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The rising future burden on our kids

The public debate is constantly distorted by claims that cannot be substantiated. One such claim is that the current period of budget deficits is building a stock of future claims on the well-being of the future generation – our kids. Accordingly, the neo-liberal deficit terrorists claim that the best thing we can do for the future generation is to avoid running deficits. My view is that we have been imposing a huge future burden on our children but this would be larger if we tried to run surpluses now. In fact, the years of surpluses exacted a huge toll on our children’s prospects that they will have to endure for years to come.

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    Saturday Quiz – August 1, 2009

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

    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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      Why doesn’t this attract headlines?

      Why doesn’t this article get headlines in the newspapers? Today I read a recent article – Why Are Banks Holding So Many Excess Reserves? – from two researchers at the New York branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. It is obvious that the authors understand much more about the modern monetary system than most of the journalists, economists and politicians who make so-called informed commentary about such matters. Three messages emerge: (a) bank reserves play an important role in the conduct of interest rate policy and budget deficits put downward pressure on interest rates; (b) the money multiplier conception of economics is inapplicable to a modern monetary system; and (c) the current build-up of bank reserves will not be inflationary. I thought that it would be nice for you to read this stuff from someone other than billy blog (and my fellow modern money travellers!).

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        Our PM’s second essay – 1/10 (being generous)

        The Australian Prime Minister released his second essay over the weekend, in which he outlines his vision for a modern Australia steered towards new levels of prosperity and equity by his government. Well my reading of the 6098 words is that far from presenting an acceptable vision for the future, they rather, outline how his Federal Government has chosen to continue the abandonment of full employment and impose huge costs from the cyclical downturn on the most disadvantaged workers and their families in our communities for years to come.

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          Zimbabwe for hyperventilators 101

          Zimbabwe is the new Weimar Republic. Not! Zimbabwe is the front-line evidence that shows that government deficits will generate hyper-inflation. Not! Zimbabwe is the demonstration of the folly of a fiat monetary system. Not! Zimbabwe is an African country with a dysfunctional government. Yes!

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            SBS Insight program tonight – The Battlers

            This afternoon I am off to Brisbane to appear in tonight’s SBS TV Insight Program, which is focusing on unemployment. The program airs live from 19:30 tonight on SBS One. The on-site location for tonight’s show is Logan City, which is south of Brisbane on the way to the Gold Coast. In the work I did with Scott Baum at Griffith University earlier this year developing an Employment Vulnerability index, we identified the Logan City area as having a concentration suburbs which we considered to be at high risk of job loss. So SBS decided to conduct a ground level exploration of the sorts of considerations that expose a region to job loss and to develop narratives that inform us of how people in battling areas cope with economic downturn. While the topic is depressing it is excellent that one of our national TV broadcasters is actually elevating it to national importance.

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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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