The #MMT Case for Progressive Taxes

If you’re looking to save the planet and deliver inclusive prosperity, it’s crazy to rely on deficit spending alone.

By Steve Roth There’s a curious fact among the current crop of discussions surrounding Modern Monetary Theory: Leading figures in the MMT world — strong progressive voices, they — are surprisingly dismissive of higher, progressive […]

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The Real Reason Stock Buybacks Are a Problem

Buybacks are a massive tax dodge for shareholders

By Steve Roth Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer’s New York Times op-ed, “Limit Corporate Stock Buybacks,” has thrown internet gasoline on the buyback debate. The left is waving the flag, and the right is trying […]

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Four Definitions of Money. All Correct.

Understanding what we mean by the most important word in economics.

By Steve Roth Money makes the world go round. That may well be true, but money certainly makes the economics world go round. It’s the discipline’s special purview, the numeric linchpin that gives economics its dominant […]

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Capital’s Share of Income Is Way Higher than You Think

Almost half of households’ market income is received for just being wealthy: owning stuff.

By Steve Roth The shares of income going to “capital” and “labor” are vexed issues. How much is received for doing work, and how much is unearned “property income”— interest, dividends, etc.? For a long […]

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What in the Heck Is “Money Printing,” Anyway?

People — especially economists — use this term every which way from Sunday.

By Steve Roth “Printing money.” You hear it all the time in economics discussions — from economists in every phylum of the (rapidly) evolving field, from financial types, from reporters and everyday news consumers, and […]

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How Do Americans Get Rich? (And Stay Rich?)

Income inequality is rampant, and rising. But it’s not even close to the whole story.

By Steve Roth It’s the American dream. A third of Americans think they’ll be rich someday. More than half of 18–29 year olds think they will be. Less than 5% actually make it.* And many of those […]

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Why Economists Don’t Know How to Think About Wealth (or Profits)

Until 2006, they quite literally weren’t playing with a full (accounting) deck. Most still aren’t.

By Steve Roth In the next evolution of economics taking shape around us and among us, perhaps no school has been so transformational over recent decades as a loose, worldwide group best described as “accounting-based” economists. Modern […]

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Does Saving Cause Lending Cause Investment? (No.)

The idea that household saving funds business investment is both incoherent and empirically wrong.

By Steve Roth Households save money and lend it to businesses, who invest it in productive enterprises. That’s the economic story you’ve been hearing your whole life, right? Or at least since Econ 101. Saving […]

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Democracy. Capitalism. Socialism. Choose Any Three of the Above

If you don’t have a big bathtub of oil in the ground, you need all three to deliver widespread economic well-being.

By Steve Roth In the millennias-long evolution of human societies and economic systems, we find ourselves today at a pass where three systems predominate, and fitfully cohabit: democracy, capitalism, and socialism. Most countries in the world operate […]

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Did Money Eat Our Brains?

Our heads got bigger for two million years. For at least ten thousand years, they’ve been getting smaller. Is the Money-Zombie Apocalypse upon us?

By Steve Roth “This invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are […]

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Did Money Evolve? You Might (Not) Be Surprised

It’s all about social accounting

By Steve Roth You probably won’t be surprised to know that exchange, trade, reciprocity, tit for tat, and associated notions of “fairness” and “just deserts” have deep roots in humans’ evolutionary origins. We see expressions […]

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