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Guest Post: The First Step to Solving A Problem Is Stating It Correctly

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Submitted by Of Two Minds

The First Step to Solving a Problem is Stating it Correctly

By Brad L

In "1984," George Orwell describes a totalitarian state that employs "newspeak" to enforce its aims. Rather than merely suppressing statements that endanger the ruling party, newspeak constricts the language itself, making dangerous ideas impossible to formulate.  This proves to work far better than post-hoc crackdowns on radical speech, inspiring one state functionary, Syme, to exude, "It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words."

With that in mind, I'd like to explore a problem I see in the current economic debate. The path before the nation in general, and the federal government in particular, is usually framed as a choice between "quantitative easing" and "austerity," and even those who oppose the action represented by the former phrase, and support the course represented by the latter, tend to use these terms as if they truly described the two paths that might be taken.

But of course they don't.

"Quantitative easing" is, linguistically speaking, quite new. The original Japanese expression for "quantitative easing" ryoteki kinyu kanwa was minted in the mid-1990s, and became official Japanese monetary policy after Toshihiko Fukui was appointed governor in February 2003. It did not pass into American parlance until roughly 2005, but in a mere six years, it's a linguistic bestseller - a Google search for "quantitative easing" garners over a million hits.

It's easy to see why the term was pushed vigorously by the forces that support the action it represents. Evolutionary psychology asserts that humans have two basic drives - accumulating resources and minimizing effort. Throughout human history, anyone who could gather real resources without expending much time or energy had a huge survival advantage. "Quantitative easing," has, then, a hugely positive emotional valence, as it embraces the two things humans prize most - quantity and ease.

Of course, in reality, "quantitative easing" offers no such thing. It creates no real resources whatsoever, and whatever "ease" it might provide will be more than counterbalanced by painful side- and aftereffects.

An alternative phrase that policy critics sometimes advance - "money printing" - is, ironically, almost as attractive. The reason is that "money" has multiple meanings, and in the popular mind is conflated with possessions that can be purchased with currency. In other words, at a fundamental level, "money printing" sounds like a pretty good idea - the creation of a real resource with little effort. Sign me up!

So let's be clear. The most accurate description for the action described by "quantitative easing" is actually "fiat creation." Here, the type of money being created is specified - a fiat currency, untethered to any real resource, with no more intrinsic worth than the paper (or electrons) that constitute it. And "creation" reveals the voluntary bringing-into-being of this intrinsically valueless commodity. Using these words makes it clear that there is no imaginary constraint at which the fiat strains in search of "easing," instead, human beings make choices and perform actions to create it.

The fact that the average American has no idea what fiat is, is no excuse for those who do understand it failing to employ the phrase often in writing and speaking. If it is used enough, even Americans can learn a new word.

So use it, please.

Next is the term, "austerity," which is used, in government-budget discussions, to describe spending cutbacks necessary to balance tax inflows to spending outflows. The first-listed synonyms for this term are "harshness," "strictness" and "ascetisim," all of which have a strong negative emotional valence. Absent from these synonyms are any positive results that might come from actions described as austere; the entirety of the word's meaning is unrelieved by any awareness that austerity might have a benefit.

So again, let's be clear. The most accurate description for the set of measures described as "austerity" is expressed by the phrase "living within our means." This expression aligns with the average person's understanding that he or she must personally balance revenue inflows and outflows - even people who don't do this are usually painfully aware that they should. "Living within our means" then, has a positive valence that is hard to over-state - immediately, intuitively, it just makes sense.

Reframing the choices before us from a battle between "quantitative easing" and "austerity" to one between "fiat creation" and "living within our means" is a necessary first step to making the right choices as a culture. If we can't even properly state the problem, we'll never arrive at a solution.

 

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Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:09 | 955875 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

"The first casualty of War is Truth"

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:33 | 955908 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

Manipulation and selective word usage by Obummer is at an all time high.

With inflation raging across the middle east and Egypt revolting, he steps up to the mic and says "I praise the people of Egypt.  Change is near."  He is totally trying to skirt the real issue:  Food inflation.  He is trying to cover up the truth about what this gov't is doing, and how they are slowly forcing the people of other nations into poverty.

This propaganda machine, the same one exporting inflation at a torrid clip not seen EVER in history like this to other nations, now also thinks they can bring the Egyptian people on their side.  The statement wreeks of "Come with me.  Join our side..... pretty pleeeze."

There is a last ditch effort now being waged by the US gov't to keep people from uprising, to keep people in a trance, and to try to attempt to keep them on side; meanwhile, exporting inflation and starving the world through Benocides' satanic actions.

Mr. Quiver Lip will one day pay dearly for his genocidal stupidity.

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:58 | 955943 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Our attempts to limit language can be summed up as "political correctness".  There is nothng more advantageous to the beasts in power than political correctness.  The words most used to enforce political correctness are "racist", "bigot", "chauvinist", "discrimination", etc.  These titles are often hoisted on people that are bringing up very sound and rational criticisms of the behavior of TPTB.  Criticize Mr. Obama and watch how long it takes somebody to call you a racist.  Criticize Frau Clinton and watch how long it takes somebody to call you a chauvinist.  Criticize illegal immigration and watch how long it takes somebody to call you a bigot or a racist.

