Canada

Sargon of Gasbag and Posy Parker on the Dangers of Radical Transgender Activists

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 15/02/2020 - 10:47pm in

Mike this morning has posted a piece about a Facebook argument he got into when he dared challenge Rebecca Long-Bailey’s commitment to tackling ‘transphobia’ in the Labour Party. As Mike’s article makes it very clear, he is in no way transphobic, and has trans friends. However, like many of us he has reservations about people making the decision to change their danger, when they may not need or be suited for it. Mike recounts how he has a friend, who had been considering transitioning. Mike supported them in their decision, but he also supports their decision that they didn’t want to go through with it. He is also afraid that the party’s policy of championing Trans rights would become another witch hunt, with those who oppose them smeared and expelled as transphobes regardless of whether they actually were.

Long-Bailey’s decision to attack transphobia was reported in Thursday’s I in an article by Richard Vaughan. This said that she had

sparked a row yesterday after urging members to sign up to a campaign that pledges to “fight” women’s groups deemed to be “transphobic”.

The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights also called for the expulsion of party members who hold “bigoted, transphobic views”, which it maintains includes Women’s Place UK and the LGB Alliance, which campaign for women-only spaces.

The move triggered fury among women Labour members who threatened to quit the party in protest, accusing the campaign of being a “misogynistic abuse” of women.

The report goes on to say that

The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights drew up a list of 12 pledges, the first of which demanded that the “transliberation must be an objective of the Labour Party” and called for changes to the Gender Recognition Act to “improve transgender rights.”

The group was backed by Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a supporter of Ms Long-Bailey for leader, who claimed yesterday that “sex is not binary – one or the other”. Women’s Place UK criticised the campaign group and denied that it was “transphobic”.

In a statement, it said, “We call on the Labour Party to demonstrate its opposition to this misogynistic abuse of women. Defend us or expel us’.

Long-Bailey was also criticised by Shadow Cabinet MPs, who felt that this was an issue that was only important to the metropolitan elites, and detracted from the party’s true aim of winning back its traditional heartlands in the north and midlands.

Now let’s start off by making a fundamental point here:

I am not attacking transpeople as a whole. I am only attacking the radical transgender movement.

These people are very dangerous, and there are many transmen and -women who also oppose them. For an example, please see the ‘Rose of Dawn’ channel on YouTube. The Labour party should stand for equality and inclusion, which means fighting prejudice against race, creed or sexuality. But the radical transgender activists go much further than this and are extremely dangerous because of it. At the moment, as I understand it, to be properly considered transgender a person must have a medical diagnosis that they do indeed feel that they are trapped in the wrong body. The radicals wish to change that, so that it includes people, who simply self-identify as a different gender, or wish to change their gender, rather than those who medically qualify as transgender. Transpeople like Rose of Dawn are against this, partly because they feel that it undermines the immense efforts people like herself have made to transition and properly fit in as members of the opposite sex.

And the transition can cause major health problems. Aside from the radical surgery to the genitals, the body remains biochemically the same. This means that the hormones given to transpeople as part of their transition will affect them as if they were still members of the gender they were born into. It can cause problems like heart disease. Also, many people making the transition later come to regret it, wishing they had remained the gender of their birth or that they could change back. Some, tragically, commit suicide.

And radical transgender activism becomes extremely dangerous when it is foisted on children, and kids with only hazy notions of what gender is, or being a boy or girl means, are asked to question their sexual identity.

The radical transactivists also seem to have a vicious hatred of natural biological, cis-women. I understand that they abuse and sneer at ordinary women with terms like ‘cervix-havers’ and ‘menstruators’. From this it seems to me very much that the accusations of misogyny are correct.

And the fears for the safety of women and girls if female-only spaces are opened up to transpeople are not unfounded. Over the other side of the Pond, right-wing media and internet commentators have extensively discussed the bizarre and extremely threatening behaviour of Jessica Yaniv. Yaniv is a transwoman, who still retains her male genitals. From what I have seen about her, she is extremely aggressive, litigious and bullying. She has threatened her opponents, including journalists, with tasers. These weapons are forbidden to civilians under Canadian law. She became notorious a few years ago when she approached a series of beauty salons, asking them to wax her private parts. They refused, as she was biologically male. She then sued them, or threatened to sue them, as transphobic. Several closed as a result, but one fought back and successfully defended themselves. She has also attempted to bully the medical profession. If I remember correctly, she approached a gynaecologist about some issue with her male genitals. They refused to treat her, because they’re gynaecologists, and so only deal with female biology. This did not satisfy Yaniv, who insisted that she was female despite her biology, and so demanded that the gynaecologist treat her. I think more threats of litigation followed. Yaniv also has a weird fascination with menstruation, publishing frequent posts about how she is having a period, even though this is impossible with her male biology. But what makes her really dangerous is that she has posted very inappropriate messages to underage girls on social media. There’s a recording out of there of an obviously excited Yaniv drooling to an early teenage girl about how she wants to see her breasts. It’s extremely creepy and disturbing.

