Debt, deficits and good housekeeping: what’s the fuss about?

I appeared on the ABC radio program – The Economists – today (April 25, 2019). The topic of today’s shows is – Debt, deficits and good housekeeping: what’s the fuss about?. The presenters talked among themselves for about 10 minutes and then brought me on for an additional 20 minutes to provide more commentary and detail. Australian listeners can listen to the repeat program on Radio National at 13:30 on Friday. Overleaf I provide details of how anyone can access the program audio. Given the topic, it starts off with a great 8-second snippet from AC-DC (a great band).

You can listen to the show in two ways:

1. On-Line Broadcast version

2. Podcast

The podcast is longer and more detailed (at the end particularly) and covers the whole interview. The produced deleted the discussion of foreign exchange markets and capital controls from the broadcast version but it is in the podcast.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2019 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Dear Stuart Howarth (at 2019/04/25 at 8:26 pm)

    Thanks very much for pointing that out. I will update the link when it becomes available.

    best wishes

  2. Hello there Bill,

    I was really hoping that you were doing some things like this leading up to the Election, thank you.

    Unfortunately the Online Broadcast says there is an error, and it won’t load for me.

    I share as much legitimate/Academic MMT stuff as I can to “share the truth”and I will add this to the list.

    The thing I am finding is that there is a lot out there, but I can’t find any structured MMT “101” series format stuff (as in 4 or 5 x 5min short modules, something like Qld Uni’s Climate Change Vids), is there anything like this around?

    I did just find Stephanie Kelton’s “Get Up” Dec 2018 presentation, it was good. But at 30 mins it is too long as a basic intro/teaser type thing to get the attention of the uninitiated, given the this stuff needs to get people to totally turn their thinking around 180 degrees.

    once again thank’s so much Bill for educating us out here.


  3. Re the ABC Economists show..sometimes the podcast is not available until about a week after the initial broadcast

  4. Yep all good now, I just listened to it. Thanks Bill.

    As far as my earlier observations about MMT basic content, thanks for the suggestion and I am aware of the Deficit Owls content and a lot of the existing MMT online stuff .

    My concern was that, even the Deficit Owls stuff is edited sections of longer Lecture type presentations. That works great for those of us that took the time to find out how our Economies actually work. I was looking for targeted modules that I could share with people that are going to Vote and believe the Australian Government is like a household. The majority might not ever look for or encounter MMT and the economic reality it explains.

    I referenced the Qld Uni Climate stuff as a format that is constructed in bite sized chunks that is easily digestible so to speak.

    thanks again


  5. Yesterday I heard an old podcast from some years ago where our Bill said that even with a JG there would still be a disability program for the disabled.
    If I may be off topic I’d like to say something about the JG and really what other programs would go along with it —
    1] The JG itself. The JG would have many mothers working as child care givers. So, all other mothers could get a different job in the JG or private sector.
    2] A program for disability support for the blind and disabled.
    3] Soc. Sec. would be required still. It could just be an assumption that the elderly are all “disabled” or it could be a separate program.

    This one is my main point here.
    4] A UBI program. This would still IMHO be a good idea. It would support everyone at some level. The question is, what is this level? I suggest that it be set at *way below* poverty level. That it would require several such people to live together in a small apt. to make ends meet. [If they choose not to work in the JG why should they live at the poverty level being supported by the Gov.?]
    The UBI dollar amount would reduce the pay level for the JG workers and all those working in the private sector [well everyone really]. Here I’m not saying just deduct it from their pay, but over time that is functionally what would happen. Corps. would pay people less if they could, and they can because everyone is getting this (say) $800/mo.
    BTW — Would the UBI also pay the parents of children for them? Pay less depending on their age?

    Comments to this idea?

  6. Bill, another off topic question.
    Do you have any thoughts for how to fix the massive distortion to the economy [of America and maybe other nations] that has been done by letting house and real estate prices keep going up. This is one consequence of the Fed’s QE program IIRC.
    This not only hurts 1st time home buyers but also apt. renters. This is because properties have been sold for high prices and now the owner has to make the payments so he has to raise the rents. Thus housing prices across the board are inflated, both for buyers and renters.
    What can be done about this? Is raising the minimum wage to $15/hr with really good benefits going to be enough? This will of course push up all wages that are now less than $15/hr. And some just above that.
    Is there any way to get the price of real estate to fall? That is “fair” to everyone?

  7. Seems amazing that people running an “inside economics” program could be so uninformed as to express amazement that Costello was not allowed to shut down the bond market when net government debt fell into the “black”. Actually referred to it as a “crazy” situation.
    I really think this is the weak point in the neoliberal armour. Almost no one is aware that the bond markets are used to control interest rates and maintain a buffer of mass unemployment against inflation.
    Bill missed a chance by not picking at this scab.


    The JG remains a buffer stock against inflation of people out of the private employment. This is Bill’s contribution: that an employment buffer is just as effective against inflation as an unemployment buffer and obviously far more socially responsible.
    Given that JG workers remain isolated from the real action of the private economy, we would obviously still need active inclusion policies for those perceived as “disabled”, otherwise they may be unwisely excluded from private markets and overall well being reduced.
    Not sure what the fascination is with UBI. In the presence of JG, what problem is it solving?

  8. Bredanm,
    The UBI is for those who can’t qualify as ‘disabled’, but can’t hold a job with the JG.
    The JG doesn’t guarantee you job no matter what. You have to show up on time and do some work.
    If you can’t manage to do that you are fired for cause.
    This is an example, there will be others who all thru the cracks.
    Like maybe students, etc.

  9. Some ppl catching on:

    “The winning formula for the Democrats is they are going to have to endorse some of these relatively fiscally extreme positions to get nominated,” says one Democratic strategist, speaking of the 2020 presidential contenders. “The threats of debt and deficits have not panned out. We have been running deficits and debt for 30 years and where is the crowding out, the inflation and the soaring interest rates?”

    “The emperor has no clothes.”

  10. I’m 12 mins into the radio link and my jaw has dropped to the floor at how uniformed / economically illiterate the two hosts are.

    Looking forward to the next half where Bill comes off the top rope with a flying elbow.

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