Money on the Left

Covering the Paradigm Crisis with Alexandra Scaggs

January 15, 2020
Money on the Left
Covering the Paradigm Crisis with Alexandra Scaggs
Chapters
Money on the Left
Covering the Paradigm Crisis with Alexandra Scaggs
Jan 15, 2020
Money on the Left

Alexandra Scaggs joins Money on the Left to discuss her experience covering the ongoing paradigm crisis in mainstream economics, central banking and finance--and why leftists should be paying close attention. Alexandra is presently a senior writer at Barron’s, where she covers markets and fixed income. Giving credit to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for turning her toward left politics, Alexandra has proven an important contributor to the MMT project through her critical financial journalism and online commentary. During our conversation, we discuss Alexandra’s recent reporting on the complex topic of “repo markets.” We also talk about the inordinately powerful role played by so-called “primary dealers” in concealing money’s political constitution and possibilities. Ultimately, we stress the need for leftists to seize the moment in order to reverse the unjust neoclassical and monetarist consensus that has organized neoliberal political economy since the late 1970’s.


Find Alexandra’s reportage at Barron’s (https://www.barrons.com/authors/8576) and follow her on Twitter (@alexandrascaggs).



Show Notes Transcript

Alexandra Scaggs joins Money on the Left to discuss her experience covering the ongoing paradigm crisis in mainstream economics, central banking and finance--and why leftists should be paying close attention. Alexandra is presently a senior writer at Barron’s, where she covers markets and fixed income. Giving credit to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for turning her toward left politics, Alexandra has proven an important contributor to the MMT project through her critical financial journalism and online commentary. During our conversation, we discuss Alexandra’s recent reporting on the complex topic of “repo markets.” We also talk about the inordinately powerful role played by so-called “primary dealers” in concealing money’s political constitution and possibilities. Ultimately, we stress the need for leftists to seize the moment in order to reverse the unjust neoclassical and monetarist consensus that has organized neoliberal political economy since the late 1970’s.


Find Alexandra’s reportage at Barron’s (https://www.barrons.com/authors/8576) and follow her on Twitter (@alexandrascaggs).



spk_0:
00:13
you are listening to money on the Left, the official podcast of the modern Money Network Humanity's Division or MM N. H. D. Presented proudly in partnership with Monthly Review Online today, Scott Ferguson and I are joined in conversation with Alexandra Skaggs, senior writer for barons who covers markets and fixed Skaggs Financial journalism. Indispensable for a number of reasons, Way were particularly interested in speaking with her own money on the left about how she leverages modern monetary theory to advance some of the most perceptive and incisive analysis ongoing crisis here. Alexander's recent reporting on complex topic of repo markets is also way touch on that, as well as the inordinately powerful old place. So called primary dealers in our present political economic. Alongside this excellent conversation were thrilled to announce the second meeting of the Modern Money Network Humanity, which will be held April 24 26 at Louisiana State University. The title of the conference is Money on the Left Green Deal froth. We invite all artists activists in critical theorists who are committed to expanding on advancing vision of for more information on the conference and guidelines for submitting a proposal head to money and on the left thinks is always to our production team. Alex Williams, Richard Feral and Megan Sauce for bringing this episode together. Alexandra Skaggs Welcome the money on the left. Thanks
spk_1:
01:52
for having me.
spk_0:
01:53
So could you start off by telling us a bit about your personal background and professional experience?
spk_1:
01:59
Oh, sure. So I do wanna say, first of all that that I'm sort of appearing in a professional capacity. I'm not like representing my publication or anything like that. Um, I did want to mention that just first off, just so no one thinks that I'm like being super political as, like a barren employees or something cause
spk_2:
02:18
Understood.
spk_1:
02:21
And so I joined Baron's about a year ago and has basically done like a kind of a quick lap of most of the business publications in New York City. I started off, uh, pretty much of the Wall Street Journal covering the stock market. Then I went to Bloomberg to cover the Treasury. Might get most recently, is that the Financial Times covering credit? And then again in about a year ago, I ended up coming over to Baron's on here. I cover pretty much all fixed income markets that covers Treasuries. Ah, emerging market that a little bit And credit and mortgages and other types of stuff like that.
spk_2:
03:05
I'm curious. How does somebody like you start start covering finance and making the rounds through all of these New York publications?
spk_1:
03:14
So it's kind of a funny story. It's It's something I mostly fell into, actually, Um, you know, I I went to ah, school. That was actually kind of conservative. Undergrad. Um, it was Washington and Lee University. A little problematic now here in 2019. Um, but I went there milk mostly cause I wanted to play volleyball.
spk_0:
03:38
So it's
spk_1:
03:40
got a good team. I can play there. That's cool. Um, and once I was there, I thought I wanted to do something that was basically gonna, like, keep me employed
spk_0:
03:51
because, you know,
spk_2:
03:52
just go
spk_1:
03:53
exactly right. Well, that's sort of the As it turns out, I later learned that that was kind of the lake millennial persons. Priorities like it wasn't just me. That was, like, only thinking about that. I went into accounting and e con, And so I took a bunch of classes and those departments because I sort of wanted to know how things worked. And I also thought like, Well, maybe this means I'll actually get a job outside of college because that would be helpful. Obviously turned out, I didn't love doing it,
spk_0:
04:23
but it did
spk_1:
04:24
like paying attention, and I kind of realized like those were the areas where, like, E. I guess it's a good way to put it is like most power is wielded, you know, there there are a lot of kids going to thanks. There are a lot of kids going into corporate finance, and I sort of realized like, Oh, it's much more interesting to be on the outside looking in. And so I went into the journalism program and it turns out, my advisor actually was. She ran a business journalism program within the J School, which was kind of cool, And I figured while I have the prerequisite and I can hang out in the J lab with everyone in like chat, which is mostly what I wanted to do at that point, and, um, I also another cool thing was, I got to go out into the community a decent amount and, you know, coming from the suburbs of Pennsylvania. Wherever I'm going out in tow. Lexington count. They're not Lexington County. Uh, going out into Rockbridge County, Virginia, was, uh, really, really interesting and really eye opening because Lexington, Virginia is actually, I think, one of the wealthiest per capita areas in Virginia. But Rockbridge County is one of the poorest areas per capita in Virginia. And so going out and realizing like, Oh, wow, these people are living, like so differently from these students who are sort of like in this little bubble, you know, it was really sort of reorienting and and it's only actually my family's from around there originally. And so, like, I I was able to talk to people from the community where, like, a lot of the other students weren't really. It was. It was an interesting, uh, an interesting experience, I guess. You know, I decided to focus on money and finance because that was sort of where most of the I guess it's sort of how people really show what they care about because, like if you don't spend money on something, it's, you know, it could just be like paying lip service, right. Um, and I also did it because I was like, Well, reasonably like I don't think a lot of people will want to do this. And this way I can specialize in, actually, like, you know, get a job. Um, And then 2009 happened, which was, uh uh, I guess, Diz actress, and also kind of reoriented the entire country around like, oh, what's actually happening? And finance and markets and economics. So that was right before I graduated, which was really crazy. So, like,
spk_2:
07:03
I
spk_1:
07:03
guess those two sorts of, um, you know, going out into Record county and then the financial crisis hitting right as I was about to graduate like completely, uh, I think reshapes the way that I saw the world
spk_2:
07:16
in your e con and finance classes. Is it fair to presume that you were learning primarily orthodox economics and and then what was the transition like when you moved into the journalism school?
