Democrats are flirting with a dangerous economic theory

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More Democrats are willing to throw out payment plans for expensive programs due to a dangerous, fringe economic idea: modern monetary theory (MMT). Several Democrats have consulted with economist and former Bernie Sanders campaign advisor Stephanie Kelton, who's largely responsible for popularizing MMT and deficit spending. And February has already seen Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez justify the exorbitantly-priced Green New Deal by pointing to MMT.

But to know why it won't work, we have to understand what it is.

Put simply, MMT turns traditional fiscal policy on its head. We usually think Washington uses American tax money to fund programs like Medicare and national defense. But MMT adherents argue that because the U.S. government creates that money in the first place, it actually doesn't need tax revenue to fund programs, pay entitlements, or settle debts. The federal government has the power to simply issue its own money to whoever needs it. And since the U.S. government has this power, according to Kelton, expensive policies like college-for-all, military expansion, and national infrastructure development are all naturally affordable.

But much of the popular discussion around MMT stops here—perhaps because this is where it gets complicated. Some hear MMT's claim that governments can afford anything they want and deficits are irrelevant, and, thus, spending can be practically limitless. But MMT recognizes governments still have to deal with inflation. More dollars floating around translates into more people demanding scarce resources, causing prices to rise. The way MMT fights demand-fed inflation is not through "printing" less money, but rather by taking money back out of the economy through taxation. Contrary to popular media's discussion of MMT, the theory still sees taxation as a necessary policy tool.

While some disagreements between MMT economists and orthodox economists are relatively semantic, MMT really just has far too many problems in practice.

Balancing fiscal policy to control inflation requires a much less politicized budgetary process than the one we have. For MMT to work, we would first need something like a Federal Reserve for fiscal policy—which we don't have. And advocating MMT requires an unreasonably optimistic view of interest rates. So long as the growth rate exceeds the interest rate, we should always have enough cash to pay our debts. But even as progressive economist Paul Krugman notes, deficits tend to raise interest rates, slowing investment and growth.

That's where MMT faces a crisis. If debt accelerated to, say, 300 percent of GDP–– which would be sooner rather than later if something like the Green New Deal were passed and funded through deficits––and interest rates were 1.5 percentage points higher than growth, Washington would have to run a budget surplus equal to 4.5 percent of its GDP. If the U.S. had to do that today, we would have to run an $872 billion surplus. That's nearly a trillion dollars doing nothing for Americans outside of holding off an economic disaster. So when Democrats like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez use MMT to dismiss concerns about their programs causing massive deficits, they fundamentally misunderstand its principles.

Selling MMT to the public is a way to endorse popular, expensive programs without admitting tradeoffs.

Most economists aren't persuaded by MMT. No significant academic journals have published MMT papers. But ambitious Democrats don't need to worry about winning over economists. Selling MMT to the public is a way to endorse popular, expensive programs without admitting tradeoffs.

This strategy will backfire economically —but it could politically, too. Back in the 2018 primary elections, candidates endorsed by the moderate New Democratic caucus won 86 percent of their races, while only 40 percent of the candidates endorsed by the Bernie Sanders-esque Our Revolution organization won nominations. In the November general elections, 23 New Democrats flipped seats from red to blue, while the Revolution progressives flipped zero.

Moderates found more success than progressives because the vast majority of Americans don't feel represented by the right-populist Republicans or progressive Democrats. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez may be setting the tone for the rest of her party, but when we step out of our social media bubbles, we find most Americans want more civil leadership and fewer war cries from Washington. And given 71 percent of Americans now think addressing the debt should be among the federal government's top three priorities, Democrats should rise above provocative "sloganeering" and champion fiscal responsibility in the 2020 campaigns, formerly a standard GOP platform, and potentially win over disillusioned Republican voters.

There are plenty of plans for pursuing progressive goals like better healthcare coverage and environmental sustainability that don't rely on a widely-dismissed calculus or require America to risk a serious economic crisis. Democrats would be smart to chase after one of those instead.

John Kristof is a research fellow at the Sagamore Institute and a contributor for Young Voices, writing frequently on fiscal policy and other economic issues. Follow him on Twitter.

William "Bill" Kelly is 95-year-old World War II veteran from Oregon. He lived through the Great Depression.
He served in the South Pacific during World War II. And now he has just fought the coronavirus -- and won.

