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Right wing radicals are winning the battle for monetary policy and progressives aren't even paying attention. This is for three reasons: (1) progressives don't realize how important monetary policy is, (2) progressives don't understand how the Federal Reserve works and what it's responsibilities are, and (3) progressives don't realize how undemocratic the current regime is.

Right wing radicals (I refuse to call them 'conservatives') understand all three issues and have mobilized to push monetary policy in regressive direction. Below the jump, I want to begin to talk about the politics of monetary policy to foster progressive understanding and direction. This necessarily needs to be a collaborative and grassroots effort.


First, let's define monetary policy and contrast it with fiscal policy. Monetary policy is a society's attempt to control the supply of money in its economy. There are various ways that a nation can execute its monetary policy - in the modern world we do this through central banks established, in part, by national governments. There are various goals, official and unofficial, that can motivate monetary policy, but it generally centers on economic growth and price stability. Moreover, monetary authorities (central banks) have various methods at their disposal to manipulate the supply of money.

Fiscal policy is the government's budget. It can be thought of simply as budgetary policy, but  the term "Fiscal Policy" is used to refer to the intended macroeconomic impact of the mix of government taxation, spending, and borrowing.

The most important difference between monetary and fiscal policy is this: whereas fiscal policy is under the control of legislators directly answerable to the electorate, monetary policy is under the control of appointed bankers, business leaders, and academics only indirectly answerable to ... well, anyone. In fact, the ideology underpinning central bank "independence" is a direct affront to electoral democracy.

So why is this important? Why should we care about monetary policy? Because there are primarily two ways a government can influence it's economy: Monetary policy and fiscal policy - and there are compelling arguments that monetary policy can be more important than fiscal policy in influencing economic conditions. And, again, the monetary policy-makers are almost immune from the democratic process.


Currently, the Federal Reserve (the central banking system of the U.S.)  has explicitly decided that the potential threat of inflation rising above 2% trumps the existing threat of persistent high unemployment and has fashioned it's policies accordingly. Who wins? Creditors - essentially banks and other financial institutions. Who loses? Debtors, wage earners, and the unemployed.

When Republicans (and occasionally Democrats) in Congress advocate policies that favor the rich over everyone else - progressives are ready and able to oppose them. This might run against popular sentiment, but progressives have been largely successful and holding the line against right wing fiscal policy. Go on any right wing website or blog and you'll see how frustrated regressive activists are with their Republican legislators. Of course, we don't have a progressive budget - but my point is that we have effectively blunted regressive policy goals, resulting in a frustratingly mediocre status quo. But think of how much progressive effort it has taken just to "accomplish" a not-radical budget.

This is not so with monetary policy. The Federal Reserve has been executing the monetary policy equivalent of the Paul Ryan Budget with little push back from the progressive community. What's even more distressing, most of the resistance to Federal Reserve policy has come from the extreme right wing! (Incredibly, they think inflation is too high)

This silence must end now. The economy CAN grow, it can create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and it can grow immediately. The only downside is 3-4% inflation. To NOT demand a dramatic reversal of monetary policy would be political malpractice on the part of progressives.

I highly recommend any progressives read the following, because, sadly, the DailyKos' main page has almost nothing to say about monetary policy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this is a much bigger issue (0+ / 0-)

    than campaign finance reform. it's not very sexy to other liberals though - unfortunate that they seem to focus on the petty stuff rather than the meat and potatos of monetary policy.

    In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

    by rcnewton on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:45:30 AM PDT

  •  Hilarious (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    let me get this straight:  Progressives are morans and you are a genius who will tell Progressives what they don't know.

    Thanks for the guffaw.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:47:49 AM PDT

  •  Because Rightwingers are So Much More Educated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and intelligent than progressives?

    I vote it's the billionaires. There are scores of them fighting to make the US economically rightwing, but not one billionaire on earth fighting to make the US economically progressive.

    After all, progressives know how economically important single-payer health insurance and breaking up & punishing the big financial institutions' misdeeds are, but despite considerable progressive messaging and pressuring we got a serious try for neither when we had majority in both elected branches.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:56:59 AM PDT

    •  but where's the messaging on monetary policy (0+ / 0-)

      i'm not disputing there is progressive messaging on health care or financial regulation - quite the opposite. My point is, since monetary policy is at least as important as those issues - where is the progressive anger at pro-banker monetary policy?

  •  Just Call Them Lunatics (0+ / 0-)
    Right wing radicals (I refuse to call them 'conservatives')
    Radicals have an honorable tradition - like the founders of the country for instance.

    "Lunatics" is quite understandable by even themselves.

    The Democrats are by and large the only conservatives today.

    Thank you for bringing up monetary policy which went completely haywire under Carter's weird governance.

    I have doubts about the supremacy of monetary policy since it became a religion under Reagan [debt doesn't matter except that it's sinful and therefore most enjoyable] but your point is taken.

    Best,  Terry

  •  Obama is in charge. We don't need to be critical. (0+ / 0-)

    He's the adult in the room we voted for, we don't have to worry about a thing.

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:25:49 PM PDT

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