The Trillion Dollar Coin: What You Really Need to Know
Recently a novel idea began circulating in the Washington Beltway that the government could print a $1 Trillion coin and use that to fund its operations in the absence of an agreement on the raising of the debt ceiling. This idea certainly sounds like it came from fantasyland, but if one follows it carefully through to its logical conclusion, it will shine a light on our current monetary system and how it is fundamentally unsustainable. The floating of the $trillion coin has inadvertently opened up a window not just to reform, but to transform our monetary system. The resulting transformational consequences would be welcomed by all political perspectives.
The idea here is that the Treasury Dept has the legal right to issue such a coin, deposit the coin in an account at the Federal Reserve, and then draw upon the account to fund projects approved by Congress. This idea hits at the heart of the power structure across the planet, which has at its core, the ability to create money out of thin air. Currently our entire money supply is created out of thin air by private banks which in turn charge interest on that money. There are many people who, because of its official sounding name, think the Federal Reserve is a branch or part of the U.S. government. However, they are very mistaken. The Federal Reserve is no more federal than Federal Express. The Federal Reserve is simply a [powerful] cartel of private banks with an official sounding name that has usurped the right to print our money, a power bestowed upon Congress in the Constitution by the founding fathers.
“Article I Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to coin money”
So what replaced the system that the founding fathers originally intended? In 1913, the passage of the Federal Reserve Act granting the Federal Reserve the legal authority to issue Federal Reserve Notes. When President Wilson signed the bill, he declared it the “first of a series of constructive acts to aid business”. In fact the only business it aided was that of the private banks. The system was designed from its inception to ensure that every dollar that came into existence had to be borrowed from this private cartel of banks called the Federal Reserve.
So what most people also do not know is that every single dollar in circulation has to be borrowed by somebody. In other words, the entire money supply is DEBT BASED and someone is paying interest on that debt to the private bankers. In fact the total cost for 2012 for just servicing the interest on the U.S. government debt was an astounding $359 billion and $454 billion the year before. The interest on our debt for those two years exceeds the entire stimulus bill of 2009. Think of what we could do with that much money every year: transportation, healthcare, modernizing the electric grid, education, research, are just a few examples that quickly come to mind.
It becomes very easy to see that the ability to collect interest on the national debt involves huge sums of money being paid out to those with the power to create our money and that these people will do almost anything to make sure that things remain exactly as they are. That is why they encourage their corporate controlled media to ridicule the $trillion coin idea as something out of a fantasy tale, or having the talking heads echoing that investors will be spooked, and broadcasting that the world will think that the U.S. has totally lost its marbles.
So how exactly does this idea of printing a $1 trillion coin threaten their power? If the U.S. government does issue such a coin, it will simply be issuing its own currency as the founding fathers originally wrote into the Constitution, bypassing the need to borrow the money from the private bankers. This is what threatens their extremely privileged position. NO INTEREST WILL BE PAID TO THEM ON THIS MONEY!
The question NOT being asked by the corporate media shills is that if the U.S. government can issue its own interest free money in the form of a $trillion coin, then why is it borrowing the money at interest instead?
One can therefore think of the idea of issuing a $trillion dollar coin as being equivalent to the idea of the government printing its own money. The philosophy and result are essentially the same.
Think about this: if you had the LEGAL right to print your own money would you:
1. print your own money to pay your bills?
2. borrow money at interest from the private banks to pay your bills?
Of course any sane person would print their own money. Yet here we have the unimaginable stupidity of a government with the ability to print its own interest and debt free money. Instead chooses to borrow that money at interest. Astoundingly, the corporate controlled media is not asking why this practice continues.
It actually gets even worse. It costs the government 4 cents to print a bill of any denomination, for the paper, labor, ink equipment maintenance etc. It does not matter whether the bill is $1, $5, $20, or $100, the cost is the same. So if you were the one printing this legal money, the last 4 bills mentioned would have cost you 16 cents to print. Now can you imagine the totally absurd notion of you taking these 4 bills to your banker, selling it to them for the cost of printing (16 cents), and then borrowing it back at face value ($126) with interest charges? This is the height of lunacy, and yet this is exactly what our government does. The Treasury Dept prints the bills, delivers them to the Federal Reserve branch offices, charges them for the cost of printing, and then borrows this money back at face value with interest. Ask yourself why the corporate controlled media is not covering this story.