I realise that Yaniv is an extreme case, and hopefully an isolated one. But given her behaviour, especially to underage girls, you can understand why some women’s groups do not want people like her entering women’s spaces, especially those reserved for vulnerable women, like women’s refuges.

Unfortunately so far the only people tackling and criticising the transgender extremists are the right. People like Sargon of Gasbag, sorry, Akkad, Carl Benjamin, the man who broke UKIP. Benjamin holds some genuinely vile views on women and race, but on this issue, he is actually right. In the video below he talks to the anti-trans activist, Posy Parker. Parker started out on the left as a feminist, but no longer considers herself such, although she clearly is a women’s rights activist, because she was pushed out due to her refusal to buckle under to the gender radicals. She has therefore ended up in the Tories.

In the video, she and Sargon talk about the above subjects, including gay friends, who were considering transitioning before they talked them out of it, and the friends realised that they weren’t transgender, just very effeminate. The also discuss in detail what the operations involve, which some delicate viewers may find difficult viewing. Parker, like Sargon, is extremely controversial and has been banned by various media sites because of complaints of transphobia. One of these bans was incurred because she criticised a leading children’s trans-activist, who had taken her son to Thailand to have a sex-change operation for his 16th birthday. Instead of politely referring to the operation as a transition, Parker called it castration, and she and Sargon are agreed that pushing children towards gender realignment surgery is barbarous. Please use your own judgement viewing this material, as not everything Parker says may be correct.

However, I believe that in general, science and reason are behind Parker, Rose of Dawn and the other critics of the gender radicals. All I’ve heard from the other side of the argument, is outrage and demands that they should be treated the same as cis-people because of their personal experience.

In the normal run of things, I have absolutely no objection to that.

But I do have problems with the trans extremists and their dangerous demands for radical inclusion and expansion of who is considered transgender without regard for the mental and physical harm they may cause.

Here’s another video in which the right-wing American activist, Benjamin A. Boyce, talks to endocrinologist William Malone about the real physical complications of hormone treatment and the immorality of the treatment of transgender children, which in America currently leads to them transitioning when they become adults when there may be no need.

And here’s Rose of Dawn on the difference between transsexuals like herself, and the gender radicals which she opposes.

I definitely do not share these people’s Conservative political views. But in this issue I believe them to be fundamentally correct, both scientifically and morally, and Rebecca Long-Bailey and the radical trans-activists in Labour profoundly and dangerously wrong.

This should not be a party political issue. The safety of the vulnerable, and particularly women and children, should be a concern for all of us, whether politically left or right. And those on the Left have as much, if not better reasons for rejecting the claims and ideological propaganda of the gender radicals as those on the political right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonkers Riley Accuses Children’s Poet Laureate of Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial!

How stupid and malign is Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley? This isn’t an academic question. As a fervent supporter of Israel, she has joined the rest of that lobby in Britain in libeling and smearing entirely innocent and decent people as anti-Semites, simply because they have made the mildest criticisms of Israel and its brutal and murderous policies towards the indigenous Palestinians. Now it seems she has surpassed herself. She has libeled the children’s Poet Laureate and Holocaust educator Michael Rosen as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier just two months after he published a book about the relatives he lost in the Shoah.

Riley was following other stalwart defenders of Israel’s to impose apartheid and ethnic cleansing, who were angered at Mr Rosen and the left-wing film-maker, Ken Loach,  joining the anti-racism movement, Show Racism the Red Card, as judges for a schools competition this year. The two are due to select the most inspiring and creative designs created by young people on the subject of anti-racism. SRTRC’s chief executive, Ged Gebby, said they were both valued supporters of the organisation, and they were delighted to have them. They couldn’t think of two better people to have choosing the winners.

This was too much for the Zionist fanatics and smear merchants. One supposedly genuine hack, Sarah Ebner, responded on Twitter with

“Wow. Interesting choices to say the least.    I can’t understand why you would pick people who have had such problematic relationships with many in the Jewish community. There must be other possible judges out there. Racism AND Antisemitism both need to be ‘shown the red card’”

Rosen responded with a series of sharp tweets putting Ebner right:

“Can you tell me why I’m not suitable to judge a poetry competition about racism in football? Are you aware of what this looks like? Dubbing me as someone who has ‘a problematic relationship with many in the Jewish community’? What is ‘problematic’? Who are the ‘many’? What ‘relationship’? Who decides? Do you think your innuendo has any legal implications?”

“Along with HistoryWorks Cambridge I worked with 5000 school students and teachers on Holocaust Education last month. ‘Problematic’? Does it make me not suitable to judge a children’s poetry competition on racism and football?”

