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Ralph Nader went to the root of the problem: how U.S. policies have contributed to or created the situations that propel people from their home countries. He is also correct in asserting that the role of U.S. policies is not even discussed when immigration is talked about.

Over decades the U.S. has created harm because of our military, trade and banking, drug, anti-union guns, and other policies Where is "the conversation" on what we are doing with these policies and how they relate to immigration?

The speaker, Susan Cohen who was very informative, told Ralph that she thought the reason that root causes and the role U.S. policies play are not talked up is because they are so complex. I don't think that is the reason. It is easier to use one's compassion to help one person than it is to understand a policy, however, understanding just a couple U.S. polices and their impact on people in another country is not beyond the capabilities of a concerned citizen. I think the problem is that this aspect is hidden; it's really not part of the politicians' and pundits' "conversation" on immigration. So, for me the question is why is there so much silence on the effect of U.S. policies on our neighbors?

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“So, for me the question is why is there so much silence on the effect of U.S. policies on our neighbors?”

That is a good question, Judy. How many Americans know about the history of Guatemala, for example?

Guatemala was a country working towards development. They had a democracy with labor regulation (a minimum wage) during the middle of the 20th century, but the United States did not like this specifically as Guatelama’s labor laws hurt the bottom line for United Fruit Company (Chiquita Banana). This led to a US-led coup d'état in 1954 which replaced the democratic government with brutal US-backed governments and nearly forty years of civil war. Naturally, this was a major humanitarian crisis in our area and the region has still not recovered. Details of the coup have been declassified and President Clinton formally apologized for the US’s rôle in the brutalities, not that the apology did much good for Guatemalans or others, but how many people know of this matter and the lingering consequences and impact on immigration?

That’s just to name one example of many. Governments generally don’t like to make a spectacle of their own blunders, especially ones which lead to thousands of deaths, and ones which make US corporations look like killers like what happened in Guatemala. As you can see, however, corporations can benefit from these humanitarian disasters by having access to cheap (sometimes even slave) labor and easy resource access handed to them by corrupt governments. Also, domestically, corporations benefit from low-wage immigrants as they suppress labor salaries and conditions.

The last points are probably a good reason why we don’t hear this narrative about immigration. Instead, the narrative is that if anyone questions immigration, they are automatically racist right-wingers. There is no sense that the questioning of immigration, and all the causes of emigration, are separate from the questioning/vilification of immigrants. Reasoned questioning of immigration and the push factors that cause people to emigrate is actually the pursuit of humanitarian policy. The current situation is almost akin to cheerleading for humanitarian disasters for the benefit of corporate interests.

Of course, it is right-wing business interests, whether they support Republicans, Democrats, or both, who hope to benefit from brutal foreign governments, humanitarian disasters, and labor disintegration domestically. Both pro-Republican and pro-Democratic Party media widely distort the immigration issue. It wasn’t all that long ago that Democrats in Congress such as Barbara Jordan, to name one example who was local to me, advocated for immigration policy that seemed balanced, but good luck finding this in Congress, or the media, today. I’m glad that Mr. Nader is one of the few voices with a large platform to bring more reasoned arguments to this debate.

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All important points. Thanks for making them so well.

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These are two excellent topics. Mr. Nader brought up some very astute points with both guests which are ignored or otherwise overlooked by many other commentators including many progressives. Before I get into that, I wish to correct both Mr. Frank and whomever wrote the show description for this RNRH episode. The show description says that the Hanford situation is a “$677 billion taxpayer clean-up bill.” Mr. Frank essentially said the same thing. This is not correct.

Federal spending in the United States does not come from taxpayer money. Taxes serve other purposes even if that is not generally understood by the public. Now, if the spending came from the State of Washington or local municipalities, then an argument could be made that the spending is funded by taxpayers, but I suspect the great bulk of that $677 billion is federal funding. As such, taxpayers are not funding the clean-up. This by no means devalues the importance of this issue as taxpayers, and all US/global citizens, pay a high price for these environmental hazards, but that is not an excuse to spread falsehoods about how federal spending works. I realize these concepts are not widely known, even by educated people, so I only say this to encourage everyone to understand this subtle, but vitally important point.

