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I read a lot of opinion pieces over Labor Day weekend about work, jobs and the economy, and I've been inspired by the fast food and retail workers who went on strike last week in more than 60 cities. It's gotten me thinking about how best to make every day Labor Day.

I know that for millions of Americans, the economy is horribly broken. To fix the economy so that it works for everyone, not just the richest 1%, I propose the following 3 policy solutions:

1. Raise the Minimum Wage.

This is a no-brainer. Passing the Harkin-Miller bill is the least we can do to make sure that people who work don't live in poverty. It would put more money in the hands of millions of working people, who will spend it and get the economy moving a bit more. I'd prefer an even higher minimum wage, closer to the $15 an hour that the fast food workers are asking for.

2. Fix our broken labor laws.

We don't have enough power at work--and that's because CEOs have rigged the rules in their favor. Only 6% of working people in the private sector are united in a union. The other 94% don't sit down with their employer to negotiate their wages and benefits. They have no contract, and are at-will employees. It's no wonder that wages are stagnant: it's up to the employers to give raises, and left to their own devices they simply won't share the wealth. The CEOs and other top executives make outrageous mulit-million dollar salaries, and the people who do most of the work struggle to get by.

Corporations can now easily squash any attempt by their employees to unite: firing the leaders who speak out, holding one-on-one meetings to intimidate workers, holding mandatory meetings with anti-union videos that try to brainwash people into believing that it's not in their interest to have a contract. There's no such thing as a fair union elections when the rules are set up to benefit the employer.

We need to change our labor laws to make it easier for people to join together and have a seat at the table where the decisions about pay and working conditions are made. This means big penalties, including jail time, for firing workers who are trying to form a union; majority sign-up that allows people to become members of a union by signing up instead of through an employer-dominated "election"; overturning Taft-Hartley; and even through incentives for companies that sit down and negotiate with their employees.

The fast food and retail workers just want to sit down with the CEOs of McDonald's and Wendy's and Walmart and negotiate a fair wage. We need new labor laws that will help them to do that.

3. Provide a basic income for all.

Tax the 1% and give everyone $12,000 a year ($1,000 a month) so that any income they receive from working would be in addition to that.

A basic income would provide people with a minimum amount of income to cover our most basic needs. While this mostly helps the very poor, it also changes the nature of work from an or-else, all-or-nothing enterprise where everyone is in competition for a limited amount of jobs, to a more open-ended situation where you can work as much or as little as you want without putting yourself and your family in poverty.

The biggest problem with work is that for the vast majority of the people on earth, it's the only way to get money to live. We need jobs so badly--but they don't need us. Or more precisely, the businesses and governments and non-profits that are the only ones that create jobs don't need us. They all have financial incentives to keep the number of jobs down and the amount they pay down and benefits down.

It sets up a horrible equation: we all need good jobs that pay a decent living, but there's never going to be enough good jobs because it's just not in the interest of business, gov't and non-profits to make enough of them.

We either need a rule where the government is required to create enough good jobs for everyone, or we change the rules so that jobs aren't the only way to get money. It would cost much more to create all of the jobs that are needed in this country than to simply give money directly to people. We should still have government create the good public sector jobs that are needed, but ultimately a basic income is less expensive than a full employment project.

If we tax the rich, big corporations, carbon pollution, Wall St. transactions, etc. and just give the money directly to the people, then we establish a source of income that's independent of jobs. We also stimulate the economy, which will lead to more jobs. Some people would be able to work less, which would also free up some jobs. Many people who work two or three jobs wouldn't have to anymore.

A basic income would provide people with poverty-level income while creating more jobs and more job-openings. While those paying the new taxes won't be happy about it, they would actually benefit because people would have more money to spend, which would make its way into their hands eventually. The money would Rise Up instead of Trickle Down.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

    by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:50:20 AM PDT

  •  Basic Income is a great idea whose time has (6+ / 0-)

    come.

    In fact, it's the best concept I've seen to balance out the increasing job destruction that is caused by the ever-increasing levels of automation/robotization.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:59:43 AM PDT

    •  Thanks Lawrence (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, katiec, Gorette, phonegery, HeyMikey

      There are a small group of academics and activists who support the basic income here in the US. They can be found at http://usbig.net. In Europe there is a bigger movement, with a big petition drive to get the basic income debates by the EU Parliament: http://basicincome2013.eu/.