Another Tweeter, Roger Jarman, queried Ebner’s division of Britain’s Jewish community into ‘good’ and ‘bad’:

“And what is the ‘Jewish community’? Do all those who self identify as Jewish or are of Jewish heritage share common interests, views and ambitions? Or perhaps there is a smaller group of ‘good Jews’ with whom the ‘not so good Jews’ relate? And who decides who is ‘good’?”

Other Tweeters joined in, but unfortunately Ebner carried on sneering despite some of them telling her to stop digging.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/02/michael-rosen-wrong-kind-of-jew.html

Meanwhile, the head of policy at the Community Security Trust, Dave Rich, attacked Ken Loach. Loach, he claimed, had said

antisemitism is an “understandable” reaction to Israel’s actions; whether the Holocaust happened “is there for us all to discuss”; antisemitism in Labour is “exaggerated or false”; & complained about “the generalised sense of guilt that everyone has about the Jews”.

Um, no. This was more of what the Israel lobby does. They take quotes out of context and twist them in order to misrepresent staunch anti-racists and opponents of anti-Semitism. Magpie Ranger on Twitter by linking to a piece in the Graoniad by Loach responding to attacks on him by Jonathan Freedland and other Zionist hacks in that paper. This was titled ‘Ken Loach: I give no legitimacy to Holocaust denial’ and began

‘The Holocaust is as real a historical event as the second world war itself, and it is contemptible to imply that I have anything in common with people like David Irving, writes Ken Loach.’

See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/05/ken-loach-i-give-no-legitimacy-to-holocaust-denial

And then Rachel Riley decided to put her oar in, and tweeted.

‘The supposed anti-racism football charity #ShowRacismTheRedCard yet again unashamedly promotes deniers/proponents of anti-Jewish racism. 

I hope schools don’t touch this.’

This got a very swift response from the left-wing Jewish group, Jewdas and other Tweeters. One of the Jewish group’s Tweets was

‘Personally its not something we’d do but if you were planning on accusing a beloved childrens’ poet of Holocaust Denial, best not to do it DAYS after he releases a book about losing family in the Shoah.’

Quite. Because on 12th December, Mr Rosen published a book, The Missing, about his relatives who murdered in the Holocaust. He was particularly moved to write it by the fate of his grand-uncles, Oscar and Martin, who existed before the Second World War, but vanished during it. Rosen was interviewed by the Torygraph about his book, and said that he ‘was face to face with one of the most virulent forms of anti-Semitism’. Mr Rosen has also appeared before parliament to give information on the Holocaust as well not so long ago. It was while doing so that he managed to upset former Labour MP, Ian Austin, by putting him right about British involvement during the War. Austin thought that Britain stood alone. Rosen corrected him, stating quite rightly that we had the support of the Empire – Canada, India, the Caribbean, our African colonies, Australia and New Zealand. This was too much for Austin, who got shirty with him. But Rosen was quite right, and if we hadn’t had these nations’ support, we would have fallen to the Nazis in very short order like the other European nations.

Riley has since deleted her tweet, possibly realising, as Mike pointed out, that she had gone too far and that Mr Rosen, unlike most of her victims, actually has the money to spend on taking Riley to court. But the damage has been done. Unfortunately some people have been taken in by Riley, and really do believe that Mr Rosen is an anti-Semite, who denies the Holocaust.

Mike, however, has pointed out that there is a court case that could stop her making this false and libelous claims. These are the case he is fighting against her. She is suing him for libel because Mike dared on his blog to stand up for a girl Riley was bullying and had accused of anti-Semitism. Mike is fighting this false and malign accusation, but that requires money, and so Mike is once again asking for his supporters to dig into their pockets.

He writes

So allow me to repeat my appeal: if you want to see an end to this nonsense from a so-called TV celebrity who should know better, please support the CrowdJustice appeal for the funds I need to bring the case against me to court and to defeat her claims.

Such a loss would be a serious financial – and personal – setback for her. It is unlikely that Ms Riley would be able to present such questionable views to the public afterwards and expect a sympathetic reception.

And concludes

This is a witch-hunt. It will continue as long as privileged people like Ms Riley are allowed to go unchallenged when they attack people, simply for having views that she doesn’t like.

Riley attacks Jewish poet Rosen as anti-Semite Holocaust denier – weeks after he published book on the Holocaust

Riley and the rest of the Israel lobby despise Rosen and Loach because they are determined anti-racists, who have supported Jeremy Corbyn and criticised the witch hunt against him and his supporters. Loach also directed a play or a film some time again, which attacked Israel’s murderous oppression of the Palestinians.