Regarding the rest of the discussion with Mr. Frank: As someone who lives quite far from the Pacific NW, I was not aware of the Hanford issue. I’m glad the RNRH and Mr. Frank discussed this issue. The Columbia River area is one of America’s natural treasures and, of course, this issue impacts many people. It was a subtle point in the discussion, but Mr. Nader very correctly points out that being ‘green’ starts with conservation of energy. The three Rs are in weighted order: reduce, reuse, recycle. We must be very careful when corporate greenwashing and poor government regulation, non-regulation often, obfuscates this point.

Regarding the discussion with Ms. Cohen: It’s a shame the bulk of Mr. Nader’s excellent points were in the ‘wrap-up’ part of the program and not in the main show, but I understand there are time constraints. Mr. Nader’s point about ‘brain drain’ is spot-on and a great starting point for further discussion. Not only is the developing world missing a doctor, nurse, engineer, educator, etc. when people leave their home countries (and this has been really felt in the developing world during the pandemic), but these countries are losing some of the brightest, most educated minds they have who may help democracy in those countries and who can assist those countries in progressing rather than moving towards backwardness. Ms. Cohen brings up some good points in her discussion, but quoting the research, which I’ve seen before, about ex-pats sending money home and such only does so much good for those at home when those countries are lacking in fundamentals such as healthcare, sanitation education, and so forth.

Of course, this discussion isn’t only about immigration. Naturally, doctors, scientists, and so forth would be compelled to leave developing countries when their countries are lacking resources to allow them to do their jobs thanks to austerity imposed by foreign debt by the likes of the IMF and World Bank. These countries often get the bad end of trade with the US/west with the US getting their natural resources at below-value rates, but then these countries have to buy medical technology, green technology, etc. made with those same resources at inflated prices all while maintaining imposed austerity. Of course skilled, educated people in these countries cannot operate like they can in the US and elsewhere.

There is a potential solution to this issue though. Professor Fadhel Kaboub of Denison University has a very intriguing model of technology transfer which benefits both countries such as the US and the developing world. This is absolutely something the RNRH should look into if Mr. Nader wishes to expound on the ‘brain drain’ issue and what can be done about it since it’s not really just an immigration issue.

As Mr. Nader alludes to in his comments, there are beneficial aspects to immigration, but there are downsides as well and we must assess our own rôle in creating humanitarian disasters and backwards international (and domestic) governments that lead people to leave homelands they wouldn’t leave if it wasn’t for failed foreign (and domestic) policy by others. The US contributing towards humanitarian disasters and then taking pride in taking in refugees/asylum seekers is akin to people voting for poverty-causing policies in the US and then the same people beam with pride when they volunteer in soup kitchens when the soup kitchens need not exist in the first place.

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Going to need a citation for this:

"Federal spending in the United States does not come from taxpayer money. Taxes serve other purposes even if that is not generally understood by the public. Now, if the spending came from the State of Washington or local municipalities, then an argument could be made that the spending is funded by taxpayers, but I suspect the great bulk of that $677 billion is federal funding. As such, taxpayers are not funding the clean-up. This by no means devalues the importance of this issue as taxpayers, and all US/global citizens, pay a high price for these environmental hazards, but that is not an excuse to spread falsehoods about how federal spending works. I realize these concepts are not widely known, even by educated people, so I only say this to encourage everyone to understand this subtle, but vitally important point."

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Steve, when the government wishes to spend it issues money by a keyboard stroke from a clerk at the Fed. There is no requirement to raise the money first by taxation or borrowing. Therefore the federal bill for the clean-up is not taxpayer money but newly issued money which the government does not have to raise from anyone.

The issue here is the resources spent on the clean up. There has been a huge cost of man and materials on this. If it had not been required then these resources would have been available to produce goods and services for social well-being.

The key point to pick up is that the government is not constrained by the amount of tax generated. Not ever.

You are asking Klassik for a citation but this has all been explained by the names myself and others have referred you to recently, ie Wray, Kelton, Mosler, Mitchell etc. I strongly suggest that you and your viewers would benefit from having any of these on your show.

