name (it’s one of those accidental internet names…long story) but I’m very serious about MMT. I cover economics and financial news on the show every week and do as much MMT education as I can along the way. For instance, just recently I completed a series on how banks create money. Those of you who are MMT pros will not hear anything new but the year-old show grows in audience at a rate of about 20% per week so going over MMT concepts repeatedly has a purpose. In the show this week I do my second installment on the lies Donald Trump told during the second debate as they relate to the economy. It’s like shooting carrots in a barrel but I think it is still important to help listeners understand tired and false GOP arguments as they relate to old neocon saws.
Like JD, I am in the process of taking my well-reviewed little MMT ebook, The Smart Bunny’s Guide to Debt, Deficit and Austerity (and reviewed at NEP by Joe Firestone), into a hardcopy, revised second edition and I’m getting ready to release the rest of the series over the following months including The Smart Bunny’s Guide to the Federal Reserve, The Smart Bunny’s Guide to Government Spending and The Smart Bunny’s Guide to Social Security. Just as have JD and Joe Firestone, I have joined in the cadre of non-economists (JD is an architect, Joe has a PhD in political science and my PhD is in physics) trying to spread the MMT word to the masses as best we know how. In my opinion, JD’s book is an important step in this process in that it makes it clear to millennials that they have power to do the things they are so (rightfully) frustrated with my generation for not getting done.
I encourage you to take a listen to JD’s interview. It is the first one he has done for The Millennials Money and I think he is an excellent ambassador for the MMT community. Any comments about the show, either specifically this episode or in general, are very much welcome. In two weeks, on the 31 October show, we have Dr. Randall Wray on his fabulous new book, Why Minsky Matters and on the MMT textbook he has recently co-authored. I would also like to extend an invitation to any of you who might have a burning MMT topic you would like to come on-air and discuss. I am constantly looking for MMT folk to include and am open to virtually any topic.
JD Alt on “The Millennials’ Money”; AltRight & the Trump Economy
17 October 2016 – I have been talking on the show about JD Alt’s book, The Millennials’ Money, since it was still a series of posts on the modern monetary theory (MMT) blog, New Economic Perspectives. This book is that good and it’s that important. JD not only covers the basics of MMT effectively and in an especially accessible manner, he goes much further and explains why it has particular applicability to millennials and how it can be the tool they need to make the changes in the world they have been calling for so articulately. JD’s ideas for using MMT to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society genuinely made me think deeply. And guess what, there’s an app for that (or there could be.) JD is an architect by trade so his drawings, showing how MMT works, are unmatched and are core to the success of his first MMT book, the best-seller, Diagrams & Dollars. The inclusion of his diagrams in The Millennials’ Money makes the book even more useful. Perhaps the most important thing JD brings to the MMT discussion is some truly original and interesting thinking on how we re-frame the debate to make the obvious nature of MMT as apparent to everyone else as it is to us right now. The Millennial’s Money is available from Dog Ear Publishing and on Amazon.
This week Will starts our talking about the cluster bombing of Syrian civilians by the Russians. Cluster bombs are fragmentation weapons which deploy many smaller bombs and are anti-personnel ordinance on a major scale. Will then goes on to talk about so-called “New Mysogyny” and the Altright. Apparently, there are various pods of men who are so under-developed emotionally that they think women rule the world and are running a massive conspiracy to keep men down all the while being considerably less intelligent than are men. (Because that makes sense. LOL!) But these guys in the Manosphere are so far gone that they are working to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and are blaming their involuntary celibacy (which they refer to as “incel”) on everything except their own repulsiveness. Will recommends David Futrelle’s website We Hunted the Mammoth for insight and appropriate mocking of these tiny, tiny “men.”
I start out with something you knew had to be coming, a run-down of the “achievements” of Indiana Governor and GOP Vice Presidential Candidate, Mike Pence. Suffice to say here that Pence is dangerous but unlikely to be a threat to anyone in the future as he rides off into the sunset of what will be his non-starter of a 2020 Presidential campaign. I then finish-up detailing the lies Trump told about the economy during the first debate. This does not really matter since the Trump campaign is toast but these old tropes are regularly trotted out by the GOP so it is worth putting a stake through their heart.
Remember that voting is open in many states. Be sure to vote and to get all your (sane) friends and family to the polls to do the same. A big win for Democrats will help us crush the “the vote is rigged” meme beneath our foot, grind it under our heel and then scrape it off on the nearest patch of grass. This election is the most important in decades. Never doubt it. Carrots! – Arliss
Millennial Agenda― (and how to pay for it!)