 

PC is definitely one of the favorite, and most powerful, tools of the Thought Police in America.  Once they have deemed something "offensive" you can guarantee that something is being said that contains common sense and challenges their stupidity and destruction. 

Fighting anybody that attempts to enforce Political Correctness is a blow for freedom and a blow being struck against the Thought Police.  Call a spade a spade and I will call it Doubleplusgood. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:22 | 955986 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

No law is made against people who say Earth is flat, nor that the Sun revolves around it

No law is made against saying 2 + 2 = 5

No law is made against stupidity, incompetence, ignorance nor lack of knowledge

But when you do think, research, explore, discover, question well watch your back than

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:41 | 956032 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

 

Hahahaha!!!  lQQks like tyler wantzta pull the train, sportz fanz.

this is cute:  "Evolutionary psychology asserts that humans have two basic drives - accumulating resources and minimizing effort."  so much 4 eat, sleep, shit & fuck (apologies to golferz). all my life whenever someone as asked me what i DO:  "As little as possible!"

QE = Fiat Creation? here's the politically correct polycritical polynomial, wonderblessed wunderblusss:

i'm laughing too Hard, bro.  gotsta stop, you IDIOT!  ++++++++XeXQE

you shameless babylonian hookster, i know what you want, but blythe won't answer yer calls unless you get baptized into her dreamz:  quod per twat: YouTube - Doug Clark & the Hot Nuts "Baby Let Me Bang Your Box Pt. 1"

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:14 | 956114 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Heh. Evolutionary Psychology says men only acquire wealth to attract trophy wives.

Women could change the world if they wanted to. Appears they don't.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:17 | 956248 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

 

 

OK, i'll confess:  i yam a fan of 'of 2 minds', and enjoy the stuff ona regular basis.  this just seems like the wrong mind, if ya don't mind.  what abt the other one?

Mon, 02/14/2011 - 13:58 | 960166 Mach1513
Mach1513's picture

.... As well as "socialist" or "pinko" or "lwft-winger" or "class warfare" - all terms used by the right to impose their politically correct vocabulary. You see - there you go again - to use one of those handy but basically meaningless Reaganisms that equal in banality Obama's "change you can believe in" or "we are the people we've been waiting for", whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

Each side in this battle of words uses their own spin to try to demean or intimidate the other - sickening, on both sides. As in war, in politics:  The first casualt is (always) the truth.

Can't we stop this nonsense.  By the way, I did NOT vote for Obama (or Clinton in '96) - I just exercised my Democratic option to abstain.

And I do admire Ron Paul even though I often though not always disagree with him. At least he attempts to speak the truth.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:16 | 956246 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Rodent

They sure beat the lying drum before the invasion of Iraq.  You're with us or you're agin us.

Then, to kill Colin Powell's career, they have him disclose fake poison gas trucks to the UN.

Clever little cretins that run the show. 

But I think this time, too clever by half.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:13 | 955879 Rainman
Rainman's picture

The greatest enemy of the correct decision is a problem poorly defined. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:31 | 955886 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

You can get fined or go to prison for 'hate speech', 'racial discrimination', 'holocaust denial' etc. soon anything other than Keynesianism will be punishable too

No1 ever bothers to outlaw falshoods and lies it's always the truth that gets outlawed

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:00 | 955946 hardmedicine
hardmedicine's picture

you are in Germany then?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:01 | 955947 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

CNBC lies every day.  That is good.  Bernanke lies every day.  That is good.  The government lies every day.  That is good.  Meredith Whitney speaks some truth and Congress wants to get her on the spot and attempt to make her look unpatriotic and silence her.

Lies are acceptable but the truth must be punished with every means available. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:17 | 955978 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

Where I live you can get fined or imprisioned for not putting the lid on your Trash Can, pealing paint on your house, anything stored on your property that they do not approve of,  unliscensed vehicle on your property, etc.  They can also take your property from the excessive fines for not having a lid on your trash can.  Fine is $200. a day just for this violation.  If you also have another it is an addition $200. per day for each violaion.  5 violaions in 30 days it equals $30,000.  A form of adverse possession of property.

America is more like Orwells book every day.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:34 | 956015 SilverFiend
SilverFiend's picture

What is the fine for fire bombing city hall?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:51 | 956053 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Death.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:52 | 956454 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Depends on who's city hall you bomb, I suppose.

Dresden?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 23:04 | 956897 Calmyourself
Calmyourself's picture

How about red paint+ balloon+ city hall, drop 200 flyers out the car door as you speed away??  Simple tactics, big impacts..

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:49 | 956048 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Then MOVE.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:54 | 956061 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

 

i'm sure you'd move except 4 the negative eQUITee.  those fuking HOA's are nazi magnets, eh?  cuntz w/ brown shits, black boots, and no assholes?  hey!  ya get whatchu pay for!  don't ferget 2 keep the lid on!  see if ya can get abt 12 hits of UNOwhat and drop it into the tea at the next meeting.  then start playing Abbey Road.  then, the Sarge, pepper-spray.   see what happenz. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:02 | 956084 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

HOAs are evidence that the natural state of Man is slavery.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 11:45 | 957581 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

This is not a HOA this is City and County wide.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 20:37 | 956655 Racer
Racer's picture

Wow, that is some bad place to live. I think you would be better off in prison!