As for the Community Security Trust, this is a volunteer police force that was set up to protect Jewish sites, like synagogues and cemeteries. They are supposed to be trained by Mossad members, and act as stewards for Zionist rallies. They have acted violently towards peaceful demonstrators, breaking apart and separating Jewish and Muslim demonstrators and assaulting them. In one instance, one of their thugs punched an elderly rabbi. But for some reason the government still thinks this bunch of paramilitary squadristi are an acceptable partner for the police force in defending the Jewish community.

Even when they are the people attacking Jews and their friends and supporters.

Limited Passthrough From Exchange Rates To Inflation: Canadian Example

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 3:12am in

Tags 

Canada, Inflation

 U.S. and Canadian Core Inflation, Exchange Rate
The inflation story in Canada and the United States has not been particularly exciting for some time, and I am not in a position to argue that this will change any time soon. I just want to update a chart that I think is extremely useful when discussing the alleged external constraint on floating currency sovereigns. As seen above, even Canada -- a small floating currency sovereign with a economy highly open to external trade -- has extremely limited passthrough from exchange rate movements to (consumer price) inflation.

The top panel shows two measures of core inflation for Canada (the "excluding 8 volatile items" measure) and the United States (CPI less food and energy). As is well known, extremely flat since 1995, when the various structural changes were made to the economies (including an explicit inflation target in Canada).

Looking at the top panel, there is not a lot to say. One could argue that central banks have done a great job hitting inflation targets (an implicit target in the United States) -- or someone more skeptical of the power of inflation targeting would argue that structural changes to the labour markets and the opening of trade to low-cost developing countries has eliminated pricing power. There are some small movements that appear to be cyclical, but the magnitude is very small when compared to the inflation volatility of earlier eras. In any event, there's not a lot more to say about this, other than raising the possibility that the environment can change (which can obviously happen).

The bottom panels are more interesting -- they show the exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. dollars. Although Canada is a large trading partner of the United States, we would not expect much of an effect of Canadian dollar movements on U.S. inflation, as the U.S. is a relatively closed economy, and has many other trading partners that manage their currency value versus the USD. However, Canada is an open economy, with extremely large North-South trade flows. (In practice, it can be easier for some firms to send output to the United States than it can be to other Canadian provinces.)

The top panel shows the annual percentage changes in the exchange rate (with a positive number indicating a weakening Canadian dollar or strengthening U.S. dollar). If we look at the period around 2008, we see that the Canadian dollar strengthened considerable before and after the Financial Crisis -- but crashed during the crisis itself.

One may note that the 20% movements in the Canadian dollar had almost no perceptible effect on core Canadian inflation. Wages represent a large part of the domestic cost structure, and they are not indexed to the currency value. Meanwhile, there are large fixed costs in retail (particularly rent) which have to be covered. The fluctuation in import prices is absorbed in someone's profit margins (and to a certain extent, nullified in the short term via currency hedging).

One key distinguishing factor for Canada is its experience with floating exchange rates. Other than an 8 year interruption, the Canadian dollar has floated since 1950. Firms and consumers have learned to adapt to a floating currency, and are not as obsessed with its value. (My observation as an outsider is that this is very different than the United Kingdom, were movements in the pound are seen as having political significance. This seems to be a legacy of a recent memory of a fixed exchange rate, notably the embarrassing ejection from the ERM. That event was viewed as political disaster by the locals, but for those of us living on a Canadian dollar scholarship, it was a great event.)

If one follows the Functional Finance line that the only true constraint on a floating currency sovereign is inflation, the lack of pass-through from the currency value to domestic inflation greatly downgrades the importance of the external sector as a "constraint."

(c) Brian Romanchuk 2020

Quinn Looks Forward to Dune Graphic Novel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 27/01/2020 - 9:11pm in

And now – more SF! This is a very short video from the Quinn’s Ideas channel on YouTube. Quinn is another vlogger on science fiction, and particularly Frank Herbert’s Dune. Denis Villeneuve, the French Canadian director of Blade Runner 2049, is currently making a Dune movie that promises to be very faithful to the book, and a new Dune graphic novel is also coming out. It’s been welcomed by Brian Herbert, Frank’s son, who has also written a series of prequels for the Dune saga expanding its fictional universe.

Quinn says he’s looking forward to the graphic novel because, while the Dune books are very concerned with explaining the philosophy, there is very little description of what things actually look like – the thopters, shields and so on. This is why all the adaptations so far – David Lynch’s 1984 version, and the Dune 2000 mini-series, look very different. Quinn states that his idea of what a graphic novel could do was revolutionised by Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. The medium is ideally suited to portray scenes that would be difficult for films, and are suitable for any subject.

Although the video says that it has the first images from the graphic novel, these are among other paintings and drawings of Dune drawn for places like Deviantart, so that it’s not exactly clear which are the graphic novel’s and which are those of other artists. He also says remarkably little about it, except that it’s also faithful to the book, urges viewers to look at an article published elsewhere on the web, for which he provides a link.

