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SOTU: Reaction to Jill Stein and the Green New Deal

Since I provided some reaction to the SOTU, I thought I might also provide some analysis of Jill Stein’s version of it. I won’t dignify Mitch Daniels’s reply to the President with an analysis, however, because it’s simply not worth the electronic ink to comment on that nonsense.

By and large, I really liked Jill Stein’s Green New Deal speech, and I think I’d be much happier if she were in the Presidency then I am right now. Dr, Stein, is really direct and straightforward, and she seems to genuinely care about the condition of working people and about protecting the constitution and its guarantees of liberty. Her sincerity shines through and she seems to lack the guile of the major party candidates. Her program seems to be a synthesis of the WW II New Deal and Green Agendas and I strongly support the idea that we need both right now. Here are some quotes and comments.

To be clear: the greed for record profits is what got us into this mess in the first place. Of course it wasn’t greed alone. It was the capture of both political parties by Wall Street and other powerful corporations that buy influence with campaign contributions and lobbyists. Using this routine currency of American policy making, Democrats and Republicans alike dismantled protections against waste, fraud and abuse by Wall Street.* This bipartisan cooperation enabled greed to crash the economy.

Couldn’t agree more, but then:

. . . That not only killed jobs, it also depressed tax revenues – which has been one of the biggest drivers of the federal deficit. That deficit has also been made worse by unconscionable spending choices: notably the 4 trillion dollars spent on the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and trillions more spent on the bloated Pentagon budget, tax giveaways for the wealthy, and bailouts for Wall Street.

Now, I’m against the bloated P-budget too and also tax giveaways for the wealthy and Wall Street bailouts. I hate ’em all. However, this passage indicates that she thinks that deficits are “bad”, and that her understanding of their undesirability is shared with Obama, Clinton, and even Pete Peterson and Alice Rivlin.

This, in turn suggests, that if she gets into office she’s just going to, sooner, or later, try to pay down the debt from tax revenues and cause recessions out of worry over debts, deficits, and solvency. Solvency is never an issue for the Federal Government of the US, barring Congressional stupidity involving voluntary default

She badly needs to read some Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and get up to speed fast. I recommend that Jill start with Warren Mosler’s 7 DIFs, then go from there to Bill Mitchell’s great pieces here, and Randy Wray’s primer here.

And now, the political establishment in the White House, Congress, and state governments are making matters far worse, doing the opposite of what we need, by inflicting needless, harsh austerity policies on the country.

This is bad for people, bad for the economy, and completely unnecessary. When they say there’s not enough money, they mean there’s not enough money for YOU. Instead of austerity, we can end the Wall Street bailouts, cut the bloated military and tax the bloated rich.

This is pretty much right on, and Jill is absolutely right that austerity isn’t necessary at all, but not because we can always tax the rich or end bailouts and wars. Austerity isn’t necessary because our Government, unlike the Eurozone nations, is monetarily sovereign and need not tax or borrow back its own currency. It can just make more.

These austerity cuts mean that Americans are losing jobs. From Scott Walker to Andrew Cuomo, and yes, Barack Obama, the result of these austerity cuts is layoffs for teachers, nurses, child and eldercare workers, firefighters, janitors, bus drivers and all the people who keep our communities educated, healthy, and moving forward.

Worse, these austerity cuts are hurting the people who receive those services. Students, the disabled, the elderly, the ill, the unemployed, the hungry – these are the Americans who are suffering because of austerity cuts to education, financial aid, health care, fuel assistance, homeless shelters, prevention, food support, and more.

All absolutely correct. Go Jill!!!! But don’t get side-tracked by solvency concerns. The solvency problem is a fairy tale.

All of this adds up to the ongoing crisis we face – the cumulative result of many years – decades – of policies under both Democratic and Republican presidents that enrich the few while exploiting the many.

The political establishment is telling us there’s little we can do to change our direction. I don’t believe it and I suspect you don’t either.

It is time to break free from the old economy, and the old politics.

It’s time for a Green New Deal for America.

Again, I couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly what we need and we shouldn’t allow false narratives about fiscal sustainability and responsibility to sidetrack the Green New Deal, the same way FDR got his New Deal sidetracked in 1937. Onward and Upward Jill! But don’t think you can do it without the right economics behind you!

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Joseph M. Firestone, Ph.D. is Managing Director, CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), and Director and co-Instructor of KMCI’s CKIM Certificate program, as well as Director of KMCI’s synchronous, real-time Distance Learning Program. He is also CKO of Executive Information Systems, Inc. a Knowledge and Information Management Consultancy.

Joe is author or co-author of more than 150 articles, white papers, and reports, as well as the following book-length publications: Knowledge Management and Risk Management; A Business Fable, UK: Ark Group, 2008, Risk Intelligence Metrics: An Adaptive Metrics Center Industry Report, Wilmington, DE: KMCI Online Press, 2006, “Has Knowledge management been Done,” Special Issue of The Learning Organization: An International Journal, 12, no. 2, April, 2005, Enterprise Information Portals and Knowledge Management, Burlington, MA: KMCI Press/Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003; Key Issues in The New Knowledge Management, Burlington, MA: KMCI Press/Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003, and Excerpt # 1 from The Open Enterprise, Wilmington, DE: KMCI Online Press, 2003.

Joe is also developer of the web sites www.dkms.com, www.kmci.org, www.adaptivemetricscenter.com, and the blog “All Life is Problem Solving” at http://radio.weblogs.com/0135950, and http://www.kmci.org/alllifeisproblemsolving. He has taught Political Science at the Graduate and Undergraduate Levels, and has a BA from Cornell University in Government, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in Comparative Politics and International Relations from Michigan State University.

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