Simple. We will pay for our bold progressive goals the same way we already pay for everything else, including disastrous wars. Congress will appropriate a spending budget and we will mobilize the necessary resources to produce what we need.
For several decades, the scope of political possibilities and debate in our public discourse has been mediated by the ever looming question “But how are you going to pay for it?”. Rather coincidentally, it seems as though this question is only taken seriously when it concerns the public good such as with healthcare, education, infrastructure, the arts, and urgent climate policy. While establishment politicians are silent on the endless and seamless spending for war, tax cuts for the ultra rich, and corporate subsidies, it begs the question as to whether we the public have been misled about the operations of money in a modern economy and a Government’s capacity to use its fiscal and monetary authority.
In fact, Millions in lobbyist money has been spent in bipartisan efforts to spread ideological misinformation and create panic on concepts such as the Federal deficit and debt.
The reality is that the United States is the ultimate legal authority over the issuing of U.S. Dollars and as such, all public spending means the generation of new money into the economy with taxes serving as its removal. What is left over is equal to what we call the Government deficit, or a non-government surplus. Contrary to a currency user like you as a working person, a household, a business, or a local or state government which needs to raise revenue or borrow in order to spend, a currency issuer like the United States Government must first spend its chosen unit of account (US Dollars) into an economy before there is anything to tax back out. The obvious conclusion to this understanding of the operational reality of Federal finance is that we need not “find” the money to pay for our social objectives dollar per dollar, something that those in the establishment have already understood when it comes to the priorities of powerful interests.
This does not in any way suggest that the government should be spending without a limit. Our government’s responsibility is to consider the effects on the economy as a whole and avoid the destabilizing of prices. This means it must evaluate its spending not on a requirement to balance its budget but on constraints based on the availability of real resources including labor, technology, raw materials, and productive capacity for a particular agenda and the industry it involves in order to avoid shortages and inflation.
Therefore, while we as a nation have people able and willing to produce things and while we have the capacity to invest in what we urgently need, there is absolutely no excuse not to act with the well being of communities and our environment at stake. Failing to act and allowing our government to abdicate from its responsibility to invest in the public good has fostered an economy addicted to private debt and credit in the grip of the private banking system which through financial speculation and its predatory behavior has been responsible for the generation of ongoing bubbles, market crashes, and recessions.
What we really need is the political will to do what’s right and invest in our people over the powerful!