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“The issue here is the resources spent on the clean up. There has been a huge cost of man and materials on this. If it had not been required then these resources would have been available to produce goods and services for social well-being.

The key point to pick up is that the government is not constrained by the amount of tax generated. Not ever.”

Excellent point, Tulse. How many of our bright scientific minds are being used to produce weapons to support poor foreign and domestic policy, which is certainly the case when nuclear weapons are developed, instead of those bright minds being used to produce solutions helpful to society? How many of our bright scientific minds are being used in rather futile, but still necessary tasks of cleaning up/containing toxic waste from previous examples of failed foreign and domestic policy as described by Mr. Frank? These are some of the costs of failed policy in highly simplified form.

Sadly, many progressives, much less the general population, are completely unaware of how federal spending works. Your description is a very good summary in brief form. Even when people are somewhat aware, there is seemingly some compulsion to draw the ire of the public by complaining about how ‘taxpayer money is spent’ or some similar claim. Not only is this factually daft, but it leads people to believe that federal funding is constrained by what is collected via taxes and this naturally puts a limit on what people think is feasible in terms of progressive policy. This only serves to benefit pro-corporate policy like we’ve seen the last 40+ years. With that, it’s naturally important for those who view themselves as being progressives to speak factually, but it’s also important to not give people the false sense that there is a tight limit about what can be done about issues from a budgetary perspective.

Thanks in part to Stephanie Kelton’s popular book and some other developments, there is growing awareness that the popular monetarist narratives about macroeconomics are simply false in the post-Nixon Shock world. Still, sadly, there is still much more public ignorance about this issue than there is any form of enlightenment. As Tulse says, hopefully the resources I posted yesterday, and the others recommended earlier in the context of previous shows, will help Steve and others get some sense for how things work and what is feasible.

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I don't think it does need a citation. If the view is deemed to be 'wrong' the onus is on the person offering the rejection to show how/where. As it is everyone is merely taking some other commonplace view 'on trust'.

The facts are a matter of simple logic; some are mere accounting identities. The only authority with legal jurisdiction over the 'money of account' (the unit to be used - Dollars in this case - and in which taxes are designated, levied and collected) and subsequent currency, is the Federal Government. The money you pay tax with is always spent first and collected later. This is a matter of common sense because if there is only one authority, then you must first get money before you can pay taxes with it. That is the point of the tax 'levy' in the first place: to make you need to get the currency. It's a mechanism for causing economic activity to occur. Only the tax 'liability' exists first, tax payments come later and they are the extinguishing of the prior 'credit', i.e. the money issued as spending or taken as a loan (which is the same thing in principle). Taxation isn't funding it is money destruction so that 'fiscal space' is always created to enable new spending.

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"I don't think it does need a citation. If the view is deemed to be 'wrong' the onus is on the person offering the rejection to show how/where."

The commenter (who I'm assuming is a different person) just did the same thing. Said we were "spreading falsehoods." I didn't say the commenter was wrong. I asked for an explanation. The explanation you have given is anything but simple logic. It seems very convoluted and far from "common sense."

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Ferdy’s explanation explains things quite well. His explanation is actually more succinct than what I would have written. With that, I will not repeat it, but I will offer three other resources to inspect if you wish to research this topic further. If more resources are desired, I can provide more information.

The first is a short, ~30 minute YouTube video from professor R. Randall Wray. If the name sounds familiar, Professor Wray was mentioned by Michael Hudson during his first interview on the RNRH a few weeks ago as a colleague of his at both the University of Missouri – Kansas City and the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. This topic is an area of expertise for Randy Wray. Here is a link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HaSqZhfp5U

Secondly, I recommend reading Stephanie Kelton’s book ‘The Deficit Myth’. This book was on the New York Times bestseller list a couple of years ago. Kelton was also Bernie Sanders’ economic advisor a few years ago.

The third resource I will link is a lecture by Professor Kelton. This one is longer than the video from Randy Wray above, but it supplements it well if you have the time for it. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IBEoWSiTHc

I welcome any further comments/questions on this topic. This is a topic which absolutely should be discussed on the RNRH. Kelton and Wray would make excellent guests. There are other excellent speakers who could discuss this topic. If necessary, I could even suggest questions for guests to guide the discussion since I know this is not the easiest subject to jump into, but it’s vitally important to understand for the sake of providing sufficient federal spending on social programs such as healthcare, full employment, employment away from fossil fuels/militarization, and so forth.

