A bunch of ignorant, whether willful or innocent, journalists are helping to set the stage for unnecessary austerity after we emerge from this crisis. They are unashamedly using nonsense economic arguments to support a crude and inhumane utilitarian ethics that proposes that we can’t afford to protect those most vulnerable, including our parents and grandparents, from the coronavirus. They argue that doing so would sacrifice the future wellbeing of the young due to the heavy burden of having to pay back the debt.
They are absolutely wrong and should be ashamed of themselves for pitting one generation against another. They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for perpetuating a scarcity mentality, the consequences of which will be avoidable deaths. They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for not doing their due diligence, in their privileged position as a member of the media, of speaking truth to power by uncovering the truth about the fiscal capacity and policy potential of our monetary sovereign federal government.
It’s not hard to find high-quality resources, both online and offline, about Modern Monetary Theory, so they have no excuse for remaining ignorant of these ideas. Not only is it becoming increasingly prominent in the Australian media with the Australian founder Professor William Mitchell being interviewed every other day, but high profile US politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are public proponents of MMT.
We can both protect our most vulnerable now and reestablish a strong economy for everyone once we emerge from this crisis. Don’t be fooled by these incompetents who, for whatever reason, continue to misrepresent the fiscal capacity of our monetary sovereign government. Our government can never go broke. In no sense will future generations be burdened by the debt arising from government spending now. And in fact, the government has no need whatsoever to issue debt to finance the deficit – it is the currency issuer and doesn’t need to ‘borrow’ to finance the deficit.
My hope is that these journalists will start to take their job seriously, start to use their influence to shift the neoliberal scarcity narrative, start to understand that we can realise the ideals as enshrined in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly Article 3, which says:
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
We have no real barriers to realising these ideals because our government is a monetary sovereign. It can’t go broke. It can secure its citizens their fundamental human rights to food, shelter, education, healthcare – to life, liberty, and security of person – just by a keystroke in a computer. The government, under the influence of vested interests, just chooses not to.
I’ve had enough of this pseudo-intellectual pragmatism that invokes cruel utilitarian ethics and belies their even crueller ideological biases. Time to get real, to learn MMT, to rediscover our humanity and demand of our government that they do ‘both/and’ not ‘either/or’.
This is an article by Jayne Flanagan of Modern Money Australia. Jayne is an Occupational Therapist and Teacher’s Aide. Jayne works with children with Special Needs.