By J.D. ALT
What follows is a to-do list for the next political power generation―the Millennials in whose hands the operation of America will begin soon, thankfully, to be grasped. The Boomer and GenX generations have succeeded in guiding America to the brink of social chaos and environmental disaster. Thankfully, the Millennials actually have the critical tool necessary to build anew what the 1% power-structures of the Boomer/GenXers have so greedily destroyed. All that is required is for the Millennials to step into their political power, grasp the tool, and begin the work.
The Millennial Agenda, as I think of it, encompasses a broad scope of specific, concrete, public and collective goods and services. Underlying each of the specific agenda items is the same essential proposition―the “tool” I just made reference to. This tool is already in place and operational, though it has been willfully misunderstood, misused and gummed up by the Boomer and GenX logic of economic power. The tool is “sovereign fiat-money.” And the proposition which will underpin each of the Millennial Agenda items is this: public and collective goods in America are to be purchased from American businesses and citizens with sovereign fiat-money―rather than U.S. tax dollars.
This is a critically important proposition for two reasons: First, it means that what the Millennial Agenda can undertake to achieve is not limited by some theoretical finite number of U.S. dollars, but instead is limited by the actual resources―labor, materials, technology, and natural assets―which are sustainably available within America’s borders. To give a specific example, the first Millennial To-Do―providing a “free” college or technical education for every American high-school graduate―does not beg the question of how many federal tax dollars will have to be collected to pay for the educational facilities and services. The question, instead, is how many teachers and education administrators are actually available to provide the services? How many classroom facilities and technical learning labs are available to house the education processes? And, if more are needed, are there enough carpenters, electricians, plumbers, steel fabricators and masons to do the work? It is precisely the same framework of questions that America used to put itself to work to wage World War 2—and the success of that effort (or how it was “paid” for) is not something that can ever be questioned.
The second reason the proposition is important is because it means the calculation the Agenda item requires is not how many tax dollars the education services will cost the federal government, but rather how many sovereign fiat-dollars the teachers, administrators, and facility builders will get paid to provide the education services. These paychecks will then represent new dollars those educators and builders will spend to buy the consumer goods and services for sale in the private sector economy—a calculation that for-profit American businesses will certainly take heed of.
Obviously, the calculations just described are dramatically different from the calculations currently being made by a Republican congress and administration in their chaotic attempt to rationalize America’s tax code. But we don’t need to worry about any of that nonsense―except to the extent that we’ll have to wait (with as much nurturing patience as possible) until the Millennials begin to grasp their political power. In the meantime, that optimistic, inclusive, perhaps too fun-loving but cooperative generation can begin contemplating their agenda—which I am presumptuously now going to outline. The Millennials (and anyone else, of course) are invited to suggest modifications. What is not allowed, however, is to suggest that none of it is possible “because we can’t collect enough tax dollars to pay for it.”
A Millennial Agenda To-Do List:
- Free college or technical school education for every American high school graduate.
- Immediate forgiveness/pay-off of all student loans in America.
- Free pre-school day-care available in every American neighborhood and community.
- Free medical and pharmacy clinics in every American neighborhood and community.
- Free universal health-care for all American citizens.
- A national housing COOP to enable the creation of affordable, workforce and retirement co-housing.
- A national “higher-ground” relocation and rebuilding program for coastal communities.
- A guaranteed living wage in exchange for useful community service.
- A national workforce program with the following specific targets:
- Coal-mine reclamation and watershed restoration
- Nuclear and chemical toxic clean-up
- Local water and sewage treatment systems
- Local renewable energy micro-grids
- Desert rain-harvesting and reforestation
- Coastal wetland reclamation
- Wildlife and fisheries habitat restoration
It is worth noting a pattern in this to-do list. Each item is a public or collective good that cannot be effectively or adequately provided by a profit-motivated market economy. The first items have to do with non-discretionary human needs—education, health, and housing—which a healthy and successful human society, by definition, will provide its members, profit or not. The rest of the items are public or collective goods which profit-oriented enterprise has no interest in providing because they do not generate financial profits—or because their profit horizon is beyond conventional financial time-frames. Broadly speaking, the overall pattern of the list is this: (1) Take care of ourselves in order that we might (2) begin the long task of taking care of—and restoring—the natural ecosystems which we’ve brought to the brink of disaster, within which we’re embedded biologically, psychologically, and culturally—and upon which we depend for our very survival.