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The Bloomberg 50

Stephanie Kelton, Modern Monetary Theory Evangelist

Google searches for “modern monetary theory” more than quadrupled in early 2019 from previous highs, in part because of her advocacy, according to a five-year analysis.

Stephanie Kelton, economist, Stony Brook University.

Stephanie Kelton, economist, Stony Brook University.

Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg

MMT argues that in any country with its own currency, budget deficits don’t matter unless they cause inflation. The government can pay for what it needs by simply printing more money—no reason to borrow by issuing bonds.

Stephanie Kelton has promoted MMT for years in academic papers and at conferences and as an adviser to Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee as well as to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaigns. But it was her war of words with Nobel Prize-winning economist, New York Times columnist, and MMT hater Paul Krugman that helped raise the theory’s profile this year. So did opposition from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Warren Buffett—and approval from New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.