Posted by WARREN MOSLER on January 28th, 2010
Tea Party Plan for Democrats — Cut to the Front with Tax Cuts
At Saturday’s Tea Party conference in Dallas I’ll be outlining how Tea Party Democrats can run against Obama administration policies that are counter to both Tea Party and traditional Democratic values. It is the Washington elite that have moved away from the ideals of Jefferson and Jackson with policies that are, at best, regressive, elitist, and destructive to our quality of life. And who’s benefiting? Not the millions who voted Democratic who are losing their jobs and their homes. And with GDP now moving higher while unemployment rises, all that additional wealth is flowing up to the top. This Democratic President and Congress was not elected to enrich the bankers, insurance executives, drug companies, and union leaders at the expense of the rest of us, in a perversion of true core Democratic values. Unfortunately, the so-called economic experts have confused themselves and their political masters with contrived explanations for the way the economy works, and their limited vision has limited the range of policy choice. The result has been a monumental economic and social disaster caused by an obvious shortage of aggregate demand. The spending power needed to make mortgage payments, car payments, and do a bit of shopping- all of which would fix the economy and end the financial crisis- just isn’t there.
The answer is a full payroll tax holiday, where the US Treasury would make all FICA payments for both employees and employers that regressively remove 15% of every pay check from dollar one up to $106,800 of income. The take home pay of a husband and wife with a combined income of $100,000 per year would increase by over $650 a month, and quickly restore output and employment. Rather than funding the banks from the top down with an improbable trickle down theory that would have made Reagan blush, this tax cut restores the incomes necessary to support all economic activity from the bottom up. Instead of funding the financial sector with $trillions, the payroll tax holiday instead simply stops taking $trillions away from people working for a living.
Unfortunately, the Democratic elite has been not only against this kind of tax cut, even though it is a tax so regressive that no self respecting Democrat should tolerate for a single moment, because they think the Federal Government has to actually get revenue to be able to spend. However, that anachronistic gold standard reality has long been replace by our current, non convertible currency regime and floating exchange rate policy. Chairman Bernanke told Congressman Pelley exactly how the Federal Government spends today last May:
(PELLEY) Is that tax money that the Fed is spending?
(BERNANKE) It’s not tax money. The banks have– accounts with the Fed, much the same way that you have an account in a commercial bank. So, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed.
Our govt has only one way to spend- they ‘mark up’ numbers in bank accounts. The funds don’t ‘come from’ anywhere any more than the 6 points for a touchdown posted on scoreboard at a football game ‘come from’ anywhere. Nor does govt. get anything when it taxes- the IRS just changes numbers down in our bank accounts.
The fact is, the US Government never has nor doesn’t have dollars. It’s the scorekeeper for the dollar. It just changes numbers in bank accounts.
So why tax? To regulate aggregate demand. Taxation is the thermostat. When the economy is too hot, raise taxes to cool it down. When it’s too cold, like it surely is today, a payroll tax holiday will warm it back up to operating temperature.
The Democratic elite have it wrong and their wrongheaded ways are doing serious damage to the US economy and the people struggling under their failed economic agenda. And their latest moves towards what they call ‘fiscal responsibility’ will only cut demand further and make things worse.
Tea Party Democrats can lead the way towards true fiscal responsibility, which means setting taxes at the right level needed to sustain output and employment. And today that means a full payroll tax holiday.