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Surely it's a very simple explanation? In any case, simple doesn't necessarily mean correct. That's the problem in the first place: people find the household budget model easy to understand, so they are happy to apply it to government macroeconomics, but it's wrong.

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Ferdy, you’re correct in saying that most people have the false belief that federal spending is like one’s personal budget or the budget of a business. That is to say it is believed that one must have money on hand (taxes in the case of the government) in order to spend money. If there is deficit spending, the belief is that this will ‘bankrupt’ the country and will lead to run-away inflation. Just from simple logic, we know this cannot be true with the federal budget as the US has been under deficit spending for decades now and we have not had runaway inflation during that time. The cost of living increases of the current times are supply side issues (part shortages/shipping issues caused by Covid, energy price increases from war/sanctions, and general corporate greed caused by government deregulation and privatization).

Most people have economic beliefs which stem from Milton Friedman’s monetarist policy ideas which can be very easily dismissed scientifically and using simple logic. Unfortunately, monetarism is still what is taught in schools, and in most macroeconomic textbooks, so it is all people know even if it is clearly wrong. Progressives of all people ought to be very suspicious of monetarism (Reaganism/Thatcherism), but then they must also understand how things actually work. Taxes have an important rôle, but that rôle is not what most people think the rôle is as it relates to the federal budget (state/local budgets are a different story).

Hopefully what I posted above will help Steve understand the issue. I think Wray and Kelton speak in a way that even someone without an economics background can understand the theory at an elementary level at least. I suppose we’ll have to wait to see what Steve makes of the information.

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The Deathocrats and Republikillers are not a two party duopoly. They are each one half of the one big money party.

"Third" parties are not the solution as they also take big money.

Voting for either half of the one big money party or "third" parties in the current election all but guarantees a choice of only big money candidates in the next election.

You could spend the next two years analyzing the results of 2022 and the good cop/bad cop show put on by the one big money party or you could begin working on the solution now which is to organize citizens outside of any party structure to demand small donor only candidates in 2024 and enforce that demand with our votes.

Our votes are how we hold politicians accountable.

Many of the 120 million citizens that will not vote in 2022 will never vote but a good portion just see voting for either half of the one big money party or "third" parties as an exercise in futility.

We need to start by giving those citizens a reason to vote rather than not vote again in 2024 and then we can start to pull voters away from the established parties when they see 20, 30 or 40 million non-voters in 2022 organizing to declare they will cast write-in votes in 2024 against the big money candidates on the primary and general election ballots in 2024 to create and demonstrate demand for small donor candidates.

There is no guarantee this will work, but not trying it does guarantee that the system that does not work will continue to not work and continue to make it possible for the false choices to keep getting worse.

To paraphrase Princess Leia- Help us Obi-Ralph Kenobi, you're our only hope!

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I live in Washington state, and am familiar with Hanford. Very interesting program.

I'm always amazed at how many people, even those expert on the topic, can't seem to pronounce "Nuclear" (saying "nuke yuh lerr"). Always drives me nuts... ;-)

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Cohen is another anti American traitiy who wants to replacee us with third world peasants that will vote for Democrats in exchange for welfare

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Clearly that's not a real idea. The Democrats aren't offering any 'welfare' for immigration exchanges. They are indeed talking about 'reducing the deficit', so I doubt it very much. 'Welfare' is the result of a deficit hawk government - note well tat the number of people claiming assistance always rises in those circumstances. Your diagnosis is wrong and your remarks are frankly rather nefarious.

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you can sell Any idea

on FOX but that

don't Make it

True.

.

'Nefarious.'

I Like that Word.

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Nov 6, 2022·edited Nov 8, 2022

corporate welfare

or the Good kind?

.

'If it weren’t

for the Statue of Liberty

welcoming immigrants, this country

would still be populated by its indigenous white people.'

--ze Onion

.

Scary times

indeed.

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