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Time To Eliminate Your Wall Street Tax?

Wall Street is thrivingAs we get older, and hopefully wiser, we generally start to become more discerning on how we view the world and the problems we face. Many of us who seek to make the world a better place try to look at the problems, analyze them, and do what we can to correct them. However, because there are so many different problems facing us, this approach often overwhelms us and can instill a sense of hopelessness in our ability to create positive change.

Looking more deeply into this situation, we discover that many of these difficulties are SYMPTOMS of much deeper problems, and that attempts to address these SYMPTOMS are not an effective or efficient way to bring about the changes we desire. One can compare this to having abdominal pains and visiting a doctor who offers you pain killers without investigating the underlying cause of the pains being experienced. If the pain is the result of a cancer or an ulcer, then the pain is only a SYMPTOM, not a ROOT CAUSE. Treating the SYMPTOM in this case is not an effective or efficient way to address the problem. It may bring about temporary relief, but ignores the ROOT CAUSE.

A similar situation exists when we look at the wide range of issues we face as a society. Some of the issues include homelessness, lack of medical care, unemployment, high debt loads, widening wealth gap, declining schools, infrastructure neglect, fraying safety net, increasing government fees and tolls, etc. Trying to address each one of these issues individually becomes an overwhelming task. These issues are not ROOT CAUSES, but SYMPTOMS.

If we take time to ponder and analyze each of these issues looking for a common thread, one can determine that they are all the result of money, more specifically the lack of money. This process starts getting us closer to the ROOT CAUSES.

So how is it that as a society we can work so hard and still experience this lack of money?

Consider this…. If you have a given amount of money in your possession or control, all of that money is available to you to spend. Once you give some of that money to someone else, it is no longer available to you and is now available to others. While this concept may seem to be quite elementary, this is the basis of where much of the problem lies. If one applies the same principle to a larger group such as a family, a community, a county, state and even nation, the result is still the same. Once money leaves the group, it is no longer available to that group. Understanding this brings us another step closer to the ROOT CAUSES.

Most homeowners can relate to this. Let’s suppose that you have taken out a mortgage for $100,000. By the time you have completed paying off your mortgage, it will probably have cost you well over $200,000. The cost of the interest payments exceeds the original cost of the home. These interest payments are money that you and your family no longer have to spend on your needs.

The same principle applies when a school district, municipality, county or other entity wishes to do a repair, a capital improvement or infrastructure project. The costs of these projects can easily double or even triple due to the interest charges. It almost seems insane, but we pay more to the financiers of these projects than to those who provided the materials and labor for the project. This does not even include the fees imposed by the bank on the borrowers. Now we are approaching the ROOT CAUSES.

In California, the long awaited new Bay Bridge span was recently completed at a cost of $6.4 billion, which was 4 times over the initial projected costs. What most Californians don’t realize is that the total cost of the bridge will eclipse $13 billion when interest payments are considered over the life of the loans or bonds. So when we talk of projects costs doubling or tripling, it is not hyperbole.

So exactly where does all this interest and fee money go when it leaves the community?

It flows to the big Wall Street banks, enriching them, while impoverishing the community. This is the “Wall Street Tax” that effectively doubles or triples the cost of every project across every community in the nation. It is YOU, the taxpayer who pays this tax. Once the money leaves the community, it can no longer circulate locally and is no longer available to the community, exactly as described in an earlier paragraph. This is a ROOT CAUSE of why so many communities are struggling. To add insult to injury, these big Wall Street financiers are not even using their own money, they use other people’s money so they can skim the interest payments to line their own pockets. We have all seen how Wall Street has prospered since the 2008 crisis, while Main Street has been left to languish.

So why do school districts, municipalities, counties and states (we’ll just refer to them as “communities” from this point on) use these big Wall Street financiers to fund their projects? It is because the costs of these projects usually exceed the ability of small local community banks to finance them. Additionally, because of capital requirements, the deposits of these communities can not be handled by the smaller local banks leaving only the big banks capable of handling such large deposits and transactions.

This means that even the deposits of these communities which can include tax revenues, payrolls, and pension funds, are deposited with the large banks and therefore also shipped out the community,. These funds are then “invested” by Wall Street anywhere in the world where they can obtain the highest return. These funds are not being used to invest in local needs. This is another ROOT CAUSE for why Main Street has been struggling, while Wall Street has been thriving.

