Robert Reich: The 7 Biggest Economic Lies

Best video I saw today. H/t Huffington Post.

I would add another lie to the list, the Faux News-worthy idea that raising the federal minimum wage to keep up with inflation will cause unemployment. Wrong. Wall Street financiers crashing our economy causes unemployment.

  1. #1 by cav on August 15, 2013 - 10:44 am

    I likes me some ‘baby-talk’ versions of the all to often overly complex issues, but why stop at 7? He could have gone to 77 and still not gotten to Public Private Partnershipping.

  2. #2 by brewski on August 15, 2013 - 11:26 am

    1. Robert Reich is not an economist. He had no degree in economics. He is not an expert in this.
    2. Most of what he calls as lies are paper tigers or misrepresentations of what he says he is refuting.
    3. He’s just dead wrong on some of them.

    • #3 by Richard Warnick on August 15, 2013 - 1:27 pm

      Robert Reich is up against the catfooders Bowles and Simpson (aka B-S). They are not economists either, so I suppose it’s a fair fight. Despite all the facts, B-S are STILL intent on using the deficit as an excuse to cut the social safety net in the midst of a bad economy.

      Where is Reich “dead wrong”?

  3. #4 by brewski on August 15, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    You have quotes from B-S saying the things that Reich pretends to refute?

    It is an interesting methodology to refute something by quoting a non-expert. I guess I’ll ask my daughter’s 3rd grade teacher about my pancreas.

    The main point where he is dead wrong is this accounting fiction that Social Security assets and liabilities are somehow not part of the Federal government.

    “I’m actually pretty sympathetic to arguments against trust fund accounting, because I a) think the trust funds confuse people, and b) think that they cramp our options for funding Social Security. At the end of the day, there is one federal government. It raises a certain amount of money, engages in a certain amount of spending, and a dollar it uses for one purpose is a dollar that it cannot use for another purpose. When I talk about Social Security and Medicare, I often get e-mails from liberals saying these programs are self-financed and they don’t have any relationship to the deficit. That’s true in the sense that they are not increasing deficits now, but it’s untrue in the sense that they are projected to vastly increase deficits later. When their revenues stop meeting their expenses, in other words, they will begin increasing the deficit. They are not separate in any serious way.”

    – Ezra Klein

    So Reich’s assertion that the fake Trust Fund is fine is to pretend that somehow the Trust Fund is not part of the Federal government. It would be like saying your heart is fine buy you’re going to die.

    There are only four ways that the Federal government can pay its future SS obligations:
    1. Tax more
    2. Spend less on other things
    3. Print money
    4. Borrow more from someone else

    That’s it.

  4. #6 by Richard Warnick on August 15, 2013 - 3:48 pm

    Did You Know the Deficit Is Shrinking? Most Americans Don’t, Thanks to Shameless Deficit Hawk Propaganda

    The deficit is down 37.6 percent for the first 10 months of 2013. But half of Americans think it’s growing.

    It’s true, Social Security MIGHT add to the deficits IF the very pessimistic economic assumptions of the people who want to get rid of Social Security come true, in the future. Social Security will make every scheduled payment through 2033, however.

    There is no crisis, certainly not compared to the job and income deficit the American middle class is experiencing NOW.

  5. #7 by brewski on August 15, 2013 - 4:01 pm

    “Social Security will make every scheduled payment through 2033, however.”

    1. Where will the money come from before 2033?

    2. Why is 2034 not important to you?

    • #8 by Richard Warnick on August 16, 2013 - 9:27 am

      Priorities. Americans need jobs NOW, so they can pay into Social Security. Duh.

  6. #9 by cav on August 15, 2013 - 4:56 pm

    You can only go so deep into the forest before you begin coming out the other side. So it is with ‘The Deficits’

  7. #10 by cav on August 15, 2013 - 5:03 pm

    …”a dollar it uses for one purpose is a dollar that it cannot use for another purpose.”

    Why then do they allow ‘the banks’ to leverage their one dollar by a factor of (your multiplier may vary)?

    Is it because there’s a different set of rules for the banks than for ‘Our’ government? I thought so.

    I’ve always been welcoming of our forthright and honest bankster overlords. It’s in the records.

    • #11 by brewski on August 15, 2013 - 7:03 pm

      Because the banks ARE the government.

  8. #12 by cav on August 15, 2013 - 8:26 pm

    Forgive my imprecision. Will a beverage be accompanying that, or shall we just call it even?

    • #13 by brewski on August 16, 2013 - 7:26 am

      Why would we be even?

