Thom, I was surprised that Bernie Sanders still subscribes to the neoclassical economics that says government must borrow money, and close the deficit, etc. He expressed that worry in today's closing of his segment, and you didn't correct him.
Where do you think we get the money? Government makes it... out of nothing. There are no commodities backing it, so we don't have to wait until they mine the gold, or catch the cowrey shells, or carve the giant Easter Island heads before we can issue dollars. The dollar is not constrained by a fixed exchange rate, or by treaty, as the euro is.
In fact the entire mechanism by which the U.S. government "borrows" money is a vestige of those old, commodity-backed money days. It is entirely unnecessary. The government does not have to wait for gold miners, or Chinese investors, or even tax collections to make money. It can make as much as it wants any time it wants. It could literally mint a few trillion-dollar coins and retire the entire debt tomorrow.
The government "debt" is even a bizarre use of that word. Families know what "debt" means, but how many families can (legally) mint the money to pay it? Government can. The entire "sky-is-falling-and-we-have-a-deficit" meme is designed to keep inflation completely off the table, and ensure creditors can collect every last nickel they're owed by debtors, no matter how fraudulent the loan.
And what I'm saying is not theoretical, it's already happened. Thanks to the recent audit of the U.S. Central Bank ("The Fed"), we know The Fed issued $16 - $29 trillion to cure the financial system's collapse in the wake of Lehman's bankruptcy. For a sense of proportion: That's more than one year's U.S. GDP. For only $9 trillion, they could have paid off everyone's mortgage.
So the big question is not "Aren't we running out of money?"... That's absurd. It's as ridiculous as asking the scorekeeper in a sporting event if he expects to run out of points.
No, the big question is "Why do the banksters, who crashed the economy, get trillions at the drop of a hat, while safety net programs and revenue sharing with the states get the shaft?" BTW, Paul Krugman will tell you that when you subtract state and local contraction from the Obama "stimulus" ($800 billion, chump change really), there was no net government stimulus.
We don't need to wait for the tooth fairy to bring us more money, we simply have to change our minds about issuing it, or change The Fed's directorate. I'm surprised you haven't come to this conclusion yourself since I saw you interview this century's Keynes, Steve Keen, a Modern Monetary Theorist (MMT economist) who would tell you exactly what I've said above.
Imagine Money as a tool for public service, not an instrument of the banksters... at least in a real democracy / republic that is.
Incidentally, before you get swamped with people horrified that we might spark some awful inflation by issuing currency without borrowing or taxing, remind them that it's been five years since The Fed issued that $16 - $29 trillion. Where's the inflation? Their claim is like the theory that the magical "job creators" will be daunted by regulations and taxes. Corporate profits are at 60-year highs, and corporate tax collections are at 60-year lows. Where are the jobs?
Just FYI, the feared hyperinflation traditionally occurred when there was no slack in post World-War-I Germany's, or post-colonial Zimbabwe's economy. Their productive capacity was at its limit, and Germany had reparations to the allies.
Please get the word out about this. The emporer, and The Fed, have "no clothes."