Is the U.S. Economy Powered by Dark Matter?

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Karl Smith is bullish on America:

“The Great Takedown” […] is the not yet realized bombshell that the US in general and the US Federal Government in particular made out like gangbusters in the Great Recession. I am still trying to tie this all together but a full accounting of US Treasury “profits” from the Global Financial Crisis look to number in the trillions.

This is based on a theory that if you value assets correctly, based on their financial return, the apparent multi-trillion dollar increase in the U.S. current account deficit over the past few decades hasn’t actually happened. It’s been offset by exports of “Dark Matter” that aren’t included in official accounts:

The US is a net provider of knowledge, liquidity and insurance. As the world became more global financially, the increasing asset value of these services underlies the spectacular increase in dark matter over the last two decades.

As a result, foreign-owned U.S. assets are worth less than official accounts suggest and U.S.-owned foreign assets are worth more. Karl is excited because Paul Krugman kinda sorta endorsed this theory today, but it’s worth noting that Krugman leaves open the question of whether there’s really been a mis-valuation of assets, or whether this is basically a dangerous leverage play that relies on using cheap U.S. debt to buy risky foreign assets, assuming that those risky assets will pay high returns forever.

Beats me. This is way above my pay grade. But interesting!

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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