Monday, April 27, 2009

The Jubilee Solution to the Economic Crisis: the People’s Bailout

The worldwide economy is unraveling because of high debt. High debt is destroying the economy not only because businesses are forced to liquidate in the face of unpayable debt, but also because consumers won’t spend when their debt load gets too high. The high debt load is made worse by deflation, which makes older debt harder to pay off.

Jubilee means the forgiveness of debt, but can the principle of Jubilee debt forgiveness be applied to our current economic situation? Yes, it can. In fact, debt cancellation is the only solution to the problem, other than letting the problem run its course through a long period of economic depression, which cancels debt the slow and painful way.

The central governments of the world are currently attempting to inflate the money supply, through quantitative easing, to counter the deflation and stimulate growth. However, this approach is failing for a number of reasons. The basic disconnect is in giving the stimulus to banks, rather than directly to citizens.

Stimulation only works if the cash is spent. If the government prints a billion dollars only to bury it under the ground, obviously, no stimulus and no inflation will take place. Giving the cash to the banks is roughly equivalent to burying the new money under the ground. For one, the banks are using it to shore up their balance sheets, for two, consumers are already buried in debt and facing mass layoffs, so taking on more debt is not an option, so the money just sits in the banks.

The Jubilee economic solution would combine cash stimulus with debt cancellation. However, rather than bailing out the banks, and encouraging the people to go into greater debt, the government will give cash stimulus directly to the people. People will be targeted according to their debt, receiving cash payment equal to their debt level, payment going directly to the debt holder. In effect, everyone’s debt will be cancelled.

In order to prevent runaway inflation, the government will at the same time raise the banks’ cash reserve requirement in equal proportion to the cash stimulus. Thus, the cash will pass through the citizens, paying off their debt, and get soaked up back into the vaults of the banks.

The net effect will be a reset of the financial system, as all debts get fully paid off. Without the crushing weight of credit cards, mortgages, car payments, and student loans, people will be free to spend and invest again. The debt deflation will be totally defeated, and unemployment will quickly shrink as the business liquidation cycle ends and the economy takes off, with the desired upward effect on wages. The stage would be set for a new economic expansion as investments, inventions, and innovations are freed up to work their wealth-creating magic.

This is the Jubilee solution to our economic crisis. The beauty of the plan is that it would not require any new laws nor a Constitutional Amendment, and would not require the abrogation or violation of any contracts. Essentially, it could be done by executive action, but obviously, widespread Congressional support would be ideal as well.

What can you do to help make it happen? Spread the word however you can: tell your friends and family, blog it, forward it, provide the plan to your political representatives, run for office yourself, the possibilities are endless.

This is the Jubilee solution to our economic crisis, the people’s bailout. God bless us all.

note: by cash, I do not imply actual paper script to be printed and distributed; electronic credit money would actually work much better.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jubilee without Theft or Inflation

I believe that Jubilee could be accomplished without the complaints of theft or inflation that typically arise. Here is how it would work:

The government would issue checks to everyone to pay off their debts.

While doing so, the government would raise bank reserve requirements by the corresponding amount.

Thus, a huge new pool of money would come into existence to pay off people's debts, but then it would get sunk in the banks, never to recirculate to cause inflation.

No contracts would be violated, no cases could be dragged to court, no extra laws would have to be passed.

Viola! Rejoice in the Jubilee Year!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Economic War against the Common Man

What really happened
Exerpts of a brilliant economic analysis follows, read the full essay here:

Iceland’s financial crisis today is less an issue of international law as of outright lawlessness perpetrated by the purveyors of so-called free market democracy. Nations pressing Iceland for payment impose one set of laws for others while following quite a different set for themselves. Preaching to Iceland about international law, the United States and Great Britain themselves have broken the clearest of international laws – those against waging aggressive war. Their propagandists are skillful at using the language of capitalism and morality, yet they are neither capitalist nor moral. Their financial strategy is to play an ages-old psychological game. Make countries like Iceland feel guilty about being debtors rather than recognizing they have been victims of an international Ponzi scheme. In a nutshell, the game is to lay down “laws” for debtors in the form of destructive austerity programs fashioned by irresponsible and indeed, parasitic creditors. This “aid advice” ends in outright asset stripping, both public and private.

