Monday, March 30, 2015

Dirk Ehnts — Krugman on Unreal Keynesians (IS/LM again)

Dirk Ehnts offers a Godley-based "gadget" to replace ISLM as a heuristic.
My own point of view is that IS/LM is mistaken in assuming that the central bank controls the money supply and that the sectoral balances (private and public) are not made explicit. You actually can get a lot of mileage out of the good old IS/LM model if you let the central bank set the interest rate on the short-term money market (horizontal LM curve) and – because of general depression – determine some level of expenditure (or demand) that does not react to changes in the interest rate (vertical IS curve). The resulting cross is so trivial that I tend to agree with Syll: maybe it is not the best idea to use a macroeconomic model to show that: 
  • Demand is exogenous and smaller than potential output
  • The central bank creates the interest rate, but that doesn’t matter because of 1.
  • Demand is exogenous, but government spending can add to that 
Using a mathematical model with all eyes crossed and all teas dotted to then arrive at this conclusion really is a waste of time. How do we fix this? 
I have published the so-called IS/MY model to show what could be done to improve on the shortcomings of the IS/LM model (working paper version here). First of all, the main idea is that expenditure equals spending in equilibrium. Then, net deposits (money) are created through three mechanisms that rely on the same balance sheet trick. A rise in net debt leads to a rise in deposits for each of the three sectors: private, public and external. The monetary circuit works well as long as the amount of deposits is increasing (given velocity, and ignoring complications of what is money)....
The IS/LM model was not perfect, and never will be. Any alternative will face the same fate. However, it would be nice for the macroeconomist to have something small and “unbreakable” that works on the back of an envelope. The IS/MY model is based on (BoP) accounting relations and assume only that consumption and imports depend on income. Most economists should be able to live with these assumptions. What is left to the economist is to speculate about the quantity of investment, government spending and exports. These will, using the vocabulary of Wynne Godley, determine the fiscal and trade stance and allow discussions of sustainability of macroeconomic regimes.
econoblog 101
Krugman on Unreal Keynesians (IS/LM again)
Dirk Ehnts | Berlin School for Economics and Law

Brad DeLong — Why the Hegemony of the New Keynesian Model?

Brad DeLong questions the reasoning behind the choice of DSGE modeling as the policy tool for central banks. Inquiring minds would like to know.

WCEG — The Equitablog
Why the Hegemony of the New Keynesian Model?Brad DeLong | Professor Economics, UCAL Berkeley


Important economic history lesson.

Project Syndicate
The Monetarist Mistake
Brad DeLong
The result was a host of policies based not on evidence, but on inadequately examined ideas. And we are still paying the price for that intellectual failure today.
Could ideological bias have had anything to do with it?
The dominance of Friedman’s ideas at the beginning of the Great Recession has less to do with the evidence supporting them than with the fact that the science of economics is all too often tainted by politics. In this case, the contamination was so bad that policymakers were unwilling to go beyond Friedman and apply Keynesian and Minskyite policies on a large enough scale to address the problems that the Great Recession presented.
Admitting that the monetarist cure was inadequate would have required mainstream economists to swim against the neoliberal currents of our age. It would have required acknowledging that the causes of the Great Depression ran much deeper than a technocratic failure to manage the money supply properly. And doing that would have been tantamount to admitting the merits of social democracy and recognizing that the failure of markets can sometimes be a greater danger than the inefficiency of governments.
The result was a host of policies based not on evidence, but on inadequately examined ideas. And we are still paying the price for that intellectual failure today.
Philip Mirowsi has documented how neoliberalism rose to power at this time, for example, in The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (2009) and has managed to stay in power in Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown (2013).

Warren Mosler — Credit check, Fed check

What is the Fed thinking? Seems be that they've held interest rates down "too long." What's the criterion for "too long." Warren investigates some charts.

The Center of the Universe
Credit check, Fed check
Warren Mosler

Ramanan — Disappointing Start, Mr. Bernanke

Keynes v. Wicksell. Ben sides with Knut instead of Maynard.

Brief articulation of Wicksell's natural rate of interest and Keynes's realization that there is a natural rate of interest for every level of employment. There is therefore no necessity for equilibrium at full employment "in the long run" based on a Wicksellian "natural rate." 

