Smart people explain things to me
Thank you for this, Charlie! I finally am able to feel like I have some semblance of a grasp around this subject. Love the idea of making this a more normal feature of the newsletter - always important to acknowledge blind spots and work towards better understanding, and that can be done better in a community like this!
Westberg's endnote seems to implicitly endorse MMM, or Modern Monetary Theory. I'm sure he knows more about economics than I do, but to my awareness MMM has been roundly criticized for discounting the effect of government spending on diluting the value of currency. The endnote states "It can issue bonds in roughly the same amount as the deficit spend. This lets the Government spend in the areas it wants all while pulling a nearly equivalent sum out of the economy from areas where it wants less spending and more savings." Bonds are of course eventually paid back... in USD, eventually increasing the total sum of US Dollars. The explanation of taxes and how dollars are created makes sense, but seems indicate that spending lacks downsides. I don't want to go down the classic libertarian rabbit hole here, but I am curious if reconciling our "debt" is even sensible in these circumstances. Almost seems like "debt" is the wrong word.