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:18 | 956122 MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

I predict that Keynesianism and Quantitative Easing will both be renamed "Mo' Money" for purpose of marketing to the general public.

This also accomplishes additional confusion as people argue whether K == "Mo' Money" or QE == "Mo' Money"...

...Or possibly which word means MORE "Mo' Money" then the other "Mo' Money."

Then they crack a beer and High Five each other -- 'cuz "Mo' Money" is "Mo' Money".

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:19 | 955888 cossack55
cossack55's picture

to continue the "1984" theme:

In a time of universal deceit, speaking the truth is a revolutionary act.

One of my personal favs.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:02 | 955950 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

I am paraphrasing Winston Smith but "being a minority of one does not make you insane".  Amen.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:20 | 955892 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

How about this question?

How long will the government starve the private sector and destroy free markets in the service of the banksters and public employee unions?  Will someone please ask Genocide Ben, or better yet brand it into his sorry ass?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:35 | 955910 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

The US hosts will be maintained until the parasites no longer need them and they have moved onto to new consumer hosts in the emerging markets. Matrix.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:05 | 955933 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

According to Catherine Austin Fitts the big boys moved on in the 1990s. They no longer look on the US as a going concern to be exploited for profit and dividends. They look on it as a dead economy to be asset stripped, looted and abandoned. They moved their long term investment money to Asia in 1997. The asset stripping is almost complete. All they have to do now is convince you to throw Granny under the bus and give what's left of her retirement savings to the big banks.

The next stage is to treat you as a colony, a  source of cheap raw materials and a market for overpriced junk made elsewhere.

The final stage is to become a source of cheap labor, starting with tourism. When you  hear tourism touted as the solution to unemployment and balance of trade issues you know you have reached full third world status.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:42 | 956170 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

Tourism in the US has been going on for years. Here in the west there are countless towns who have tried to make themselves as cute & tourist-friendly as possible after losing all local jobs that depended on manufacturing and natural resources.  The resources are used up and the mfg has been exported.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:27 | 956275 Kayman
Kayman's picture

And since it takes money to be a tourist and most tourism is local, there are endless towns with worthless tourist facilities.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 20:00 | 956583 Cleanclog
Cleanclog's picture

Using redevelopment dollars (yes, tax revenues that you paid) to cutesy up the town while the mentally ill are denied services so live under the freeways.  Redevelopment to improve urban blight?  That is soooooo 80's, but no one bothered to sunset any of these concepts and their funding.  

Everything you look at now is so contrived and inappropriately directed. Tax incentives are the devil.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 22:39 | 956850 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Hey, Radiator Springs is a fine little town and carz will return some day...

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 19:29 | 956505 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

Occasionally I see a comment that sums up the state of affairs unusually well. This is one of them.  A keeper.  Well said.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 23:39 | 956957 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Good Question, clearly defined.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:23 | 955895 AladdinSaneGirl
AladdinSaneGirl's picture

This reminds me of the field of "inverse problems" in maths. Trying to reconstruct an image from scattered data is an "ill-posed problem" and small errors in the measured data lead to huge instabilities in the solution... i suppose some quant has applied the theory to the markets already?? 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:31 | 956280 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Ala Girl

Quants are boxed in by the math.  Math will never replace the human imagination.

ps. think of the "markets" -stocks, bonds, and commodities as the home turf of the manipulators and then and only then will you have the slightest chance.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:26 | 955900 stollcri
stollcri's picture

There are many Americans who cannot work one job and "live within their means," so they have to search for other sources of income (e.g. a second or third job). Should we not consider that the government needs to search for other sources of income as well? Another source of income could be, I don't know, taxing the individuals and corporations who "gather[ed] real resources without expending much energy" during the boom years? Isn't at least part of the problem the drastically unequal income distribution in the US?

Funny how that option never shows up anywhere. What were you saying about elimination of ideas?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 22:45 | 956859 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

The third choice of Default/debt repudiation has no place in "One of Two Minds".  Kinda like:   "Would you like the arsenic or cyanide tea today?"

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:41 | 955902 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

I wish the author would have included, "disintermediation."

What does disintermediation mean?  From http://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/disintermediation.asp

1. In finance, withdrawal of funds from intermediary financial institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations, in order to invest them directly.
  
2. Generally, removing the middleman or intermediary.

I believe that disintermediation is the answer to many of the questions asked on this forum. 
  • How do I fight the banks? 
  • How do I protect my wealth? 
  • How do I find an efficient market?
Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:57 | 956073 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

 

or, get out now & avoid the rush.  get physical. THE END.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:31 | 955903 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Too bad we cant focus on improving productivity and capital formation, but those are hard and dont break down into easy soundbites.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:32 | 956008 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Improving productivity and capital "formation" are easy and break down to sound bites just fine.

ever hear of "right-sizing" and "off-shoring"? Those tactics both raise productivity.

ever hear of "financial innovation" , privatization, deregulation? those increase "capital" (read debt) formation.

stay tuned for the onslaught of cash from the corporates in 2012. The puppets will be singing all right.

