Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Civil War & Lincoln

Lincoln as Shakespeare Critic

Douglas Wilson, who recovered how Lincoln criticized and edited his speeches (link corrected, thanks, reader), reflects on his serious study of Shakespeare. Wilson notes that Lincoln knew the differences between Shakespeare's texts and the stage versions used by actors. It does give insight into his direction of America's greatest drama--the Civil War.

Discussions - 2 Comments

I think the link for "his own speeches" is wrong. But thank you very much for the Shakespeare article.

Of all the articles in the american scholar the one by Richard Striner, entitled "How to pay for what we need", is the most interesting.

"This amounts to the system that we have in place now, except that Congress—in addition to the Fed—would have the power to create new money out of nothing."

I would argue that Congress does have the power to create new money out of nothing, and does so, the only difference is that we currently pay interest upon a majority of the money we create, albeit we need not do so.

It is interesting that he quotes Hixon: “it never makes sense for the government to permit banks to create money and then borrow it from them at interest, since the government can create money just as cheaply and efficiently for itself and then have the use of it without a debt to repay and without any burden of interest.”

The U.S. Mint actually does this, except that we do not have large denomination coins, and a lot of our coins have a higher production cost than face value.

So what?

Well in my opinion this policy suggestion has already occured via the U.S. Mint.

"The best way to launch such a system—to give it a low-risk test—would be to start small. Have Congress create just enough money to pay for some public necessities—say, a few billion dollars’ worth—and then see what happens. If inflation develops that can be traced to the small increase in the money supply, corrective action by the Fed could quickly counteract it. And if the action by the Fed succeeds in counteracting the inflation, the scale of this experiment in fiscal and monetary policy could be increased."

Almost nothing happens, we already know this. But if we wanted to find real inflation, I would suppose the price of commodoties such as nickel and copper increases from the demand of the U.S. Mint. In addition there is nothing stopping the U.S. Mint from putting out a Trillion dollar coin, and since it actually gets around the congressional debt ceilling, this was my bet for "colourably constitutional" nuclear option (BATNA) in the event of a debt ceilling impase.

The good historian Richard Striner, needs to look into MMT/guys like Warren Mosler, and our federal agencies (U.S. Mint), as is typically the case the answers or a rough idea of them, are already out there.

One objection to Hixon is that our government doesn't actually care about or need money, so the concept of "efficiently" doesn't matter. It is actually closer to an "ethical" question of wealth distribution.

From memory and according to an Econ prof at the University of Oklahoma, I believe the Fed itself is allowed a 6% profit over its opperating costs and that anything over this is refunded to the treasury as seigniorage. 6% guaranteed profit on Trillions of dollars still ends up being a nice chunk of change. Enough perhaps to justify the populist outrage of Alex Jones.

To address this, technically Congress could change the statute that determines the percentage of funds that the Fed refunds to Treasury as seniorage.

But ironically instead of actually proposing a radical new theory or understanding, I think Richard Striner describes the reality.

Which in part is why you basically have Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul pushing hard to audit the fed, with all sorts of debates about just how federal this private monopolist is.

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