Asset stripping to pay debts has caused collapse time and again in history, but is strangely downplayed in today’s academic curriculum as an “inconvenient truth” as far as vested financial interests are concerned. Income is siphoned off by a scheme that is elegant and simple. Hapless victims – and now entire economies, not just individuals – are maneuvered onto a debt treadmill from which there is no escape. Creditors pile on credit and let the debts grow at the “magic of compound interest,” knowing that their loans cannot be repaid – except by asset sell-offs. No economy’s productivity can keep pace with exponentially compounding debt. Whatever was owned (and indeed, financed originally by public debt but now paid off) is stripped away for interest payments that never end. The aim is for these payments to absorb as much of the surplus as possible, so that the national economy in effect works to pay tribute to the new global financial class – bankers and money managers of mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds.

The product they are selling is debt. They build up their own wealth by indebting others, and then forcing sell-offs to buyers who take on their own debt in the hope of making asset-price gains as property prices are impossibly inflated relative to the wages of living labor. This has become the new, euphemistically dubbed post-industrial form of wealth creation – a strategy that is now collapsing economies throughout the world.

The second important principle is how radically today’s post-capitalist order has inverted traditional ways of making money. Instead of making profits on new capital investment, the easiest path to quick riches in today’s global financial system is to foreclose at pennies on the dollar, and make a “capital gain” by flipping property onto world financial markets that are being inflated by central banks. While financial spokespersons promise that “there is no such thing as a free lunch,” today’s hit-and-run financial bubble, fraud and insider privatizations culminating in public-sector bailouts (“socializing the risk” while privatizing the profits and capital gains) – has become all about obtaining a free lunch.

But it is a zero-sum gambling game, with losers on the other side of the table from the winners. One party’s gain is another’s loss – and indeed, this kind of game ends up shrinking the economy by diverting resources away from real investment in tangible capital formation. Unlike industrial capitalism, which employs labor and invests in capital equipment to turn raw materials into salable commodities, today’s post-industrial financialized system only offers the virtual (and temporary) wealth of asset bubbles. Its financial managers claim to be acting in the tradition of classical economists and share their concept of free markets, but in actuality they have been part of an intellectual fraud that depicts their system as something other than the financialized wealth extraction on the real economy of production and consumption that it is. Financialized wealth is extractive, not productive. That is because loans, stocks and bond securities are claims on wealth, not real wealth itself.

Fortunately, this need not happen in countries that do not impose debt leveraging on themselves, but only in countries that let the public utility of money and credit creation be privatized in the hands of a cosmopolitan financial class.

Consider the role of banking in this neo-feudal order. Banks do not create credit to finance manufacturing – that is done mainly out of retained earnings and equity. Banks create credit primarily to lend against collateral already in place – loans that simply extract money from the economy. This is an inherently destructive act, one that is anti-capitalist in the sense that it undercuts industrial growth in favor of interest extraction and short-term speculative gains.

The trick is to get this policy welcomed as if it were progress, as “post-industrial” rather than a lapse backward. Only today is it becoming apparent that the collateral-based lending of banks “creates wealth” mainly by inflating asset-price bubbles, especially in real estate. Bankers calculate how much debt a given flow of residential or commercial real estate income can support, and create enough credit to make a loan large enough to absorb this surplus revenue. Bankers do the same with industry by lending corporate raiders enough money in take-over “junk” bonds to turn profits into a flow of interest payments for themselves, and with capital gains for the raiders. Central banks fuel this process by swamping economies with easy credit (that is, debt) that keeps the financial sector fat while impoverishing the increasingly indebted nation.

Finance thus is the historical antithesis of property, sanctifying its own right to expropriate indebted property owners. Originally denounced by Christianity, Judaism and Islam, interest-bearing debt has sanctified itself as the predominant form of wealth. This is not what the classical economists and democratic political reformers expected to see. They explained how to avoid this economic dystopia by appropriate government tax policy and regulation to minimize the economic role and political power of post-feudal bankers and rentiers. (Rentiers are people who live off interest and rents, that is, off absentee incomes paid on a regular basis.)

