The Fiscal Deficit, Modern Monetary Theory and Progressive Economic Policy
Modern Monetary Theory or MMT has crept in from the academic margins to become an influential doctrine in progressive policy circles in the United States. Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders drew on the ideas of MMT to shape their ambitious public spending platforms. MMT has been cited as one way to fund a Green New Deal, in combination with progressive tax reform.
It is safe to say that most Canadian progressives are not debating the finer points of monetary and fiscal policy. But it is useful to critically consider some of the most important pros and cons of MMT based on the new book by a leading US advocate, Stephanie Kelton. (The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy. Public Affairs. New York. 2020.) In a nutshell, MMT puts forward a powerful critique of mainstream macro-economic policy but discounts the need for truly radical change if the economy is to be regulated and managed for the public good.