      There is also a very good Facebook page that folks should Like: https://www.facebook.com/....

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

      by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:04:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Recently I heard that originally FDR was (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiseUpEconomics, Lawrence, HeyMikey

        considering or asking for this--guaranteed income-- before they got Social Security passed. Maybe it was his wonderful female econ guru, what's her name, Florence or Dorothy? Perkins .... oh my terrible memory!

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:39:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There was a big push in the 30s (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          phonegery, katiec, HeyMikey, Lawrence

          Social Security came out of a big push from both the Share our Wealth movement that Huey Long popularized and the Townsend groups that sprang up everywhere after this guy Francis Townsend ran a letter to the editor calling for an old-age pension fund for the elderly.

          "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

          by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:03:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There was also a huge call for the return of the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HeyMikey, Lawrence

            Lincoln Greenback.

            As a compromise, they got our current form of fiat currency.  And ever since, as Head of the Fed Merriner Eccles stated, "taxes are obsolete to fund fed gov spending".

            That's how FDR payed for his programs, and that's why people were thinking big:  a basic income made sense as the US would no longer be monetarily constrained in it's spending.  Thus, banks and crooks could no longer deprive the populace a social wage, ie, a wage for all the contributions people make to the economy and society that have not been formally monetized.

            Like gardening, singing, taking care of children and the elderly, etc....

            Providing a fiat currency for national settlement was one of FDR's greatest acts as Pres, yet people rarely talk about it.

            Just as Nixon taking the world off of the gold standard for international settlement is rarely talked about.

            However, fiat currency opens up the policy space to do big things, like the New Deal, etc....  It's a pretty big deal for the people of the 30's to have won a fiat national currency.

            •  Alternative to basic income: new WPA & CCC. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              katiec, qofdisks

              A basic income, regardless of its intrinsic merit, is a long way from being politically acceptable.

              But a new WPA & CCC might be politically acceptable.

              To the left: ensure everyone can support his or her family; rebuild infrastructure; build new green infrastructure (install solar panels, wind turbines, old-fashioned insulation, high-speed rail, etc.).

              To the right: (1) You claim work is important and has inherent dignity--so put your money where your mouth is. (2) If, as you claim, unemployment is because people don't want to work, then a new WPA & CCC will cost next to nothing--because next to nobody will take the offered jobs. So put up or shut up.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:12:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A guaranteed jobs program is a great idea. And (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HeyMikey, qofdisks, Lawrence

                while  it doesn't have to be advertised right off the bat, would be a good way to begin to recognize a wider variety of human activity as valuable.

                And, considering things like smart, nimble robots, how supply chains have changed such that meaningful, mass produced jobs are largely a thing of the past, etc....  we certainly need to recognize a wider range of work as, well, work.

                Examples:  in home child and elder care, gardening, being a student, etc....

              •  Jobs or Income? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                katiec, HeyMikey, qofdisks, Lawrence

                Seems like we need both: more good public sector jobs, and a basic income.

                All those good factory jobs that left the country, they were good because they came with good wages and benefits, which were won by workers taking collective action. But they were still boring jobs on an assembly line, doing the same monotonous thing over and over again for 40 hours a week.

                I'd like to see us re-work work, so that it's something we don't have to do for 40 hours a week. With a basic income as a foundation, you could work 20 hours a week, volunteer a few hours, write poetry or take a carpentry class, etc.

                There's more to life than working, and we all deserve the economic freedom and security that comes with having an independent source of income. A trust fund for the rest of us would be much better than 40 hour a week jobs for everyone.

                "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

                by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:28:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Agree: I like the idea of a basic income. But I (4+ / 0-)

                  also like the idea of expanding our notions of what work is.

                  Thus, as long as people are decent citizens, they'd be doing work under my definition of work -- working at being a citizen is good work in my book :)

                  •  All 3 are right. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RiseUpEconomics, katiec

                    One of the great things about the WPA was that it paid people with artistic talent to write, to take photos, to paint murals in public buildings, to record stories of people born in slavery and music of dying rural cultures, etc. This was not only good for the talented individuals and for the overall economy of their time, but left a great cultural legacy for future generations.

