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Activist #MMT - podcast

May 6, 2020

Welcome to episode 27 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with activist Erin Taylor (Twitter/@EMaddenTaylor). Erin and I were originally scheduled to record this interview on March 11th, but she had to postpone by two weeks because of what she thought at the time was "a flu virus that has become bronchitis." Erin first describes her whole family’s experience likely being infected with the coronavirus, which they are thankfully all now close to recovering from. Along with several previous interview guests, Ryan Mathis, Geoffrey Ginter, and Iryna Rychko, Erin and I roomed together at the September 2019, Third Annual International MMT conference in Long Island, New York.

Erin was introduced to Modern Monetary Theory by macroeconomics expert Ellis Winningham. They met on Twitter for reasons on related to economics, but she soon noticed that Ellis his tweets were unique among everyone she followed. At the time, Ellis did lengthy Twitter thread "lectures" on economics. Erin recalls one of them to the effect of, "Do you think the United States government goes around begging for dollars? Hey, China, we want to start a war, could you lend us some dollars? We don’t have any."

Erin and I have a wide ranging conversation on politics and economics. Here are four highlights:

  1. How the crisis is hitting her relatively wealthy neighborhood, including long lines for bag lunches at local schools, which is reminiscent of soup kitchen lines during the great depression.
  2. Avoiding overselling the job guarantee as activists, and emphasizing how its core is that it solves involuntary unemployment.
  3. The basics of the public option being proposed as an alternative to Medicare For All, and the negative affects of bolting it on top of our for-profit healthcare industry.

Before we begin, a correction. When Erin uses the term "circling the drain" she’s actually referring to something called a "death spiral." This is a condition where healthy people leave an insurance plan, causing prices to rise for the less healthy people that remain.

Finally, before getting to my conversation with Erin, I’m going to read a classic Facebook post by Ellis Winningham:

Other resources and links

The scene from The Core evoking MMT:

Link to video

First person account from Italian resident that made it clear to me (and Ryan Mathis) that coronavirus was more than "just a serious flu." Ryan and I discuss this at the beginning of our recent interview.

Link to tweet