Henry Ford once wrote: “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
The fatal flaw in our monetary system is that every dollar has to be borrowed into existence, then this money is extinguished once the loan is paid back. So there is a balance here? Wrong! If you borrow $1000, you add $1000 to the money supply. When you pay the loan back, you extinguish the $1000. The problem is where does the money to pay the interest come from? There is not enough money in circulation to repay both the principal and the interest. This lies at the very heart of our deficit problem. Someone has to borrow money into circulation to cover the costs of your interest payments. The amount of debt in our system must continue to grow in order to service the interest payments on the original debt. So the more the debt grows, the more interest payments needed, the more that must be borrowed to pay that interest, the more debt grows. The fact the U.S. is trillions in deficit is by design. In reality it is impossible to repay this debt. When you hear those clueless people talking about paying off the debt, it cannot be done. If we paid off the entire debt, we would have no money in circulation.
Pretty clever system these money masters have created for themselves, keeping the nation and its people in perpetual debt slavery and getting paid interest for something they created out of thin air, something they never owned, something the Constitution never gave them the right to do. The result of the unsustainability of our current system is that ultimately the amount of debt overhang will become so huge that the system will collapse in on itself. There are many including myself who believe that we are approaching that end point.
There are those who say that if the government printed this $trillion coin (government printed its own debt free money) that inflation would skyrocket. I have already read hyperbolic articles about the U.S. becoming the next Zimbabwe or Weimar Republic. The reality is that this money would be deposited in an account at the Federal Reserve and could only be spent for expenditures that had been approved by Congress. Since no money would reach circulation without congressionally approved expenditures, it would not add to inflation anymore than the current system of borrowing the money to finance our expenditures. Actually the use of an interest free $1 trillion coin would help lower inflation by eliminating the costs of paying interest to the private bankers while money could enter into circulation the same way as it does currently.
The talking heads on the corporate media blabber about how the $trillion dollar coin (government printing its own debt free money) would scare investors. How would investors be scared when they see that U.S. government would no longer have to pay interest on any new money it created? The money supply could now grow to facilitate economy activity and it would be interest free. The chart to the right from the Treasury Direct website shows the huge costs of serving the interest payments to the private bankers and yet this could all be avoided if the government simply printed its own debt free money. Over 8 trillion dollars!
The “experts” in the corporate media ridicule the idea of the coin (government printing its own debt free money) and say that nothing like this has ever been done before. That would not be accurate either.
In fact during our colonial days, our government did fund its operations by issuing colonial scrip. Our colonies were flourishing at this time and because the government was printing its own money, there was no need for income taxes. (By the way, it is not a coincidence that the Federal Income tax was instituted just before the Federal Reserve Act because the bankers know that the government would need the revenue to pay for the interest on its money supply and debt.) The colonial governments would issue this colonial scrip to pay their debts. There were some colonies that printed too many and suffered inflation, but most were judicious in their creation. Once the British bankers became aware of this colonial prosperity and how their debt based money system was being bypassed, they petitioned King George to forbid the colonies to issue their own currency. Since the bankers controlled the monarchy then, much as they control our government today, their wishes were granted. This quickly resulted in not enough circulating money to facilitate economic activity and the colonies quickly entered into a deep depression. It was this economic depression that was the driving force for the American Revolution.
Another time that the U.S. government printed its own money was during the civil war. The bankers tried to extort interest rates from Lincoln of 24% to 36% to finance the war.
“I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.”
Instead of acquiescing to the bankers, Lincoln courageously started printing Greenbacks to finance the war saving the nation huge future interest payments. In fact the Greenbacks were so popular with the people that a political party formed called the Greenback Party. In the end, we all know what happened to Lincoln.