                    Sure would like to see more of that.

                    But as I said in another comment, I think we're a long way politically from being able to sell a guaranteed basic income. A guaranteed job program might be a bridge to a future guaranteed income.

                    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                    by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:02:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Agree. It's hard to imagine now that paying for (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      HeyMikey

                      public art had mass support, isn't it?

                      My own belief is that there was such support in large measure because people understood how our monetary system worked a lot better than we do today.

                      •  See my Krugman link in my other comment... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        katiec, RiseUpEconomics

                        ...it wasn't just the general public who understood better then. Economists understood better, too.

                        Amazing.

                        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                        by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 02:09:18 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, even Krugman talks in terms of saving for a (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          HeyMikey

                          rainy day when the economy is doing well.

                          Where do we store the infinite numerical system?  :)

                          There's a part of me that thinks K. illustrates the real difficulties of paradigm shifts.

                          And there's a part of me that thinks he actually fully gets it, but is covering his political ass.  If he were to state that the fed gov, as issuer of a fiat currency, is never rich or poor or saving for a rainy day, lots of people would think he's just loony.

                          Despite his flaws, I'm glad K. is around.

                          But Mosler should be president :)

                          •  My guess why... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            katiec
                            even Krugman talks in terms of saving for a rainy day when the economy is doing well.
                            (1) My guess is that he still has some worry about inflation. Infinite currency creation would lead to inflation UNLESS we do as you say and tax the excess dollars out of the economy. But there is so much political resistance to taxes that the ability to manage the money supply with them does not seem realistic any time soon.

                            (2) Krugman is probably assuming the framework of current law. As I understand it, the law does not give the Federal Reserve the ability to create money and fund the government. Congress could certainly pass a law to give the Fed that ability, but of course the political environment won't let that pass. There's the platinum coin option, which Obama apparently has the legal authority to execute--and which would essentially be the money-creation part of your plan. But that is still viewed as politically extreme, probably due to the inflation fear rooted in resistance to taxes.

                            More on the platinum coin: http://thinkprogress.org/...

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 05:35:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the links. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiseUpEconomics, katiec, HeyMikey

        I actually made a comment yesterday that proposed a some of the things you're proposing in this diary:

        Automation is a huge part of reshoring, as the cost of labor just isn't as important as it used to be because of this.

        It's also, because of the way in which our current system is structured, adding to the divide between poor and wealthy, as less high quality jobs are available and the gains in productivity increasingly go to the capital owners.

        This is actually a huge opportunity for all of us to work less and enjoy life more, but our system needs to strongly be adjusted.

        A good start would be to raise taxes on the very wealthy and couple that with a basic income.

        We had a good little discussion in the thread following the comment.  You should check it out.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:44:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Although the basic income idea should, I think, (0+ / 0-)

          stand on it's own merits.

          There's no reason to couple it with "confiscating" someone else's wealth to pay for it.

          Right or wrong, a lot of people would support some of these progressive ideas if they realized that they could be paid for without raising taxes on someone else.

          And --  they can be.

          Fiat currency:  Money created out of thin air.

          Thus, taxes don't fund fed gov spending.  Rather, the fed gov is self funding, and so can afford to buy anything at any time.

          •  Sometimes. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiseUpEconomics, katiec, qofdisks
            There's no reason to couple it with "confiscating" someone else's wealth to pay for it.

            Right or wrong, a lot of people would support some of these progressive ideas if they realized that they could be paid for without raising taxes on someone else.

            And --  they can be.

            Fiat currency:  Money created out of thin air.

            At the moment that is certainly true. That does not mean it will be true forever. Inflation can be a real problem, and not just for the rich. Of course we're a long way from having that problem now.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:06:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure inflation can be a problem: don't print past (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HeyMikey

              the point at which the economy is working at full capacity.

              Cuz then you get too many dollars chasing too few goods.

              And since, in this case, you need to remove excess dollars, not to fund the poor or the lazy, but to protect the national currency, then the question is:  "Where are the excess dollars that need to be removed?".

