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When you’ve got friends like this … Part 3

Today is a continuation of the theme developed in these past blogs – The enemies from within and When you’ve got friends like this … Part 1 and When you’ve got friends like this … Part 2 – which focuses on how limiting the so-called progressive policy input has become. One could characterise it as submissive and defeatist. But the main thing I find problematic is that its compliance is based on faulty understandings of the way the monetary system operates and the opportunities that a sovereign government has to advance well-being. Progressives today seem to be falling for the myth that the financial markets are now the de facto governments of our nations and what they want they should get. It becomes a self-reinforcing perspective and will only deepen the malaise facing the world.

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When you’ve got friends like this … Part 2

… who needs enemies. Today’s blog is Part 2 in a series I am running about the propensity of self-proclaimed progressive commentators and writers to advance arguments about the monetary system (and government balances) which could easily have been written by any neo-liberal commentator. The former always use guarded rhetoric to establish their “progressive” credentials but they rehearse the same conservative message – the US has dangerously high deficits and unsustainable debt levels and an exit plan is urgently required to take the fiscal position of the government bank into balance. In doing so, they not only damage the progressive cause but also perpetuate myths and lies about how the monetary system operates and the options available to a currency-issuing national government.

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When you’ve got friends like this … Part 1

… who needs enemies. I am forming the view that many so-called progressive economic think tanks and media outlets in the US are in fact nothing of the sort. Tonight’s blog is Part 1 in a series I will write but the series really started in November 2009 when I wrote about The enemies from within. Today I read two position pieces from self-proclaimed progressive writers which could have easily been written by any neo-liberal commentator. True, the rhetoric was guarded and there was talk about needing to worry about getting growth started again – but the message was clear – the US has dangerously high deficits and unsustainable debt levels and an exit plan is urgently required to take the fiscal position of the government bank into balance. Very sad.

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The enemies from within

A few years ago, a senior federal parliamentarian came to Newcastle one weekend to discuss macroeconomic policy with me. He might have saved the trip given his unwillingness to modify his neo-liberal views, which dominate all sides of politics here (including The Greens). But at one point I said that his party could not keep assuming that the left would remain loyal in the face of continued privatisation proposals and their obsession with achieving bigger budget surpluses than the conservatives. His response was “where else are they going to go” – the ultimate in disdain. The story has overtones on a daily basis when you realise that the so-called and often self-styled “progressive” side of the macroeconomic debate demonstrate their lack of understanding of how the monetary system operates and parade policy proposals that not only undermine any notion of full employment but also concede the main game to the conservatives.

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