Multiple equilibria at less than full employment are both possible theoretically and probable based on history. No liquidity traps required. Chronic unemployment is a bug in the system that can be squashed using fiscal policy.

The Case for Concerted Action
Disappointing Start, Mr. Bernanke

Bill Mitchell — ECB should start funding government infrastructure and cash handouts

I was a signatory to a letter published in the Financial Times on Thursday (March 26, 2015) – Better ways to boost eurozone economy and employment – which called for a major fiscal stimulus from the European Central Bank (given it is the only body in the Eurozone that can introduce such a stimulus). The fiscal stimulus would take the form of a cash injection using the ECB’s currency monopoly powers. A co-signatory was Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor, Warwick University, renowned Keynesian historian and Keynes’ biographer. Amazingly, Skidelsky wrote an article in the UK Guardian two days before the FT Letter was published (March 24, 2015) – Fiscal virtue and fiscal vice – macroeconomics at a crossroads– which would appear to contradict the policy proposal we advocated in the FT Letter. The Guardian article is surrender-monkey territory and I disagree with most of it. It puts the progressive case on the back foot. What the hell is going on?
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Frank W. Elwell — Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory

25 slide presentation of Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory by Frank W. Elwell,  author of Macrosociology: Four Modern Theorists. Wallerstein was a student of C. Wright Mills, Professor of sociology at Columbia University and author of The Power Elite.

Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory is power-based. It deals with flows of people, information, resources, products, and wealth in a world-system that is social(institutional), political (power-based) and economic (distributive). It is a Marxian analysis that sees the ultimate outcome of the world game being socialism after the breakdown of capitalism owing to its internal contradictions.

If you are are not familiar with Wallerstein, this is a good introduction to his thinking.

Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory 
Frank W. Elwell, Professor of Sociology at Murray State University,
ht Jan Milch

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Noah Smith — A misguided attack on Land Value Taxes

Noah doubles down on the LTV after his Bloomberg View post generated some critical response.

Henry George rules. Take that John Bates Clark.
John Bates Clark (January 26, 1847 – March 21, 1938) was an American neoclassical economist. He was one of the pioneers of the marginalist revolution and opponent to the Institutionalist school of economics....
In 1888 Clark wrote Capital and Its Earnings. Frank A. Fetter later reflected on Bates' motivation for writing this work:
"The probable source from which immediate stimulation came to Clark was the contemporary single tax discussion. ... Events were just at that time crowding each other fast in the single tax propaganda. [ Henry George's ] Progress and Poverty... had a larger sale than any other book ever written by an American. ... No other economic subject at the time was comparable in importance in the public eye with the doctrine of Progress and Poverty. Capital and its Earnings "... wears the mien of pure theory .... But ... one can hardly fail to see on almost every page the reflections of the contemporary single-tax discussion. In the brief preface is expressed the hope that 'it may be found that these principles settle questions of agrarian socialism.' Repeatedly the discussion turns to 'the capital that vests itself in land,'...[6]"
Tax away the land rent.

A misguided attack on Land Value Taxes
Noah Smith | Assistant Professor of Finance, Stony Brook University

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya — The Geopolitics behind the War in Yemen (I)