This is still a fascinating look at what the graphic novel may be like, and features some superb art from elsewhere.

Canada – MMT poster child?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/01/2020 - 4:41pm in

Tags 

Canada

On August 10, 2015, the Library of the Canadian Parliament released one of their In Brief research publications – How the Bank of Canada Creates Money for the Federal Government: Operational and Legal Aspects – which described the operational interactions between the Bank and the Canadian Treasury that facilitate government spending in some detail. It allows ordinary citizens to come to terms with some of the essential capacities of the currency-issuing Canadian government, which Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) highlights as a starting point towards achieving an understanding of how the monetary system operates. The description is in contradistinction to the way the mainstream macroeconomics text discuss this part of the economy. It leads to an analysis where we learn that the Bank of Canada holds a significant stock of government debt which it is allocated at auction time on an non-competitive basis. And that this capacity is unlimited and entirely within historical practice. In other words, we learn the operational way in which the government is free of financial constraints.

The background for the Library Paper was a decision made by the Canadian government in June 2011 to introduce a “prudential liquidity plan”, which would was designed to increase the deposits held by the Treasury at the Bank and other financial institutions, to provide for a buffer “to meet payment obligations in situations where normal access to funding markets may be disrupted or delayed”.

The decision was accompanied by a Bank of Canada announcement that it would:

… increase from 15% to 20% its minimum purchases of federal government bonds … the Bank of Canada’s purchase of federal government bonds is a means by which the Bank creates money for the Government of Canada.

We learn that:

1. “The Bank of Canada helps the Government of Canada to borrow money by holding auctions throughout the year at which new federal securities (bonds and treasury bills) are sold to government securities distributors, such as banks, brokers and investment dealers.”

2. “the Bank of Canada itself typically purchases 20% of newly issued bonds and a sufficient amount of treasury bills to meet the Bank’s needs at the time of each auction.”

3. “These purchases are made on a non-competitive basis … it is allocated a specific amount of securities …” by the Government.

4. The bonds are recorded as assets by the Bank and creates a deposit entry in the Government’s account at the Bank.

5. “the transactions consist entirely of digital accounting entries.”

6. “Since the Bank of Canada is … wholly owned by the federal government, the Bank’s purchase of newly issued securities from the federal government can be considered an internal transaction. By recording new and equal amounts on the asset and liability sides of its balance sheet, the Bank of Canada creates money through a few keystrokes. The federal government can spend the newly created bank deposits in the Canadian economy if it wishes.”

7. Private banks also create ‘money’ – “every time the banks extend a new loan, such as a home mortgage or a business loan. Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.”

8. Importantly:

One difference between the two types of money creation is that there is no external limit to the total amount of money that the Bank of Canada may create for the federal government … In contrast, the amount of money that a private commercial bank is permitted to create depends on the amount of the bank’s equity relative to its assets. The limiting rules, known as “capital constraints,” are set by the banking regulator in guidelines … Another difference is that the creditworthiness of the borrower is the key factor in the decision by a private commercial bank to provide a loan to a private entity, while this is not a factor in the Bank of Canada’s decision to lend money to the government.

They do note that the Government might voluntarily impose “internal government constraints” to limit the Bank’s capacity to create ‘money’ but there are no intrinsic financial constraints.

So what does this mean?

The institutional structure of Canadian public finances sets out that if the government wants to spend beyond its tax revenue then it borrows through auctions where the ‘primary dealers’, who make the market (in the jargon) put in bids (quantity of bonds they want and the yield they expect).

This makes it look as though the bond auctions are providing the funds that enable the government to spend.

While the accounting structure set up might require funds to go in via the auctions before the spending can occur, this imagery is somewhat fictional given that the funds to purchase the bonds ultimately reflect untaxed past government deficits anyway.

But, moreover, the Bank of Canada

The following area graph shows the breakdown of the Bank’s total assets from January 1960 to November 2019.

The next graph shows the proportion of total Bank of Canada assets that are held as government bonds.

The Bank’s reporting (August 21, 2019) – Background information on the Bank of Canada’s Balance Sheet – tell us that:

1. “Almost all the assets held on the Bank’s balance sheet consist of Government of Canada bonds and bills, acquired on a non-competitive basis at auctions”.

2. “Interest revenue generated from the assets backing the bank notes in circulation … provides a stable source of funding for the Bank’s operations, ensuring the Bank’s operational independence and supporting the execution of its responsibilities … the Bank remits its surplus to the Receiver General for Canada and does not hold retained earnings.”

In other words, they play a sort of fictional game where the Finance Department pays interest on debt Government debt that the Bank holds which covers its costs of operation and the Bank sends bank any surpluses to the Finance Department.

Imagine you are just transferrring cash from one pocket to another and declaring the pockets to be independent of each other.

