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Palestine Borders and Demographics Prove to be A Ghetto

Thanks to a good idea given to me by my partner here at STL, I started to research and analyze some geographic information regarding the Jewish land-grab in Palestine. I then followed by studying some demographic info on the Gaza Strip and drew some interesting conclusions. Here’s what I found: First, some great maps over at Wikipedia with adjoining historical context info and links portraying the boundaries of Palestine/Israel since the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement (The linked information could have you reading ...

Social Protest Lit: Ebenezer Elliot, “The People’s Anthem”

A poem from Ebenezer Elliot entitled The People’s Anthem from Book IV called “Out of The Depths.” This chapter is focused on man’s pursuit of remedy for social injustice: When wilt thou save the people? O God of mercy! when? Not kings and lords, but nations! Flowers of the heart, O God, are they! Let them not pass, like weeds, away! Their heritage a sunless day! God save the people! Shall bring crime for ever, Strength aiding still the strong? Is it thy will, O Father? That man shall toil for wrong? “No!” ...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Selective Outrage

War is hell.  All we have to do is look around the world to see its toll.  That being said, I don't understand the lack of outrage coming from this President and his administration other than that aimed at our one ally - Israel which is doing no more than trying to protect it's people from rocket fire and constant raids from Hamas. The fact that Palestinian civilians are getting killed is a tragic yet unavoidable aspect of this war.  Why ...

Why Are We So Full Of Hate?

What has happened to human kind?  No matter where you look we find ourselves surrounded by a world filled with hate. What puzzles me is how it's combined with political correctness.  Take this country where so many words are now frowned upon and even forbidden because they are hurtful to certain people.  Redskins, squaw, savage plus a whole lot applying to blacks, orientals and hispanics not to mention middle easterners.  Has it dawned on anyone banning the names has done nothing ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. Thomas Jefferson
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Ralph Musgrave - Ralphanomics

Interest rate adjustments are a farce.

I set out a number of weaknesses in interest rate adjustments here six months ago. Another weakness has occurred to me as follows.

Prior to the crunch, too much was being borrowed and invested in over-priced property. Had governments or central banks seen this, they would have most likely responded by raising interest rates. And given that interest rates are particularly important for those wanting to borrow and invest in assets like houses, the interest rate adjustment tool would seem to be thoroughly appropriate.

But wait a minute. Prior to the crunch, demand AS A WHOLE was not grossly excessive: inflation was not out of control. Thus had rates been raised, that would probably have caused unnecessary unemployment (assuming interest rate adjustments have a significant effect on demand, which is debatable).

Put another way, there are two quite separate issues: first what should the rate of interest be, and second what should the level of demand be.

Thus the entire conventional wisdom on how best to regulate demand (adjusting interest rates) would seem to be flawed: it confuses two issues.

The best way, and indeed to obvious way, to increase demand is to give the population more of the stuff that enables them to “demand” goods and services: money. Which you could call a helicopter drop. And conversely, if inflation looks like getting uppity, money can be withdrawn from the private sector.

But heli drops have problems, one of which is that the logistics of actually delivering a bundle of money to every citizen are difficult. A much simpler way of doing the same thing is to channel extra money into peoples’ pockets via the various systems already in place for delivering money into or out of citizens’ pockets. These include the tax and social security system, work related taxes like payroll taxes, and in the case of pensioners, the state pension system. These can all be adjusted without too much difficulty so as to move money into or out of citizens’ pockets. Indeed, earlier in the recession, the UK’s sales tax (VAT) was adjusted for precisely the above reason.

Interest rates.

As regards optimising interest rates, the free market, if left alone will produce some sort of market price for borrowed money. And the only reason for interfering with the free market is where it can be shown there is market failure. Now where is the market failure in the case of interest rates? I don’t know of any and I’ve never come across anyone suggesting there is market failure here. So let’s just leave the market determine interest rates. (Incidentally this policy of leaving interest rates to be determined by market forces is advocated on p.10 here.)

As to demand, that is a different kettle of fish. There is clearly market failure here. That is, it is obvious from the booms and busts over the last few centuries that demand is not stable. Thus assuming governments can intervene and improve matters rather than make them worse (and that is a debable), then there is a case for having government and/or central bank regulate demand.

What if governments just don’t borrow?

As I pointed out here, the arguments for government borrowing are hopeless. That is, the truth is that the main reason for government borrowing is that it enables politicians to buy votes.

Thus if governments start behaving in a half rational manner, they’ just stop borrowing. But in that case they’d lose control of interet rates – shock horror! Well it would seem from the arguments above that it really wouldn’t matter if they did lose control of interest rates!

So Modern Monetary Theory is right.

The above policy, that is, what might be called “central bank funded fiscal expansion” in a recession has long been advocated by MMTers. It was advocated by Abba Lerner here.

MMT: streets ahead of everyone else!

Afterthought, 24th July 2011: I said just above that if governments did not borrow, they (or central banks) would lose control of interest rates. On second thoughts that isn’t true. In a “no government borrowing” scenario there would be nothing to stop a central bank announcing a willingness to lend or borrow at whatever rate it chose. Given the fire-power that central banks have, the markets would quickly fall into line just as they do nowadays when a central bank announces an interest rate adjustment.

This borrowing would take place PURELY so as to raise interest rates: there would be no intention of SPENDING the money concerned, as is the case with traditional government borrowing at present. This form of borrowing (or lending) may well not be legal as the laws of various countries currently stand. But such borrowing and lending would nevertheless make sense, ONE THE ASSUMPTION that deliberately adjusting interest rates is a good idea. But of course I argued above that such adjustments do NOT make sense.

That mistake of mine does not affect the basic argument above (phew, thank God for that).

Ralph Musgrave - Ralphanomics

Author: Ralph Musgrave - Ralphanomics

I wrote a book on unemployment recently with James Galbraith, and others. Galbraith is one of Obama's economic advisers. I love the different cultures that exist in this world. I took an interest in them long before the daft word 'multiculturalism' was widely used. I want to see these cultures preserved. I want to see Tibet staying Tibetan, and Britain staying British.

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