Feb 26, 2020
Welcome to episode sixteen of Activist #MMT. Today I talk with third year MMT activist and healthcare advocate, Geoff Ginter (Twitter/@geoff_ginter). Geoff is the person who introduced me to MMT in February of 2018. We traveled to and roomed together at both the 2018 and 19 MMT conferences in New York. Episodes three and four of this podcast were recorded during our car rides to and from the most recent conference. Geoff lives in the eastern-most portion of New Jersey’s third Congressional district, near the Jersey shore. I live, roughly, an hour due west of him, about one half-mile outside the western border of that same district. I’m also about 20 minutes from Philadelphia.
In this two-part episode, Geoff talks about his journey to MMT, which was highlighted by his May 2017 confrontation with then Republican Congressman, Tom MacArthur. MacArthur‘s net worth is estimated to be as high as $50 million which he extracted from the sick and dying, as an executive in the for-profit health insurance industry. Absurdly, he is also the author of the amendment that brought the infamous and then-defeated TrumpCare back to life. The new version of the bill contained horrific details such as declaring acne and sexual assault to be pre-existing conditions.
Geoff’s fiery 12 minute (and completely improvised) speech was seen by millions, resulting in many invitations for interviews. One of them was a livestream on the Facebook page Real Progressives, hosted by Jon Lancelot. Geoff chose to not wear glasses while talking with Jon and only afterwards saw the many viewer comments urging him to look into something called “MMT,” which he had not heard of at the time. With Jon’s guidance, he dove into the subject, eventually experiencing his lightbulb moment during a video by economist Stephanie Kelton called, “Angry Birds and Deficits.”
Geoff also talks about how many popular uprisings have failed because, although it is clear that something is terribly wrong, there is little consensus or understanding of what the problem is. As Geoff says, you can’t escape your prison until you can clearly see the walls surrounding you. Modern Monetary Theory helps define the walls, so it is unsurprising the resistance it receives.
Finally, Geoff and I discuss our concerns with current New Jersey third’s Democratic Congressman, Andy Kim. Kim defeated MacArthur by a razors edge in November 2018 and, in my estimation, Geoff’s viral confrontation with his Republican opponent played a significant role in that victory. Now, more than a year through his first two-year term, Kim has certainly performed “better than MacArthur,“ but that is quite the low bar.
Kim strongly focused his year and-a-half campaign around progressive issues such as universal healthcare, earning him the endorsement of the prominent progressive organization, Bold Progressives. To this day, however, he still spends more time and energy worrying about the potential consequences of implementing universal healthcare, than about the millions of Americans who are, right now, suffering, dying, and going bankrupt because we don’t have it. As a federal representative, Andy Kim has access to any resource or expert on the planet. If he really wanted his constituents to have universal healthcare, he would have determined these answers and their solutions long ago.
Before the music you heard then-high school student Daisy Confoy confronting Representative MacArthur at the same town hall, about an hour before Geoff. The full audio of this interaction, along with that of her classmate Joseph Zetkulic, and Geoff, can be found in a recently released bonus episode of Activist #MMT. Links to the accompanying videos can be found in this episode’s description.
For an overview of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) with many reliable sources to learn more, here is a good place to start:
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