With the current banking system we have witnessed the largest concentration of wealth in human history, while the vast majority of people have experienced stagnant wages, declining wealth, and recurring recessions.

Maybe it is time to engage in some “out of the box” creative thinking? Wouldn’t it be wiser for communities to be able to obtain local funding at reduced interest rates where any interest payments would remain in the community and get recycled? Any good businessman would tell you that it is sound business to eliminate any middleman in a business transaction. Wall Street is nothing more than a middleman between funding and community needs, and if the Wall Street middleman was eliminated, more money would remain in our communities. How could this be done?

There is another way to finance public projects and it is already happening across the world and in the state of North Dakota. North Dakota has its own public bank, the Bank of North Dakota. This bank has been in existence for a century and provides communities and businesses with low cost loans. Some examples of this: A new business in North Dakota can get a 1% loan for 5 years, student loans are available at below market rates with no bank fees, no town or county in ND has or needs a “rainy day” fund, they instead have the Bank of ND where they can obtain low interest loans should an emergency arise.

The Bank of ND does not compete with community banks, but rather partners with them. There is a correlation between this partnering and the fact that North Dakota has the largest number of community banks per capita of all states in the nation. Additionally, the Bank of ND has only one office and no branches, no tellers, and no ATMs that compete with community banks.

This partnering with local community banks means that the Bank of ND does not lend directly to small local businesses, but relies instead on the local community banks to originate those loans. The public state bank can provide funding beyond the deposit base of a small community bank allowing the community bank to finance projects it could not have financed without the partnership. If a local bank had a $5 million limit, and a business wanted $10 million for a new showroom, the bank would have to say no to the loan, forcing the business to go to a Wells Fargo, Citi, JP Morgan Chase or other large Wall Street bank. This results in the loss of business for the community bank. With the public state bank, the community bank could partner on the loan, raising its loan ceiling, retain the money in the community, and provide the services needed.

One very important issue that needs to be raised is that of the safety of the loans being made. It is important to be sure that bank loans are made to people and entities that are truly credit worthy. In North Dakota there is a double check on this process. Any loan that a community bank requests a partnership with would require approval by both the community bank and the state bank officers, since both would be providing the funds. This results in a lower default rate as two sets of eyes are examining and approving the loan.

There are those who may say that a state public bank could be at risk of failure and may need to be bailed out by the taxpayers. This was an issue that created much anger during the 2008 crisis. However, the Bank of ND was properly managed and did not need a bail out and in fact returned a profit of millions that year and every year since then to the state treasury. Politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle in the North Dakota Legislature love and support their state bank! How common is that?

The proper management of the Bank of ND can be attributed to the fact that the officers of the bank receive appropriate salaries (far less than their Wall Street counterparts) and have no bonuses and therefore no incentives to take on excessive risk. The private Wall Street bankers are pressured by their shareholders to return high profits, which often leads to excessive risk taking rather focusing on the economic growth of the state and nation. Some of these investments could possibly be for things the community would not support or would even work against the best interests of their community. The public bank is required by its owners, which would be the people, to invest wisely to promote the economic vitality of the community.

The prosperity created by keeping deposits locally and recycling the fee and interest money locally, would create new jobs, new businesses, fund “wish list” projects, and as a result would raise tax revenue. As more businesses thrive, the tax base and ratables would became larger, which could possibly contribute to tax cuts.

A public bank is not limited to only states. Municipalities and counties could also form their own. There are public banks being considered in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Vermont, California, Seattle, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and other places. These public banks have the ability to transform how communities obtain funding. It will keep deposit and interest money circulating locally and out of the hands of Wall Street, thus enabling our local communities to thrive.

I would encourage readers to do their own research and discover how a public bank can tip the balance towards Main Street, rather than Wall Street, and help their small community banks at the same time. A good place to start is with the Public Banking Institute. Perhaps this is a good time to eliminate the Wall Street Tax that you are paying.

On Thursday April 6, 2017 two world-renowned economic thinkers, Michael Hudson and Ellen Brown, came to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA to discuss how a public banking option can affect governmental effectiveness. This discussion was moderated by Walt McRee, the chair of the Public Banking Institute. This discussion which was open to the public focused on the key differences between government’s unquestioned reliance on private capital markets and how an entirely new, more productive arrangement could be devised. Kudos to Franklin & Marshall College for providing their students and community with such a high caliber seminar. The following video is that discussion.

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You Know A Politician or Talking Head is Clueless When…

July 19, 2014 1 comment

Often you watch TV and some politician or talking head starts spouting on some subject as if they are an expert in that field. It is easy to be taken in unless you are knowledgeable in that subject. This video is on a subject that affects everyone and after watching it, you will be able to spot a clueless politician or talking head.

Prosperity for Main Street, not Wall Street

January 30, 2014 1 comment

The key reason that communities are struggling is the huge burden of interest payments that are flowing to the big banks. Think about this, if you buy a home for say $100,000 dollars, typically you will have paid $250,000 once the loan is paid off. This means the typical loan will incur $150,000 in interest charges.

The same concept applies when a community builds an infrastructure project such as school, road, bridge, sewer or other project. That $1 million dollar school could end up costing taxpayers in the community $2.5 million after interest charges.

So taxpayers are paying more to the financiers of the project than to those who supplied the materials and actually did the labor to build it. Are you OK with them acting as a middleman sucking prosperity from our communities? Any good business model dictates the efficiency of eliminating middlemen.

If we look at cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments and fees are leaving the city and flowing into the coffers of Wall St. This lost money impoverishes your community while Wall St gets bigger and richer than ever. The video below describes a solution to this problem.

Money Is Not Safe In The Big Banks

August 23, 2013 1 comment

People think that money is safe in the big banks because the FDIC will protect the deposits. This assumption is not based on the facts. This video will show official government documents that describe the plans for confiscating deposits when, (not if) a big bank fails. Individual, as well as public funds from municipal, university, county deposits are at serious risk. YOUR taxpayer money will disappear in the next crisis! Public officials in charge of taxpayer funds need to be aware of the dangers here. The loss of taxpayer funds  and the inability to meet payrolls and obligations will certainly prompt a response that will both immediate and forceful.

This video will show how Cyprus was not a one-time event and how the Cyprus confiscation was planned well in advance and how M.F. Global was the blueprint for future confiscations and how a legal precedent was created when these losses were upheld by the legal system.

Ask your public official in charge of finance where they keep YOUR taxpayer money!

Ask them if they have researched the public banking option! Do not accept no for an answer, ask them why. If they say that you do not understand these things, tell them to explain it to you.

After all, this is your money that you worked so hard for, so don’t let the big gamblers from Wall Street use YOUR personal or taxpayer money to cover THEIR losses. These big bankers are money addicts, they have no appreciation of how much work went into making that money. They do not care about you or your money, all they care about is their addiction. Don’t let public officials continue to put your taxpayer money at risk with these gamblers, just because this is how it has been done in the past.

How Many Warnings Do You Need?

How Many Warnings Do You Need?

If you knew someone with a gambling problem, you probably would not give them your money to hold. If you knew that they had placed bets that were 30 to 70 times more than the amount of money they had, you would certainly consider them totally reckless. If you knew that the money they were holding and betting with was with borrowed money, other peoples’ money not their own, you would probably conclude that they are hopelessly addicted to money. Remember these thoughts as you continue to read this article.

Picture these scenarios:
1. You go to buy groceries and when you use your credit or debit card the transaction is denied despite the fact you have money in your account.

2. You are a public official, such as a school business administrator, county treasurer, municipal finance manager, pension fund administrator, or anyone who has responsibility for protecting public money. You try to access the money and the transaction is denied.

Under either scenario, you investigate why you cannot access money you know is in your account and you find out that the bank has failed and has been closed until further notice by the authorities. You also discover that the government will be confiscating part of your savings in order to “stabilize” the bank.

So you think that “cannot happen here”? You think you are safe because the FDIC “protects” your money?  You placed your money into one of the big banks and believe it is safe because it has large vaults and is insured by the government. Perhaps you placed the public monies you are charged with into a large bank because they are properly “collateralized” and therefore you believe these funds are safe. If you truly believe any these previous statements, you really need to read the rest of this article because your money is at serious risk.