Bill joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to share his experience and a hopeful message about why the younger generations can overcome this crisis.

"I want to tell the people, it wasn't pleasant, but on the other hand, you know, if you do what you're supposed to do, and you have some loved ones around you, and do a lot of praying, why, you'll come through okay. We [American's] have been through a lot. We've been through Pearl Harbor. We've been through the Great Depression, and who knows what else. We're tough. We'll get through it. Hang in there," Bill said.

"You know, it's just -- it's in our American blood," he added. "We're that type of people. We take care of each other, and we are not going to break down. We're going to make it through, every time. Every time."

"There are people that don't think we are those people anymore. That it was the greatest generation -- your generation -- that did it, but now we're not the same people. Do you agree with that? Glenn asked.

"No," asserted Bill. "And the reason I say that is because I remember when I was a young kid, you know, and people, the older people, said 'all those young kids are soft' ... but when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor -- sneak attack, you know -- it's surprising how those so-called goofy kids turned into mighty fine fighting people. And they're very loyal. I have lots of faith in them ... no, I don't have any problems with this new generation. They'll take care of us. We're Americans."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 950,638 (up from 872,891 Yesterday)
  • Total Deaths Worldwide: 48,289 (up from 43,271 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 202,631 (up from 184,588 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 12% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization
  • US has 215,344 Confirmed Cases and 5,112 Deaths, up from 188,592 cases and 4,056 deaths yesterday
  • COVID-19 is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, behind Heart Disease and Cancer (based on daily fatalities per 1,000 people)
  • The United States of America now leads the world in total confirmed cases, with 115,000 more cases than Italy (although Italy leads the world in Deaths with 13,155 officially dead)
  • US is 25th in Total Confirmed Cases per 1 Million Population, with 651 cases per 1 Million people. Spain has 2,583 Cases per 1 Million people.
  • US is 23rd in Total Confirmed Dead per 1 Million Population, with 15 Dead per 1 Million citizens. Italy has 218 Dead per 1 Million.
  • US has 5,112 Dead vs 8,878 Recovered and 5,075 in Critical Condition
  • The US currently has 201,354 Active Cases of COVID-19, with still less than 1% of the total US population tested.
  • 17% of Americans who have been tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19
COVID-19 Now Killing Victims Who Don't Have COVID-19 https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/coronavirus-nyc-emts-stop-taking-cardiac-arrest-patients-to-hospitals/
  • EMTs in New York have been given a directive not to transport heart-attack victims to hospitals if they cannot be revived at the scene.
  • Prior cardiac arrest victims would have been transported to hospitals for further life-saving procedures, but with hospitals being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, heart attack victims are solely in the hands of local EMTs. If EMTs cannot restore a pulse at the scene, victims are to be left there to die.
  • "Artificial ventilation and/or compressions must not be delayed," the memo states, adding that chest "compressions must begin as soon as it is determined the patient does not have a pulse."
  • But the guidelines change if the patient cannot be revived before arriving at a hospital.
  • "In the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of the NYPD."
China Lied, People Died Trending on Social Media https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-01/china-concealed-extent-of-virus-outbreak-u-s-intelligence-says
  • US Intelligence Services has concluded what the Internet has known since January: The Chinese Communist Party lied about total infected and total deaths due to Coronavirus.
  • Citing a report provided to the White House last week, officials confirmed that US Intelligence concludes 'gross' underreporting of total cases and total deaths, especially from Hubei Province.
  • Many have speculated that numbers coming out of China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and other totalitarian countries have been dramatically underreported, by as much as a factor of 10 according to official British Intelligence reports.
  • The early misrepresentation of data by the CCP may have lead some Western Politicians and epidemiologists to underestimate the seriousness of COVID-19 and delayed response in Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.
  • Though why anybody would have believed anything the Chinese Communist Party had to say remains an open question...
Italy's Death Toll Far Higher Than Reported https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/italys-coronavirus-death-toll-is-far-higher-than-reported/ar-BB122vvc
  • In the town of Coccaglio, an hour's drive east of here, the local nursing home lost over a third of its residents in March. None of the 24 people who died there were tested for the new coronavirus. Nor were the 38 people who died in another nursing home in the nearby town of Lodi.
  • These aren't isolated incidents. Italy's official death toll from the virus stands at 13,155, the most of any country in the world. But that number tells only part of the story because many people who die from the virus don't make it to the hospital and are never tested, therefore they aren't included in official numbers.
