This book is volume I of a two volume series critiquing austerity politics at the Federal level in the United States. It exposes its fallacies, its closed-mindedness and futility, and especially its reliance on wrong-headed conceptions of fiscal sustainability and fiscal responsibility.
In this volume, I relate neoliberalism, the Washington Consensus, austerity politics pushed by the powers that be among the DC Village progressives, and the ideas of fiscal sustainability and fiscal responsibility to the perspectives of Modern Money Theory (MMT), including MMT-based ideas about fiscal sustainability and responsibility. I also explain what I mean by real fiscal responsibility, rather than faux fiscal responsibility, and apply these ideas to an analysis of the US Government during the term of Jimmy Carter. I begin my analysis of current progressive ideas and activities by examining the views of Senator Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, and then continue by analyzing the operation of the give-up formula among Congressional and DC progressives during the period 2009 - 2010, when the Democrats had big margins in Congress. I then move to the period 2011 – the present. Next, I analyze the Campaign for the American Future and its New Populism Campaign, and then conclude by relating the give-up formula to real fiscal responsibility.
In vol II, I’ll continue the critique by focusing on the Peterson network and inequality. In the two volumes, together, I’ll show that the Washington consensus, austerity politics, and its foundational ideas of fiscal/sustainability and responsibility are both intellectually bankrupt, and also that austerity policies based on its flawed notions of fiscal sustainability/responsibility have not only failed to perform as advertised by their advocates, but have also produced the opposite of their promised outcomes, including producing economic stagnation which has exacerbated economic inequality.
In even a minimally rational America, the negative outcomes of austerity-based deficit reduction including its failure to produce full employment, and a healthy economy in which all can share; and its all too successful production of economic stagnation and increasing inequality, would be plain to all and would be at the center of political debate. But in an America where public debate is subject to a continuous cacophony of distracting, contradictory, and confusing messaging from large and powerful corporate interests and from a small group of extremely wealthy individuals, cognitive manipulation of large numbers of people is all too successful at distorting perceptions of reality. So, the mass of people remains easily distracted, and persuaded by myths and rationalizations for fiscal and other policies that have failed time and again across the world.
This Kindle e-book, along with the forthcoming vol II, is intended to contribute to an effort to dispel the austerian myths about fiscal sustainability/responsibility that prevent Americans from understanding what policies can contribute toward fulfilling public purpose and what policies only take us further away from that goal. A great struggle for the future of American Democracy and for the heritage of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and the Great Society is now underway. The perspectives developed here will, hopefully help to secure and extend US democracy in all its dimensions, and also FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights, the unfinished business of The New Deal.