Bankers managed to convince ambitious fortune-seekers that the way to wealth and economic growth lay in debt leveraging, not in staying free of debt. Selling debt as their product, banks and speculators at the world’s financial core needed to prepare for what they must have known would lead to economic collapse and destroyed economies throughout history. They prepared the path to ruin by ideological engineering aimed at shaping how populations think about history, so as to accept debt pyramiding as a good economic strategy.

Turning economic power into political power - Creditors in most countries have been able to turn their economic power into political power with the aim of shifting the tax burden off themselves and onto labor and industry. The final coup de grace occurs when they get the government to bail them out from their losses on bad loans. In the United States, Congress has tripled the national debt in less than a year to bail out creditors with little thought of helping debtors, or even of prosecuting the massive financial fraud involved in its subprime real estate bubble and the sale of junk mortgages to gullible foreign buyers.

Allowing economies to be crippled with interest payments was unthinkable until recently. To achieve so radical a break in the public’s idea of prosperity and self-reliance, it has been necessary for creditors to wipe out knowledge of how legal systems have been amended to put creditor interests above those of debtors over the past eight centuries – and how the leading classical economists and Enlightenment cultural and religious leaders sought to subordinate creditor interests to those of growth and prosperity for the economy at large. But the new banking class has been clever enough to hire the best propagandists money can buy while remaining blind to the havoc they are wreaking with people’s lives.
The trick is to fool debtors into thinking that “free markets” means paying one’s debts. Creditors can succeed in letting debt leveraging and “the magic of compound interest” empty out economies only by diverting attention from what Adam Smith and other classical economists warned against. For them, a free market was one free of debt – especially foreign debt. In The Wealth of Nations (especially Book V, chapter 3), Smith warned against creditors becoming “free” enough to disable the ability of governments to protect citizens from creditors – especially the Dutch, who were the major investors in British monopolies created to be sold to pay for that nation’s seemingly eternal wars with France. The problem was that creditors sought to extract the wealth of nations for themselves, not to create wealth. Their greed was destructive to society as a whole, because it was easier to simply strip assets than to create real capital.
The tacit assumption is not that bankers’ exorbitant greed is achieved at the expense of the economy at large, but that the financial sector’s prosperity is a precondition for the economy to grow. The bankers try to cap matters by trotting out poor retirees (like the widows and orphans of old – presumably those living on “fixed incomes” in the form of trust funds) whose meager savings should be supported. Doing so just happens to save the financial oligarchy of billionaires at the top of the economic pyramid, but not the proverbial victims.
The use of human shields such as union members concerned about the investments of their pension funds to protect the wealth of the kleptocrats is likewise shameless. Wall Street sages in the United States, for example, shed crocodile tears over the fate of the working people suffering from the stock market collapse, knowing full well that financial assets are heavily concentrated at the top of the economic pyramid, with workers having, only a meager share of those stocks and bonds. Ignored is the fact that the government could bail out failing pension funds (like Social Security) directly at just a small fraction of the cost of propping up the assets of the affluent.

The best path for nations is to put their own economic growth before the interests of creditors. For many generations this ethic supported a set of political checks and balances that kept the growth of international debt in terms considered to be tolerable – much too heavy by the free-market standards of Smith and John Stuart Mill, but not so high as to prompt widespread defaults and debt repudiation.

This ethic has changed in recent years. Countries have accepted creditor propaganda that debts are a “point of honor,” much as the poor believe that paying their debts – even when they are in negative equity – is the “honest thing to do.” Obviously this ethic is not self-applied to the world’s largest financial institutions or real estate speculators. But Iceland accepted it in what is a characteristic of small, closely-knit communities where the word of neighbors is their bond. The root of Iceland’s ethic is mutual aid and prosperity for all. It is a fine, highly socialized attitude, and therefore tragic that it has helped lead the nation to fall prone to the snake oil of debt peonage.