The strategic equation in the Middle East began to shift as it became clear that Iran was becoming central to its security architecture and stability. The House of Saud and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to whimper and complain that Iran was in control of four regional capitals—Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana — and that something had to be done to stop Iranian expansion. As a result of the new strategic equation, the Israelis and the House of Saud became perfectly strategically aligned with the objective of neutralizing Iran and its regional allies....
While the House of Saud has long considered Yemen a subordinate province of some sorts and as a part of Riyadh’s sphere of influence, the US wants to make sure that it could control the Bab Al-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands. The Bab Al-Mandeb it is an important strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and energy shipments that connects the Persian Gulf via the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. It is just as important as the Suez Canal for the maritime shipping lanes and trade between Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Israel was also concerned, because control of Yemen could cut off Israel’s access to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and prevent its submarines from easily deploying to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran. This is why control of Yemen was actually one of Netanyahu’s talking points on Capitol Hill when he spoke to the US Congress about Iran on March 3 in what the New York Times of all publications billed as «Mr. Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress» on March 4.
Saudi Arabia was visibly afraid that Yemen could become formally aligned to Iran and that the events there could result in new rebellions in the Arabian Peninsula against the House of Saud. The US was just as much concerned about this too, but was also thinking in terms of global rivalries. Preventing Iran, Russia, or China from having a strategic foothold in Yemen, as a means of preventing other powers from overlooking the Gulf of Aden and positioning themselves at the Bab Al-Mandeb, was a major US concern.
Added to the geopolitical importance of Yemen in overseeing strategic maritime corridors is its military’s missile arsenal. Yemen’s missiles could hit any ships in the Gulf of Aden or Bab Al-Mandeb. In this regard, the Saudi attack on Yemen’s strategic missile depots serves both US and Israeli interests. The aim is not only to prevent them from being used to retaliate against exertions of Saudi military force, but to also prevent them from being available to a Yemeni government aligned to either Iran, Russia, or China....
Turkey would announce its support for the war in Yemen too. On the day the war was launched, Turkey’s Erdogan claimed that Iran was trying to dominate the region and that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC were getting annoyed.
During these events, Egypt’s Sisi stated that the security of Cairo and the security of Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are one. In fact, Egypt said that it would not get involved in a war in Yemen on March 25, but the next day Cairo joined Saudi Arabia in Riyadh’s attack on Yemen by sending its jets and ships to Yemen.
In the same vein, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif released a statement on March 26 that any threat to Saudi Arabia would «evoke a strong response» from Pakistan. The message was tacitly directed towards Iran....
The US is also involved and leading from behind or a distance. While it works to strike a deal with Iran, it also wants to maintain an alliance against Tehran using the Saudis. The Pentagon would provide what it called «intelligence and logistical support» to House of Saud. Make no mistakes about it: the war on Yemen is also Washington’s war. The GCC has been on unleashed on Yemen by the US...
Strategic Culture Foundation Online Journal
The Geopolitics behind the War in Yemen (I)
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Bill Curry — What would Paul Krugman do: Imagining the plan which defeats the ultra-rich

America now chooses between two radically opposed paths. One leads to a final consolidation of wealth and power by the oligarchs of global capital; the other to a just distribution of prosperity and opportunity. One leads to the ultimate corruption of our democracy; the other to civic revitalization. One direction heads toward the absolute depletion of natural resources, ceaseless global conflicts and a likely environmental catastrophe; the other to economic and environmental sustainability and the possibility of peace.
What is extraordinary about this choice is its starkness, of course, but also that in a democratic society we are making it without benefit of an informed, full-throated debate. This is a debate Occupy was unwilling — and perhaps unable — to bring and that Democrats seem unable to grasp, at least not fully. The choice it frames is not as simple as that between Democrats and Republicans, or even progressives and reactionaries. It’s a choice between a status quo we know all too well and a future we’ve only begun to imagine; between an all devouring yet lifeless leviathan bent on a single goal and its opposite; a political economy that prizes pluralism and human scaled enterprise; that upholds a higher ethics and seeks our moral as well as material wellbeing.
Progressives must do what Occupy and the Democrats did not: conceive a new political agenda for a new political economy.....
Amen, but here on it's downhill. Curry doesn't confront the fundamental issue. The founding fathers established a bourgeois liberal government designed to be governed by the ownership class. There is no fix within those rules and the institutions that have developed from their application, since any viable alternative to the status quo and its logical extension is ruled out. And this is even before the more pragmatic issues of entrenched wealth and power. Moreover, the prevailing economic paradigm supports this.

What would Paul Krugman do: Imagining the plan which defeats the ultra-rich
Bill Curry, White House counselor to President Clinton

No, Elizabeth Warren is not going to replace Harry Reid as Senate minority leader, and neither is Bernie Sanders or any other progressive.

Chuck Schumer—Friend Of Wall Street and War—Ready to Be Anointed Head of the Senate Democrats
Zaid Jilani / AlterNet

Thalif Deen — Nuclear Threat Escalating Beyond Political Rhetoric

Just a reminder.

Nuclear Threat Escalating Beyond Political Rhetoric
Thalif Deen

Amitai Etzioni — Mearsheimer’s War With China

Amitai Etzioni on John J. Mearsheimer on the US, China, geopolitics and geostrategy. Important owing to the stature of Mearsheimer and Etzioni, who represent opposing views.