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:37 | 956300 Kayman
Kayman's picture

TocaTroll

1. We have ever increasing productivity in the production of currency and credit. After all Bernankinstein (of the quivering lip) has clearly stated that he can create money and credit nearly cost free.  Ya can't beat that for producitivity.

2. Capital Formation, contrary to what you learned in Econ 101, is NOT SAVINGS, rather in these here modern times, it is created electronically by the Fed and its Shareholders.

So... don't worry about Productivity and Capital Formation. The Bernank and the Criminals have already solved that one fer ya...   

/sarc off/

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:31 | 955904 Snake
Snake's picture

reality is made of language  

war are fought for meanings

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:33 | 955907 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

"If we can't even properly state the problem, we'll never arrive at a solution"

Precisely

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:09 | 955967 Michael
Michael's picture

We can't even state the real problem why foreigners hate and attack the US. Two simple words people dare not utter on TV and learn to understand; "Motive" and "Blowback", respectively.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:13 | 956110 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

tru enuf, M, but why not just give toiler the toilet pasting he craves, and go wax a banana, or something?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 19:37 | 956514 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

"We can't even state the real problem why foreigners hate and attack the US."

Hate yes, attack no.

False flag events don't fit the definition of "attack". 

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 03:41 | 957265 Michael
Michael's picture

True. You have a better chance of being struck by lighting twice in the same year then being killed by a terrorist or the CIA/Mossad.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:38 | 955919 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

How is it that Greenspn continues to basically get a "free pass"?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:42 | 956311 Kayman
Kayman's picture

The MSM give Greenspan a free pass; no one else does. He knows that history will confirm he was a gutless shill.

The Maestro was really Millivanilli.

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:46 | 955925 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words."

Everytime I hear "investment" and "grow jobs" out of the politicians, I cringe.  Some of the source of this approach, e.g.:

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2891399326&searchurl=an...

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=3573051823&searchurl=an...

and my favorite (not!)

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=1272914429&searchurl=an...

'cuz ol' 'Rhymes-with' thinks that his crowd has some kind of standing.

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:48 | 955928 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

"Quantitative easing" might be described most accurately as "debt creation". If the news was all about how the Fed is creating more debt to cure a crisis of excess debt, it might be easier to understand why it won't work.

Or, the government keeps giving the taxpayers' money to big banks and big business, yet somehow the taxpayers remain poor.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 14:52 | 955934 sellstop
sellstop's picture

Are taxes too high?

Some say that we are paying too many taxes and that lower taxes will stimulate the economy. They say that if we cut the taxes that businesses pay,then they will create more jobs.Many of those same people say that we need to cut the size of government and that will create a strong economy.

Lets look at history. In the 1929 the worlds stock markets "crashed". In answer to that, President Hoover cut government spending. He wanted to get government off the backs of business so they could create jobs. The country commenced to go into the greatest depression ever known. After Hoover was voted out of office, Roosevelt dramatically increased government spending on social programs. The government debt went up. Then World War Two came and government debt went up dramatically. After the war, the economy took off and for the next twenty-five years grew at an astounding pace. These were the years that most of us older adults remember as the good times.
Let's look at tax rates and government spending during those years. Tax rates under Eisenhower were up to 91 percent for the top tax brackets. Business boomed. Government spending also went up. In the 1970's the oil price shocks and the cost of the Vietnam war caused inflation to grow. Stagnation and inflation in the economy led to the coining of the term "Stagflation". Finally, in the early '80's interest rates were deliberately raised for a couple years this slowed the economy enough to effectively kill inflation. During those years of high interest rates, savings was popular. Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 on his pledges to cut taxes. He initially cut taxes, but the size of the government deficits he ran up quickly made him raise them again. He raised taxes in six out of the eight years he was in office. The economy took off. Growth was everywhere. Tax cutting by then was popular and has been used since as a sure way to get votes. Cutting the size of government has not been popular. So the government borrowed the money. They borrowed from us, and they borrowed from other countries. The money that was not taxed was free to be spent by those who earned it, AND the money the government spent was in the economy. The combination of government and private money is what led to the greatest stock market boom in history in the 1990's. Then when that was over, the real-estate market enjoyed a similar run due to the same reasons. Low taxes AND high government debt.
If taxes had been higher we would not have seen those booms. But we wouldn't have seen the busts that followed. That is the important point. Yes. Taxes are a "drag" on an economy. But taxes are money that is spent inside of an economy. The wealth does not go away. Much of government spending is for the essentials of a large nation. Defense. Infrastructure. Education. Research. These are investments in the future. The economy may boom when taxes are low, and interest rates are low, but then we are left with the mess to clean up, and no savings to do it with.
In times of prosperity it is neccessary to save, and taxes are a way of national savings. Funding of "safety nets", education of people, building a way of life that is commonly shared. This is saving. This gives us something to fall back upon when rainy days come.
So, when the economy picks up it will be wise to raise taxes and interest rates and start saving again. Will that happen. Not if "we" have anything to say about it, right?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:03 | 955952 Isotope
Isotope's picture

There are so many Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc assumptions in your post, I don't know where to begin. I can't type fast enough to cover it all.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:13 | 956077 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

ergo, yer post ain't hokey, but propter. V nice!  t.y.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:17 | 956121 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Indeed! Let's just start with a simple deconstruction of the initial disinformation.