spk_1:
07:33
It was really interesting to get the economics perspective from, like, Washington and Lee because I had a couple of really interesting micro professors, and they were really bright guys and everything they said needs sense. There was a developmental economics guy, which you know was not my favorite class. But then I was I took a class with this guy who had gotten a PhD
spk_0:
07:58
is a yield schools for history, which
spk_1:
08:00
is like, Yeah, very niche
spk_0:
08:03
section of micro.
spk_1:
08:04
And he was great on micro theory, and that ended up being a lot of fun. But the macro classes were
spk_0:
08:10
just totally over my head. I thought at the time, uh,
spk_1:
08:14
and I just like it seemed very, um I don't know, it seemed almost like, you know, I was doing calculus and micro, and then I went to macro and everything was like arithmetic, you know? And like, actually, I think at that point macro is actually arithmetic
spk_0:
08:33
just like keep us. I know. So,
spk_1:
08:40
yeah, and then, ah, the journalism school was really, um it was just very different. Like, it was things on the ground that mattered to people, you know, Like I wrote about healthcare in Rockbridge County and that was absolutely wild. I mean, the amount of, uh, not the amount the lack of institutional structure there for to provide health care to the community
spk_0:
09:02
was
spk_1:
09:03
astonishing. I interviewed one guy who had, like, not gotten good dental care in decades, like he had gotten dentures. But then it was difficult to understand him because his ventures have gotten lost in some flood, and and he had he didn't have anywhere else to find them, which, you know again like unless you actually go into those communities and talk to people you don't realize, like, you know, there's in your suburban or where I grew up. I guess in my suburban upbringing, like no one was out there telling me like, Hey, by the way, there are people out there who, like, can't get sufficient dental care. It just wasn't a factor that, you know, I ever you know, that I thought about, I guess when I was, like, 16. So who actually thinks that much about that stuff when they're 16? I don't
spk_0:
09:54
know. So 2009 happens, and your your niche becomes what everybody wants to talk about. How did your you're training prepare you to engage with, you know, the financial crisis?
spk_1:
10:12
Well, the fact is the fact that I could cover it at all, I think you know it was helpful just because I got to sort of see it in real time. Um and you know, it's interesting, though, because even at the time, like I'm not sure, I fully grasped the macro, the macro underpinnings. I guess that caused it. Like I knew that there was a lot of mortgage debt. I knew that there was a lot of consumer debt or consumer debt is even the kind of a silly way to put it. But, like I knew that people were sort of underwater, and I sort of had to piece things together from there. And it's very interesting because none of it really made sense to me until I met Rohan Gray, who I know is very active in the anti community. And then, like the entire thing actually made son
spk_0:
11:02
just kind of crazy. That's
spk_2:
11:05
a little bit more about that.
spk_1:
11:07
Sure. So, um, you know, I think another Another interesting thing about journalism in the US and about even, you know, working after college in the U. S. Is just, you know, for me, like I had to scramble a lot to just stay employed, right? And I think that a lot of people have this experience where Lake I didn't necessarily feel like I had time to think about the financial crisis or to figure out like I wonder why this happened. I was like, you know, it would be great to know why this happened, but like, I need to pay rent and like, eaten stuff. So,
spk_0:
11:46
like
spk_1:
11:47
at that moment, I was just like, Okay, I'll cover the fact that the stock market rallied after this thing called Q e three that I don't really understand. Um And then when I moved on to Bloomberg, I was covering the Treasury market, and I think that the underpinnings of the Treasury market are are very confusing unless you have some sort of macro like, uh, like a structure to think about it in or foundation. And around that time, actually, a friend of mine from The Wall Street Journal ended up introducing you to ruin, who likes sent me a bunch of literature, and he was really a great advocate for MMT. Um, he sent me a bunch of literature, sat down and, like, got coffee and talk to me about you know, what the MMT viewpoint of macro is. And all of a sudden, like things started coming together in a way that they hadn't before. Um, you know, partially because, you know, the vanity community were such great advocates that it's sort of made me want to think more about it.
spk_2:
12:56
Did you have any resistance? Is in coming to it either just an understanding or I don't know, you know, biases or whatever that you brought to the table.
spk_1:
13:08
Oh, totally. I mean, I I'm like a relatively research recent, uh, comer toe all of this stuff, and I think again, like mostly because I felt like I didn't have time or expertise to sort of think about this stuff on my own. Like, I feel like the message that you get from most places is like, Oh, this stuff is really complicated. And these people like, I don't know, Larry Summers or whoever, like they're very smart. So they know exactly you know what the situation is. And you should just listen to them. And that was sort of, you know, I was scared. Thio sort of think about things on my own or do my own reading on macro stuff. Um and I D'oh, you know, Crazy was talking, wrote about this, and I remember like, I sort of got into a back and forth with him and we were talking about, I think, the division between the Treasury and the Fed and I was like, Well, the said Independence is like a huge deal, if that's very important, you know, saying that because that that was what I had been told. That was what I had been told in undergrad. That was what I have been told after undergrad. And everyone was like, Why
spk_0:
14:24
Wait,
spk_1:
14:26
Uh, wait, Hold on and like
spk_0:
14:28
it, I
spk_1:
14:29
tried to answer the question, and I couldn't. And the only answer I could really come up with was like, Oh, well, if people figure out that the division that they think is there isn't really there Well, then and he's like, Oh, then they can actually, like, you know, take control and use money on themselves. And I was like,
spk_0:
14:50
Yeah,
spk_1:
14:52
that was sort of It's so funny. I remember so clearly that moment because even then I think that there's a sort of anti anti populist or whatever groupthink in the media and, um, professional circles that like, Oh, you know, if if normal people figure out how to how to take power howto sort of advocate for themselves. Well, everything is lost, you know?