Another time the U.S. government printed its own money was in 1963 under Kennedy’s Executive Order No. 11110 that returned to the U.S. government the power to issue currency, without going through the Federal Reserve. This order instructed the Treasury to print bills against any silver inventory held by the government. There were billions of these certificates printed and they were known as United States Notes and they were all interest free. Some of you may remember some of these bills as they had a red seal, rather than the more common green seal of the Federal Reserve Notes. These United States Notes represented a mortal threat to the Federal Reserve System, and we all know what happened to Kennedy 5 months later.
After the Kennedy assassination, no more interest free United States Notes were issued. The Executive Order was never repealed by any U.S. President, This Executive Order is still valid, yet no president Republican or Democrat has ever utilized it!
Think about this, much of the $16 trillion in debt that was created since the Kennedy assassination has been because of the interest payments on the debt. If any subsequent president had found the courage to use Executive Order 1110, our current level of debt would be magnitudes smaller. We would not be in the same mess we are in now. So when you hear people talking about needing budget cuts in order to solve our problems and leaving a legacy of debt to our children, you are listening to people who do not understand our monetary system, or worse, they are supporters of the current system of debt that can never be paid off with the resulting perpetual interest payments to the private bankers. The better solution would be to have the government issuing its own money, debt free. Now that would be a great “gift” to our children and grandchildren!
One very valid point made by critics of having the government being able to issue its own money is that there will be nothing to restrain the government from simply overspending. In reality, banker issued debt money has also done little to limit government spending. The mechanism we have currently for that now is the congressionally approved debt ceiling, however flawed that is. Any move towards government issued money could be met by congressionally mandated structures to prevent runaway spending. At the least, if we did not have to deal with the interest payments, our spending would be significantly less than it is currently and that would help cut the deficit significantly.
When you hear all the propaganda on the corporate media ridiculing the $trillion coin idea (government printing its own debt free money) and saying how it will harm the economy and the markets, ask yourself, who is benefiting from the current arrangement and who is this person trying to persuade you? They will tell you that this is inflationary. The truth of the matter is that the current system is inflationary. The chart shows how the value of the dollar has eroded since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913.
If the government wishes to build a bridge it has to pay those who supply the materials and those who supply the labor. This is expected and normal. However, the irony is that the government pays more to the financiers of the project than to those who supply the materials and the labor. Most people will recognize this with their home mortgages where the final cost of paying off a mortgage far exceeds the original sale price of the home because of interest charges. The unproductive bankers make far more money than the producers, the builders, and suppliers. What is wrong with this picture?
Money being spent on infrastructure projects creates wealth and since this wealth is balanced by the money being placed into circulation, there would be no inflationary effect. In fact by eliminating the financing costs of these infrastructure projects, you actually lower the price of every public project, reducing inflation.
The practical effects of the government printing its own money are not limited to the federal level. While states cannot explicitly print their currency, they can leverage the money they do have by utilizing the existing [deeply flawed] Fractional Reserve Lending system. States can create their own banks and use them to fund their projects at either no or very low interest rates. As discussed earlier, by eliminating the costs of obtaining money through the financiers, the cost of public projects is cut by almost half. Ellen Brown, in her book “Web of Debt” outlines how the bankers have a stranglehold on our economy and how one state has created its own bank, the Bank of North Dakota. If you have not read this book, then you probably do not understand our debt based monetary system. (Disclosure: I have no economic interest or benefit in promoting this book.)
This bank is popular with both Democratic and Republican legislators in the state of North Dakota. This idea is starting to catch fire and 20 states are now considering some form of state banking legislation. By having a state owned bank that uses the fractional reserve lending system to create its own money out of thin air interest free, the state of North Dakota has a resource that is counter-cyclical, meaning it is capable of reducing the negative impact of recessions. They can make money available for local governments and businesses precisely when private banks decrease lending. This bank has existed for 90 years and remained stable during the financial crisis. The Bank of North Dakota is one key reason why the state has weathered the crisis better than most, has the lowest unemployment in the country, and has a current budget surplus.
