"The People's Money": A crisp, simple, thorough explanation of how government spending is paid for

Modern Monetary Theory is an economic paradigm that treats money as a utility that governments issue and tax in order to mobilize resources needed to provide the services that the public wants; it explains why some kinds of government spending leads to inflation while other kinds do not, and how sovereign states use different levers to control inflation, even when they're spending extraordinary sums, as in WWII. Read the rest

Academic audit of HUD budget finds $351 million in unaccounted-for spending since 1998

After an audit found that the Department of Defense couldn't account for $6.5 trillion in non-black-budget spending, Michigan State University State and Local Government Finance and Policy Chair Mark Skidmore assembled a team to audit the Housing and Urban Development agency, uncovering $351 million more in "undocumented adjustments" to HUDs spending since 1998. Read the rest

Fantasy accounting: how the biggest companies in America turn real losses into paper profits

Lax enforcement from the SEC has allowed the biggest companies in America -- 90 percent of the companies in the S&P 500, led by the faltering energy sector -- to ignore the "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" (GAAP) in presenting their financial information to investors, manufacturing nonexistent profits in quarters where they suffer punishing losses. Read the rest

Hollywood wants "$400m a year" from the California taxpayer

Hollywood, legendary home of creative accounting, wants a new round of subsidies. David Sirota at Pando Daily:

Now that California has a budget surplus, the question for the state’s lawmakers is pretty simple: Should they use all the new money to reverse recession-era cuts to social programs. Or, should they spend up to $400 million a year of the new resources on more taxpayer handouts to the film industry? Yesterday, 59 California state legislators called for the latter, sponsoring a bill to increase tax credits to the film and television industry. Call it yet another Hollywood heist, this one engineered with a double-shot of chutzpah.

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