In terms of the components:

1. Canada Mortgage Bonds are self explanatory.

2. Advances aremade “under its Standing Liquidity Facility as collateralized loans to LVTS participants to cover a negative end-of-day cash position.” LVTS stands for the – Large Value Transfer System – which is the core of the Canadian payments system and banks settle with each other on a daily basis via this structure.

If there is a shortage of reserves in the system on any day, the Bank of Canada provides the funds to individual banks at the so-called “Bank Rate”.

3. Repos are “Securities purchased under resale agreements” so the Bank of Canada will buy assets from the bank’s in return for reserves under an agreement to reverse the transaction at some future date.

They can be overnight arrangements – designed “to reinforce the Bank’s target for the overnight rate” – which means to ensure there are sufficient (and only sufficient) reserves in the system to clear all inter-bank transactions and provide for desired reserve holdings.

Further, the Bank of Canada conducts “bi-weekly operations … to acquire assets on a temporary basis for its balance sheet”.

You will notice a major hump during the GFC in purchases of repos by the Bank of Canada. They say that “repos may be used to inject extraordinary amounts of liquidity into the financial system and support funding conditions for financial institutions, as seen during the global financial crisis.”

There was a recent article in the Canadian Money Saver magazine (January 2020 edition) – Modern Monetary Theory In Canada – by Brian Chang under the broad heading of “Debunking Economics”. The magazine is behind a paywall and I don’t intend to promote it.

The Magazine sells itself as providing “Independent Financial Advice for Everyday Use” and the fact that it runs articles on MMT tells us how far the ideas we have developed are now penetrating the everyday discourse among citizens.

We have escaped the ‘lofty’ heights of the ivory tower!

But recognising that the Bank of Canada has been purchasing an increasing and significant portion of the government debt in Canada, the article concludes that:

What few people realize is that no country currently engages in MMT-like operations quite to the extent that Canada does, with “monetary financing” routinely conducted by the Government of Canada and the Bank of Canada as part of regularly scheduled bond auctions.

I don’t intend to eviscerate the article for its rather inaccurate depiction of MMT.

For example, in the introduction it talks about “MMT’s liberal advocacy of unrestrained government spending” but then a few paragraphs later says that under an MMT understanding “only real limitation on government spending is inflation”.

A simple proof read should have picked up that inconsistency.

But whatever.

The point is the article recognises that:

1. “the Bank of Canada is currently a large and regular buyer at government bond auctions” and has no limits on how much “money” it can produce.

2. There is a fundamental difference between the Bank of Canada recording the debt as an asset and crediting the Government’s bank account (which it spends out of) and selling debt to the private markets:

… as a crown corporation of the federal government, the Bank of Canada is required to return its revenue (including all interest payments on the assets it holds) to the Government of Canada. Effectively, the government pays interest to the Bank of Canada on its loan, and the Bank of Canada simply turns around and returns the interest to the government.

One pocket to the other!

The article suggests that Canada is unique because it “operates without a fence around its Central Bank”, unlike other nations where the governments have laws that “explicitly forbid their central banks from directly financing government spending”.

However, this is also somewhat of a smokescreen.

The ECB, for example, is prohibited from directly purchasing Member State bonds, but it purchases massive quantities in the ‘secondary’ markets once they have been issued.

The impact is the same – government deficits persist.

The article infers that this means that:

Canada is effectively the poster child for MMT-like operations in the developed world, with no current barrier preventing the Bank of Canada from effectively funding one hundred percent of government spending if it so chooses.

And that these monetary operations have been “taking place in Canada for the better part of a century”.

Canadian Money Saver magazine (January 2020 edition) article notes, in relation to Canada, that:

What few Canadians realize is that monetary financing of government spending has essentially been occurring continuously since the establishment of the Bank of Canada in 1934. While the level of monetary financing currently undertaken in Canada is a far cry from the peaks of the 1950s and 1970s, the Bank of Canada nevertheless continues to fund a considerable proportion of government spending today.

The following graph shows the proportion of total government debt outstanding held by the Bank of Canada.

It is somewhat misleading to refer to this component of government spending as “monetary financing”, given that all spending enters the economy in the same manner – the Department of Finance instructing the central bank to credit bank accounts in its favour (whether via digital adjustments or cheques working through the system).

The operations that might accompany this spending – taxation adjustments, bond sales to the non-government sector, bond sales to the central bank – do not fundamentally alter that reality.

Mainstream macroeconomics makes the distinction because it claims the inflation risk associated with the central bank purchasing bonds from the Finance department to match the spending injection is more inflationary than if debt is issued to the non-government sector.

They are wrong about that.

Please read my blog post – Building bank reserves is not inflationary (December 14, 2009) – for more discussion on this point.