  9. #14 by Richard Warnick on August 16, 2013 - 10:37 am

    Fox Hypes Fear-Inducing $70 Trillion “Debt” Figure

    But if you put that number in context, turns out it’s just 1.5 percent of GDP. So much for scare tactics.

  10. #15 by brewski on August 16, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    Golly, who knew that liabilities are not actually liabilities since we can renege on them at any time? So I guess that means that Media Matters wants to renege on our SS and Medicare liabilities.

    What a fucking joke. Media Matters is the laughing stock of all faux “sources”. They make Glenn Back look like Walter Cronkite.

  11. #16 by cav on August 16, 2013 - 7:09 pm

    Can’t / are not Liabilities sometimes bundled up into some sort of CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligation), sold on the open market utilizing their specific leveraging multiplier, and used to finance various infrastructure projects, world wide, even possibly in SLC?

    Serious question.

    • #17 by brewski on August 17, 2013 - 11:47 pm

      A liability of one party is an asset to another party. So there is the debtor and the creditor. So the creditor who bundles loans and sells them is not bundling their liabilities, they are bundling their assets.

      So the US government can’t bundle its liabilities and sell them off and make them disappear. But holders of those same liabilities (which are assets to them) could bundle them and sell them to someone else. But that does not change that they are still owed by the US government.

      So it is true that the US government really does have $80 Trillion in liabilities and the only way to get rid of any of them is to renege on them, which Media Matters is suggesting we do.

      • #18 by cav on August 18, 2013 - 8:24 am

        Well, when you take away assets, there would certainly be a somewhat smaller deficit. A stack of particularly valued, say $1 Trillion, platinum coins should take care of that.

  12. #19 by cav on August 18, 2013 - 1:15 am

    Thanks for providing your informed take on my question.

    Still, it almost seems to me that – given the ultimate flexibility of the monetary system – we are only a small step from rewriting the whole of it in a way that can be much more accommodating to the sustainability of the of our system. Of course, I’ll have to get back with you as I begin to figure it all out.

  13. #20 by cav on August 18, 2013 - 2:02 am

    Rethinking money : how new currencies turn scarcity into prosperity
    by Lietaer, Bernard A.

    Summary of my next read:

    “As the United States struggles and the economies of Europe stagger, we fail to see a way out of this agonizing cycle of repeated financial meltdowns. In fact, there are thousands of ways to solve not only our recurring fiscal crises but our ongoing social and ecological debacles as well. Solutions are already in place where terrible problems once existed. The changes came about not through increased conventional taxation, enlightened self-interest, or government programs but by people simply rethinking the concept of money. With this restructuring, everything changes. In this visionary book, Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne explore the origins of our current monetary system–built on bank debt and scarcity–revealing the surprising and sometimes shocking ways its unconscious limitations give rise to so many serious problems. But there is hope. The authors present stories of ordinary people and their communities using new money, working in cooperation with national currencies, to strengthen local economies, create work, beautify cities, and provide education–and so much more is possible. These real-world examples are just the tip of the iceberg–over 4,000 cooperative currencies are already in existence. The book provides remedies for challenges faced by governments, businesses, nonprofits, local communities, and even banks. It demystifies a complex and critically important topic and will strike a deep chord with readers eager to find innovative, meaningful solutions that will do far more than restore prosperity–it will provide the framework for an era of sustainable abundance.”

    • #21 by brewski on August 18, 2013 - 8:34 am

      Creating new cooperative currencies does not mean that any one entity (say our government, or anyone else for that matter) can make more promises than it has the ability to pay for. An obligation is still an obligation.

  14. #22 by cav on August 18, 2013 - 10:41 am

    How obligated are the citizens when ‘their’ government contrives debt for them in the dark of night, behind closed doors, lies about the reality, stamps it all ‘top secret’, then tells us, we and our progeny will have to be indentured servants for the duration?

    Sometimes I say to myself, ‘I ain’t buyin’. And that doesn’t mean I’m not a good citizen. I’m just not supportive of the kinds of manipulation that sometimes is shoved off on us. It’s criminality – let’s call it what it is.

    • #23 by brewski on August 18, 2013 - 8:25 pm

      The people are responsible for their own government. If their government is doing that, then it is the duty of the People to throw them out.

      Cav, you sound like a tea partier.

  15. #24 by cav on August 18, 2013 - 9:18 pm

    Until so much of the tea party became only a subsidiary of Koch Inc. I did feel as though there might be areas where progressives and tea folks shared a lot of values.

    Divide and conquer have been pretty effectively used to thwart those potential alliances.

