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The piper will call if surpluses are pursued …

News Limited is still (mis)leading the way on the deficit-debt attacks. In another appalling piece of misrepresentation and erroneous reasoning, The Australian ran a story from its economics chief, Michael Stutchbury today entitled Now comes time to pay the piper. This newspaper has really excelled in recent months in the lengths it has gone to mislead and lie to its readers on matters relating to the macroeconomy and the conduct of fiscal policy. There will be a piper to pay – that I agree – but it will be because the federal budget deficit is not large enough right now rather than because it is too high.

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Would the Job Guarantee be coercive?

I was a speaker at the Sydney Greens Forum yesterday and today I am on a panel with Bob Brown at the Greens National Conference in Adelaide. Regular readers will know that in the past months we have been engaging with the Greens after I wrote – Neo-liberals invade the Greens. The initial reaction towards me was hostility but that soon gave way to a more reasoned engagement which I have found to be extremely beneficial. That is why I accepted invitations to speak at their functions. While there is a long way to go in fully articulating a modern monetary paradigm within the context of the generally sophisticated social and environment policy that The Greens have already developed I think the possibilities are now there. One issue that does emerge in my discussions is that of whether a person should have to work under a Job Guarantee approach to full employment. That is, should the Job Guarantee be compulsory?

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Saturday Quiz – July 25, 2009

Welcome to the billy blog Saturday quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention over the last seven days.

There is a slight change of format this week just for a change.

See how you go with the following five questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.

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No cause for celebration

I wrote the following piece this morning for tomorrow’s local Fairfax newspaper. While some of the content is definitely of local interest there might be some things of interest to the broader debate. Also it is written to fit a column so it doesn’t allow for much elaboration.

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The world is going insane I think

The world seems to be going more insane every time I check. I have this naive belief that we bother to elect governments because we understand they can do things (as a collective) that we cannot do very easily (as individuals). I also assume we all think our elected governments will broadly use their fiscal powers to pursue an agenda that will advance public purpose – that is, seek ways to improve our standard of living and ensure all citizens participate in the bounty that the economic system generates (including sharing the losses when it doesn’t so generate). Of-course, I know that our polities basically govern to keep themselves in power. But there is the occasional election. Anyway, recent events suggest that governments seem to be able to construct popularity by taking actions that do us harm.

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The revolving door – how social policy is co-opted

I mentioned yesterday that I would reflect on the ACTU Jobs Summit, which was held in Sydney on Monday. I was one of the invited speakers. You can download notes of my talk HERE. The revolving door idea has been on my mind a lot over the last decade or even earlier. The revolving door idea – that open door between key institutions such as unions, welfare agencies and the like and government – relates to how political struggle manifests. The revolving door is a process which increasingly sees organisations and institutions that started out to defend the rights of the poor and the workers become co-opted into the discourse of the day to the detriment of their own charters. That is what this blog is about.

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Fed chairman not quite getting it …

In an article in yesterday’s WSJ The Fed’s Exit Strategy, federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke provides an account of some of the operations of the monetary system that I write about in billy blog. While he doesn’t say it explicitly, he confirms that debt is issued to support interest rates (not fund net government spending) and that debt is not necessary at all if the central bank pays a “competitive” rate on overnight bank reserves held at the central bank. He also confirms that inflation is not an inevitable aspect of an expansionary package but it could be. All fundamental propositions of a modern monetary view of macroeconomics. So in one week, a Nobel Prize winner and now the Chairman of the Fed are stumbling around logic that confirms the neo-liberal driven deficit-debt-inflation-higher-taxation hysteria is without foundation.

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Why don’t mainstream economists get modern money if it is right?

Today, I am in Sydney giving a talk at the ACTU Jobs Summit and pretty short of time. I was also motivated by the Temporary Leader of the Opposition who announced on his Twitter site yesterday that his dog, Mellie had just updated her Blog. Yes Malcolm’s dogs blog keeps us up to date with all their goings on including watching the Tour de France. So if he can do it so can I except I don’t like pets. So I thought I would introduce a Guest Blogger spot so that whenever someone I know, who doesn’t want to create their own infrastructure has something interesting to say, they will be able to say it. So today’s guest blogger is Victor Quirk. This is what he has to say. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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More gross flows – movements between employment

Last Monday’s blog asked What can the gross flows tell us?. The topic is vast given the detail and in that blog I only considered the inflows and outflows from unemployment. In this blog I analyse the flows between full-time and part-time employment as well as movements between non-participation and employment to finish off the story. The analysis helps us understand what is happening during this downturn to

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