I’ve been busy working on a project that tries to bring progressive organisations together and critique Governments fiscal policy from an MMT perspective. It focuses on two key points. The first is the Australian Government issues currency. It spends with an appropriation bill and the RBA uses a computer to mark up the size of the relevant account. There is no ‘printing’.
Printing money is one of those divisive terms that gets used to invoke a fear of inflation. The reality is there is no alteration to the way the government spends. Whether it runs a deficit or a surplus; Or the conduct of any operation by its central bank. The issuance of bonds and taxes by matter of logic needs to come after the fact the currency issuer has spent! There is a history lesson on monetary operations I wrote about in this post.
The second part of attempting to change the narrative is too redefine how we view the economy. One of the most idiotic questions that has always bothered me is which party is better for the economy and which is better for society? One of the most successful aspects of the neoliberal era has been to have the masses believe ‘the economy’ is something that sits above us and we are reliant on profits and taxes to fund our public infrastructure.
So I’ve developed my graphic design skills to try and redefine that.
It is obvious to many people we now face a poly-crisis. Climate change, rising inequality, a housing crisis, job insecurity and a lack of enough work for many. We look at our aged-care, disability and child care systems and see that they’re directed toward profit over doing what is best to help those in need.
We really need to be breaking the orthodox economic framework by attacking our elected representatives and treasury departments for targeting balanced budgets which avoid funding and skilling people in the areas we need to prosper into the future! Surely at some point in the future we will look back at the 2020’s at think ‘how could people be so stupid to think government insolvency was a risk’ That is the aim of what I have been working on.
The project will have two components;
1. what is fair? and;
2. why it is possible.
The fair will start looking at ecological sustainability and working within our ecological limits as well as a strong focus on worker rights and falling real wages. The issues of climate change and workers rights are intertwined. To build a sustainable future we need drastic action and we need well paid workers to do it!
Why it is possible will be the MMT aspect with a slogan ‘People Go Broke! Governments Don’t.’
Then of course you always get arguments regarding inflation. This has been the most difficult to come with simple explainers to help redefine. I don’t think within the general public inflation is very well understood at all. I’ve settled on describing it as a conflict.
The project will attempt to redefine how we talk about fiscal policy.
We need to view fiscal policy in respect to what it is doing to mitigate against climate change and restoring greater equity. We shouldn’t be targeting balanced budgets!
Government’s and capitalist institutions use the fear of debt and deficit and nonsense about inflation as excuses to stop public expenditure. It has led to privatisation of previous public goods. The nonsensical neoliberal economic framework is so set in that we see what should be public goods set up for profit! Think the unemployment industry, childcare, aged care and disability services. These are set up as industries that allow vulnerable to suffer all while a few make handsome profits from government spending.
Then we’ve the nonsensical framework applied to renewable energy. There is this madness where I live about building a sun cable to export renewable energy to Singapore. Solar panels will be built in Tenant Creek and energy moved along a cable several thousand kilometres to export to Singapore. It is framed with the belief the Northern Territory Government needs to reduce its dependancy on the Federal Government for its source of revenue. These arguments can be dispelled with an understanding the Australian Government issues the currency! Taxes aren’t a funding mechanism.
That’s all from me!