In an historical sense, the practice via which the central bank would swap debt for credits with the government treasuries was widespread as nations rebuilt their economies after the Great Depression and then WW2.

The claims that such practices were inflationary are not backed by the evidence.

There were inflationary episodes but there was never a systematic relationship between these episodes and the way in which deficit spending was made operational.

The article asks the question in this context: “what exactly is the concern over MMT?” given the long-standing practice of central bank bond purchasing and “relatively benign inflation problems.”

Why should the Government restrict provision of essential “social programs” which improve the lives of its citizens on the basis that it doesn’t have enough spending capacity?

MMT tells us that the actual questions that need to be asked are:

1. Are there available productive resources that can be brought back into use through government spending? If Yes, then increased government spending is unconstrained and will improve societal welfare.

If No, then:

2. Who is currently using the desired productive resources and what means will be best to deprive them of that use so the government can deploy them for its programs, without generating inflationary pressures?

The PLMP program proved beyond doubt that the Bank of Canada can instantly create liquidity for the Government with a keystroke:

… the Bank of Canada simply acquired an extra $20 billion of government bonds with newly-created money, deposited the $20 billion payment into the government’s account at the Bank of Canada, and returned all interest payments made by the government back to the treasury … all essentially with zero cost of funds to government.

But, like all critics trying to deny the benefit of governments moving to operate more explicitly in this way, the Canadian Money Saver magazine article introduces a the “slippery slope of MMT” – as if MMT is a regime that Canada might increasingly shift to.

The reality is that MMT provides the framework for understanding what happens already on a daily basis in Canada. An MMT understanding tells us that government spending matched by central bank direct bond purchases if not likely to be inflationary if the spending growth is calibrated to the growth in non-government overall saving.

So this “slippery slope” is just the usual mainstream hype.

Arguments like – if government was to stop issuing debt to the non-government sector and instructed the Bank of Canada to credit accounts after receiving government debt as assets – then it might start “using the money for various social programs like health care, education, or employment insurance”.

What stops them doing this:

… self-imposed discipline of our elected government officials and the voting public they ultimately answer to.

The article cannot really get over the tension it creates with the reader – it argues that the Bank of Canada is already buying large quantities of government debt and this has not caused inflation but then the scale of this long-standing practice:

… has never been utilized in Canada even close to the extent that MMT proponents advocate.

But earlier, the article acknowledges that MMT economists are clear that the constraints on government spending are the real productive resources available (and the possibility of a demand-pull inflation occurring).

So we have a very strange, implicit sort of sociology and psychology being entertained.

That government officials know all this but will still go crazy with the ‘free money’.

Why would they do that?

Conclusion

The interesting aspect of the article was that it was published in a fairly low-level financial magazine that small investors are likely to read.

That tells us how far our work is now penetrating the public debate.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2020 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

My review of Robert Clark’s book on Canada’s prisons

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/01/2020 - 3:34am in

Robert Clark has written a very good book about Canada’s prison system. Mr. Clark worked from 1980 until 2009 in seven different federal prisons, all located in Ontario. The book is a compilation of personal accounts based on the author’s various assignments.

Since prisons can be a pipeline into homelessness, I’ve reviewed the book with great interest.

My review is available here.

My review of Robert Clark’s book on Canada’s prisons

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/01/2020 - 3:34am in

Robert Clark has written a very good book about Canada’s prison system. Mr. Clark worked from 1980 until 2009 in seven different federal prisons, all located in Ontario. The book is a compilation of personal accounts based on the author’s various assignments.

Since prisons can be a pipeline into homelessness, I’ve reviewed the book with great interest.

My review is available here.

DISCUSS: Iran Admit to Shooting Down Ukrainian Passenger Flight

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/01/2020 - 8:30am in

Earlier today, President Rouhanie of Iran formally admitted that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet leaving Tehran a few days ago. Speculation has been rampant, but here are the alleged facts of the case, at this time: In the early hours of the 8th January, Iran launched missiles at …

English History through the Broadside Ballad

A Ballad History of England: From 1588 to the Present Day, by Roy Palmer (London: BT Batsford 1979).

From the 16th century to the 20th, the broadside ballad was part of the popular music of British working people. They were written on important topics of the day, and printed and published for ordinary people. They would be sung by the ballad sellers themselves while hawking their wares. This book is a collection of popular ballads, assembled and with introductory notes by the folklorist Roy Palmer. It begins with the song ‘A Ioyful New Ballad’ from 1588 about the Armada, and ends with ‘The Men Who Make The Steel’ from 1973 about the steelworkers’ strike. Unlike the earlier songs, it was issued as a record with three other songs in 1975. The ballads’ texts are accompanied by sheet music of the tunes to which they were sung. Quite often the tunes used were well-known existing melodies, so the audience were already familiar with the music, though not the new words which had been fitted to them.

