Joe Firestone: Progressives Re-Arrange the Deck Chairs for Obama’s Austerity Budget


Naked Capitalism has the article Joe Firestone: Progressives Re-Arrange the Deck Chairs for Obama’s Austerity Budget.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) recently issued its “Better Off Budget” document as an alternative to the White House/OMB document, and the coming House budget document, a Republican/conservative alternative. The “Better Off Budget” has received enthusiastic evaluations from writers affiliated with the DC progressive community. Richard Eskow’s recent treatment is typical and provides other reviews that are laudatory. These “progressives” clearly see the CPC budget as anything but an austerity budget. But is it, or is it not?
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In short, the CPC budget isn’t an anti-austerity budget as claimed. It is another exercise by budgeteers in near macroeconomic austerity that is likely to result in microeconomic austerity for the many, and continued prosperity for the few. And the pity of it is that budget plans like this are so unnecessary.

None of the deficit and debt terrorism and miserly fiscal policy reflected in these budgets are necessary, because there is no shortage of Federal fiscal capacity in the United States, and no justification for the fiscal policies the US Government has followed since the Recovery Act was passed in 2009. To end austerity, the Federal Government needs to budget to create full employment and benefits for most Americans, including solutions for the major problems facing the US, while letting the trade and budget deficits float.

First create full employment through various programs, including a Federal Job Guarantee to get and keep the employment level there. And then, let the twin deficits float until we’re at that point. A policy like this one adjusts to the savings and trade balance desires of Americans, while creating full employment, with whatever government deficit spending is necessary to accommodate those needs.

That’s how you end austerity for most people without causing demand pull inflation, or cost-push inflation. The second of these may occur because of developments in commodity markets that have nothing to do with Government employment or safety net programs. But that is a story for another day, unrelated to austerity and its remedy.

This analysis is more severe than what I stated in my previous post Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity.  I must be getting an understanding of Modern Money Theory when i can produce a critique that is in the same direction this one by Joe Firestone.  I just didn’t have the courage of my convictions.  I still worry about the overhang of liquidity when the economy starts to pick up.  I don’t have the faith that the Congress will be able to raise taxes when it becomes necessary.

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