Hoover lowered taxes? Smoot-Hawley tariff...hello?

Business boomed under Ike, because we had just finished destroying the competition in Europe and Asia. Oddly enough, even with high tax rates we still ended up with deficits. Government rarely spends less that it is able to expropriate.

 

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:05 | 956094 BlakeFelix
BlakeFelix's picture

It's not really about public/private spending but more about smart/dumb spending. The nice thing about capitalism is that dumb money theoretically gets poor and smart money gets stronger. What is killing us now is our low demand and high income inequality. WW2 tightened the labor supply which got demand back into the system.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:02 | 956356 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

"smart/dumb spending"

Another one for the list.

- Ned

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:10 | 956374 Kayman
Kayman's picture

The Hoover Dam ( the largest of its kind at the time ) was well on its way, long before FDR started the TVA and Grand Coulee projects. So give our man Hoover some credit.

Once I hear that TAXES=SAVINGS I cringe.

Government and Government Employees have no measure of productivity. In fact, if you work harder and are efficient, then your budget gets cut next time. 

For BlakeFelix.  The smart/dumb spending test no longer applies to the US since criminal bankers that lose trillions, now have access to your personal bank account through the Fed and Treasury.

And the Crony Capitalists (essentially monopolists and oligopolists in this country) no long have to compete for markets as they buy up (and have bought up) the competition through the cheap money (theft of American Savers and Savings) policy of the criminal Fed. 

 

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 01:36 | 957142 chopper read
chopper read's picture

sellstop, you are exactly what is wrong with America.  keep drinking the kool-aid, fuckwit. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:01 | 955944 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

I believe that if the Money created went to the American People we would be in a better situation today.  By this statement I mean that if every American that owned a Home could automatically re finance with their current Bank for 3% interest without closing costs that the Money would trickle up.  Or, if every American could re establish the interest on their Credit Card balances to 3% then there would be more consumer spending and the economy would fix itself.

The trickle down theory is just a theory and an excuse to transfeer wealth from the Average American Tax Payer to the Banks and their Employees thru Bonuses.  This Money does not trickle down as the Banks have not given the average American the benifit of 0 percent interest on their debt that the Banks have been given.

What if every American was given $10,000. at 0% interest and able to invest that money at 3% like the Banks?

The discussion on Quantative Easing is just smoke and mirrors to rob the Americans of their wealth instead of trying to improve their circumstances.

Again, Banks are being given 0% Money why can they not reduce existing Mortgages to say 3% to pass that along to the average American who have Bailed them OUT?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:04 | 956090 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

it's blitherin blythe! i'd know her anywhere!  damn you, Tyler!  if you don't get her fist out yer ass pretty soon, you'll never ride a schwinn, again, toy boy!

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:52 | 956329 snowball777
snowball777's picture

44M people collect at least 10k in benefits per year. If they want to market the things they buy with their EBT cards with a 3% mark-up, they are more than welcome (many do, sadly so they can take the proceeds to their dealer).

As for 'the average American' bailing them out, dream on. Take a look at the distribution of taxes paid and try again. The Chinese have done more than the average American on that front.

There is much more to fixing the American economy than restoring levels of consumer spending. No bailouts for anyone who can't do basic math...be that Wall St or Main St.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:24 | 956405 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Waterfallsparkles

The reason you cannot have 3% money is the banks "operate at the margin".

Since their "assets" are heavily proportioned to used toilet paper (sliced, diced, minced and mashed into derivative infinity), their "liquid" earnings do not exist.

Hence, their bought-and-paid-for Monkey, the Bernanke, daily gives them an injection of new money.  

With this daily dose of "new" money they reward themselves with obscene bonuses for such clever criminal behavior.

So, forget about 3% mortgages. The vig belongs to the criminals, and you have been co-opted to guarantee their debts.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:01 | 955949 falak pema
falak pema's picture

how about magical beans and cultivating the never ending bean stalk. QE is a bit like that. Except that the beans supposedly magical are more an 'exorbitant privilege' from another age which will one day be called to account in this new age which began in october 2008 with the wall street crash. A pure invention of the age of greed, guns n god.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:34 | 956011 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

Hmmm.  Interesting tought.  Isn't today a lot like Jack and the Beanstalk?  Jack is the average American with all of the Wealth in the Clouds.  He gets magic beans that let him climb the Bean Stalk and see the Opulence of the Giant (Banks) with all of the Gold and beautiful things that he never could even imagine.  Including a Goose that lays Golden Eggs.  I wonder if that is the American People that keep giving their wealth to the Banks (Giant).  We keep laying Golden Eggs for the Banks.