  • "They were all sick, they all had flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing," stated a nurse from one of the nursing homes. "We had no ambulance to get them to Milan."
  • In the areas worst hit by the pandemic, Italy is undercounting thousands of deaths caused by the virus, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows, indicating that the pandemic's human toll may end up being much greater, and infections far more widespread, than official data indicate.
  • As stretched and sometimes overwhelmed hospitals fight to save their patients, many other people die unseen and uncounted, including elderly people in out-of-the-way locations.
  • In addition, the health-care crisis can lead to a surge of deaths from other causes that would normally be treatable.
  • "There are many more dead from the virus than are officially declared... People died and they were never tested because time and resources are limited," Eugenio Fossati, deputy mayor of Coccaglio, says of deaths caused by the virus.
More Numbers Hard to Trust as Bodies Left On The Streets in Ecuador https://www.scmp.com/news/world/americas/article/3078077/coronavirus-bodies-are-being-left-streets-ecuador
  • Coronavirus: bodies are being left on the streets in Ecuador.
  • 'They fall in front of hospitals or in back street alleys, or in small villages…no one wants to recover them,' says the mayor of Ecuador's largest city.
  • The army is placing unclaimed bodies in refrigerated cargo containers at the port while authorities pursue plans for a new cemetery.
  • The corpses have been overwhelming Guayaquil, a port city of 2.8 million at the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Ecuador.
  • Over the last few days, several were wrapped in plastic and left on the streets. Others have lain unclaimed in hospitals and clinics that have been overwhelmed by infections. The city morgue is full.
  • The majority of the dead are believed to be victims of the virus, but nobody can say for sure how many. There has been little testing.
  • The country has confirmed 2,700 infections and 93 deaths - 60 of them in Guayaquil and its immediate surroundings. But municipal officials there said they have recovered at least 400 bodies in the last 3 days.
  • Mayor Cynthia Viteri, who announced that she has also tested positive for the virus, said the national government should be responsible for collecting the corpses.
  • "They're leaving them in the villages, they are stacked in front of hospitals," she said in a Twitter video message to residents late last week.
  • Many local villages in Ecuador are simply burying the dead in unmarked graves, which will make official counting of COVID-19 victims impossible in the weeks ahead.
50% of Viral Spread Comes from People With No Symptoms https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/01/health/us-coronavirus-updates-wednesday/index.html
  • Researchers in Iceland have confirmed earlier reports from Hong Kong that a significant amount of viral spread is caused by carriers who have no symptoms.
  • In the US, Doctors at the CDC have confirmed asymptomatic spread, but estimate a number of about 25%.
  • If true, then the case for all persons to wear masks, even those who don't have symptoms, becomes much stronger.
  • To prevent further spread, the top infectious disease expert in the US says health officials are reconsidering guidance on face masks.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would "lean towards" recommending that the general public wear face masks "if we do not have the problem of taking away masks from the health care workers who need them. The public can stay home to avoid infection, but health care workers cannot," he said.
  • "We're not there yet, but I think we're close to coming to some determination," Fauci said.
Ship vs Train... Ship Wins https://abc7.com/usns-mercy-coronavirus-train-crash-derailment/6069395/
  • A Locomotive Engineer in Los Angeles has been charged with 1 Count of "Train Wrecking", a Class A Felony under Federal Law, after purposely derailing his freight train while attempting to sink the US Hospital ship Mercy.
  • Eduardo Moreno, 44, intended to hit the ship, saying he thought it was "suspicious" and did not believe "the ship is what they say it's for.'"
  • Moreno admitted to crashing the train intentionally but said he did not plan it out in advance. It is believed that he acted alone.
  • He allegedly made statements to a CHP officer that included "You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don't know what's going on here. Now they will."
  • Officials say video from inside the train's cab shows Moreno holding a lighted flare during the incident.
Biggest Issue With COVID-19 in Malaysia: Nagging Wives https://www.npr.org/2020/04/01/825051317/dont-nag-your-husband-during-lock-down-malaysias-government-advises-women
  • Malaysia has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 2,900 and counting.
  • This week, Malaysia's government also had a serious public relations issue after an ill-conceived plan went online.
  • Malaysia's Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development issued a series of online posters on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19. It advised the nation's women to help with the country's partial lockdown by not nagging their husbands.
  • The ministry also advised women to refrain from being "sarcastic" if they asked for help with household chores.
  • Additionally, the Ministry urged women working from home to dress up and wear makeup.
  • After some negative response on social media, the public service messages have been removed from the Ministry's Facebook page.

