A couple of weeks ago, in response to a comment that expressed the common view that taxes pay for public services, I made what I thought was a rather uncontroversial point. The point I made was that taxes and spending are independent and that taxes fulfill a role that has no bearing on the ability of a state with a sovereign currency to spend. Apparently making such a point marks me out as a bad person
The position is core to modern monetary theory, a theory on modern (i.e. fiat) currency systems. I was under the impression that people were reasonably well versed in the principles, but apparently my little corner of the internet is less visible than I thought. Most of the principles of MMT arise from what are essentially accounting identities around the functioning of currency and banking systems.
In any case, given the importance of a good understanding of taxes and spending to our shared dialogue, I wanted to kick off a discussion on MMT, starting with the following article, which explains the relationship between taxation and spending better than I ever could: