Nov 21, 2021
Welcome to episode 98 of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with fourth-year MMT activist Bill Brennan (Twitter/@BillBrennansays). In 2017, Bill ran for the Democratic nomination for New Jersey governor. In 2016, he filed a citizen's complaint against then-Republican governor Chris Christie for his role in the the Bridgegate scandal. Bill obtained damning sworn testimony from a Christie staffer, resulting in a finding a probable cause. This meant the accusation was legally acknowledged as being a valid one. The Christie administration objected, but instead of dismissal, it resulted in Bill's finding even more sworn testimony from another staffer, and a second finding a probable cause. The case lingered for several months but Christie was never charged or given a penalty. This is partly because the prosecutor decided not to pursue the case, claiming a lack of evidence. A prosecutor who was personally appointed by Governor Christie, and who could be arbitrarily fired by the governor at any time, for any reason.
(Here's a link to part two.)
I met Bill during his run for governor, as a local independent journalist. My outlet was called Citizens' Media TV, which, without exaggeration, covered the secondary candidates in the Democratic primaries more than any other news outlet in the state. I also had the honor of moderating a debate between Bill and another Democratic candidate, plus two Republican candidates. Our debate took place outside the official debate, where only those with big donations could enter.
Bill discovered MMT at least a year before I did, but remained skeptical until only recently. I'm happy to have played a small role in pushing him over the edge, such as by introducing him to the concept of reserve accounting. Reserve accounting shows how simple it is for money to flow around the economy and, indeed, the world.
Bill's also is in the unique position of being a progressive surrounded by highly conservative friends. As a consequence, he can boil some of their arguments down to their essence. He also has some unique analogies to share, which bring these ideas home. One of his conversations with his friends inspired me to write an MMT resource post: National debt versus personal debt (in reality).
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(Before were begin, a minor correction: I work in a school but I'm not a teacher.)
And now, onto my conversation with Bill Brennan, who you can find on Twitter at @BillBrennansays. This is part one of a two-part conversation. Enjoy.