MyPillow inventor and CEO Mike Lindell was lambasted by the left and mainstream media after he announced at a White House press briefing on Monday that his company will start making tens of thousands of masks to fight against the spread of coronavirus. Lindell also thanked God for President Donald Trump and encouraged Americans to turn back to God in this time of crisis.

Read the details here.

Whether it was his support for President Trump or strong religious beliefs, no one has lit up the media quite like Mike Lindell. He joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Monday to talk about the president, the 'horrible, crazy media' and how he's not afraid to keep speaking out about his faith.

"I think people are going to quit being brainwashed by this horrible, crazy media -- they know who they are -- and the public is going to see the amazing job that our president is doing," Lindell said. "I've done interview after interview today. I'm taking all the bad ones on -- I think I'm going on 'The View' tomorrow I love it. I want to go right into the hurricane. Finally, I get to speak out for Jesus like I want to."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

In response to the COVID-19 quarantine, BlazeTV is offering our BIGGEST discount ever! Get $30 off your subscription when you use promo code GLENN. Claim your special offer at https://get.blazetv.com/glenn/.

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News broke that German Finance Minister Thomas Schaefer reportedly committed suicide on Saturday due to the stress from the economic climate during the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, this headline may become more common place. Concerns are far beyond those of just hand washing, finding toilet paper and the latest White House briefings. There may be a secondary crisis growing — mental health and suicide.

Messages fill my inbox daily from parents worried about their teens showing signs of risk of suicidal ideation. Spouses concerned about the toil recent layoffs will have on their partners. Elderly family members are also vulnerable.

Last week, news a father of three dying by suicide made me want to scream to the world – "LISTEN!" We are losing too many of our human family. And I am afraid with COVID-19 on the scene, we are going to lose more than ever.

During the past six years — following the suicide of my 40-year-old sister — my mission has been to bring awareness and help prevent suicide. Everyone is exposed to suicide. You either struggle with depression/anxiety, you love someone that struggles, or like me, you have already lost someone to suicide. That is literally everyone on the planet. Bigger numbers than even the virus.

Little known fact. Springtime is a peak season for suicides. Even compared to the holidays.

Little known fact. Springtime is a peak season for suicides. Even compared to the holidays.

So, pile on the constant stream of news, stats about COVID-19 deaths and a lock down on social distancing, even the most emotionally skilled individual may be drowning in vulnerability and at risk.

What can be done?

Social distancing, not isolation

Even though we are standing 6ft apart in the grocery stores, and no longer going to church together, humans need connection to survive.

Free communication apps like Marco Polo are a great way to not hide behind a text. Whether it is on video chat or old fashion letter writing, making connection a priority is crucial for our survival.

Emotional check-in

The new normal seems to be changing by the hour. It is hard to keep up, recalibrating with all the change. Just like the importance of taking temperature to check for virus symptoms, we need to monitor our emotional temp. Try the one word check-in, at dinner time, simply by asking, "How am I feeling today?" It can be a great barometer.

Naming our feelings keep them tamed.

It's Ok to not be Ok

It is crucial to our survival to frame this crisis with a mental health back drop. Suicide, depression and anxiety concerns should be at the top of the STAY HOME and STAY SAFE list. If you find yourself feeling helpless or having thoughts of self-harm, please reach out for additional support. Therapists are using online formats to serve their clients. Call your doctor or one of the many 1-800 numbers.

No one is an extra, disposable member of our human family.

If you are reading this and struggling. Please remember, we will never be better without you. No one is an extra, disposable member of our human family. We will make it thru this COVID-19 crisis stronger and closer than before. No longer will we take hugging our neighbor for granted.

And maybe, just maybe we will someday find the vaccine that stops suicide virus from spreading.

Ganel-Lyn is a public speaker, media personality & author