Having stuck Third World countries with debts beyond their ability to pay, the IMF and World Bank used their creditor leverage to force governments to impose draconian austerity plans that had the effect of preventing growth toward industrial and agricultural self-sufficiency, thereby also crushing prospects for competitiveness. The IMF and World Bank then demanded that debtor countries sell off their public infrastructure, land, subsoil rights and other assets to pay the debts that these institutions sponsored so irresponsibly. (If IMF loans were not simply irresponsible, then they knowingly crippled debtor-country economies.) It is an age-old story of conquest, now accomplished without conventional warfare.

Psychologists have explained the creditor proclivity for violence by the tendency for rentiers to fight for unearned income – inheritance, or other “free wealth” that they have obtained without effort of their own. People who work for a living and are able to support themselves believe that they can survive, and so there is less of the kind of panic that creditors and other free lunchers feel at the thought that their extractive revenue may end. They fight passionately against the prospect of having to live on what they produce or earn by their own merits. So the last thing that rentiers really want is a free market. In a shameless irony, they tend to accuse populations of being terrorists if they seek to defend themselves against predatory creditors and land-grabbers!

This is just the opposite of the free markets that were promised them back in 1990-91. Instead of economic growth, the “real” economy of production and consumption shrunk, even as foreign financial inflows inflated property prices for housing and office space, fuel and public utilities. Real estate and utility services hitherto provided freely or at subsidy to the economy at large were turned into a predatory vehicle for foreigners to extract income, putting the domestic population on rations, much as what occurs under military occupation. Yet the public media, academic centers and parliaments have persuaded populations that this is part of a natural order, even the product of how a free-market is supposed to operate, rather than a retrogression back to quasi-feudal institutions. The simplistic idea is that making money is itself “capitalist” ipso facto, regardless of whether industrial capital is being created or dismantled and stripped.

Most societies throughout history have sought to provide credit legally in ways that do not permit creditor oligarchies to emerge. Today’s creditor advocates are at war with the spirit of this idea. And in taking this position, they reject the thrust of the Enlightenment’s anti-usury laws, classical political economy’s distinction between productive and sterile investment, the St. Simonian attempt at financial reform, and the Progressive Era’s attempt to mobilize national credit to fund productive industrial investment rather than being extractive, benefiting only the few. The classical idea of economic freedom itself was formulated as the antithesis to feudal-epoch finance. And the ideal of freedom from predatory finance is what is being threatened today, as if society has forgotten how long and hard the reform struggle has been.

The common thread in these ideas is that people deserve to receive the fruits of their labor. This means bringing prices in line with actual labor-costs of production. It also means that one’s wealth should be limited to only what one creates – not land and natural resources, or monopoly privileges to extract income via control of roads, the right to create money and other natural monopolies. The aim of social reform for many centuries has been to purge capitalism of its legacy of absentee rentier property ownership patterns and creditor-oriented laws inherited from medieval times. The way to do this is to treat banking like transportation and the broadcasting spectrum, as a public utility to form a just fiscal base, not something to be privatized so that individual rentiers can tax society at large for what rightly is a public utility.
The problem goes to the very foundation of economic theory. Any set of statistics reflects categories in economic theory, and in recent years the Chicago School has taken the lead in what is now a nationwide trend to exclude the history of economic thought from the academic curriculum. One can get all the way through a Ph.D. without having surveyed the evolution of classical economics from the Physiocrats through Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the Progressive Era reformers. The essence of social reform throughout the Enlightenment, and indeed extending all the way back to the Church Schoolmen is no longer taught – the distinctions between earned and unearned income and wealth, and productive and unproductive (or “sterile”) employment and investment. Post-classical thought insists that all income is productive in proportion to whatever it earns – including the collection of economic rent or extortion of monopoly super-profit, or financial charges for interest and credit card fees, and the exorbitant salaries and bonuses that financial managers pay themselves. All revenue – and therefore, all wealth – appears to be “earned.” By their definition. This denies the concept of “investment in zero-sum activities that merely transfer income into the unproductive sector’s pockets, in contrast to creating income.