spk_0:
15:23
And
spk_1:
15:24
I was thinking about that, and I was like, I can't, you know, if you don't say it out loud, been like it doesn't sounded awful as it is. Almost.
spk_2:
15:35
Yeah,
spk_1:
15:36
but like the more I thought about it, the more I was like, there's no actual defense for this ideological position. And then once you see the fact that the ideological position underlies so much of what's out there like you can't really un see it, I got it. And from there it was sort of like, Oh, you know, it was a sort of radical reorientation of my view again, you know, because, you know, like, oh, all of the injustice happening people are being foreclosed on and then you sort of assume like, Oh, this is just the way things have to be, um, but that
spk_0:
16:13
talking to row
spk_1:
16:14
and I was sort of like, Oh, and it's not even the way things have to be. It was like, I guess he gave the impression. And the more you pay attention, the more he realized like, Oh, they're people who understand this too They just sort of want to keep things the way they are because you know they're scared of change. Or they really do think that like, Oh, we can't trust people who haven't gone to Harvard which like I think, is absolutely absurd
spk_0:
16:40
when it's It's one thing to kind of realize that that mystification has been cultivated over so long and that these these norms are norms, not rules or laws that are firm. And it's another day to kind of get comfortable with sort of taking that position publicly. Was it difficult for you, or was it a snap where it's like, This is the way it is? And this is the way I'm going to to think about it and write about it moving forward.
spk_1:
17:09
Well, it was really interesting because, um, it also helped me challenge. I think some of the some of the power structures in the Treasury market, actually, because on one hand, like you've got the Bloomberg opinion guys rating like explicitly ideological stuff and you know they're sort of doing their thing, and it helps me first, you know, kind of identify what they were writing. But then I was doing a lot of coverage of primary dealers, and those were the groups of the groups. They're the group of thinks that, um, basically backstop Treasury options and the primary dealers. It's funny, I think, sort of unconsciously have a very political view of their job. In their view, they're very like, you know, we are the ones who underwrite the government ability to borrow like we were the reason the government can do stuff that it needs to d'oh And like, you don't realize necessarily That's a political view until you learn, um, empty. And you're like, Oh, actually, like the government is the one that set all of these rules and like there, you know, you're like saying that you're doing all of this stuff for the government, but you're doing it on the government's playing field. So, like, who are you actually working for? And like it? It ends up sort of turning that kind of perception upside down. If that makes any sense,
spk_0:
18:37
Um,
spk_1:
18:38
and that also helps me interrogate sort of the role that they played a little bit more, which ended up making me look into the sort of rules that exists for primary dealers, which again are set by the government. And, um, it sort of allowed me to interrogate that. I think in a way that actually made me better at my job, which was kind of cool because you stopped sort of accepting everything that these guys tell you its face value. You're allowed Thio. Interrogate what? They're doing a little bit more,
spk_0:
19:11
right? We all learn in civics class about primary dealers. I
spk_1:
19:17
am. It maybe not learned in my
spk_0:
19:23
So, do you have a
spk_2:
19:24
contentious direct interactions, like on the phone with representatives from these primary dealer banks? Where do you suggest alternative viewpoints? Ah, Or or Or maybe maybe I'm presuming too much. Uh, do you persuade any of them?
spk_1:
19:44
So that's a good question. Uh, not anymore,
spk_0:
19:48
because
spk_1:
19:49
I've moved on from that job, but, uh, it was funny at the time. I actually did kind of pissed a bunch of them off because I ended up writing about, um, this sort of pre auction trading thing and it seemed like there was some room toe to mess around with. The auction's based on this pre auction market, and it all gets kind of match. But, uh, that furtive um, led to already a contentious relationship with the primary dealers. And then a lot of them would get on the phone and just complain about Bottle three regulations and be like, you know, they don't know what we do for them. And, like I tried to say, like, Are you sure? But like again, it's It's the guys on the dust like they're not particularly interested in having their leg viewpoint extended. Um, so a lot of the time, you know, you have that conversation and you're like, uh if you think so. Um, but, you know, I think that my coverage, hopefully you hope people reorient the way that they think about that because it did also help me get in touch with some of the guys who used to be a primary dealers and then just moving on to a little bit more sophisticated goals that, like, you know, high frequency trading firms like other kinds of, um, Treasury market Jason, like not actually being a primary dealer, but sort of looking at it again, kind of from the outside, like I was, so it ended up, you know, I wish I could say like went in there and, like, one hearts and minds. But I'm not sure that, uh, that was most successful attempt.
spk_0:
22:09
Wait, What? Wait way invited you on to money on the left primarily to help us shed light on what's I think, being regarded as a paradigm crisis and mainstream economy. Central banking. Um, could you help us figure out precisely what is happening and explain why leftists, democratic Socialists, others should care about this, Maybe weaken helpfully start by tracing the origins of the crisis?
spk_1:
23:04
Yeah. I mean, I see the origins of the crisis or what scene is a crisis to the financial crisis? Uh, does that make sense? Um, you know, I think that you know what happened during the crisis, all of the pain that was felt by people and the news that came out in fits and starts afterwards about, you know, robo signing and some of the misconduct that happened, Um, you know, really sort of made people. I think it's sort of broke the trust that people had in the financial system in in the representatives of the financial system. And I think it's interesting because, you know, within the financial system, it's all of these guys like, sort of performing what they think is their jobs. Like, you know, they think their job is to maximize their piano piano. You know, like I think that's and there's an argument to be made that, like, that is actually just what bankers do. Um, but a lot of public policy people had sort of taken, you know, the banker's job and just decided. Okay, well, that just makes everything work out for the greater good, and then just let it go from there. And I think that people realized, like, after the financial crisis, you know, this sort of idea that everyone likes looking in their best interest, you know, all together and, like, you know, unrestrained trade or whatever. I think that Really, Um, the idea that that was like the best possible organization of the economy was really fundamentally broken because of the financial crisis.
spk_2:
24:48
So e think from my point of view, it's been ah, um, kind of Ah, slow bleed. Clearly, at first there was a sense that Okay, spreading tons of risk throughout lots and lots of different markets is not actually stabilizing, but totally destabilizing. And that the kind of the shock and the wake up call. That was the initial crisis. But since then, an hour, um, relatively weak. Uh, an unequal recovery, I think has been accompanied by certain we can say a pissed, um, a logical challenges to some of the just fundamental truths of the neoclassical mainstream. And maybe you can help our listeners makes sense of how these debates are happening. So ah, for example, maybe we can start with the kind of mythos of ah, of the independent central bank and with what a central bank is supposed to do. Ah, Visa VI fiscal policy. Like how? How are these things thought about free financial crisis? And now, in terms of kind of meta debates, how are how are mainstream big players talking about these things and new
spk_1:
26:14
right? That's that's a good question. And I do think that the post crisis in the government response to the crisis is a gun like the second part or the second domino to fall. Maybe because people really did think that the Federal Reserve was like, you know, the government entity that was out there by itself, like floating in some a political cloud. Um, I didn't that was meant, you know, sort of stabilize this almost mechanical system. Um, because I think people did kind of think about the financial system like it were just mechanical and again a political which we've since learned is not true. Um, and I think that, you know, seeking what happened post crisis and the way that the sort of the first priority was Okay, We have to help the banks. We have to fix the banks. Um, I think that made people realize, like, Oh, the relationship between the Fed and the bank is not They're not really separate, as you would think. And that that means that the relationship between the government and the banks is not like an oppositional relationship, right? Like when you have trillions of dollars of Treasuries on the Fed's balance sheet, when you have the said buying trillions of dollars of Treasuries from banks and paying banks interest on excess reserves and sort of all of this, like the mechanical relationship, is less like they're fewer levels. I got there fewer, you know, leads to pretend to be separate between the two entities. And I think people understand that, and I think you know, not just people in the halls of power, I think, actually, like real, everyday people have a better understanding of this than a lot of like, you know, the leading minds and, you know, punditry.
spk_2:
28:18
So can you maybe give us a few examples of some of the some of the justifiably or not leading minds and punditry how they've how they've handled this? I mean, have there been Do you see ah, fractures in this? Ah, you know, in this world view people holding on other people, um, moving forward.
spk_1:
28:43
Well, the way that sort of played out is actually kind of a bummer, in my view, because I think that it's turned into this thing. We're like, everyone says, Okay, well, the Fed isn't political. The said doesn't play this game, But then, like, their recommendations for policy are basically based on their own politics. Um, like I don't wantto e even probably think pretty easily of like a major papers pundit who, you know, is very, very concerned about the deficit when you know now that Trump is in office. But, you know, if the Democrats they were to get into office next, maybe the deaths. That wouldn't be a problem for them. Maybe the national debt wouldn't be something that they worried about. Umm, it's just sort of turned into this thing where, like, I'm not, I'm not sure that they necessarily realize that. But, um, it's But, you know, I guess maybe also that's where the cracks have shown up, right? Like if you have these people things sometimes like Okay, well, you know, the national debt we shouldn't say is 20 trillion or whatever, because actually, that isn't the right way to measure it. Like you start seeing the kind of contradictions in their own messages and like that's definitely getting out there to normal people, I think.
spk_2:
30:10
So you're saying it's less of a clear paradigm shift and more of, ah, the cracks in the edifice themselves becoming more and more apparent to more and more people?
spk_1:
30:22
Yes, definitely anything. I think that really people are actually starting to get more interested in this stuff, too, mostly because, like Americans, love like a tail is Billy deception or self deception
spk_0:
30:38
and so on,
spk_1:
30:40
like this is a pretty clearer example. I think of you know, the establishment itself kind of deceiving itself. Um, and like,
spk_0:
30:49
this
spk_1:
30:50
jig is almost up, but, like, a few people are still kind of holding on here in there. Um, and so, you know, it's funny, cause this is one of the things for him, Like I actually think, like, if you just sort of look at it and, like, talk to people about like Okay, well, this is how money is made. This is sort of why the messages that they tell you about like, Oh, the treasury markets gonna, um you know, blow up. And China's gonna foreclose on us like none of that actually makes sense. People actually start getting it. You know, I think some of it depends on, like, Pryor, you know, political ideas and a lovely thought. But I think it's, I think, the distinction, I guess, between lake, the group of pundits, you know, here in New York or down in D. C. And like regular people is growing. That makes sense.
spk_2:
31:48
Yeah, for sure. And I also think that there's a kind of lag or ah, translation failure between punditry and everyday people's interests and our political rhetoric. I think on the one hand, you know, we see much. Um, we see politicians, and certainly in this presidential race um uh, talking about much. Ah, you know, a lot more large government programs that are gonna cost a lot of money. Um, but for some reason, none of that rhetoric or framing seems to be tapping into the fact that a lot of the mainstream economy finance discourse has has been calling for more fiscal, um, fiscal policy, especially in the case of ah, another major crisis. Not like we're not already in one, but yeah, we pretend like we're not, so yeah, I don't know if you have any thoughts about how how the economy finance this course kind of interacts with that popular political rhetorical. Yeah,
spk_1:
33:14
that's it's interesting, because I also, um, you know, the sort of I feel like I actually get to chat with, like, a pretty wide range of folks and like depending on lake, where your ad, it's very funny to see the lake last breakdown because I
spk_0:
33:29
think
spk_1:
33:29
that, like people in, like the professional class, or like people who went toe like fancy law schools, you know, I think they're the few people who are left sitting there like Oh, well, you know, God knows how we're gonna pay for all of
spk_0:
33:43
that. You know,
spk_1:
33:45
um and I think that's just because, like, you get cultural brownie points for, like, agreeing with Larry Summers,
spk_0:
33:53
I'm not sure.
spk_1:
33:56
But among like other people who don't have quite the I guess investment in the establishment are like that sort of power structure that's in place now, like they don't trust the messages that they're getting told it all. So, like, if you if you start talking about it and be like, yeah, well, you know so and so says we can't afford it. But then, like look at the cost of the military programs that we have. Look at the cost of the military technologies. We have, like, look at what happened with q E and post financial crisis like they are absolutely willing and ready to hear it. And like, it just rings a sort of, uh, it resonates a lot more, I think. And I think that the, um you know, then when you start getting into the separation between the Fed and the Treasury and um, like the role of taxation, that's that's been a little tougher. I think? Um, actually, it's pretty funny, but it is. It is a good message. I was talking to someone other week about, um, about taxing billionaire. Very funny, because
spk_0:
35:05
it was someone
spk_1:
35:06
who is, like, you know, sort of middle class. Blake did pretty well, um, but they were talking about like, Oh, if they take just businesses money, like, why wouldn't they take mine, too?
spk_0:
35:18
And I know, right? And I was like, it
spk_1:
35:21
was gonna be like, Well, I'm not sure they really care about your money and
spk_0:
35:27
says,
spk_1:
35:27
But like, that's actually the perfect opening for an empty because then you can say like, Oh, well, the thing is that taxes aren't actually the government getting money for programs like the reason you tax people like Jeff Bezos. Just so they have less power, you know? So they direct the political, the political process less, and then I kid you, not the person was, like, responded with a like, Oh, well, like what are they just gonna set the money on fire? Then
spk_0:
35:55
it was like
spk_1:
35:56
that is literally an empty. That
spk_0:
35:58
is Yes, it is. Appropriation
spk_1:
36:02
created.
spk_2:
36:03
Yes. And there's a long history right of tax day actually being a money burning.
spk_1:
36:09
Yes, Yeah,
spk_0:
36:10
that place.
spk_1:
36:11
And so, like those sorts of intuitive conclusions that come from that, like, I think that that's part of the reason that MMT resonated so much with me because like, oh, this actually makes perfect sense. But then once you accept that, like, the sort of implications are sort of a radical paradigm shifting. Um, you
spk_0:
36:35
know, there's a lot to be to sort of think about here. And I guess one of the things that's coming to mind this we're talking about, um, you know, chatting with people about MMT and, you know, popular reactions to seeing, you know, the bailouts of the banks as opposed to bailing out homeowners. We you attended the most recent MMT conference, and I think one of the interesting things about the MMT conferences that it is pretty public facing. And there were a lot of activists they're from from different, um, states backgrounds, but very interested in motivated, um, to sort of bring MMT to their communities and to their local politicians, and to sort of changed the discourse that way from the bottom up. Um, I wonder if you might comment on your experience at the MMT conference and perception of the kind of mass movement that appears to be, um, nascent there or at least forming or the energy anyway in the MMT community.
spk_1:
37:45
Oh, for sure. I mean, it was so inspiring to see, um, you know, it was inspiring to see and meet the activists and sort of look at the great work that they've been doing. Um, it was also interesting and kind of encouraging to see the non activists that were there because I do think that most of the people in attendance were activists and like, doing really, really important work and people who have been there since the very beginning. But, you know, since we're talking about the discourse, you know, talking about out the sort of spread of MT. Like I met a few people at the conference to who weren't activists. And we're just like professional guys who drove over for a couple of days because they were curious and like that.
spk_0:
38:31
That is fascinating to
spk_1:
38:33
me, because again, that's that same group that, like, you know, get brownie points for listening to Larry Summers. Like
spk_0:
38:39
I said,
spk_1:
38:40
Like if you're reaching them then, like that's
spk_0:
38:43
really
spk_1:
38:44
wild. And, um and I think that the thing the way
spk_0:
38:49
that the
spk_1:
38:49
movement has grown has been so cool and so encouraging.
spk_2:
38:55
Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, just it shift to another. I think major topic, um, that that, uh, is a place where the cracks in the system are are becoming quite visible is in basically all kinds of assumptions about inflation and how inflation and works and what its relationship to unemployment supposedly is. Um, what's your sense of the way that that has been framed in the past and the way that's being challenged on again? I yes, I'm interested in, ah, correct analysis, but I think I'm specifically, in this case, interested in what the what? The big players, you know, people like Olivier blown shower, for example are are saying about these things.
spk_1:
39:53
Oh, yeah. I mean, it used to be like a boogeyman inflation. Like even I'd say them like the big voices, you know, we're Bill Growth after the financial crisis, was convinced that Kiwi was gonna cause hyperinflation,
spk_0:
40:11
you know,
spk_1:
40:12
And he talked about it a lot, and he talked about it really publicly, and he got run over, like, 100%. And, um, you know, I think I'm blanking on the guy's name from GMO. But, you know, the people who have been right have been the people who pay attention to MMT to the people who are sort of, you know, basically carrying out there like jobs within finance. But within MMT perspective, which is very interesting, I think, because those were not the traditional like people that you'd expect to see at a conference of, like, you know, progressive economists. Um, but they are the people who you know, they're putting their money where their mouth. Sorry, Gus. And it's been working out for them. So that's another sort of interesting thing. And, uh, you have seen, like Olivier Blanchard, for example, came out and started talking about how like, Well, okay, as long as growth is higher than interest rates than you're okay, I mean, you got your probably better, uh, place to talk about the specifics of the economics of it. Ah, hands. But the way that they're sort of dialing back there, inflation warnings have been, um, it seemed a little like a c e y a effort. Um but you're not. On the other hand, I guess it's encouraging that people are changing their views after God knows 10 years without any inflation at all. You know the idea that there is some sort of level of employment above which, uh oh, our unemployment below which inflation gets out of control. I think that's pretty much been divine. Now, write it like,
spk_2:
42:06
yeah, And within the mainstream. Yeah, they're not. They're not They're not becoming Mm tears. Yeah, but they they see they don't really have two legs to stand on any more.
spk_1:
42:17
Exactly. And, um, you know, even some of my colleagues, some of my like, really break colleagues have, um, have come out very strongly against the idea that there isn't a unemployment level that like, Oh, that's the ideal amount of unemployment because, you know, the whole idea is is sort of reactionary in problematic, especially
spk_0:
42:42
in us,
spk_1:
42:43
especially in a country where health health care is tied to employment. It's like the
spk_2:
42:49
Yep, and that's racist and sexist. And of course, so it's people of color and women who outside for the most?
spk_1:
42:58
Yeah, exactly. And yeah, it's, um I think that actually, I think that the Fed has realized this. I think that the Fed has realized that at least people are not willing to accept the idea anymore that there is or should be, some sort of like Reserve Army of unemployed people.
spk_0:
43:22
Because that
spk_1:
43:23
that idea, I think, resonates a lot with people because
spk_0:
43:26
they've been hearing
spk_1:
43:27
from, you know, mainstream media publications like Oval. Unemployment's the Flow. May the insulation is going to start now. Um, and I think at this point, like a unemployment has fallen a lot and it hasn't Inflation hasn't picked up. And Second, like, I think, people are more willing to challenge the feds point of view, post the financial crisis.
spk_2:
43:53
Yeah. And sometimes directly and in their face, like, yeah, movement.
spk_1:
43:57
Exactly. Um and I do you know, uh, the set is not traditionally the most responsive of institutions.
spk_0:
44:07
Thio. I know right
spk_1:
44:10
to the public's, uh, to the public at all. Really? Um, but I do. I do think that, um they've been paying attention, and I think that they're a little I mean, this is pure speculation, but, like, it seems to me like they're a little freaked out.
spk_2:
44:28
Yeah, and they're doing damage control. They're holding conferences and e mean, at least they're They're acknowledging that they have to. They have to be somewhat answerable to the public, even if it's totally not, Ah, satisfactory what they're doing. It's very much again. Maybe another piece in this in this paradigm crisis puzzle that we're trying to unpack
spk_1:
44:57
Exactly. And I think you can link a lot of that to the great work that set ups and doing right, Like, you know, they're there. And I think that, like, as people start to pay attention more and as people, you know, listen to that message. You know, normal people again are gonna be like, Oh, why is it that they want unemployment to be 3% or 4%? You know, I think they've been doing really great work and really effective. They would see him
spk_0:
45:35
stayed in bed all morning. Just a past. There's something wrong here. There can be no denying one of us is changing. Or maybe we just stopped trying. Wait, it was so easy living in here. What's the deal with Repo markets? No, no, uh,
spk_1:
46:37
Repo Oh, God.
spk_0:
46:39
Repose. And,
spk_1:
46:39
uh, taking over my life actually But that's another thing, right? Like it's funny that you see people online freaking out that the Fed is intervening in repo markets, which, like that's how it's implemented policy before the financial crisis. Like the only reason any person would worry about this is if they had the assumption that the Fed should not be in money markets. Which again, seems to me like an extremely new liberal assumption.
spk_0:
47:10
Yeah,
spk_1:
47:11
because
spk_2:
47:11
yet God, can you explain just Repo One? 01 basics. What is what is it? How does it How does it function? What What's been the nature of the crisis?
spk_1:
47:24
Yeah. Um, so it's It's probably easiest to start talking about it from, like the way things worked before the financial crisis, Um, and then talk about what happened during and then after on. And I also think that this is one thing that that sort of you know, blows up The assumption that the Fed is not like a is not actively involved in markets every single day, you know, um, so before the financial crisis, banks hod a certain amount of cash reserves in their accounts at the Fed and like from day to day you know, one bank would be a little bit short reserve cash, whichever, and then another bank would have a little extra, and so they'd have, um, the sort of short term loans where they would and this actually isn't Repo. This is in the fed funds market. So they'd like, make short term loans of cash to one another, you know, bank to bank, no matter which one. Um, usually overnight, where I think sometimes intraday. But again, I'm not totally be expert on this. And then, ah, after the financial crisis, um, or I get During the financial crisis, the Fed bought bonds from the banks, which created a ton of extra cash reserves. So then, like, thanks had more than they needed. Ah, and then some. Then the feds started shrinking its balance sheet. Thanks. Sort of stopped making short term cash loans to each other in the way that they were doing before. And instead of that, they've been making short term cash loans, but basically taking a treasury in return. So it's been like one bank will need cash because cash is a little bit better than Treasuries for various things. Um and so the bank will pledge a treasury with another bank to get that cash
spk_2:
49:25
on. Am I mistaken in presuming that, um, usually this is happening Thio so that the banks can meet their reserve requirements
spk_1:
49:34
more or less. So. One of the interesting things is that yeah, and this is for a reserve requirements and other purposes, like regulatory stuff. But one of the interesting things is that after the financial crisis, global banking regulators said Okay, on top of all of youse reserve cash requirements that you have, we're gonna say you need a certain amount of high quality liquid after that, and high quality liquid assets could be cash or Treasuries. Um, so And the thing that sort of confused regulators is, you know, back in September, on the rates at which banks were borrowing cash from each other, short term, a spike really high, and it was
spk_2:
50:18
put in. That's the senses.
spk_1:
50:20
Yeah, this is the This is the new rape repo crunch or crisis. Or, you know, whatever you call it.
spk_0:
50:28
Uh, yes. It was definitely repo
spk_1:
50:30
madness. Um, and, uh, so that you have the rates ended up speaking really high. And so the feds said okay, Like we want things to get back to normal. So we're gonna intervene in the market and we'll start lending out cash, you know, in exchange for these Treasuries. Ah, short term at, like a preset rate That's closer to the rate that we actually have. Like, that's our policy rate. But and so, you know, people seem to think that, like, this is, you know, financial crisis two point. Oh, and every this guy's falling. But it's sort of interesting because this is actually the way that the Fed implemented policy before the crisis before the crisis, when banks are lending reserves to each other short term, like every once in a while, they're like, wouldn't be enough. So whenever that was the case, the Fed would come in and and lend out reserve. Short term like this was like a pretty standard thing. Now that was usually happening in pretty small volume. And what people have been paying attention to the last time around is that this has been doing it in large volume. Um, so banks, for whatever reason, uh, need a large amount of extra cash and they're willing to put up Treasuries for it. and this is sort of interesting, but I do think it gets into the distinction between, like, what's really the difference between cash and a treasury. You know, you can do a lot of things with treasury. You can sell them really easily. Um, you cannot pay taxes with, um I don't think like that's one of the distinguishing factors, but like both of them are obligations of the U. S. Government more or less. Um, and so I find it really interesting that, like, this is sort of the way that that the Fed is implementing policy is basically saying like, Okay, well, like, you know, the Treasury's obligations are like pretty good, but, like definitely not as good as our obligations. And in order to enforce that, we're gonna go into the market and lend out cash a lot in exchange
spk_2:
52:33
for
spk_1:
52:33
treasury obligation. So
spk_0:
52:36
that's just sort of
spk_1:
52:36
a tangent. But
spk_2:
52:38
no, no, I think it's actually central on just drive home the point that, um without being totally deterministic it it seems to me that it it's pretty fair to say that this repo madness, um, is an effect of policy or multiple regimes, including basil three, um, and other regulations. And then and then I'm not sure if you mentioned it, but the the choice of the choice to begin a Taper process. Yet where, whereby the government is essentially depriving this already fragile system of liquidity such then creates a crisis?
spk_1:
53:28
Yeah, for sure. So I should have probably talked about battle in a little bit more detail, like the tapering of the Fed's balance sheet was basically like Okay, well, we're going to stop buying so many bonds at Treasury auctions because the Fed has been buying, actually a decent amount, which means that those bonds were going to be at the banks basically instead of on the Fed's balance sheet. So that this that this is all part of the sudden desire for things to get back to, like, quote unquote normal, whatever that means. Um, which means that, like, for them, that means Okay, well, we still want, like, a scarce amount of cash in the bank. Um, and again, it's not clear to me like why it is that they wanted that, like, I don't think they ever really made the argument for it in any really compelling way. Um, I think that they just wanted it to be back to normal. And they want it to seem like they're not really, like intervening. Even though they intervene regularly. Just thio Thio keep their policy in place,
spk_2:
54:34
right? And they play this ideological game of peekaboo.
spk_1:
54:37
Yeah,
spk_2:
54:37
um, where there's pretending that they're not always always in charge in conditioning, uh, what's happening and then, yeah,
spk_0:
54:48
it seems they intervened to remind you that they're independent. Yeah.
spk_1:
54:55
Oh, good. Yeah, they're like, we're intervening, But then we're gonna intervene
spk_0:
54:59
less just
spk_1:
54:59
thio, you know, because we want Thio keep the appearance of independence. But again, have you seen, uh, that didn't work? Because it
spk_0:
55:10
was
spk_1:
55:11
after a full full two years of that that, um, you know, the market for for those cash loan secured by Treasuries ended up kind of blowing up like the The rate for borrowing cash went above 5%. I think, um, even though the Fed's rate like policy rate was around like to at the time, and
spk_0:
55:37
actually some
spk_1:
55:37
of those transactions went almost up to 10% but that's going to the different story.
spk_0:
55:44
I'm just wondering, as we're talking about all this is I'm, like, sort of tracking the fancy dancing in my head. It just all seems so terribly inefficient. And I wondered what might be accomplished if I mean, that's the MMT game. A large part of it right is like, Why are we doing this? What could we be doing otherwise and and how much more effective and efficient would that be? And it just seems like all of this is tied up with that independence rhetoric. It's like this. We need to preserve and maintain this notion that that the Fed and the Treasury are just completely independent from each other. But it's what costs.
spk_1:
56:25
Well, it's funny because you could argue, and I'm not saying that I'm arguing this necessarily. But you could argue that, uh, the primary dealers are basically a front for the, uh, for the lack of independence between the Fed and the Treasury.
spk_0:
56:41
You
spk_1:
56:42
know, like they they sit in the middle of the treasury, sells bonds, primary dealers sort of underwrite hm. And then the Fed lends cash against Treasury bonds from the primary dealer. So, like it's literally like a shell G or not like a you know, I'm trying to think I don't want to get in trouble so
spk_0:
57:00
late. So game is like a little problematic. Maybe,
spk_1:
57:04
but it's like, you know, going from one hand to another, but just, you know,
spk_0:
57:08
money laundering, sensing way said it. So just remember, toe listeners, you gotta elect progressive primary dealers next to Leo.
spk_1:
57:25
No. Well, it's like they're charging these piece literally. The big banks there, the big U. S. Banks and what they're doing is they're charging rent basically in between the Treasury's options of Treasury securities and the said short term cash loans secured by Treasuries. You know, like that sort of like two sided market. We can call it like the private primary dealers air in the middle of that, and they exist to make it seem like it's private market and and they earn money from it like they're basically charging rent to be in the middle of that big, Uh, that big market
spk_2:
58:07
Absolutely. And this is why the MMT proposal toe push on the overnight rate down to zero. Um is so important because it's about, um, bringing, ah, democratic accountability and a more democratic ordering to the way our financial system is is organized in the first place rather than through this shell game of, uh, of of private markets.
spk_1:
58:34
Hey,
spk_2:
58:34
Molly, One question, uh, I have for you to kind of come back to your own personal experience is about gender. Uh, and it seems to me that icon and finances ah has historically been very much a man's world. A white man's world. Um, and I'm curious what what your experience has been. Um, And if you'd like Thio Um, yes. Speak to any of those questions.
spk_1:
59:10
Oh, that's a good one. Um, it's funny, because you know what? It's now impossible for me to see this, like, outside of, like, a sort of economic framework, Gray, like this Sort of, um, I don't know, like a economic left kind of you, because when I first got into the business, it was kind of tough because people didn't take me very seriously. I was new. I was young, I didn't have a lot of like negotiating power, and on that was really super frustrating, right. But then, like, you know, you sort of advance a little bit, and people start treating you a little bit better, But like even then, you know people have their sticks, right? Like, you know, I know a lot of women that I know in financial journalism have to sort of, like, fit themselves into sort of like a predetermined box, right? Like if you remind somebody of, you know, like their daughter than you know, that ends up being that kind of relationship with this orders like,
spk_2:
20:00:17
Oh, the source of your
spk_1:
20:00:18
Oh, yeah, So internally, it's a little internally. It's weird, but I think that a lot like any other place of work, Um, and but like with the sort of relationship with the people in the financial industry, like again, it's like it's like a commercial relationship, right? So it sort of flattens you into a one dimensional person, and you sort of have to, like, play a role and it, you know, I wouldn't say E think it's like moderately more dehumanizing for women and other people in, you know, minorities and people who don't necessarily fit within one of those, um, you know, boxes that powerful people usually fit into. Um, but, you know, lately I've been thinking also that just, you know, these sorts of like extremely commercial relationships are all sort of dehumanizing and
spk_0:
20:01:20
kind
spk_1:
20:01:20
of depressing.
spk_0:
20:01:23
And
spk_1:
20:01:24
like I do, you know, I have I have a lot of good, like, long term source relationships, but like those air different, right? Because you actually get to know them as people, and they get to know you as a person. Um, but, you know, the sort of highly inter mediated, highly commercial type of relationship is very one dimensional and challenging. What
spk_2:
20:01:46
about advancement in the field or opportunities for, um, yeah, covering certain kinds of stories.
spk_1:
20:01:54
Yeah. Historically, it's been a pretty pretty tough, I would say. I mean, uh, some some outlets have made a lot of progress on DDE have worked pretty hard to make progress. Um, but even so, like, it's pretty rare that you find, like, powerful women in financial journalism or even in finance. Um, you know, and without that sort of like past forward, it could be kind of difficult to, you know, see yourself in a publication or in an institution for, like, the long term. I think because they're
spk_0:
20:02:36
sort of
spk_1:
20:02:36
path and, uh, benefit Byron always necessarily. Great. Um, you know, I feel like I shouldn't talk like specifically about different places.
spk_0:
20:02:50
Uh, you wanna work? It is
spk_1:
20:02:52
nice. Tiu and Help
spk_0:
20:02:54
thing Seems like a Yeah, a beautiful time to transition. Thio Another question. You're talking about dehumanization in the commercial relationship, and it's nice to have money for rent and benefits. Could you talk a bit about your own politics And maybe a bit about beyond journalism? If if and how empty is shaped your political perspective?
spk_1:
20:03:20
Yeah, Absolutely. I mean, I have, uh, taken a pretty hard shift. Laughed, you know, just to say over the past, uh, five years ago, in that the source of that is entirely, um, empty. Um, yeah, yeah. It's funny because, you know, I I hadn't I thought as much probably I should have about a lot of these sort of political topics because, you know, if you go around day today and you think like Okay, well, like, yeah, there their political problems in the world and yes, activism is important. But, like, you know, that I don't I can't. I felt like I couldn't, like, afford it, right.
spk_0:
20:04:02
Um,
spk_1:
20:04:03
you know, just cause the rent and food and all that stuff, but, um, but it's been interesting. Sort of sense since learning about MMT. You know, again, it's sort of a thing that you see and you can't unsee. And then when you see sort of how skewed that policy like, makes power relations between, um powerful establishments like the primary dealers or like the Fed and sort of everyone else, um, it it just feels very wrong, you know? And it's it's very difficult Thio to say and to tell yourself like, Oh, well, you know, I just don't trust people. You know? Like
spk_0:
20:04:48
I think
spk_1:
20:04:49
that a lot of the fundamental, uh, the fundamental view behind thinking that the Treasury and the Fed should be separate is basically saying, like, I believe that the public will run away with themselves and ruin everything if you actually trust them with their own money. And, like I don't I can't morally believe that right? Like when everything's scene is, it's sort of a mechanical process, which, like I think a lot of people still think of economics is a mechanical process. Um, you know, you can believe certain things, but once the ideology is on math, you can't you have to look at it and decide basically and I couldn't in good conscience decide to think like, Oh, well, you know, people back, Like, you know,
spk_0:
20:05:37
this is not
spk_1:
20:05:40
not for me. And, uh, maybe for better or worse, I also struggled to keep my mouth shut about it. Um, but, you know, I also think that there shouldn't be so I think there is a huge, huge lack of people, Um, who are willing to talk about this stuff who understand it well enough. And you have the sort of good conscience too. Um, actually say out loud like, No, this is actually what it means to believe that there's, like, a huge separation between the treasury and the fed, you know, because a lot of people who are, you know, nice people who, like, you know, our lovely humans don't feel confident enough to challenge it on and on. And that's sort of how it perpetuates itself, right? It's like this. It's a sin city of thing. Um, and so you know, because, you know, thank goodness. Thank God, like, grown actually sat me down and was like, No, this is actually what it means. Um, you know, I had to see it, and now I feel like I have toe tell other people about it.
spk_2:
20:06:49
Yeah, that's a familiar feeling. Yeah, And I think what, um what has become increasingly clear to me and was, you know, one of the one of the reasons why we invited you on, um to help us think about this kind of a pistol illogical crisis is that, you know, it's not just that MMT has Ah, um ah, better description and opens up politics to radical alternatives. It's that the emperor has no clothes and and knows it right in. And so it's not just that it's not an empty in a vacuum. It's no the mainstream, for the first time since the seventies, is undergoing in a system a logical breakdown. Um, and MMT has an alternative. It has a It has an answer in many of the I think the positions that the mainstream is now flirting with are pointing in the direction of an empty even while they keep him empty at a distance and pretend that no, that's still that that thing over there is crazy. And I'm not that
spk_1:
20:08:01
right. And you not only have the answer, but it's a humane answer, right
spk_0:
20:08:06
like it's
spk_1:
20:08:06
an answer where, you know, you don't just take half of the population and say, Oh, sorry, you know you lost the lottery that you get
spk_0:
20:08:15
whenever you're boring
spk_1:
20:08:16
to whoever your family is. Um, you know, it's It's something that makes you think like, oh, we can actually build a better society. We can
spk_0:
20:08:26
build a
spk_1:
20:08:26
better United States with this, um and you can do it. It's not a zero sum game basically,
spk_0:
20:08:35
and it removes that it's sort of stages a confrontation when you remove the the neoclassical Neil liberal framework of the economy and and it just you sort of laid bare the moral assumptions and you force a confrontation. But this is what 5% unemployment, as as a metric for inflation means for people. Here's what it means for you to, you know, define things that way. That's that's, I think, one of the most exciting things about him. And he is You have it. Emperor has no clothes in this. Those articles of clothing that they're wearing our, you know, soaked in blood. Yeah, I'll tell you, I
spk_1:
20:09:22
was so mad, like, you know, after realizing sort of like what the ideological assumptions were behind of all of this, and then seeing people write about this and like, it's people that, you know, they understand it. Like I just made me so mad because I felt like I had been to, you
spk_0:
20:09:44
know, like you
spk_1:
20:09:44
have so many people out there thinking like, Oh, I'm a decent person And I just you know, this is the way decent people think about things. And, you know,
spk_0:
20:09:52
underneath it is this sort of horrible zero sum, you know, all against all type of staying and like, it doesn't actually have to be that way. I was so mad about it, for like, I mean, maybe I still am. Who knows? Hopefully, you still Yeah. Yeah, Well, you know, I, uh I definitely, uh, get mad on social media sometimes. Yeah, so, you know, it's just sort of disingenuous, like, you know, distrust of normal people really gets to me, and I do think it gets the most Americans to write, and it gets most people Hopefully, um, you know, having a system that is set up to sort of, like screw over the normal regular person is just and, you know, even more so vulnerable population. Um, you know, I I think that's something that everyone should get mad about. And I think more and more they are because it keeps getting worse. And so people should definitely follow you on social media for that. They should also read your your Barron's work. Is there anything else that you're working on or getting ready to work on that you like people to know about? Yeah. So I am hopefully getting started with a subject newsletter relatively soon. Um, you know, mostly because a lot of these things, like, you know, this sort of smaller objects of like, you know, where does the government in the private sector actually separated? Like I've been covering Pacific Gas and electric a lot. Um, and that is one of those classic lake. You know that PG, and he maintains the grid, but its revenue is determined by the government. And, like, how did we actually decided that this is the way that things are like, I'm hoping to dig more into the history of that And, um, you know, sort of more of ah, working model of like, you know, how you regulate or how you think about. I guess these sorts of utilities like whether it's a financial utility or ah, electric utility or anything like that. So hopefully all had more clear thoughts about it. Time I publish something finger
spk_2:
20:12:14
grand, so listeners should just follow you on Twitter and you'll make announcements and tell us where to go to find these things.
spk_0:
20:12:21
Yes, for sure. I'll put links, um, and hopefully keep you guys updated that way. And maybe just one last question. Do you think so? We've talked with a bunch of people who are, I think, engaging with an extending MMT and interesting ways. Are there any any, like, sort of new directions or sort of uncovered areas that you'd like to see MMT applied to or thought, you know, thought through the lens of Mt. You know, I am really interested, and I know there's been people doing some work on this. I'm really interested in the relationship between municipal governments and the federal government. Um, just because, you know, the state of Pennsylvania, for example, doesn't have a printing press. However, it kind of has this like semi implicit backing from the federal government. But then, not really, because there's no actual bankruptcy statute for it. So, like, there are a lot of really interesting questions, very think.
spk_2:
20:13:28
Agreed. I think, uh, municipal and state level finance is an area that we all have to dig into a lot more and get into the to the to the written laws, to the unwritten laws, to the
spk_0:
20:13:44
kind of defacto assumptions that organize those politics. For sure. Um, in Puerto Rico's a really interesting case about two, but that's probably like three other episodes. And that you guys may have already done them is also possible. Oh, someday I'll keep an eye out. We hope to. Well,
spk_2:
20:14:07
I think we're gonna wrap it up. Thank you so much for coming and chatting with some money in the left.
spk_0:
20:14:13
Thanks so much for having me, huh?
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