The ballads cover such important events in English and wider British history as a Lincolnshire witch trial; the draining of the fens; the Diggers, a Communist sect in the British Civil War; Oak Apple Day, celebrating the narrow escape of Charles II from the Parliamentarians in 1660; the defeat of the Monmouth Rebellion; the execution of Jacobite rebels in 1715; the South Sea Bubble; Dick Turpin, the highwayman; the Scots defeat at Culloden; emigration to Nova Scotia in Canada; Wolfe’s capture of Quebec; the enclosures; the Birmingham and Worcester Canal; the 18th century radical and advocate for democracy, Tom Paine; the mechanisation of the silk industry; the establishment of income tax; the death of Nelson; the introduction of the treadmill in prison; the Peterloo Massacre and bitter polemical attacks against Lord Castlereagh; Peel’s establishment of the police; body snatching; the 1834 New Poor Law, which introduced the workhouse system; poaching; the 1839 Chartist meeting at Newport; Queen Victoria’s marriage to Albert; Richard Oastler and the factory acts; the repeal of the Corn Laws; Bloomers; the construction of the Oxford railway; Charles Dickens‘ visit to Coketown; the Liverpool Master Builders’ strike of 1866; agitating for the National Agricultural Union of farmworkers; the introduction of the Plimsoll line on ships; an explosion at Trimdon Grange colliery in County Durham; a 19th century socialist song by John Bruce Glasier, a member of the William Morris’ Socialist League and then the ILP; the Suffragettes; soldiers’ songs from the Boer War and the First World War; unemployed ex-servicemen after the War; the defeat of the General Strike; the Blitz; Ban the Bomb from 1958; and the Great Train Robbery. 

It also includes many other songs from servicemen down the centuries commemorating the deaths of great heroes and victories; and by soldiers, sailors and working people on land protesting against working conditions, tax, and economic recessions and exorbitant speculation on the stock markets. Some are just on the changes to roads, as well as local disasters.

This is a kind of social history, a history of England from below, apart from the conventional point of view of the upper or upper middle class historians, and shows how these events were viewed by tradesmen and working people. Not all the songs by any means are from a radical or socialist viewpoint. The ballad about Tom Paine is written against him, though he was a popular hero and there were also tunes, like the ‘Rights of Man’ named after his most famous book, celebrating him. But nevertheless, these songs show history as it was seen by England’s ordinary people, the people who fought in the navy and army, and toiled in the fields and workshops. These songs are a balance to the kind of history Michael Gove wished to bring in a few years ago when he railed against children being taught the ‘Blackadder’ view of the First World War. He’d like people to be taught a suitably Tory version of history, a kind of ‘merrie England’ in which Britain is always great and the British people content with their lot under the benign rule of people like David Cameron, Tweezer and Boris. The ballads collected here offer a different, complementary view.

Private Clinics Are Not Better Than Those Run by the State

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/12/2019 - 10:22pm in

Here’s another vital little snippet on the failure of private healthcare to give adequate provision to society generally from the book Health Reform: Public Success – Private Failure, by Daniel Drache and Terry Sullivan, eds. This discusses the Canadian experiment in expanding healthcare provision by including private clinics. It states

Advocates for private clinics argue that they enhance access and supplement an over-strained public system. The evidence for such claims is mixed to dubious; they tend to reduce to ‘more is always better’. If government cannot or will not pay for more, then private individuals must. Our concern here, however, is to emphasize that whatever the effects of ‘more’ on the health of Canadians, all the privatization initiatives and supporting arguments involve a transfer of income, through higher prices as well as higher volumes of care, from payers to providers. But even if there were no restrictions on extra billing or private facilities, there are likely to be limits on ‘what the market will bear’ in private charges, particularly in the presence of a free public system. Denigrating or inhibiting access to that system can assist in recruiting private patients, but could also trigger a political backlash if people begin to see ‘their system’ as being sabotaged. (p. 38).

Blair wanted to expand the NHS through the construction of health centres or polyclinics, which would be privately run. And the Tories are running down the NHS in order to privatise services at one level and encourage more people to go private at another. Hence Boris Johnson’s 2002 speech lamenting that 200,000 people had given up their private health insurance because Gordon Brown had ended tax exemption for it, in which he angrily denounced the ‘monolithic’ NHS and called for its abolition.

But the next sentence in that paragraph states very clearly that for private clinics to function properly, it has to be accompanied by private health insurance.

For really significant increases in total system costs and incomes, it is probably necessary to introduce private health insurance…. out of pocket charges provide something for private insurers to cover, and that coverage permits increase in the level of such charges. Private medicine and private insurance are symbiotic. (My emphasis).

Don’t be misled by the Tories or Blairites. The inclusion of the private sector in NHS provision will lead to its total privatisation and an insurance-based system like the US.

Don’t allow it.

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