Background

Some time around 2006 I ran a web search on Vickrey to see who might be carrying on his work in Functional Finance and allaying the superstitions around federal government debts and deficits. Matthew Forstater and Pavlina Tcherneva had edited a collection of Vickrey’s macroeconomic writings, and thus I discovered the cohort of fine economists at UMKC and the Levy Institute, and Mosler’s Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds.

I determined that to be an effective advocate my best approach would be to research these economists’ operational depictions, and see if I could find a correspondence with the system’s own public documentation. MMT’s factuality would be demonstrated not by “Ruml said something” or “Greenspan said something” but in dry documents like the US Summary General Ledger, the Treasury Financial Manual, and the Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards. Chapter and verse.

And upon such research I concluded, by about 2011 and despite my support for a robust fiscal program, that several of MMT’s most distinguishing claims did not comport with the system’s own documentation in the US. These findings are the empirical basis for my arguments here. Commenters will be expected to bring their best evidence, and I will do the same.