Fadhel Kaboub

Here’s what happened at the July Free Press Second Saturday Cyber-Salon on July 10.

Watch the recording here.

Cyber salon host and Free Press Board member Mark Stansbery introduced speaker Dr. Fadhel Kaboub, who spoke about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Fadhel is an Associate Professor of economics at Denison and President of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity.

Fadhel wrote the piece “How to Design and Pay for a Green New Deal: Modern Monetary Theory Insights for the Biden Administration” also in poetry form here. Fadhel explained MMT and how it basically changes the way the federal government allocates tax monies for projects. Now each project has to have a coordinating tax base. With MMT, that requirement would go away and any federal funds could be used for any project. That way advances to change the way the government supports and subsidizes environmental, healthcare, childcare, education, jobs growth, housing, energy, transportation and other social policies would be easier to pass through legislation.

Mark Stansbery pointed out that MMT policies have been successfully used in other nations. When asked if MMT works on a local level, Fadhel noted that if municipalities created their own currency that could only be spent locally on utilities, for instance. Fadhel recommended the book The Deficit Myth and the podscast The Untouchables.

The next speaker was local activist and potential Columbus mayoral candidate Joe Motil. He began talking about the American Rescue Plan and how it will give our local economy money for infrastructure. This is what it means for states. Joe explained and he would create a budget with the money allocated from it to Columbus and Franklin County. The City of Columbus will get $187 million and Franklin County will get $225 million.

Joe talked about how the $20 million has already been allocated to youth and summer safety. With the remaining money, he prioritized funds for affordable housing, medical/mental health issues, eviction assistance, economic assistance to neighborhoods, food banks, childcare, cultural arts and a one-time cash payment to people with a certain income level.

He asked the participants to make suggestions for more allocations. Ideas came in about more transportation, a moratorium on evictions, family housing, establishing a public bank, small business loans, and a Central Ohio Local Governments Clean Energy Coalition. Fadhel mentioned this regional program that he suggested mayors get involved in: Reimagine Appalachia.

Joe mentioned the tax abatement problem we have in Columbus and the efforts to improve downtown, Short North and most recently, Franklinton, and how continuing funding these projects takes money from really needy neighborhoods. Others mentioned parking problems, particularly charging at parking meters downtown, recommending free parking after 5pm.

Pat Marida pointed out that “some people are speculating that a monetary economy is ultimately unsustainable.  Because it is based on greed, causes scarcity, and ultimately will result in concentrations of power.  That the only real way to contain this is to move to a gifting economy.  There have been some very interesting webinars and groups supporting this.”

There will be a public hearing about the funds allocation Thursday, July 15.

To put in your suggestions by email:
City of Columbus
Franklin County

Columbus City Council meetings are Monday nights at 5pm at City Hall, 90 W. Broad St.

Next, people gave announcements. Cathy Cowan Becker and Chuck Lynd announced this:
SIMPLY LIVING SUSTAINABLE LIVING & GARDEN TOUR on Saturday, July 24, 10 am – 3 pm. The Tour will include 8 sites in Columbus and Worthington showcasing a wide variety of sustainability features and at least two certified wildlife habitats. You can talk to homeowners and learn about their gardens as well as solar installations, electric car, rain barrels, and more. This year we are also featuring an innovative community garden. $10 donation requested. $25 Ticket includes membership in Simply Living and entry into a raffle that includes Gift baskets from Wild Birds, Spice Co. Gift certificates to Portia's, Movie passes to Studio 35, True Rest Float Spa experience, and more. Tickets at Simply Marketplace

Bryan Curtiss announced a tentatively planned WCRS community radio fundraiser August 28.

Double Happiness
482 S. Front St., Brewery District
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Bryan also reminded people in Ohio’s 15th Congressional district to vote in the special election on August 3.

Pat Marida reported that Ohio Senate Bill 52 that prevent the advancement of solar power passed the legislature. Also, there are several anti-protest bills. Charlotte Owens noted that “the bills to indemnify the manufacturers of oil and gas brine as products for deicing and dust control are still to be fought.”

Mark Stansbery is organizing a Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration on August 8 at 7pm. It is a concert at University Baptist Church - Lane Ave & High St.

Next Free Press Cyber-Salon is August 14. Tentative theme: Radical Nutrition.

The Free Press thanks Steve Caruso for being our technical guru for these cyber-salons.

Hope to see you at the next one!

Pete Johnson
President, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism
Contact: 614-253-2571