So you think your money is safe? Let’s examine why that assumption could cost you all or part of your savings. Would you be surprised to learn that money sitting in everyday peoples’ savings accounts in Cyprus was confiscated in order to “stabilize” the banks? If you are surprised by this news, hopefully this article will provide you with an incentive to do some research. This article is filled with links to more information, and I encourage you to follow them. If you are aware of this bank confiscation, do not make the mistake of believing that it is an isolated event that “cannot happen here”.

In a nutshell, what actually happened in Cyprus was that the banks were overleveraged and the size of the liabilities of the banks exceeded the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the entire country of Cyprus. Given the fact that the “bail outs” of the large banks in 2008 were so politically unpopular, the European “troika” imposed a “bail in”, where customers with savings accounts were to have some of their savings seized (read: stolen) in order to stabilize the banks. The losses to some accounts were as high as 60%. The banks were closed for 12 days, so people had no access to their money and once the banks reopened, they had only limited access to their money in order to protect the banks.

Was this plan by the “troika”, just a one-time event or was this something more? It turns out that this eventuality had actually been planned in advance in 2012 at the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel Switzerland where the US FDIC and the Bank of England created a joint paper outlining a confiscation scheme. Under the FDIC/BOE joint paper, accounts of $250,000 or less could be seized by the failing bank and converted to stock equity as part of a “bail in” scheme. The stock would of course be essentially worthless because the bank has already failed.

There is also a plan to confiscate savings in New Zealand if necessary to save the banks. Canada also has a confiscation plan in the wings should their banks falter. The European Union has just reached an agreement where shareholders and depositors will be tapped to “bail in” any bank in trouble.

So you still think that this “cannot happen here” because the FDIC will protect your money? Consider that our largest banks have derivative contracts with a notional value of more than $700 trillion (think $700,000 BILLION!). The entire world GDP is only $70 trillion, therefore the liabilities of the big banks could not be covered by the entire GDP of the United States. Does this sound similar to what happened in Cyprus? Does this sound similar to the gambler at the beginning of this article? What is very important to keep in mind is that Cyprus is a small country and that much larger outside forces came in to “stabilize” the banks. If one (or more) of the large U.S. banks experiences a derivative failure, there is not enough money on the planet to “stabilize” them.

These derivatives are really nothing more than “bets” placed by the banks, and when (not if) these “bets” start going bad, the banks will be on the hook for their value. You need to know that these derivative “bets” have been given super-priority status in case of a bank bankruptcy. What this means is that the holders of these derivative contracts will have first priority for payment and that you either as an individual or government entity will be placed at the back of line – as a bank creditor should a large bank fail. This means that you will probably get little or nothing back.  Most people do not understand that once you give a bank your money, the money legally is no longer yours. Under the law, you are an unsecured creditor to the bank and are treated as such in any bankruptcy proceeding. As an individual or as a public official, if you have money in one of the big banks, you have essentially given your money to that gambler and now you are a creditor to the gambler.

This sort of loss has already happened with the MF Global collapse. While this was a futures trading company and not a bank, the blueprint for confiscations was tested here and with the Sentinel case the legal system upheld the customer losses. These trading accounts were supposed to be “segregated” accounts that belonged to the account holders, not MF Global. As an analogy, think of a “segregated” account as a safe deposit box at a bank, the contents belong to you, not the bank. Yet in the MF Global collapse, in this analogy it essentially gambled with the assets in the customers’ safe deposit boxes, and the legal system placed the creditors of the bank above the safe deposit box holders.

Still think the FDIC will protect the derivative and account holders?  JP Morgan Chase has $1.1 trillion ($1,100 Billion!) in deposits and Bank of America also has over $1 trillion ($1000 Billion!). Again, remember that gambler, JP Morgan Chase has about $70 TRILLION in bets out there, but is holding only about $1 Trillion in deposits and another Trillion in assets. It has made bets with a value approximately 35 times all the money it has access to. Again, this is YOUR money they are betting with, not their money.  Bank of America also has about 30 times its assets in derivative bets. Citigroup and Wells Fargo each have over $900 billion each in deposits and also have many times their assets in derivative bets. Once these bets start going bad, there is no way the banks can cover them. The FDIC has only $33 billion available to insure deposits. That means that once any one of these banks fails, the FDIC has less than 3% of the money needed to cover the depositors. If any one of these big banks fails, these banks are so interconnected that it is also likely to bring down the other large banks. In fact both Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase have moved their riskiest derivatives from their uninsured trading houses to the FDIC insured subsidiaries, which are their retail banks, putting the funds in those accounts at a significantly increased risk.  Once even one of these biggest banks experiences a derivative meltdown, there is not enough money in the FDIC or probably even the U.S. Treasury to cover the losses. Still think Cyprus cannot happen to you?