    • #25 by brewski on August 18, 2013 - 10:39 pm

      The OWS and the tea party sentiments share a huge amount of common beliefs. The whole attempt to co-opt the tea party sentiment by others does not change at all the sentiment of those people. So with the attempt to co-opt or without the attempt to co-opt, the sentiments are the same. The story line of the Koch Bros or whomever was a narrative parroted by MSNBC to get you to take your eye off the ball of what the tea party sentiment was really about. If MSNBC had spent 1/100th the amount of time asking tea partiers what they really thought rather than running around a crowd of 100,000 people looking for a mis-spelled sign and looking for paid operatives, then you would have discovered that you share a lot of tea party concerns. But you never heard that story because MSNBC doesn’t want you to hear it.

  16. #26 by cav on August 18, 2013 - 11:35 pm

    Well that, and some commenters (who shall remain nameless) using ‘leftist’ as though it were somehow far far worse than ‘conservative’ on ethical, intellectual, well, practically every level.

    That may have been a chicken or egg sort of argument, dating back to when the ‘rightists’ held sway and we bad mouthed them because of their association with their ‘evil masters’, the derogation from all sides was palpable. But since we can hardly help ourselves, given our corporate media, our ranting was largely misplaced. I guess that’s what press secretaries, and the media are really about – loyal flack-catching and apologetics . And certainly not MSNBC alone (see Ann Coulter, etc).

  17. #27 by cav on August 19, 2013 - 9:04 am

    Somebody ought to work up a list of the 7 or so biggest lies applying to our political establishment.

    I mean, how can one president after another work themselves in to the trash bin of history without some very great mis-characterizations regarding what is really going on.

    I’m suggesting ‘they hate us for our freedom’ might be a little fuzzy on this score.

  18. #28 by brewski on August 19, 2013 - 9:34 am

    I’d be happy to discuss what is more ethical, intellectual, well, practically every level the relative far far worse-ness of leftists vs conservative. But first one needs to agree by what one means by leftist and conservative. Most of the descriptions I hear of conservatives are a cartoonish mis-representation of what conservativism is to most people.

    Having said that, I have lots of liberal sentiments. Growing up in Los Angeles it is pretty hard to not be pretty tolerant of all kinds of people and all kinds of lifestyles. In a place like that most people pretty much get along with everyone else and don’t worry about who they are. But one also sees what doesn’t work. One sees the corruption and cronyism of government, the oppression of small businesses, the mind-numbing control of monopoly schools. So you will have a pretty hard time convincing me that more regulation, more taxes, more government, less choice, etc. is ethical, intellectual, well, practically every level superior to greater sovereignty of the individual.

    The evidence is It doesn’t work. (See Detroit).

    • #29 by Richard Warnick on August 19, 2013 - 12:12 pm

      As a long-time conservative, IMHO a lot of the politicians calling themselves “conservative” now are in fact radical right-wing ideologues who have no respect for our Constitution. Or you could say, “a cartoonish mis-representation of what conservatism is.”

  19. #30 by cav on August 19, 2013 - 9:54 am

    More Jobs? (sorry, I’m short of time right now).

  20. #31 by cav on August 19, 2013 - 11:12 am

    Going back only as far as the election of 2010. Nutshelling:

    Lefties: Hey. we did something historic two years ago. cool…

    Thugs: HOLY SHIT, there’s a black guy in the white house! Somebody do something!!

  21. #32 by brewski on August 19, 2013 - 11:18 am

    Jobs? What jobs? If that were true then Detroit would be a gleaming city and Dallas would be empty. The evidence is that it is the other way around.

    Your nutshell is a cartoon.

  22. #33 by cav on August 19, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Cartoons aren’t wholly without meaning / value. (see this weeks Tom Tomorrow).

  23. #34 by brewski on August 19, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    So if criticism of Obama is not “wholly without meaning” then why do those who do criticize Obama get the “HOLY SHIT, there’s a black guy in the white house!” treatment?


    • #35 by Richard Warnick on August 19, 2013 - 12:15 pm

      Criticism is one thing, but claiming he has a Kenyan birth certificate is beyond nuts – or else “Kenyan” is a code word for something.

      • #36 by brewski on August 19, 2013 - 12:54 pm

        From a constitutional point of view, it does not matter if he was born in Kenya or not. His mother is a US citizen which makes him a natural born US citizen no matter where he was born. He was not naturalized. So I agree with you that that whole thing is bizarre.

        But you KNOW that lots of criticism of Obama has been called racist and is being called racist that has zero to do with the Kenyan thing. The racist card is used over and over again when it is not the case.

        “MSNBC’s Chris Matthews declared Wednesday that he’s “got to believe” opposition to President Obama is “ethnic in nature,” since the president has “never done anything wrong in his life — legally, ethically, whatever.”

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