Our current debt based money system is at the very heart of the poverty, debt, and economic problems facing our country and our world. The bankers have enriched themselves because we allowed them to both print our money and collect interest on it. The bankers have impoverished the people because they can print our money and collect interest on it. The bankers have usurped our government because they have accumulated such wealth at the expense of the rest us and essentially made the politicians their paid servants. They then use those politicians to rig the system against the working people. The result is a Congress with extremely low approval ratings. These facts are recognized by people across all political perspectives, from Democrat to Republican, from the Tea Party to Occupy. This not a Liberal cause, this is not a Conservative case, this is a Common Cause. We need to take back our government from the money masters and make it serve the people instead of the bankers.
How can patriots allow such a system to exist? If we can print our own money by passing the banker middlemen, we will solve so many other problems that are symptoms of our debt based money system. Unemployment will drop, deficits will drop, poverty will drop, inflation will drop, and bank induced problems such as recessions and depressions will be alleviated. We all have our pet issues and they all have validity, but if we can unite together on this one issue, many of the other issues will be solved by themselves with a government that is responsive to the people, not the bankers and corporations, and a monetary system free of burden of debt so the needs of people and business can be met efficiently.
We need to start laying the foundations of a movement to change our monetary system BEFORE the inevitable next crisis. People need to become aware that there was once a better system in the past and that it is possible to have that again. This can be accomplished through education, independent media, social networks, and word of mouth. It is time to end the illusion that our current debt based money system works for the benefit of everyone. The discussion on the $trillion dollar coin provides us with a starting point to make that change possible.
“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation [bubbles], then by deflation [recession or depression], the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property, until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
It is time for patriots to take a break from mass entertainment, corporate media propaganda, and to become more familiar with the concept of a “wealth based” money system. These are some good places to start:
Sign the petition on the White House website to have the government print its own debt free money
Review: The White House petition website states that if any petition reaches a threshold of 25,000, it must respond to it. President Obama is surrounded by “expert advisors” who are linked to the current system of unrepayable debt with perpetual interest payments to the bankers, and they certainly will not be pushing this issue. However if enough people sign the petition, he may become aware of it.
The free YouTube video: “Secret of OZ”, by Bill Still
Review: Having private banks create money is the root economic cause of world poverty, ignorance, hunger, and much preventable disease. We can fix this. We can fix it in a matter of months — a year at most – if we have the will. We can make our government the most financially sound in the world — nearly overnight. All we have to do is to take back the power to create and control the quantity of money from private banks (including the privately-owned Federal Reserve banks) and put that power back into the hands of the Congress of the United States where it was under Presidents Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln.
The book: “The Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown
Review: Ellen Hodgson Brown may have done the impossible. She wrote a book about the most stupefying subject in the world – money, where it comes from and how it is manipulated – and made it readable, compelling, even suspenseful. Web of Debt is a page-turner that explains the origin of the Federal Reserve, the functioning of our money supply, currency speculation, capital flows, and the rest. As you read, interest grows like a Wall Street bonus package.
The book: “Modern Money Secrets” by Byron Dale
Review: For the first time ever, I see a potential solution to our debt black hole. Most financial “experts” don’t get it. The Ivy League ones get lost in flawed neoclassical economics so they can’t see the obvious, and the ones wearing suits on TV are just propagandists. Byron makes it real clear: no money gets into circulation without going into debt to a bank. There is no other source. The United States issues no sovereign money! Therefore Americans are not free people. It is time for us to admit the truth and either do something about it, or stop blowing up stuff on the 4th of July believing a myth.
The organization: The Public Banking Institute
Since its founding little more than a year ago, the Public Banking Institute has become a significant force that is helping to turn banking and finance away from fraud and predation back toward their intended objectives of promoting general prosperity and the common good. According to the PBI website, PBI’s vision is to establish a distributed network of state and local publicly-owned banks that create affordable credit, while providing a sustainable alternative to the current high-risk centralized private banking system. (beyondmoney.net)
The organization: American Monetary Institute
The power to create money is an awesome power – at times stronger than the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers combined. It’s like having a “magic check book,” where checks can’t bounce. When controlled privately it can be used to gain riches, but much more importantly it determines the direction of our society by deciding where the money goes – what gets funded and what does not. Will it be used to build and repair vital infrastructure such as the New Orleans levees and Minneapolis bridges to protect major cities? Or will it go into warfare and real estate loans creating the real estate bubble – leading to a crash and depression.