If you are a public official who has responsibility for protecting public money, you probably have that money deposited into an account with one of the largest banks. Do you still believe that money is safe? Are you doing your fiduciary duty to protect that money in the public interest? So as a government official in charge of finances, what are your options?

One option is to start a public bank such as the Bank of North Dakota. First public banks do not gamble with derivatives and the Bank of North Dakota thrived during the crisis of 2008. Not only will you get the safety of the money for which you have responsibility for, but other advantages to this approach include: the ability to provide interest free or low interest loans for public infrastructure projects, the ability to create jobs, generate revenue, and build up the local community. This article clearly explains some of the huge advantages of financing your projects using a public bank.

Consider this – if you buy a home for $100,000, by the time you have paid the mortgage in full, the total cost will have been close to $300,000. Consider the absurdity of paying those who build the home and provide the raw materials $100,000, and paying the financiers $200,000 for money that was not even theirs. This makes little sense. The same principle applies if a state, county, or municipality wants to build a road, school, bridge, or other infrastructure. They need to go to Wall Street for financing at high interest rates. However they could form their own bank and finance the project at zero or near zero interest.  The projects would cost less than half and the finance costs would not be siphoned out of the community, impoverishing it, and ending up on Wall Street or in Cayman Island tax shelters. The finance costs would stay in the community.

Think of the things that could be accomplished if you could eliminate debt service as a line item in your budget! The money deposited in the public bank would be safe and would serve the local community. You could use the public bank to refinance existing debt at zero or near zero percent interest. You could lower tax rates! This idea has such appeal that currently there are initiatives in 20 states to start public banks.
Money controls governmentIf you are a public official with a fiduciary responsibility to protect public funds and one of these large banks fails and you lose the public money, think of the consequences that will arise once the public becomes aware that you did not heed the warnings that Cyprus provided. Think of the consequences that will arise when the public becomes aware that you did not consider alternatives to the big vulnerable banks. It is time to bring home the money from Wall Street where it is at risk. If there is a derivative crash, try meeting your payroll with stock equity (in a failed bank).  The impact of not meeting a payroll will be both immediate and forceful. It is vital to get that money out of Wall Street BEFORE the next meltdown.

To those public officials who are truly interested in serving their communities, this is your moment. This is your time to step up to the plate. Be bold, be innovative, and empower your communities. You owe this to your fellow citizens, your children and your future. Visit this website to learn more about the possibilities that public banking offers, to learn how to get started, and where to find help in implementation. You are not alone of you wish to make this happen.

If you are an individual saver who wants to protect your money, you need to move your money out of the big banks because that is where it is most vulnerable. Move your money into local community banks or Credit Unions. This will help your local banks as well as your community by keeping the money local. It is also important to MOVE YOUR DEBT to these local banks as well. The way bank accounting works, a deposit is actually considered a liability to the bank, while a loan is an asset on its accounting ledger. (I know this sounds convoluted, but this is the way it is). By moving your debt to the local banks, you create assets for them as well as helping your local community. While there are no guarantees that a smaller bank could survive the crash of one or more of the bigger banks, very few of the small banks have gambled with the super-priority derivatives. This is huge advantage that at provides insulation from the large banks.

So, consider yourself warned, money is not safe in the big banks. The MF Global losses, the Cyprus confiscations, the Sentinel case, the FDIC/BOE Joint Paper, the plans in the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain to raid private accounts, and finally the information in this article should be raising all sorts of red flags. HOW MANY WARNINGS DO YOU NEED? Personal accounts, as well as any school, municipal, county, and state funds that are deposited in any of the big banks are not safe. The plans for confiscation have already been developed, they have been approved, they are awaiting the next crisis.

Ask your public official in charge of finance where they keep YOUR taxpayer money!

Ask them if they have researched the public banking option! Do not accept no for an answer, ask them why. If they say that you do not understand these things, tell them to explain it to you.

