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Monday, April 19, 2021

RealProgressives Podcast Discussing My Latest Book

Just to let everyone know I was on a podcast with Steven D. Grumbine discussing my latest book on MMT. Mainly an overview of the book contents, and how they tie into current developments.


  1. Reflections on MMT and your Podcast with the Real Progressive
    First off, I need to say I just purchased your book, and have not read it so I am only responding to what I gleaned from the Real Progressive, so my perspective is limited, and not well thought out.
    I am intrigued by the idea of MMT, and interested in ways to inject spending into the bottom of the economy, and not the top of the economy. Regan’s trickle down did not work, as the money created at the top seems to go into asset inflation or tax avoidance. I would also observe that in my City (Calgary) when money is given to our City Council, we get gold plated roads, and unused bicycle paths. Our banks seem to be with Real Estate creating the greatest mal-investment in the History of Humanity, as the assets being created by all their lending have the same productive economic capacity as a tent purchased at Canadian Tire.
    Also, as a member of the Community Association, concerned by how the City of Calgary gives out very small sums of money to the Associations for projects of minimal impact, while completely shutting the communities out of Real Economic Decision making with respect to their economic future. The cost of Administering these programs exceeds the real value to the communities.
    In terms of getting money into the hands of the poor, having worked for 20+ years in the Not-for-Profit Sector in Calgary, I would call organizations such as the United Way & The Calgary Foundation, the Calgary Homeless Foundation employment programs for people with Masters Degrees. The organization in Alberta that is most effective at getting $$ into the hands of the poor is actually the ABCRC (Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation) with its program to use deposits on Beverages to encourage recycling. When the province added milk, and other containers to its program a few years ago, they effectively doubled the wages of the poorest Albertans, the bottle pickers.
    I do not see how our existing political structures can solve our very real problems going forward, as the decision makers at all levels are all truly invested in the status quo. From my perspective, I would like to see 100,000 communities be 100,000 laboratories where a 100,000 different solutions to our very real problems could be tested, with the ones that really solve our complex problems rising to the top. This would only be possible if the resources are controlled at the bottom not the top. MMT where resources ($$) are put into the economy at the very bottom could be a possible solution to this.
    In your pod cast, you suggested a Job Guarantee, not a UBI, something that makes sense to me. It is the very real difference between a “Bottle Picker” who earns their wages has pride in what they do, and a “Pan Handler” is who is basically a con-artist and has no pride. Practically, do you have ideas on how to structure a Job’s Guarantee in a way that is not and employment program for the University Educated People who get to Administer it.
    John Rowland

  2. Thanks for the purchase.

    I’m definitely not the person to ask about the details of a Job Guarantee implementation. However, it’s clear that the permanent staff are there to handle administrative duties, very much like non-profits now.

    I am not greatly familiar with the area, but a charity needs accountants, since they need to prepare their books for governmental audits. Whether or not people really need university degrees for administrative positions is debatable, but the reality is that we have a lot of people trained at universities, and the tendency is to fill administrative posts with those people.

    A Job Guarantee should be paid for by the Federal government, but execution would likely be implemented at lower levels. The Federal employees would end up being technical administrators ensuring that money is not being diverted into the wrong people’s pockets.

    From the point of political realism, I’d expect provinces to want to administer it as much as they can, although charities might be able to work directly with the Federal government. As such, the amount of experimentation would depend upon the flexibility of the provinces.

  3. Enjoyed the podcast and I do like the book. So much so that I first bought the Kindle version and then the hard copy to keep on my shelf...

    Brian, have a look at page 85 (the fiscal balance is.........


    1. Thanks!

      I don’t see the page 85 reference?

    2. On page 85 the paragraph starts: "There are two key implications"
      Line 6: (the fiscal balance is the primary balance with interest expense subtracted)..........shouldn`t that be the other way around?

    3. Yes, it should be the other way around. Thanks for spotting that!

      (Unfortunately, the book infrastructure is built around a premise that each edition is largely fixed text. Although it should be easy to fix, a real pain to make the change. So it might stay that way, unless I need to make any other fixes.)


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