Political and economic elites have a pretty good track record of co-opting movements. One that has the enormous wiggle room of Modern Monetary Theory’s non-monetary theory components could be immediately put in their service, without even a brief period of progressive utility.
That’s why I think it is better to make the case for liberal policy up front, instead of obscuring it behind a Rorschach test presented as a monetary theory. Make the case for a job or income guarantee, or better funding of social programs, or what have you, make that case directly. If anyone asks how to pay for it, MMT. But lead by arguing in terms of justice and equity. Modern Monetary Theory is the details, and details belong in the background.Well, I'd say that the strategy is good but the tactics not well conceived. I'd rather lead with policy than the wonkiness of monetary economics. However, a major reason in the way of progressive policy being taken seriously is the belief in the false government as big household or firm analogy.
Without addressing the funding concern, progressive arguments are going nowhere. A lot of the political push for fiscal "discipline," getting the deficit under control, reducing the national debt, and, on the left, taxing the rich to pay for the welfare state, is coming from a public that believes that taxes and borrowing are needed to pay for expenditure. It's just not possible to have an intelligent policy debate without addressing funding concerns.
It's not a tough sell. Clearly in a fiat system, the government creates its funding through currency issuance. Anyone can easily see that. They can also see that the existing system based on funding specific programs with taxes, borrowing, or cutting other programs makes no sense.
It's true that the monetary description that MMT provides can be used by left and right. But at present only the top of the town knows this and is using this knowledge to its own advantage. The desire for at least some aspects of the welfare state are bipartisan at the popular level. It is the ruling elite that is frustrating the desires of the people and obfuscating by sophistry like the government as household analogy that even President Obama has used — the meme that America is going bankrupt.
This is designed to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt in order to bias the policy debate. MMT to the rescue!
Why Modern Monetary Theory is a dicey bet for liberals