After all, this is your money that you worked so hard for, so don’t let the big gamblers from Wall Street use YOUR personal or taxpayer money to cover THEIR losses. These big bankers are money addicts, they have no appreciation of how much work went into making that money. They do not care about you or your money, all they care about is their addiction. Don’t let public officials continue to put your taxpayer money at risk with these gamblers, just because this is how it has been done in the past.

Socialism and Capitalism

February 23, 2013 3 comments

I recently came across this anecdote on the Internet. I was unable to determine who the author was so I cannot provide proper attribution. However the story does illustrate some interesting points:

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. (Please pass this on) These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Response:

While the model of substituting grades for dollars is flawed, the article above did illustrate what happens when people do not have appropriate incentives. In order to bring this model closer to reality, let us:

  1.  substitute tuition payments for taxes
  2. allow for the personal accumulation of grades (money).

So here is the capitalist system that is currently in place:

Those with accumulated grades (money) hire others to do the hard work of studying for them.
capitalist pyramidThose with accumulated grades (money) now accumulate even more money because the fact that others are doing the work for them, and that they are not being paid as much as those who are not doing the work.

Those with accumulated grades (money) use their growing wealth to influence the government for policies that assure that their tuition rates (taxes) remain at an Effective Rate that is lower than those who do the work. They also get special rates if they use their accumulated wealth to generate even more wealth for themselves (Capital Gains rate).

These lower taxes helps those with accumulated grades (money) to maximize the accumulation of their wealth despite the fact that they no longer are doing the real work to create this wealth.

Those with accumulated grades (money) have now accumulated such massive amounts of  wealth that they need the services of a financial class to manage their wealth. The financial class merely moves around the accumulated wealth of others and despite the fact that the financial class also does no productive work, they earn the largest compensation of anyone.

The financial class uses its enormous accumulated wealth to influence the government to bail them out when they make poor decisions that result in massive losses to the general economy.

The financial class uses its extreme wealth to influence the government to provide them with immunity from prosecution for money laundering, rate rigging, massive foreclosure fraud (robo-signing) , and other crimes. In fact they even get others, the shareholders to pay the fines for them.

Those with accumulated grades (money) start to form paper shells (corporations) whose sole purpose is to maximize profits for those who already have accumulated grades (money). Those with accumulated grades (money) accumulate even more.

Those with accumulated grades (money) use their wealth to influence government to declare that these paper shells (corporations) are actually people who have the same rights as flesh and blood people. Those with accumulated grades (money) now can spend unlimited money to further influence the government.

Those with accumulated grades (money) use their now unlimited influence on government to provide these paper shells (corporations) with massive amounts of taxpayer subsidies with corporate welfare spending eclipsing general welfare spending.

Those with accumulated grades (money) fight hard to keep the grades (money) they pay to those who actually do the work as low as possible, to the point where some those who do the work cannot even provide for their families. This helps those with accumulated grades (money) to accumulate even more grades (money).

Those with accumulated grades (money) discover that they can outsource the work to other countries where they can pay the workers even less than here, and so they leave those who do the real work with a rapidly shrinking work market driving the grades (money) paid to them to even lower levels.

Those with accumulated grades (money) are now starting to feel fear because so many of those who used to do the real work are so desperate and tensions are rising. So they use their wealth to influence the government to increase the military-industrial-surveillance -security state despite the fact the liberties for all are eroded as a result, all under the ruse of patriotism.

Conclusion:
Now that we have seen the worst that unbridled socialism has to offer, and the worst that unbridled capitalism has to offer, perhaps it is time to rethink our current system and to incorporate the best of each system. A balance is needed. Those partisans who only see one of these two stories remain the obstacles to real change that will benefit everyone.

The Trillion Dollar Coin: What You Really Need to Know

January 16, 2013 2 comments

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”

FoundingFathersSo 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 totalprintingcoststhis 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.

InterestOnUS-DeabtThere 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.”

Abraham Lincoln

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.

Not a Federal Reserve NoteAnother 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.

decliningDollarWhen 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.

DebtBasedMoneyHow 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.”

Thomas Jefferson

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
http://wh.gov/m4co

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swkq2E8mswI

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

http://www.webofdebt.com/

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

http://www.wealthmoney.org/modern-money-secrets/

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

http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

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

http://www.monetary.org/the-need-for-monetary-reform/2009/09

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.

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