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New Documentary Reveals Radical Ideology That Led to Inflation

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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by Andrew Shirley
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22 Comments
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A video of top Biden economic advisor Jared Bernstein failing to demonstrate basic knowledge of how the economy works has recently gone viral on social media. But Finding the Money, the new documentary the video comes from, is an even more disturbing insight into the extremism that defines the left’s illogical and destructive approach to fiscal policy under what they call “Modern Monetary Theory,” or MMT.

In the clip in question, Bernstein, who chairs the White House Counsel of Economic Advisors, is asked why the government borrows money. “Again, some of this stuff gets – some of the language and concepts are just confusing,” Bernstein replies. “The government definitely prints money, and it definitely lends that money by selling bonds. Is that what they do? They sell bonds, yeah, they sell bonds. Right? Since they sell bonds, and people buy the bonds, and lend them the money.”

As Bernstein’s answer made the rounds online, users were quick to point to it as evidence of the Biden administration’s incompetence. “This is absolutely priceless,” entrepreneur Arnaud Bertrand posted. “And probably the most frightening clip you’ll ever watch on the people in charge of the U.S. economy.”

But while the Biden administration certainly deserves criticism for its handling of the economy and apparent failure to understand basic economic forces, Bernstein’s remarks might be some of the more coherent and sensible ones offered in the film.

For Stephanie Kelton, Finding the Money’s narrator and the public face of MMT, Bernstein is a useful dunce who is supposed to make viewers ask one question: why can’t the government just endlessly print more money instead of borrowing it?

Kelton, an economics professor at Stony Brook University who previously worked for Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee and as an economic advisor to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, has become famous as a proponent of MMT. She is now seeking to spread greater awareness of the theory with this documentary.

MMT posits that a government that issues its own currency (as the United States does) can never run out of money in the same way a business or individual can, as it can always create more currency to finance spending. MMT argues that such a government should focus on achieving full employment and controlling inflation rather than balancing budgets, suggesting deficits are not inherently bad.

In other words, MMT proponents believe that governments can simply spend and rack up debt indefinitely with no negative long-term consequences. Accordingly, Finding the Money claims that textbooks and traditional economic theories fundamentally misunderstand the relationship between government, money, and markets.

The IMBD description of the documentary states that it follows a group of “underdog economists” who are “on a mission to instigate a paradigm shift by flipping our understanding of the national debt, and the nature of money, upside down.”

In reality, however, as the documentary unintentionally reveals, Kelton and the economists she interviews are hardly “underdogs.” Despite Bernstein’s unwillingness to embrace MMT on camera, MMT is essentially the de facto foundational belief of the Biden administration’s economic platform – as evidenced by the ballooning national debt and multi-trillion-dollar spending packages the White House has ushered through Congress.

Moreover, Kelton herself argued back in 2021 that Biden’s nearly $6 trillion in spending was evidence that the president (or at least his policy team) had already adopted MMT in practice since some of that spending was not financed through tax increases or other spending cuts.

Throughout the film, Kelton and the supporters of MMT she interviews, many of whom have backgrounds in Democrat Party politics, also frequently refer to the Green New Deal – the foundation of Biden’s environmental agenda – as an example of why MMT is necessary. At times, the documentary sounds more like a campaign ad for progressive social and climate policies than an analysis of a controversial economic theory. But, according to Kelton, the passage of the Green New Deal and mobilization of government dollars to see it realized would usher in a golden age of American opportunity.

But what about inflation, the obvious problem with limitless spending that has dogged Kelton and MMT advocates their entire activist careers? Kelton’s inaugural MMT book, The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy, was released in June 2020. At that time, inflation was not yet a major concern, and so Kelton largely ignored and dismissed the issue.

Now, however, in the wake of 40-year high inflation that remains well above the Fed’s target rate of two percent, MMT advocates can’t ignore it anymore.

So, in Finding the Money, Kelton changes course and makes the case that deficit spending does matter in terms of inflation. But she now maintains that if inflation does emerge, the solution is for the government to spend even more.

For instance, economist Rohan Grey, an MMT advocate, suggests in the film that the government could cut inflation by “tightening financial and credit regulations, shredding the fossil fuel, real estate, defense, and financial industries, and tightening environmental regulations.”

Agreeing with Grey, Kelton notes that increased demand for energy could also drive up gas prices, causing inflation. Her solution? Artificially constrict people’s access to gasoline via regulations, which in her mind will decrease demand and prices, which would bring down inflation.

In other words, Kelton makes the same bogus argument that Americans have heard from liberals for decades: The solution to every problem is more government spending and regulations.

As American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Stan Voyager incredulously asked in response to this theory, “How would intensifying environmental regulations conceivably place downward, as opposed to upward, pressure on inflation, when it would reduce economic output? How would shrinking industries increase supply? How would the myriad agencies involved in this process actually coordinate?”

Ultimately, Follow the Money makes the case for a government that is unrestrained and aggressive in its control of the economy – to the point where capitalism ends and socialism begins.

