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Posts Tagged ‘Obama

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination”*…

 

Modern Monetary Theory’s basic principle seems blindingly obvious: Under a fiat currency system, a government can print as much money as it likes. As long as country can mobilize the necessary real resources of labor, machinery, and raw materials, it can provide public services. Our fear of deficits, according to MMT, comes from a profound misunderstanding of the nature of money.

Every five-year-old understands money. It’s what you give the nice lady before she hands you the ice cream cone—an object with intrinsic value that can be redeemed for goods or services. Through the lens of Modern Monetary Theory, however, a dollar is nothing but a liability issued by the US government, which promises to accept it back in payment of taxes. The dollar in your pocket represents a debt owed you by the federal government. Money isn’t a lump of gold but rather an IOU.

This mildly metaphysical distinction ends up having huge practical consequences. It means the federal government, unlike you and me, can’t run out of cash. It can run out of things money can buy—which will drive up their price and be manifest in inflation—but it can’t run out of money. As Sam Levey, a graduate student in economics who tweets under the name Deficit Owls told me, “Macy’s can’t run out of Macy’s gift certificates.”

Especially for those who want the government to provide more services to citizens, this is a convincing argument, and one that can be understood by non-economists…

Everyone knows governments need to tax before they can spend. What Modern Monetary Theory presupposes is, maybe they don’t.  Offered for interest (and with no endorsement): “The Radical Theory That the Government Has Unlimited Money.”

* Oscar Wilde

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As we crank up the printing press, we might recall that it was on this date in 2009, several months into the Great Recession, President Barack Obama met with the CEOs of America’s 13 largest financial institutions to discuss a path out of the economic trough onto which the U.S. had descended.  Finding them suspicious of his new (Democratic) administration and worried that he would be less generous to their companies than President Bush and his administration had been, Obama opened by suggesting…

My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks… But you need to show that you get that this is a crisis and that everyone has to make some sacrifices…I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you. But if I’m going to shield you from public and congressional anger, you have to give me something to work with on these issues of compensation. Help me help you Everybody has to pitch in. We’re all in this together.

The result was a series of compromises that survived the Obama Administration, but that are now being systematically undone under the Trump Administration.

See also “13 Bankers.”

Kenneth D. Lewis, the chief executive of Bank of America, with other bank executives outside the White House after the meeting with President Obama

source

 

Written by LW

March 27, 2018 at 1:01 am

Up, Up, and Away…

Your correspondent is headed behind the Great Firewall of China, which has been especially well-fortified for this week’s 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, proceedings which will feature the once-a-decade change in Party (thus, national) leadership;  connectivity to the freer precincts of the outside world will, therefore, be challenged.  Regular service should resume on or around November 12…

 

 click here for interactive version

The Brookings Institute presents an interactive graphic that…

… provides first-of-its kind data on the flow of international passengers in and out of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. It features data describing the scale of these flows and it calls out the international markets where these ties are particularly strong. What’s more, this tool goes beyond describing where passengers are going and tells us how they get there. Using data on transfer points and a map that visualizes each leg of each international route, it paints a portrait of how our global aviation infrastructure rises to meet the demand of international passengers.

Watch the flow at “Global Gateways: International Aviation in Metropolitan America.”

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As we check to confirm that our passports are still current, we might recall that it was on this date (the wedding anniversary of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln) in 2008 that Barak Obama was elected the first African-American President of the United States.

 source

 

Written by LW

November 4, 2012 at 1:01 am

Freudian Slips…

From Fox News, announcing the big news story of May 1:

BREAKING NEWS
Obama Bin Laden Dead

Still, Happy World Press Freedom Day!

As we remember that, to paraphrase Craig Newmark, a free press is the immune system of a democracy, we might wish a crafty Happy Birthday to Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli; he was born on this date in 1469.  Machiavelli wrote comedies, poetry, and some of the best-known personal correspondence in Italian; but he is best remembered as a Man of Affairs, first as a servant of the Florentine Republic in a time during which Medici influence was on the wane.  His most famous work, The Prince— first published as a pamphlet in 1513– was written mid-career to gain favor with the Medici, who were at that point regaining dominance in Florence.  The essay on the exercise of power (inspired by Cesare Borgia) not only failed to win over the Medici, it alienated Machiavelli from the Florentine public; he never again played an important role in government.  Indeed, when the Florentine Republic was established in 1527, Machiavelli was effectively ostracized.

