MMT: The Theory of How to Get Something for Nothing

By Steve Saville

[This blog post is a modified excerpt from a TSI commentary published about a month ago]

Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT for short, is gaining popularity in the US. It is based on the idea that under the current monetary system the government doesn’t have to borrow. Instead, it simply can print all the money it needs to fill the gap between its spending and its income. The only limitation is “inflation”. As long as “inflation” is not a problem the government can spend — using newly-created money to finance any deficit — as much as required to ensure that almost everyone is gainfully employed and to provide all desired services and infrastructure. It sounds great! Why hasn’t anyone come up with such an effective and easy-to-implement prosperity scheme in the past?

Of course it has been tried in the past. It has been tried countless times over literally thousands of years. The fact is that there is nothing modern about Modern Monetary Theory. It is just another version of the same old attempt to get something for nothing.

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