As a guide to policy reform, classical economics aimed at creating an economic and fiscal system that would bring market prices in line with technologically necessary costs of production. All such costs ultimately are reducible to labor. The necessary complement to the labor theory of value (adjusted for different grades of labor, the cost of their education and the linkage between wage levels and productivity) was the analysis of economic rent – an institutional add-on reflecting property ownership patterns, financial charges and taxes, not inherent costs of production. The classical reform program was to minimize the cost of production and of living, making economies more competitive by purifying industrial capitalism and removing its remaining feudal legacies, above all the right of hereditary absentee owners (landlords) to siphon off a rental charge for access to land for sites supplied by nature and given value by local public spending (e.g., “location, location, and location,” as real estate agents explain matters to prospective buyers) – and the right of bankers to charge for creating credit that governments could freely create themselves.Fighting against progressive reforms, banks and other financial institutions have sought to preserve their special privileges by law, minimizing taxes on themselves by shifting the burden onto labor and industry. What they have achieved by financializing economies is (1) to raise the cost of living and the cost of doing business; (2) to free their major customers – mortgage borrowers – from taxation so as to leave as much surplus as possible available to be paid as interest; (3) to collect revenue hitherto used to finance the public sector by capitalizing it into interest charges and to inflate the price of housing and other real estate and privatized monopolies; (4) to effectively shift taxes onto labor and industry, thereby raising prices and undermining the competitive power of financialized economies. This is a travesty of classical “free market” policy. It is a policy for predators that mainly burdens economies with high interest and fees while also making the tax burden more oppressive while they reap the benefits.

John Maynard Keynes believed that the proper task of governments was to prevent over-indebtedness from leading to economic depression. He concluded his General Theory (1936) with a call for “euthanasia of the rentier.” Hoping to make credit productive, not extractive, his followers have advocated making banking a public utility so as to steer debt creation to fund growth in the means of production, not economic overhead by inflating property bubbles. Radical as this may appear today, this was the aim of the 19th century classical economists, and underlay the financial reforms that shaped the 20th-century economic takeoff. Only quite recently has the global financial press rediscovered this logic in the wake of today’s bubble meltdown.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Pyramid Scheme of Money Creation and Destruction

Money is created and destroyed in one giant chain of credit clearing, both by the government and banks.

It officially starts in the creation of the monetary base by the Federal Reserve when it buys US Treasury securities. The Fed acquires Treasury securities, meaning it finances a loan to the US government. The Treasury then pays interest to the Fed for holding its bonds. The Fed pays for the Treasury bonds in cash, but it does not really pay the Treasury, it pays the people, by disbursing the cash to banks and citizens.

Say you get a loan from the bank. The bank gives you the money, but creates a loan you have to pay back. The loan is a negative balance for you, but a positive balance for the bank.

But where did the bank get the money? From the Fed! The Fed did the same thing for the bank that the bank did for you. The bank takes a loan from the Fed, getting cash to spend, but having a negative balance with the Fed, owing the Fed that money.

Ok, good so far, but where does the Fed get the money? The Fed gets the money from the Treasury. The Fed balances its cash distributions with assets of US bonds. Technically, the Fed gave a loan to the Treasury, and receives interest payments from Treasury just like anyone else when they buy a Treasury bond.

When the Fed buys bonds from the public, they are paying out money to the public, thereby expanding the money supply. When the Fed sells bonds to the public, they are taking money in from the public, thereby shrinking the money supply. When the Fed buys bonds directly from the Treasury, they are going through the motions of giving a cash loan to the Treasury, which really means distributing cash to the public, thereby expanding the money supply.

Why does the Treasury take loans from the Fed, and pay the Fed interest on those loans, rather than just distributing the money directly to the people? Good question. There are many people calling for the Treasury to do just that, taking direct control of the money supply and eliminating the role of the Fed.

However, it is a mistake to assume that this process starts at and is controlled by the Fed. In actually, most money is actually created by banks. When a bank gives you a loan, they give you the cash, an asset for you, and they get the loan note, an asset for them.

They are required to have a certain reserve cash amount, to be equal to about 10% of outstanding loans. But they don't check their reserves before they give you the loan. They give you the loan, then later, check to see if they have enough reserves to cover their outstanding loans. If they are short on reserves, they borrow the money from other banks, or directly from the Fed.

This is the Fed's role as lender of last resort. As the public demands more and more loans, the Fed is in the back of the whole system, creating more and more cash for the banks to loan out.