The Diplomat
Mearsheimer’s War With China
Amitai Etzioni | Professor of International Relations and a University Professor at The George Washington University

Steve M. — America's Oligarchs Want It All, And They Want It Now

Oligarchic "democracy" and the 2016 presidential. Picking the "right" candidate (pun intended). Plutocracy going for full plutonomy.

Crooks and Liars
America's Oligarchs Want It All, And They Want It Now
Steve M.

Read with the above for the associated relevance of the clandestine services and the deep state in influencing democracy.

Skip down to Valentine's interview of Kiriakou.

A Conversation With CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou
Douglas Valentine

Significantly, the authors of both articles don't see democracy in the US anytime soon. Vested interests are too powerful and the deep state is too entrenched.

Sandwichman — Is the Economic System Self-Adjusting?

Keynes contra Krugman. (Nice Keynes quote you may want to file.)

Is the Economic System Self-Adjusting?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Xinhua — Urgent: Australia has decided to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: PM

Australia has decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which would allow Australia to become a founding member of the bank, said a statement released by Prime Minister Tony Abbott Sunday morning.
In the carefully worded statement, Abbott said the signing of the MOU will enable Australia "to participate as a prospective founding member in the negotiation of setting up the bank."
"The Government has discussed the AIIB extensively with China and other key partners inside and outside the region," the statement said.
Urgent: Australia has decided to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: PM

Et tu, Tony?

Zero Hedge
US Attacks "Closest Ally" UK For "Constant Accommodation" With China (3/13/15)

Szu Ping Chan — Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO

The political direction shows that the EZ can't just hang out where it is forever. The anti-euro parties are growing in strength and will be increasingly disruptive, threatening the existence of the currency union.

Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO
Szu Ping Chan

Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright — Alternatives To Capitalism: Proposals For A Democratic Economy

New Left Project’s new e-book, Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy, is now available for download. 
In it the leading radical thinkers Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright take on the crucial but all-too neglected question: what kind of society should we be fighting for instead of capitalism?
Hahnel favours ‘participatory economics’. Wright advocates ‘real utopian socialism’. 
Alternatives to Capitalism puts these practical proposals through their paces in an in-depth, frank and extremely instructive debate about the central question of our time.
Download the book for kindle, free.
Buy the book on Amazon.
More at the link.
"Poverty, exploitation, instability, hierarchy, subordination, environmental exhaustion, radical inequalities of wealth and power — it is not difficult to list capitalism's myriad injustices. But is there a preferable and workable alternative? What would a viable free and democratic free society look like? Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy presents a debate between two such possibilities: Robin Hahnel's "participatory economics" and Erik Olin Wright's "real utopian " socialism. It is a detailed and at times technical discussion that rewards careful engagement. Those who put the effort in will, we hope, find that it illuminates a range of issues and dilemmas of crucial importance to any serious effort to build a better world...." — Ed Lewis, Introduction
New Left Project
Alternatives To Capitalism: Proposals For A Democratic Economy
Robin Hahnel, Professor of Economics (Emeritus), American University, and Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin

Chuck Spinney — The Folly of Machine Warfare

Military analysts Chuck Spinney reviews Andrew Cockburn's Kill Chain. Technological warfare is not all that it's cracked up to be.

The Folly of Machine Warfare
Franklin C. Spinney, former Pentagon military analyst

Ben Norton — Koch-Funded Economist Wants “Less Democracy”