Yet, Jack takes the Goose that lays Golden Eggs.  Could that be a symbol of the American People taking back their servitude to the Banks?  Fairy Tales always have a hidden meaning.

Maybe we should all be like Jack and take back what is rightfully ours.  Our ability to be free and to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:24 | 956097 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

 

how about a magic butt plug to go with yer magic strap-on?  darlin:  you prob. didn't get this right the first time.  cutting the beanstalk?  you?  now, you wanna reinvent the wheel!  focus on yerself.  get some sleep.  heal.  ok? 

thanx 4 all the junx, tho, not 2 mention the palm oil.

peace.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:05 | 956361 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

"... cutting the beanstalk?  you?"

<<visions of Val the Impailer, ewww>>

- Ned

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:03 | 955956 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture

My favorite personal definition of Quantatative Easing occurs each day as I prepare to sit on the toilet. Somehow I think there is a parallel between my definition and the one that the benbernanke has in mind.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:33 | 955996 Paul Bogdanich
Paul Bogdanich's picture

The basic problem is the use or abuse of language to hide the true nature of the stimulus and easing and the appalling ignorance of the electorate which makes it all possible.  As the later will never change as I see it the problem is with the current policies specifically that they are designed to operate from the top down.  Big mistake.  No recognition whatsoever that the elites have had a failure.  So in the current form all current policies are is a  gift from the government elites to the failed private elites.  The results can be clearly seen seen in the eite economy while everyone anywhere else is left to twist.  The problem is, as it has always been, the mumbers.  10 million elties and dedicated minions and 300 million elses.  Sooner or later though it won't matter what you call it or how you define or redefine the words, the stark realities will be too strong to be ingnored and some hyperbolic politician will create new language to frame the problem his way.  We've got Hoover now so the only remaining question is do we get Hoover again, Hitler, Hanity (but I repeat myself),  Roosevelt or Robespierre.  Could be any one with another Hoover the odds on favorite.  Dozens of committed elitists to choose from in both parties.  Obama is but one.  However, sooner or later as the elites keep failing and the bills keep mounting things will have to change.  Maybe for the better, maybe not. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:37 | 956022 Newsboy
Newsboy's picture

Let's add also, the term "repudiation of unpayable debt" (though I love the emotional valance of "jubilee").

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:40 | 956286 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

i hear that, gautanimo!  this ain't zionism, but a kind of Hebrew "pentacostalism" (7 X 7 + 1 = 50), reflected in the new testament, also, to indicate that the
initiated" had completed their inner development, INCLUDING "forgive us our debts, as we...," well, you know, that part, too.  blow the shofar!  peace.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:11 | 956378 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

Pi,

"forgive us our debts, as we...,"

Not original, not Roman, yes King James.

Go figure.

- Ned

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:49 | 956046 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Hitler is spinning in his grave (and smiling)

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:35 | 956296 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Maybe Germany could hook him up to a generator. That'd be Green, right?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:49 | 956050 Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs's picture

interesting history on the term 'quantitative easing'.. i always imagined a large cow making a big patty.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:52 | 956057 SuperRay
SuperRay's picture

Great article. Very true indeed. This is all very interesting, but the reality of our situation now is that it's really too late to change anything.  The alternate reality that government and corporations have created - where the illusion that we can dominate the earth and growth is neverending- is already over.  Time to jettison and float down to the real earth, and figure out how to get along with it again.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:55 | 956068 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Earth started it!

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:53 | 956059 Burgess Shale
Burgess Shale's picture

I wonder if helicopter ben ever worries that someday his head will be on a pike.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 15:54 | 956062 snowball777
snowball777's picture

A handy lexicon:

"Quantitative Easing" --> "Incremental Value Rape"

"Austerity" --> "Entitlement Withdrawl"

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:04 | 956081 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

"In "1984," George Orwell describes a totalitarian state that employs "newspeak" to enforce its aims."

************************************************************************************

Entman (1993) emphasizes the view that what is excluded from a story or a text .... The selected networks NBC, FOX, ABC, CNN and CBS were chosen to get a feel ... Fox relied heavily on official sources and has been criticize for being ...
http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/editions/american/dialogue/ayeni.htm

 


MSNBC and NBC have run news segments that seem to be an official story ... of news sources such as CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg, as . ...
www.exampleessays.com/essay_search/MSNBC_NBC.html

The official story. Official voices, including current and former government ... Byrd was featured on PBS, with Stark and Kucinich appearing on Fox News. ... The anti-war percentages ranged from 4 percent at NBC, 3 percent at CNN, ABC, ...
www.fair.org/index.php?page=1145
********************************************************************************* So can we agree that the Offical Story from Offical Sources ='s "newspeak"? I think we all can agree, but to any and all that dis-agree.. please explain why?

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:36 | 956151 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

and awaaay we go!  this is the exact formula they fed us to go into iraq! +0+0xO

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:35 | 956427 Kayman
Kayman's picture

JW

All you have to do is go back to the invasion of Iraq by Dubya.  EVERY news outlet was afraid to provide a dissenting view. NOTHING WAS QUESTIONED.

