Jeff Epstein 🌹🌎 Host of @ActivistMMT 🦉 Profile picture
Third-year #MMT activist & host of podcast @ActivistMMT. I also sing: @seejeffsing Sometimes host of @historic_ly. Dem primary nonsense: @PBernardSanders.

Aug 19, 2018, 34 tweets

“Then why does the military budget keep going up as social programs keep getting cut?"

Now that’s a good question.


[thread – version 2]

You and I require income (a paycheck) before we can spend. We must choose and prioritize what each dollar is spent on. Food or medicine? Can’t afford both this week. Or... gotta chop that pill in half so we can buy food for our kids. Hard choices. One or the other. Either/or.

Before Nixon took the US dollar off the gold standard in 1971, the federal gov't was the same way: they needed income (i.e. taxes) before they could spend. Now that the US dollar is a "fiat" currency, "a budget" to me and you is


like "a budget" to the federal gov't.

The U.S. federal gov't can create the U.S. dollar: They can create

- as much as they want,
- whenever they want,
- for whatever they want,
- and they’re the only ones in the world who are allowed do it.

They are the "monopoly currency issuer." They have "monetary sovereignty."

The federal gov't can create money like increasing points on a scoreboard. Like a child drawing a $trillion bill on a piece of construction paper. It exists because they want it to exist.

Money is "born" when the Congress writes a number into a bill and it is signed into law.

Here’s the Big Lie:

"The federal government must get income before they spend, just like me and you."

Think about it: if you could create money on a whim, would you need any income?


No. You wouldn’t.

Every other lie:

-balanced budget
-borrow from China
-"fiscal responsibility"
-"natural unemployment"
-"Your social programs will raise my taxes!"
-"The rich must pay their fair share!"

and on and on and on...

EVERY other lie is based on the Big Lie.

So, if you were the federal government and you had this god-like power, would you be forced to choose EITHER

this thing
that thing

*because* of a lack of MONEY?

No. That doesn’t make economic sense.

For the federal government, the word "afford" has absolutely nothing to do with MONEY (you can create it infinitely, so what do you care!?).

Do you have the real resources to do it? Then do it!

(Real resources: Raw materials, labor, technology, and time.)

If you can create money like the fed gov’t, then you don’t need to “get it” from anywhere else.

- You don't need to borrow it from China (or Social Security!).
- You don't need to get it from taxpayers.

(What does it even mean for someone like this to "be in debt"?)

"Federal taxes do not fund federal spending.
Federal spending funds federal taxes."

“In short,
you do not fund the US government,
the US government funds you."

Before the gov’t ever gives you a dollar (through your bank or employer), can you pay your taxes?

You asked: "Then why does the military budget keep going up as social programs keep getting cut?"

The "richest" country in the history of the world can easily “afford” to give all its people what they need – tomorrow if they wanted. They could have easily done it decades ago.

(We could also be more EFFICIENT and MORAL with our resources. Like, oh, I don’t know... How about using the military to PROTECT THE PEOPLE instead of being the bullies of the world and demanding every other country’s lunch money?)

The Big Lie makes no economic sense.

Pretending it’s true, however, serves one critical purpose: it pits the people against each other.

It pits those who want big programs against those who are genuinely terrified of higher taxes.

(“I don’t care what it is, I am against it!”)

It pits those who demand that the super-rich “give us their money" (either by charity or by force) against those who consider that to be unfair, unreasonable, or harmful.

(“How dare you penalize success! Who do you think creates the jobs anyway, you socialist communist?!”)

It pits those who demand our military be reduced to non-belligerent levels (so we can INSTEAD use that money to help the people) against those who think that even the smallest reduction is foolish and dangerous.

("How dare you jeopardize our troops and our national security!")

The conversation immediately and permanently turns away from actually GETTING programs that help the people (the only thing that matters!) to a pointless and economically nonsensical argument over “the money.”

(Is it any wonder why we have nothing we need to survive?)

We MUST reduce the military to stop being the bullies of the world. We MUST tax the rich in order to reduce immoral inequality.

But we don’t need – it is impossible – to reduce the military or tax the rich IN ORDER TO get their money.

(This *only* refers to the federal level.)

Everyone is upset at the "unfortunate reality" that "we simply don’t have enough money" to fund the military, tax breaks for millionaires, AND social programs that the people need TO SURVIVE. However, as we now know, to the federal government, money is quite literally no object.

The Masters of the Universe (and their politician employees) hide behind the Big Lie to pretend they WANT TO BUT CAN’T give us these things, when the truth is that they just don’t want to.

(The Big Lie and all its sub-lies are reinforced by our media, educators, and "experts.")

So, should we be angry at something that makes no economic sense?

Or should we be angry at our politicians who pretend that the Big Lie is true, and use economic ignorance against us as a tool to keep the powerful powerful and the powerless powerless?


Every one of them is a tool to tear the people apart.

Economic ignorance a tool to tear the people apart.

Everybody fights with everybody while the Masters of the Universe sit back and relax, laugh and count their money.



- - -END- - -

To #LearnMMT from the experts, see @Sherry_Reson’s website, We Can Have Nice Things!

To #LearnMMT, follow these #MMT economists and experts:

The MMT Beatles:

@StephanieKelton, @billy_blog, @wbmosler, L. Randall Wray, @stf18


@FadhelKaboub, @ptcherneva, @SandyDarity, @StevenHailAus, @elliswinningham, @RaulACarrillo

There are more.

To #LearnMMT from very smart non-experts, join the Facebook group “Modern Monetary Theory for Real Progressives.”…


Confirmation by six economists and experts that federal taxes do not fund federal spending (this and the next three tweets):

“In short, you do not fund the US government, the US government funds you."
— From…

“After carefully considering the complexities of reserve accounting, it is argued that the proceeds from taxation and bond sales are technically incapable of financing government spending...”
— American economist and #Bernie2016 advisor @StephanieKelton…

American economist, L. Randall Wray: “Taxes are not needed to ‘pay for’ government spending.”…

Australian economist, @billy_blog: “Taxpayers do not fund anything.”

Chairman of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, Beardsley Ruml, 1943: "TAXES FOR REVENUE ARE OBSOLETE"…

@wbmosler, the “father” of #MMT: "It makes no sense at all to think that the gov’t has to get money by taxing in order to spend."…

With thanks especially to @takesservedhot for the copy editing feedback.

@stevenj94613027 We’re on the same side and have the same goals. We’re all doing the best we can with what we know. The vast majority of Americans believe exactly as you do. No offense intended.

Correction regarding the gold standard:

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