But published in book form posthumously (in 1532), The Prince began its steady growth in influence.  And indeed today, Machiavelli is considered one of the fathers of modern political theory.

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito (source)

Keep those cards and letters coming…

for larger version, click image above (or here), and then click again

Readers will recall earlier visits to Letters of Note (“correspondence deserving of a wider audience”).  That wonderful site now has company– and official company at that.

The letter-of-request above*, and tens of thousands of other historically- and politically-interesting documents can now be found at the Online Public Access Prototype of the National Archives.

* One notes that, while the Vice President’s response to Disney was “schedule too tight,” later President Nixon used Disney World as the venue for his “I am not a crook” speech…

[TotH to GMSV]

As we sharpen our quills, we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 (months before his Disney World performance) that President Nixon signed the bill authorizing $5.5 million to develop the Space Shuttle program– NASA’s main focus from that point until President Obama’s recent redirection.

Nixon with NASA Administrator James Fletcher and a model of spacecraft-to-come (Source: NASA)

It’s that time again…

…time to start strategizing for that annual test of taste, that carnival of consumerism, Holiday gift shopping.

source: Amazon.co.uk

Happily,  Jolyon Fenwick and Marcus Husselby have ridden to the rescue with a guide to the perfect gift for those one one’s list for whom it’s not the thought that counts:  Einstein’s Watch: Being an Unofficial Record of a Year’s Most Ownable Things

From the publisher’s description:

What is the value of Gandhi’s glasses or a collection of Braille editions of Playboy? And how much is an artwork consisting of ten million $100 banknotes worth? In this gloriously eclectic overview of 2009’s most ownable objects, Jolyon Fenwick and Marcus Husselby present a treasure trove of over 100 desirable things bought or offered for sale this year. Ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, the cache of curios includes: a hard disk of MPs’ expenses over the last five years; Einstein’s watch; Uncle Monty’s cottage from Withnail and I; the last ever cheque issued by Woolworths (it bounced); a holy water sprinkler (made by Parker pens); official posters from the Obama campaign; Captain Cook’s boomerang; Super Lemon Haze marijuana; Black Canary Barbie (described as ‘filth’ by Christian Voice [pictured on the book’s cover]); and, the key to the binoculars storeroom on board the Titanic.

source: Designs Through Process

As we scrawl “Dear Santa,” we might note that today’s a great day to March right down the Middle, in honor of Victorian novelist, poet, and translator George Eliot– Mary Ann Evans– who was born on this date in 1819 in Warwickshire.

George Eliot

Move over, Shephard Fairley…

From badpaintingsofbarackobama.com, Bad Paintings of Barack Obama:

More (and worse), here.

As we recalibrate our iconography, we might recall that on this date in 1950, the FBI debuted its “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list (the premiere edition of which featured Willie “I rob banks because that’s where the money is” Sutton)…

the FBI’s 1990s-era logo for the list

Written by LW

March 14, 2009 at 1:01 am

Warts and all…

With thanks to reader PL (and apologies that– for reasons that will be obvious– there’s no way to paste it in here), the extraordinary “gigapan” photo of the Inauguration here.  Zoom in from the rafters, and a view of the crowd as a whole, to a tight shot of any face in the crowd.  As creator David Bergman explains:

I made this Gigapan image from the north press platform during President Obama’s inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 20, 2009. It’s made up of 220 images and the final image size is 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels.

1,474 megapixels… pictures that we civilians take on our digital cameras may be 10 megs, usually more like 5.

Finally, what the America public has been awaiting:  resolution.

As we give it up for the new CiC, we might recall that it was on this date in 1935 that The Parker Co. board game Monopoly was created (it was released on November 5 of that year).  In fact, Monopoly was based on an earlier game, The Landlord Game, created in 1903 by Lizzie Magie, a young Quaker from Virginia who was demonstrating the theories of progressive economist Henry George.  Parker Bros. bought her out for a flat $500, and the promise to release The Landlord Game and two other games she’d contrived.

source

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