Dr. Garett Jones is wary of democracy. He is Associate Professor of Economics and BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center, “the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas,” at George Mason University, you see. He wants “less democracy.” He, like so many of his academic colleagues, writes scholarly articles in prestigious economics journals, extolling the virtues of moralless, unmitigated greed and absolute plutocratic tyranny. And it just so happens that that inconvenient “democracy” thing is an “inefficient” burden on the path toward a society based on these principles.
In “10% Less Democracy: How Less Voting Could Mean Better Governance,” a 24 February 2015 presentation at George Mason University’s Center for Study of Public Choice, Jones bemoans the “anti-market bias” inherent in democracy. He laments that protectionism is “encouraged by voters,” and that, “around the world, looming elections mean less labor market liberalization.” Jones also is distraught that elected electricity commissioners “shift costs to the … industrial sector.” The burden should always be on the worker, naturally.
A good macroeconomist maintains “skepticism toward maximum democracy,” the professor says, as “less democratic monetary policy” leads to “lower, more stable inflation, with no apparent change in the unemployment rate or real GDP growth.” He cites Alan Blinder, a former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Princeton professor of economics who served on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, who candidly admits that “events since 1997 have pushed me more and more toward the conclusion that society would indeed be better off if politicians confined themselves to broad decisions about tax policy and left the details to a group of technocrats analogous to the Fed’s Board of Governors.” This is the kind of thing economists say to each other behind closed doors: Democracy is bad, and society would be much better if ruled under the silicon fist of a technocratic oligarchy.....

TASS — Russia begins recovering from the 'Dutch disease' — Finance Minister Siluanov

Russia's economy is not as heavily dependent on energy exports as is widely believed, and sanctions have resulted in a speedup in restructuring. This is a step that Russia needed to take, just as China needs to develop its domestic economy and is now doing. But Russia is a resource-rich country, and it will provide resources to both Europe and China for a long time to come, especially with the development of high-speed rail across Eurasia ("heartland" of "the world island: Makinder), linking the Atlantic and Pacific.
"The investments that previously went to the oil industry, are now beginning to decline. And the capital will be directed to other, non-oil industries," Siluanov said. According to him, agriculture is currently receiving significant investments, as well as import substitution industry. "And it is a right thing. This is the main motive of all the changes that are taking place, and we support it as a part of anti-crisis plan," the Minister said.
Russia begins recovering from the 'Dutch disease' — Finance Minister Siluanov

Sputnik — Russia's National Payment System to Mass-Produce Cards in December

Russia continues to minimize financial dependence on the West while also retaining integration.

Russia's National Payment System to Mass-Produce Cards in December

Sputnik International — Estonian Sports Hero Condemning Fascism Told to Go Read Works of Hitler

The Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), embroiled in a scandal earlier this month involving a recently elected parliamentarian's comments about the "many positive nuances" of fascism, was hit again on Saturday in an op-ed by a famous party member and national sports champion who said that he had once been told that he was just another "illiterate athlete who must first go to the nearest library and read the works of Hitler."
Earlier this month, the EKRE was hit by scandal following local media's discovery of an old blog post by recently elected MP Jaak Madison, who noted in 2012 that he saw "fascism as an ideology that consists of many positive nuances necessary for preserving the nation-state." The young politician also noted that while "it's true that there were concentration camps, forced labor camps, and a fondness for the use of gas chambers, at the same time, [the Nazis'] 'iron-fisted' rule did bring Germany out of deep trouble as the development initially based on military industry growth made the country one of the most powerful in Europe in just a few years."....
What with the rising popularity of Stalin in Russia and Hitlers in Europe? The answer is pretty simple, although obviously different parties have divergent views that complicated a full answer. The quick takeaway, however, is that in parlous times many people look to a strong leader and more authoritarian state to assuage rising fear. While this phenomenon is usually explained by rising nationalism and based on exceptionalism, which is true to a degree, the overwhelming factor seems to me to be a reaction to events called forth by a broad perception of threat. While Stalin and Hitler are generally thought of in terms of their authoritarian excesses, they are also remembered by some for their leadership qualities based on projection of power.

This is also playing out in a similar fashion post 9/11, where the US has adopted a form of politics that has become increasingly illiberal and authoritarian, suspending constitutional liberties indefinitely based on an endless "war on terror," as well as adopting a "unitary executive" doctrine, which is a euphemism for dictatorship. The increasing militarization of domestic security and increasing heavy-handed ness on its part are also symptomatic. The overwhelming domestic and international strategy of the US now is projection of power. And its bipartisan although the GOP is more hard line and vociferous about it. The irony of this on the part of the US is that it is purportedly in defense of liberalism.

The worrisome thing is that a resurgence of authoritarianism can be a harbinger of impending war.

