Bill Moyers and Martin Wolf of the Financial Times Discuss Debt Ceiling Brinksmanship, Coming Budget Talks

The latest Bill Moyers broadcast features the widely-respected lead editorial writer of the Financial Times, Martin Wolf, who discusses the Federal shutdown/debt default negotiations and the prospects for the coming budget talks. Wolf is pointed and colorful, mincing no words about the implications of the staredown. He’s mystified as to why the Democrats have not attempted to discredit Grover Norquist-style demonization of government. As astute as Wolf is, someone needs to clue him in that the Democratic and Republican leadership agree on most economic issues, but the Democrats need to be able to throw a few scraps to their base.

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  1. Schofield

    What comes over in this interview and especially in the end is that Martin Wolf may well be a Wynne Godleyian kind of guy with his Sectoral Balances Accounting approach but he is not a full on MMTer. Fallacy of Composition Confusion still reigns with his line about “how government should be properly financed”. He failed to make the converse argument that the Democrat and Republican parties need to re-think how the non-government sector is financed by government sector creation of debt-free money to enable stable economic growth. He failed to hammer the point home that their failure to do so is gross mismanagement of an economy.

  2. Dan Kervick

    Ditto on Yves comment about Wolf’s strange perplexity about the Democrats. The modern Democratic Party is built on a “reinventing government” ideology which is almost as hostile to government as the Republican ideology. People talk about the Reagan Revolution, but the ideology of contemporary neoliberalism and market fundamentalist really exploded under Clinton when it became the mentality of the boomer entrepreneurial class. Free markets, small government, labor and wage “flexibility” and wide open trade became the decidedly “hip” thinking of the period. This is still going on. Democrats are defenders of Charity-state liberalism and think the role for government should be restricted to social insurance for poor people.

    1. Banger

      Exactly. It was under both Reagan/Bush and Clinton that the Civil Service was, in many ways, destroyed and government was sabotaged which, in turn, fed more resentment and criticism against government which, in turn, elected more anti-government politicians which has resulted in today’s completely absurd and unnecessary crises.

  3. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Schofield- are you really Mark Blythe in disguise? ;-)

    I couldn’t agree more.

    1. Schofield

      If you mean Mark Blyth author of the book “Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea” I got to page 15 of his book and started to feel he’s also suffering from Fallacy of Composition Confusion since on page 13 when talking about government “debt” his big rationalization is:-

      “Personally, I’m all in favor of “everyone tightening their belts” —- as long as we are all wearing the same pants.”

      In other words we are back to Marx and labor doesn’t get the “true value” of its labor even though the Neo-Cons endlessly rabbit on about “value” being determined by market discovery processes. It would seem Blyth has failed to understand that a sovereign government’s ability to create debt-free money not only facilitates the non-government sector’s ability to engage in stable economic growth it offers the opportunity for labor to increase its pant size closer to that of the fat cats.

      If this is the same Mark Blyth maybe you could tell me if he does finally get MMT by the end of the book.

  4. diptherio

    @ 7:10 — Wolf: “…the economy would, just as it’s beginning to recover reasonably well, collapse again.”

    The economy’s beginning to recover? I must have missed it…

  5. Benedict@Large

    90% of this is bullshit neoliberalism. Jackasses like Wolf keep trying to act like they are on the left, but it’s snot. THEY are the problem, because they suck the air out of the media cycle that the real left could otherwise use to present real solutions. There can be no answer from the left because the Wolfs et al among us keep taking the place of the real left, substituting their ideas with just more SOPs to the elites. But of course, that’s what Martin is paid to do, even if he’s too stupid to know that.

  6. Carla

    Thank you, Yves and commenters. You saved me the time and aggravation of watching Wolf and swearing at the screen.

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