              The poor probably don't have excess dollars :)

  •  Waste, fraud and abuse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette

    We need to treat the situation where there are Americans who are able to work, willing to work, but unemployed as the worst form of waste, fraud and abuse.

    This problem just kills our GDP as well as our National Pursuit of Happiness Index.

    This needs to be approached with tax law changes like favoring service jobs over purchasing stuff dug up from the earth.   Can we make it more economical for business to use people instead of robots?  People instead of automated phone systems?

    Obviously there has to be a investment in infrastructure, etc.

    Thoughts?

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:04:11 AM PDT

    •  Robots are ok (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Gorette, HeyMikey, qofdisks

      When I lived in NY, the group I worked for held a protest because the phone company NYNEX was laying off 25,000 phone operators from their 411 system, replaced by the computers that answer 411 calls now. We protested because they were good middle class union jobs that you could raise a family on.

      But now when I think back on it, we should have been happy that human beings didn't have to answer each and every 411 call. Instead we should have figured out a way to make sure that NYNEX (now Verizon) shared the profits from their newfound productivity with their former workers.

      As technology improves and productivity increases, we need a system to--wait for it--share the wealth so that it doesn't just pool at the top for CEOs and hedge fund managers etc. to make out like bandits while we struggle to make a living in an economy that's still set up like it's the mid-20th Century when folks had the same job for 30 years and then retired.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

      by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:13:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes those were not great jobs...but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gorette, HeyMikey

        they were jobs.  Now those people are out of work and depressed.

        It is great to replace crappy jobs, but somehow we need to replace them with good jobs, but our economy is not set up to do that.

        The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

        by NCJim on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:16:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We need to change our concept of work and jobs (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey, qofdisks

          Right now work is the most dominant institution in America, ahead of even the Family.

          We work more than half of our waking hours on this planet. Work determines our income, our ability to get medical care, the neighborhood we can live in, the schools our kids can go to.

          Work is up here, and we need to bring it down here (picture some hand gestures here). We need to bring work down a few notches.

          Instead of being the only way we can get money, it could be something we do to earn additional money on top of our basic income (and the basic income of our spouses/partners/roomates).

          Work could become about developing our talents instead of just making as much money as possible.

          If we had a constant source of money to fall back on, we could try lots of different kinds of work that maybe we can't right now because we're afraid of losing our good-paying job.

          A basic income could serve as a national strike fund that allows people to stand up to their bosses and ask for raises and better working conditions.

          People could work part time and still have a decent standard of living.

          "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

          by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:30:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Lazy People Have Never Been Society's Worst Form (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiseUpEconomics, HeyMikey

      of waste or abuse.

      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 Sep 04, 2013 at 08:34:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree! It's a terrible thing to waste so much (0+ / 0-)

      talent, skill, knowledge, education and sheer man/woman power by this system we have. IF ONLY the Republicans would agree to work on JOB programs and education we could take advantage of prospective workers.

      Often I think about people like myself, capable, experienced, educated and willing, but unable to work outside the home, and past retirement age. How many like myself would be happy to work out of our homes and would not expect very high pay but no one takes advantage of us or other groups of people who could and want desperately to work.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:44:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think I'd direct basic income away from cash. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey

    For example give everyone SNAP aka food stamps.

    (Some pilot school lunch programs are providing everyone free lunch at school.)

    You could also tax carbon and give the revenues back to citizens as a quarterly rebate.  This would kill two birds with one stone.

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:08:31 AM PDT

  •  Set up a program for service hours. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, HeyMikey, qofdisks

    Every citizen gets x service hours.

    The community organizes service hours providers.

    I could use my service hours for a massage, or to get someone to clean up my lawn, or do my taxes.

    The government could fund grants to start up government service hour providers, including payroll support, insurance, etc.

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:13:47 AM PDT

    •  Some volunteering or a previous work requirement (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks

      could be used to make it a bit harder to get the basic income. Politically in the US it would be a bit more viable if you had to work for 5 years first or work and pay into the Basic Income Fund for 5 years before receiving the money.