Sputnik International
Estonian Sports Hero Condemning Fascism Told to Go Read Works of Hitler

This study reported in the following article supports the view that Putin's recent rise in popularity is due to his exhibiting strong leadership in strengthening Russia. He is faulted, apparently since the question was not put directly, for not reining the oligarchs that arose in the Yeltsin liberal period enough. Russians perceive the liberal period as a disaster for Russia and for most of them, and there is little possibility of Russia returning to that type of regime any time soon. My sense is that US strategists realize this and have concluded that the next best tactic is to destabilize the Russian Federation and its near abroad and tie it down with border issues.

Russians' Attitudes Toward Putin Are Changing, And Not How You Might Think

Don Quijones — Marriage Made in Corporatist Heaven Slams into Resistance [TTIP]

Status update on TTIP.

Wolf Street
Marriage Made in Corporatist Heaven Slams into Resistance
Don Quijones

James provided the link below in a comment on another post.

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability
Jeronim Capaldo
October 2014

Noah Smith — Piketty's Three Big Mistakes

Noah Smith is a Georgist! Who knew?

Bloomberg View
Piketty's Three Big Mistakes
Noah Smith | Assistant Professor of Finance, Stony Brook University

Brad DeLong — People Claiming That Even John Maynard Keynes Is No True Keynesian!

Brad DeLong takes on JW Mason and Lars Syll.
Oh, this is going to be fun!
Grasping Reality
People Claiming That Even John Maynard Keynes Is No True Keynesian!
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Trond Andresen and Robert W. Parenteau — A detailed program proposal for creating a parallel currency in Greece

Alternative proposal from an MMT POV, based on Tax Anticipation Notes (TAN).

Real-World Economics Review Blog
A detailed program proposal for creating a parallel currency in Greece
Trond Andresen, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Engineering Cybernetics, Trondheim, Norway, and Robert W. Parenteau, MacroStrategy Edge California

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekend Reading

Covers a lot of historical ground.

Consortium News
Neocons: the Echo of German Fascism
Todd E. Pierce

What Berdyaev, Solovyev, and Ilyin actually said.

Distorting Putin’s Favorite Philosophers
Paul R. Grenier

YoY DTS Top level Comparison thru 19 March...

YoY top-level comparison chart below... ahead of last March by about $21B at this point.

Very supportive on a YoY month basis.  Not quite as bullish a picture on a full YoY basis.

Flows remain robust this month even though  we are operating at the "debt ceiling" and our morons are using their "extraordinary measures" of "borrowing" from the Federal Employees Retirement System (to the satisfaction of their own deranged minds) in order to maintain spending flows.

John T. Harvey — Why We Cannot Afford The Republican Budget

Early this morning, the Senate approved a Republican-authored budget that features deep cuts in spending, no new taxes, and hopes of a balanced budget within the next decade. However, not only could their plan never achieve what they hope, it would be an absolute economic catastrophe. Let’s hope it never sees the light of day. 
The level of ignorance regarding federal government budgeting is horrifying. I don’t just mean among lay people or the general public, but right up the both houses of Congress and the White House-–you know, the people who actually make the decisions. Nor is it limited to one party. While the Republicans have been far more rabid about it, the 
Democrats, too, are anxious to see the day when the budget deficit is not only smaller, but eliminated entirely. Best of all, they say, we might even reach the point of having surpluses that can cut into our massive national debt. While they may prioritize these goals differently, it appears that just about every single politician in Washington shares these sentiments. 
God help us.....
Taking the moron fest to task.

Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
Why We Cannot Afford The Republican Budget
John T. Harvey | Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University

Mark Adomanis — Russian Support For Democracy Just Hit The Lowest Level In More Than 20 Years

The invaluable Levada Center, Russia’s only genuinely independent polling agency, regularly conducts a survey about Russians’ attitudes towards the government, the economy, and the proper relationship between the state and its citizens. The 2015 results were just released, and it makes for rather depressing reading [to Western liberals].
Basically, right across the board, Russians have become substantially more statist and nationalist in their views.....
It should seem obvious, but you need to pay attention to what the Russian public thinks. It might be nice to assume that it wants exactly the same things that we do, but all of the evidence suggests that this isn’t true.
Turns out that most Russians are very conservative rather than liberal. The odds of a liberal regime coming to power are very low.

Russian Support For Democracy Just Hit The Lowest Level In More Than 20 Years
Mark Adomanis, Contributor

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