Dubya's Puppeteers were miles ahead with their propaganda. WMD means Want More ? Dipshit ?

Whether it is "aw shucks" Dubya or Mr. Sincere Obi, all the PTB need is someone to read the script.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:08 | 956103 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

must wax a banana.  l8r, g8rz!  peace!

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:08 | 956104 mbasham
mbasham's picture

Rather than fiat creation, I would like to nominate "creating money out of thin air" as an accurate, yet easily understandable synonym for QE.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:58 | 956201 Matt
Matt's picture

The problem is that you still use the word "money", which has positive connotations. "receiving IOU that will never be repaid" might be a clearer wording.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:36 | 956157 Matt
Matt's picture

The choice is not simply between "Fiat Creation" and "Living within our means". There are a few other key choices as well: "Welfare for Banksters" vs "Tough Love", for example.

America is using "Fiat Creation" + "Welfare for Banksters", while England is using "Living within our means" + "Welfare for Banksters". Iceland chose "Living within our means" + "Tough Love". I cannot think of an example of a country that let its banks collapse, but is employing fiat creation.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:42 | 956169 Backspin
Backspin's picture

"Austerity" as I see it, could be thought of as "reducing the size and scope of government", which could then be thought as "making the economy more efficient" and also as "getting rid of the leeches and freeloaders who don't produce anything but get bloated salaries and unrealistic pensions as taxpayer expense."  Definitely a good thing.  You're right - we need a word for it with positive connotations.

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:51 | 956188 Matt
Matt's picture

This seems to go right in line with my idea of replacing the word "evil" with "parasitic", and "good" with "symbiotic".

For any exchange between two people to be "good", it must be mutually beneficial, as close to equally beneficial as possible. Any exchange in which one party benefits at the other's loss would be parasitic, aka evil.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 16:44 | 956174 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

"..."living within our means" is a necessary first step to making the right choices as a culture."

 

When it comes to living within our means can we start with the big banks setting an example?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:11 | 956237 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Exactly.

What you mean 'our', baldheads?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:05 | 956218 serotonindumptruck
serotonindumptruck's picture

I'm ready for my Two Minutes of Hate now.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:16 | 956247 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Ok...go.

I'll time ya.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:30 | 956283 Edmund Dantes
Edmund Dantes's picture

wake me up when the bad guys are hanging from lamp posts. until then , all is just empty rhetoric

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:44 | 956315 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

wake yerself up, friend!

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 17:54 | 956333 snowball777
snowball777's picture

he's too busy hanging from a lamppost.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:02 | 956354 Confuchius
Confuchius's picture

Zee Final Zolution.

 

(1) No taxes of any kind for anybody

(2) Which will force "gummint" to live within it's means.

(3) Fund elections solely with printed paper.

(4) Forbid "campaign contributions" (mandatory death penalty)

(5) Exterminate "lobbyists" (Send to Kamps in zee East)

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 22:34 | 956843 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

panda:  how about

1) CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PERSONS, FOR THE PURPUSE OF SUCKING THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA DRYDRYDRY THRU OUR GOOBERMINT.

and perhaps our two-minded author can also address:

2)  HOW THE FUK CAN ANY CORPORATION BE TOO BIG TO FAIL???  uhh, correct me if i'm mistaken, mr. two-face, but last time i checked, corporations were DESIGNED to fail, NOT highjack the goobermint thru "lobbying"  and LOOT OUR FUCKING TREASURY?

and excuuuse me if i'm not "polite" about it, and kiss my fuking ass, too, with both yer porcine lipsticked mouths, shitforbrains.

still friends, right, slugger?  Brad:  frame the fuking questions and answer them.  pullleeeease! 

 

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:02 | 956355 ouchtouch
ouchtouch's picture

I think people understand "dollar devaluation" better.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:35 | 956426 blindman
blindman's picture

living and within your means don't go well together.

living within your means (the creed) would cause collapse

of the economy.  it is not a possibility given a privately

run fiat money system with fractional reserve lending as

the source of currency creation.  so that leaves qe ponzinomics

which also fails spectacularly.  there is the problem.  fail.

we have been living a lie , many, and they are failures,   so,

it is not a matter of framing the problem so we can fix it, but

a problem of accepting the failure and its ubiquitous presence. 

our failure is accepting the money system that has been enacted

into law.  the choice of qe and austerity is a false one,  we could also

reject the federal reserve entirely. 

once perhaps the government was of the people.  now it has become an

instrument of the bankers and their international federal reserve and

is used to manage resources for international account.  the loses and debts are

piled up and nationalized, the profits are international and private and

the field of endeavor, resource pool,  is the entire universe.  

.

http://www.marketskeptics.com/2010/10/why-deficits-stopped-mattering-magic-or.html

Saturday, October 30, 2010
*****WHY DEFICITS STOPPED MATTERING: MAGIC OR CONSPIRACY?*****

by Eric deCarbonnel .... ..