      In The End of Work, Jeremy Rifkin suggests a volunteer program. But it would cost money to administer, and who would check in to make sure it was all happening? The beauty of the basic income is that it has no red tape: everyone gets the $$ as a human right, and what they make of themselves is up to them. The can snort it all up their noses or they can invest it and build wealth.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

      by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:24:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This would take workers out of the workforce. (0+ / 0-)

        Which would be a good thing.

        But it does nothing to increase the wealth of the nation.

        The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

        by NCJim on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 09:31:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  People do all kinds of things that contribute to (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiseUpEconomics, HeyMikey, NCJim, qofdisks

          the real wealth of the nation that has not been monetized:  Garden, take care of children and the elderly in their homes, do laundery, etc....

          A basic income, or social wage, recognizes these inputs into our national wealth.

          Add things like being nice rather than mean, etc.... which contributes to social wealth and social thus social stability, which in turn contributes to real wealth, then....

  •  I love the idea of a basic income. But one little (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiseUpEconomics, qofdisks

    correction:  Taxes don't fund fed gov spending when you're a monetary sovereign of a fiat currency with a floating exchange rate, like the US.  Thus, taxing the rich isn't necessary to pay for a basic income.

    Taxes control for inflationary pressures by removing excess dollars from circulation.  So, if there's inflation, then you'd probably want to tax away excess dollars from those who have excess dollars -- the rich.

    But doing so doesn't pay for paying the poor, or even the lazy :)

    This sort of progressive, and simply reasonable, idea of a basic income, could really benefit from decoupling from the erroneous idea that rich people's money is confiscated to pay for poor people.

    Progressives need Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).  There's some great MMT writers right here on Daily Kos.

    •  I admit I have a hard time following MMT (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katiec, qofdisks

      and using language like "monetary sovereign of a fiat currency with a floating exchange rate" probably won't help sell the idea of a basic income.

      One question that always comes up about the basic income is how to fund it. I don't feel confident saying that we will just print money; it seems like common sense that the money will be devalued, even if that didn't happen during the bailouts and quantitative easing.

      And the other common-sense-y question I get from folks is won't it lead to inflation? In addition to the fact that deflation has been a bigger fear for our economy, it seems like taking the money that has been pooling at the top and has been the playthings of the hedge fund managers would  make sense, as you say, as a hedge on inflation.

      Or maybe a combination of taxing the 1% and printing money?

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

      by RiseUpEconomics on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:48:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I get what you're saying regarding avoiding (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey, qofdisks

        the "difficulties" of understanding our current monetary system.  But the ideas aren't difficult.  It's shifting paradigms that are difficult.

        No jargon explanation:

        The US has a fiat currency, it creates money out of thin air.  If you had a money making machine, you would neither need to tax or borrow in order to spend.  And you could afford to pay for anything at any time.

        Thus affordability is never an issue.

        Taxes remove excess dollars from circulation to control for inflationary pressures.  So, if inflation becomes a problem, you increase taxes to remove excess dollars from circulation.

        Hyper inflation is the result of having excess dollars, ie, too many dollars chasing too few goods.

        Deflation is not having enough dollars to buy up all idle capacity -- idle labor or idle factories.

        Giving a guaranteed income contributes the ability for all potential sellers to find buyers.

        Since the US creates money out of thin air, giving everyone some free tokens to buy real wealth is a good idea.

        Afterall, that's why we were sold on Free Trade Agreements:  The US would be exchanging pieces of paper for real labor and real things.

        The same logic should hold for the domestic sphere as well.

        From the perspective of the fed gov, it's not a pile of worthless paper that counts, it's the pile of real stuff -- labor, things, services.  It's the pile of stuff that is the real Wealth of Nations, as Adam Smith wrote.

        Giving people pieces of paper creates a bigger pile of real wealth.

        •  Devil in details. Orwell. (0+ / 0-)

          The problem with your approach is not the economics--it's the politics.

          Your bottom line is a net transfer of purchasing power from the rich to the poor and middle class. That's "redistribution"--a poisonous concept even to many Americans who would benefit from it.

          Here's what you run up against:

          The energy that actually shapes the world springs from emotions—racial pride, leader-worship, religious belief, love of war—which liberal intellectuals mechanically write off as anachronisms, and which they have usually destroyed so completely in themselves as to have lost all power of action.…He [H.G. Wells] was, and still is, quite incapable of understanding that nationalism, religious bigotry and feudal loyalty are far more powerful forces than what he himself would describe as sanity.