This is why Obama and his banking handlers are always talking about "getting credit going again" and other vacuous phrases. To them, the whole thing is a top down process, but one based on people's appetite for loans. So, to them, encouraging the people to spend more and go into greater debt makes perfect sense.

The whole system is leveraged to the hilt, due to the effects of fractional reserve banking. Because a loan at one bank deposited elsewhere becomes the basis for a new loan, which is then deposited elsewhere to become the basis of a new loan, the whole money system becomes a huge pyramid scheme built up on the much smaller value of original loans.

Thus, one bad loan destroys at least 10X its own value of money in the rest of the system. This inevitably happens in a debt deflation, as loans go bad on a large scale, the monetary system collapses, feeding further loan failure, and further monetary destruction. The so-called "credit crunch", which is a monetary black hole created by bad debt sucking in all the money around it and gaining strength as it goes.

This deflationary black hole wipes out the value of capital which had been bid upwards with debt leverage. The falling value of capital then wipes out the loans built upon that inflated capital base, dragging down the value of the remaining capital in a vicious cycle. Productive enterprises are wiped out and labor laid off as loans fail and debts become unpayable.

It's all quite inevitable given our system of credit money and fractional reserve banks. It happened even when our currency was on the gold standard, so that is no panacea. In fact, many blame the gold standard for prolonging the crisis, since it prevented the government from inflating the money supply to counteract the deflation.

The current government effort to reinflate the system with cash reserve injections and happy-face propaganda cannot work because it is targetted precisely backwards. The effort should not be to pump the banks full of capital, because the whole system is based on the demand of the people for more loans and their ability to pay them back. The government should let each and every bad bank fail, but provide massive stimulus checks directly to the people. That would do more than anything else to keep consumer confidence high and stimulate spending, far more than the vague terror caused by seeing our banking system on life support. Or, more simply, as I have been advocating from the start, cancel massive amounts of debt, which would stimulate optimism and spending without the pernicious effects of currency inflation.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Note to Government: Balance Your Budget

It is starting to hit people at every level of government with full force. After the "end of the world" budget cuts of last year, even more will need to be cut this year. California, for example, has to cut godawful amounts from their budget, and they are being cut off from any more credit.

The only solution left is budget cuts. Here is a simple idea: slash the budget across the board, starting with salaries, which make up the supermajority of all government budget items. For example, in education, salaries make up over 90% of the budget. Keep that in mind the next time you see some pathetic teacher protest over school budget cuts. It's never about saving the children, it's always about saving their salaries. What a joke. If government workers were willing to take a pay cut, there would be no need to cancel any programs.

Individual responsibility is going to return in a storm, as all the slackers, losers, welfare dregs and their social engineering leftist government-employed handlers are suddenly cut off from the public feedbag. Watching this unfold is a libertarian's wet dream.

Unfortunately for all of you reading this blog, our federal government is going to do its best to borrow and print money to pay the gap in all these deficits (not even to mention to yawning fiscal chasm known as the federal deficit).

What that means is, the savings and purchasing power of the working middle and upper classes are going to be siphoned away through inflation, to bail out those government programs.

Gear up for the fight now.

Who Defends the Common Man?

The more things change the more they stay the same, eh? In 1896, William Jennings Bryant defended the economic well being of the common man against the finanacial interests of the east coast financial oligarchs. The country was on the gold standard, and the common man was pressed down with a heavy debt burden. Jennings stood for bimetalism, which meant inflating the money supply with silver to ease the debt burden under the deflationary gold standard. I have provided some exerpts from his speech. Notice how he denounces trickle-down economics, 90 years before Reagan introduced it to our modern ears. Amazing, truly amazing.

WJB's biography follows, he is my new hero:
William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in 1896, 1900 and 1908, a lawyer, and the Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson. One of the most popular speakers in American history, he was noted for a deep, commanding voice. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian, a supporter of popular democracy, a critic of banks and railroads, a leader of the silverite movement in the 1890s, a leading figure in the Democratic Party, a peace advocate, a prohibitionist, an opponent of Darwinism, and one of the most prominent leaders of Populism in the late 19th - and early 20th century. Because of his faith in the goodness and rightness of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner."