Americans need not worry about the documentary fostering a communist revolution – it hardly registered with the broader public, and just four reviewers even offered an analysis of the film on Rotten Tomatoes. But as a look into the mindset of the liberal economic “experts” advising Democrat politicians, Follow the Money is nonetheless a chilling exposé.

Andrew Shirley is a veteran speechwriter and AMAC Newsline columnist. His commentary can be found on X at @AA_Shirley.

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Max
Max
1 month ago

Continuing to print money with no restraint will lead to HYPERINFLATION. Just go back in history to post WW1 Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s and see the consequences. Our country is feeling the same symptoms of this situation and will soon rear its ugly head.

Timothy Michael
Timothy Michael
1 month ago

Without question, MMT is the most ludicrous economic theory. As the deficit continues to feed spiraling national debt, foreign buyers of the debt will fall away, and the Fed will be the remaining purchaser. In essence, the left hand issues the debt while the right hand purchases the debt, i.e. resulting in monetization and hyperinflation. All of the MMT proponents come from the far left and most likely, are strong advocates of socialism, i.e. a system of governing that has proven to never work.

Musaiga
Musaiga
1 month ago

This goes way, way back. But you forgot to add something. Convince all young people that they shouldn’t have to work for what they have. Tell them to get a degree, and in as little as 4 years they’ll be able to skate through the remains of their useless lives on the backs of someone else. And that “Long Con” has worked beautifully for the commies. “White Collar” primps sit around in their cubicles all day looking down their noses at Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, and pretty much every human that doesn’t sit at a desk and rake in cash for doing next to nothing.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

That incompetent idiot Yellen deserves plenty of shaming as well.

Tina Hand
Tina Hand
1 month ago

If this doesn’t prove anything to democratic voters that our freedoms are being taken by the far left socialists, nothing will. Big government never works and never has and never will. November 5th is so crucial to the survival our country!

Robert
Robert
1 month ago

I could almost see the endless printing of money if we had the Gold to back it up with. The value of Gold is rising and there is supposedly tons of it in Fort Knox. But I suspect said Fort no longer contains as much Gold as it did. Of course the Government might confiscate privately owned Gold (they did it once before years ago if you will remember) to back up the dollar if they have to. Remember this administration seeks to control our finances so all of you who assume your Gold will protect you will be disappointed. The only real defense you can do is keep another Democrat controlled term from happenning. If Republicans don’t have a healthy lead in the Senate and House as well as the White House this election we will go from Socialist to Communist rule in our country. Try holding on to your precious Gold then!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Print too much money, spend too much you incur debt, then print more money to pay off incurred debt = inflation. Duh.

Joseph Meyer
Joseph Meyer
1 month ago

Funny how inflation was 1.4% at the end of the Trump administration, and went up to 9% halfway through the first year of the Biden administration.Orange Man Bad.

Kim
Kim
1 month ago

When I heard Bernstein offer his labored explanation about the government borrowing money, I laughed. This is the problem with progressives…they don’t understand how an economy based on making and selling goods and services works. They don’t know what to do about $35 trillion in national debt, nor do they care. Both Obama and biden (small “b” because he’s so much worse than anyone else) said that to fight inflation, companies should “just lower their prices”! Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Lower your prices…geez… That idiocy alone should disqualify him from running for office.

These political elites have never dirtied their hands on a farm, flipped a burger, or replaced a kitchen faucet. They’ve never bought wholesale supplies and turned them into marketable retail goods. They’ve never built a business from scratch, dealt with personnel problems, battled hard times during inflation and recession, or complained about business owners’ FICA taxes being too high (double what employees pay). This year, my seeds from one supplier cost between 5 and 60% more than they did in 2023. Plastic pots are up, fertilizer is up, delivery charges are up. Most businesses must pass on these higher costs to their customers. But, because I have other funds coming in and because the house is paid for, I offer cheaper prices for herbs and vegetable plants to people I know are struggling.

These dems are a total joke. They’ve turned our country into the laughingstock of the world. No one on that side of the aisle is serious about restoring integrity or common sense in how we function. Their “theories” are developed by morons and their programs are implemented by morons. They muddle through, like Brownian motion, bumping into obstacles and randomly reacting…hoping something works.

MAGA; vote for Trump!

Alan
Alan
1 month ago

Wow, now it’s Trumps fault, yet he has not been President fo 3.5 years. That lie is getting real old. About time the Bidenista’s let Sniffy own what he has done

Joseph Meyer
Joseph Meyer
1 month ago

Jared Bernstein has a Bachelor’s in music, a Masters in Social Work, and a doctorate of social work in Social Welfare. This is Joe Biden’s chief economic advisor

Pat R
Pat R
1 month ago

If MMT, and other ilk, is the result of an expensive college education for Kelton and others, I’d say college is not only worthless but an enemy to limited government and individual liberty/freedom.

Jim Carlyle
Jim Carlyle
1 month ago

Great description of the brilliant ideas of Karl Marx and Fred Engels, updated of course to the “Progressive” era with the same results, as predicted by Dr. Einstein, among others

Alan
Alan
1 month ago

Well hell, if that’s the case, why haven’t the lefty lunatics just taxed us into prosperity. Clearly their goal is to financially destroy this country.

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