          —George Orwell, “Wells, Hitler and the World State” (1941) http://orwell.ru/...

                         

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:18:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In my experience, even among Republicans, once (0+ / 0-)

            they understand that taxes aren't redistributed, but merely destroy dollars, they are more open to thinking in terms of monetary flows.

            Once you think in terms of monetary flows, you begin to see that it's not about redistributing purchasing power, but rather, a matter of who is first in line to receive new dollars -- in the first instance.

            All other considerations, like decreasing purchasing power, redistribution, etc.... comes after the cards are dealt.

            I find the hostility for "redistribution" to be anchored primarily in the erroneous belief that the private sector funds fed gov spending.

            Once people realize that the fed gov, is issuer of our fiat currency, funds the financial sectors (rather than the other way around), their hostility decreases a lot.

            •  Good luck with that. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              katiec, RiseUpEconomics

              This is the level of reasoning we're dealing with--from July 2012:

              Unbelievably, the poll finds that the percentage of Republicans who believe that Barack Obama is Muslim, not Christian, has doubled since October 2008. It was actually a little higher in August 2010, right before the GOP administered its midterm “shellacking.” But in the most recent Pew poll on the topic, in July 2012, an astonishing 34 percent of “conservative Republicans” and 30 percent of all Republicans described the president as Muslim.

              Overall, 17 percent of registered voters say Obama is Muslim while 31 percent say they don’t know what religion he is; only 49 percent know the truth, that he is Christian.

              How is it possible that almost four years after we elected Obama president, the number of Republicans who think he’s Muslim could double, and that less than half of all registered voters know what religion he professes (in a country where religion matters)?

              http://www.salon.com/...

              Krugman writes over and over that even in the economics profession, many big names refuse to see what's in front of their noses, and instead keep looking for increasingly implausible justifications for their baseless prejudices. A recent sample: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

              In other words, you may be right, but just being right is not enough. You also have to get on people's good side emotionally. A large % of the right react emotionally to "debasing the currency" and raising tax rates. That puts you behind the 8-ball to start.

              That doesn't mean you'll never get your ideas adopted. Current encouraging examples: the rapidly shifting societal consensuses on marriage equality and marijuana. But those were sensible a long, long time before the mainstream accepted them as sensible.

              So keep up your efforts, but dig in for the long, long haul.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:16:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yep, it's the long haul. But ... :) .... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HeyMikey

                then again, people are feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance regarding things like:

                The Fed Reserve both sets interest rates and we're at the mercy of bond vigilantes.

                The Fed Reserve is printing money out of thin air and the US might go broke.

                Etc....

                But of course it's the long haul when it comes to paradigm shifts.

      •  PS, I'd encourage you to read Warren Moslers' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey

        book.  It's short, easy to read, and free on his blog.

        "The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds".

        Too many people doubt the morality of taking from the rich to give to the poor.

        It seems to me that it's really important that people understand that we don't actually work according to this moral choice anyway.  It just doesn't apply.

        The rich should be taxed for the sake of the survival of our national currency, not for the sake of the poor.

        •  Mosler is great. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          katiec

          I would love to see him get into politics.

          I have a friend who's a high school teacher in St. Croix, living on a schoolteacher's salary but has a sailboat. (Lived in the boat for years instead of having a house or apartment.) Hangs out with Mosler, sails with him sometimes. Says the zillionaire is just a regular person.

          Oh, and Mosler ran his own supercar company for a number of years, too. Quite a guy.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:21:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  HeyMikey -- how cool!!!!! I've only learned (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HeyMikey

            about MMT over the last 2 or so years.

            Wow, what a change of perspective.

            Now it drives me crazy to see everyone confused, and demoralized, by the belief that taxes fund fed gov spending -- and how can we afford to have a better life...  etc....

            Ugh.

            My family is Republican, and when I've talked to them about this stuff, they just turn it out.

            But....  slowly, slowly --  the one, little, fact that we create money out of thin air is settling in :)

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