The question remains more pressing than ever: who stands up for the common man? In Bryant's day, the Democratic Party proudly stood up for the average worker. Today, the same party actively engineers massive transfers of wealth to the investment classes. It is unreal. The common man has no one, absolutely no one.

Exerpts from his 1896 speech:
But we stand here representing people who are the equals before the law of the largest cities in the state of Massachusetts. When you come before us and tell us that we shall disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your action. We say to you that you have made too limited in its application the definition of a businessman. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer. The attorney in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads store is as much a businessman as the merchant of New York. The farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day, begins in the spring and toils all summer, and by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of this country creates wealth, is as much a businessman as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain. The miners who go 1,000 feet into the earth or climb 2,000 feet upon the cliffs and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured in the channels of trade are as much businessmen as the few financial magnates who in a backroom corner the money of the world.

We come to speak for this broader class of businessmen. My friends, we say not one word against those who live upon the Atlantic Coast; but those hardy pioneers who braved all the dangers of the wilderness, who have made the desert to blossom as the rose—those pioneers away out there, rearing their children near to nature’s heart, where they can mingle their voices with the voices of the birds—out there where they have erected schoolhouses for the education of their children and churches where they praise their Creator, and the cemeteries where sleep the ashes of their dead—are as deserving of the consideration of this party as any people in this country.

It is for these that we speak. We do not come as aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest. We are fighting in the defense of our homes, our families, and posterity. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned. We have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded. We have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came.

We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them!

The gentleman from Wisconsin has said he fears a Robespierre. My friend, in this land of the free you need fear no tyrant who will spring up from among the people. What we need is an Andrew Jackson to stand as Jackson stood, against the encroachments of aggregated wealth.

He says that we are opposing the national bank currency. It is true. If you will read what Thomas Benton said, you will find that he said that in searching history he could find but one parallel to Andrew Jackson. That was Cicero, who destroyed the conspiracies of Cataline and saved Rome. He did for Rome what Jackson did when he destroyed the bank conspiracy and saved America.

We say in our platform that we believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government. We believe it. We believe it is a part of sovereignty and can no more with safety be delegated to private individuals than can the power to make penal statutes or levy laws for taxation.

Mr. Carlisle said in 1878 that this was a struggle between the idle holders of idle capital and the struggling masses who produce the wealth and pay the taxes of the country; and my friends, it is simply a question that we shall decide upon which side shall the Democratic Party fight. Upon the side of the idle holders of idle capital, or upon the side of the struggling masses? That is the question that the party must answer first; and then it must be answered by each individual hereafter. The sympathies of the Democratic Party, as described by the platform, are on the side of the struggling masses, who have ever been the foundation of the Democratic Party.

There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.

You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.

If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

South Park calls for Jubilee

Everyone had a chance to see the new South Park episode about the economic crisis (go here if you haven't

In the end, guess what solves the economic crisis? One kid pays everyone's debt off. Makes sense, doesn't it? If no one is in debt anymore, the economy can recover.

Still have yet to hear anything about debt cancelation by anyone in government. Just more bailouts of the finance industry.

So, given the choice between helping the common man and helping the mega-rich, our government chooses the rich. Hmmm, weird how that works.

The 4th Branch of Government: the Banking System

Lawmakers have often believed they could ignore the big questions on how our money system is structured. Right from the Constitutional Convention delegates ignored society’s monetary power and the excellent record of government issued money in building colonial infrastructure and giving us a nation. They left the money power up for grabs instead of properly placing it in a fourth, monetary branch of government.

History shows that the money power will be a fourth branch whether we recognize it as such or not. It’s not safe to leave so much power and privilege in private hands! It’s counter to our system of checks and balances. The developing financial crisis requires us to re-evaluate and focus on it now. Lets fulfill our responsibility to get a real understanding of this problem and the solution.

As the late Congressman Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency for over 16 years, said,

"I have never yet had anyone who could, through the use of logic and reason, justify the Federal Government borrowing the use of its own money....I believe the time will come when people will demand that this be changed. I believe the time will come in this country when they will actually blame you and me and everyone else connected with the Congress for sitting idly by and permitting such an idiotic system to continue." (page 3)