"NOTHING NEEDS TO BE DONE

All ponzi schemes eventually collapse under their own weight once they reach maximum damage. For example, Madoff's fraud ended by itself when he finally ran out of money. Efforts to "stabilize the dollar" have reached this point.

IT WILL END IN A DISCONNECT

This is critical to realize. The ESF's "dollar stabilization" is the same type of fraud as Madoff's ponzi scheme ("delay the day of reckoning"-type) and it will end the same way. There will be a day where the ESF finally "gives up". The markets will freeze (a big "bank holiday"), and, once people understand what is going on, the dollar will be worthless.

By the time a Ponzi scheme is "officially confirmed", it is too late to do anything about it.

About The Fallout

James B. Thomson offers a good explanation about System Stability which gives an idea of what must happen when deficits start mattering again…

… the absence of small earthquakes along a fault line … allows stress to build up and thereby increases the probability that a major quake eventually will occur. Small quakes, like self-correcting market forces, relieve the pressures that accumulate over time. Suppression of these forces through regulatory interference allows the pressure to rise and increases THE MAGNITUDE AND VIOLENCE OF THE RESULTING ADJUSTMENT.

The US has been suppressing "self-correcting market forces" for decades, with the hidden damage from each federal deficits slowly accumulating. The magnitude and violence of the adjustment back to reality will be a thing of legend…"

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 18:41 | 956436 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Actually, Living within your means is Easy.  That is why the Fed and it's Criminal Bankers want inflation- so you can't live within your means.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 19:03 | 956471 blindman
blindman's picture

i think i agree and would add the fed is hijacking our

"means" by failing at their mandate/s.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 19:02 | 956469 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

i read the story

i read the comments

now its rat helmet time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what do you fear most?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 19:36 | 956517 blindman
blindman's picture

http://maxkeiser.com/2011/02/12/ote96-on-the-edge-with-catherine-austin-fitts/

OTE96] On the Edge with Catherine Austin Fitts

February 12th, 2011 by stacyherbert

Stacy Summary: Max interviews Catherine Austin Fitts. They talk revolution, Ben Bernanke and the US dollar being a unit of war.

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 21:20 | 956720 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

 QE is wealth transfer to DC and Wall Street plain and simple, asset-stripping America, just like corporate raiders did in the 80s. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 21:47 | 956771 In Fed We Trust
In Fed We Trust's picture

How about both.

Austerity = Cut Entitlements, Social Security, Education

Quantative Easying = Rising Stock Market, Bankers get paid their interest,

I think both are happening.

 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 22:51 | 956871 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

 

i hope yer kidding, FED:  cut the goobermint employees by 80%.  tell em to pick fruit or clean toilets, like us.

tell the "elected" assholes, they got NOTHIN coming but $1 a year, reto-fuking-active, and if they don't fuking like it, talk to mad max and ms. having FITS.

we don't need more laws.  we need less and less goobermint too.  got yer ears on sacra-mental?  Al-bunny?  huh?  we'll stick yer virgin assholes in the slammer and pay the felons to run the joint, from the outside, "take care of you" by feeding you a slice of bolgna & 2 pcs. of bread 2X/day, and make you wait 5 days to see a fuking dentist, and file the writs you file in the incinerator, ok? 

and if yer not sarking, you better change yer fuking name and don an extra bag, b/c anyone who doesn't put the PEOPLE first, starting NOW, is gonna have a raging slewie nightmare they will NEVER forget.

any questions, sweetheart?

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 21:49 | 956774 pods
pods's picture

Although this piece does well to cut to the bone of our current predicament, I would say that we need to look further up.

Why is it that we must continually expand?

Until people realize this system was set up to strip you of your wealth and even your life (labor), we will never stand a chance at reform.

We have to stop complaining that we always lose in this game, when the very purpose of this game is to lose.

It is akin to the Washington Generals practicing.  

Why?

 

pods

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 01:58 | 957181 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

pods:

"Why is it that we must continually expand?"

Malthus flubbed this answer 200+ years ago.  Maybe you can enlighten us.  Hint: earlier than 'wealth.'

- Ned

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 02:04 | 957191 blindman
blindman's picture

if you have not seen.  here.

Renaissance 2.0

http://www.csper.org/renaissance-20.html

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 11:16 | 957544 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

thx-more work, but all necessary. - Ned

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 22:56 | 956879 Cursive
Cursive's picture

WRT to "fiat creation," I prefer cash-to-trash.  As for "austerity," the opposite is simple theft.

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 02:20 | 957205 Barmaher
Barmaher's picture

In 1984 Orwell left out the Internet!

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 10:38 | 957492 grekko
grekko's picture

Pardon me, I just finished my morning coffee.  Time to head to the john and do a little QE myself (in this case, it sure beats austerity).

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 12:43 | 957663 Winston Smith 2009
Winston Smith 2009's picture

The real problem is not the use of newspeak, it's the false choice given, the fallacy that there are only two possible paths, QE or austerity, when the most beneficial route by far would be to break up the TBTF organizations while allowing those who made the bad investments to pay the price. But that option is never offered or even mentioned because those in power are owned by those who would be harmed by that _fair and proper_ choice.

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