Put an end to private health insurance

http://blog.cleveland.com/letters/2009/07/put_an_end_to_private_health_i.html

Categories: Letters

Coleridge is the director of the Economic Justice & Empowerment Program, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee.

Since President Barack Obama will be at Shaker Heights High School on Thursday, taking questions on health care, I’ve got one for him:

Who should have the final say on the type of health care patients receive under any reformed system?

A. Patients and their doctors

B. Insurance corporations

If A is his answer, his solution should be one that shuts out insurance corporations that make billions of dollars by denying coverage to millions of Americans.

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Community asserts their rights to water

Here’s a wonderful example of a community taking charge of their own community by proactively passing an ordinance (which is a law with teeth vs passing a resolution which is merely an expression of sentiment or feeling) protecting their water. It affirms the rights of people and their community over the so-called rights of business corporations — which are no more than creations of the state.

Residents of Mt. Shasta draft an ordinance to assert community rights to water
June 16 Community Water Forum invites citizen input on cutting-edge law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 05, 2009

CONTACT:
Ami Marcus, 530.918.9444, for more information about the ordinance and community forum.

Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange, 415.575.5540, for information on rights-based ordinances

(Mt. Shasta, CA)— Local concern has been growing about corporate control of local water though groundwater withdrawl and chemical weather manipulation more commonly known as cloud seeding. Following a series of well attended public events, a group of concerned Mount Shasta residents began to examine strategies to ensure that local residents — not corporations — make the policy decisions around local water resources.
The result is a cutting-edge draft ordinance that would assert the rights of the community to protect water systems by prohibiting cloud seeding and resultant chemical trespass, banning corporate extraction and export, and increasing citizen participation in the decision making process for the Mt. Shasta headwaters.

Residents are encouraged to learn about the proposed ordinance, which, among other things, strips corporations of their legal authority to site unwanted water projects in the municipality by attending the second in a two-part community water rights forum Thursday, June 16th from 5:30-8:00 pm at the Stage Door in Mt. Shasta. The forum is intended to engage the diverse interests of Mount Shasta citizens to ensure that the ordinance accurately reflects public sentiment.

“We took a good look at how large corporations are engaged in a grab for water in communities across the country, and we examined the role our state agencies play in enabling those corporations,” said group spokesperson Angelina Cook, “It became clear to us that if the people of Mt. Shasta don’t come together as a community and make key decisions about our resources and our local ecosystem, someone in a corporate board room is going to do it for us.”

The group developed the ordinance with the assistance of California-based Global Exchange rights-based organizer Shannon Biggs and Ben Price from the PA-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, who have assisted over 120 communities to successfully pass rights-based laws that subordinate corporations to democratic local governing authority.

Attendees are encouraged to remain after the water rights forum for a screening of “Flow”, a powerful and inspiring film that documents our global water crisis.

#####

http://www.globalexchange.org/update/press/6217.html

Economic Security Possible Through Monetary System Changes

Public News Service-OH

July 16, 2009

Seminar: Economic Security Possible Through Monetary System Changes

Cleveland, OH – As Ohio grapples with its own economic woes, some residents will gather for a seminar tonight to look a way to change the nation’s monetary system – the American Monetary Act, which is being proposed by Congressman Kucinich.

Greg Coleridge, a director with the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee, says fiscal policy gets a lot of attention, but it’s time citizens learn more about how monetary policy can affect their lives.

“The problem today in our society is that the creation of money, the actual issuance of money is not a public decision, but a private one, for the most part, done by our banks and the Federal Reserve.”

A move from the bank-centered, debt-based monetary system to the direct creation of money would be responsive to the needs of consumers, says Coleridge.

“It would spend it into circulation on all sorts of legislative, government things that we need; infrastructure, including education, healthcare, improving our roads, and sewers.”

Dramatic reform of monetary policy is needed, he adds, in order to protect the economic well-being of America.

“A transparent, public, accountable system is the best way to keep it responsible and close to meeting the needs and requirements of people and our needs at a community, a nation and a state level.”

Currently, the Federal Reserve is partly public, with some private components. Part of the new proposal would make the money issuing system all public. Those against the government issuance of money say it would drive up inflation, but proponents say that won’t happen if the money is used to create goods and services. Congressman Kucinich’s senior counsel, Marty Gelfand, will speak at tonight’s event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Peace House in University Circle in Cleveland.

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/9744-1

The broadcaster version of the story can be viewed by clicking here: http://www.newsservice.org/pdfStory.php?StoryGroup=9744=1


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Open Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee re Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor

I helped develop this letter…

Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy
Instigating democratic conversations and actions that contest the authority of corporations to govern
Box 246 S. Yarmouth, MA 02664 http://www.poclad.org people@poclad.org 508-398-1145

OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE US SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
from the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD)
July 14, 2009

Dear US Senate Judiciary Committee Members,

The Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) calls on you to continue your questioning of US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Judge Sotomayor’s position on the larger issue of this nation’s democracy, trampled by the rights and powers of corporations to govern, have so far been left untouched and unexplored in Senate confirmation hearings.

The vast majority of non-criminal cases to be brought before the nine robed ones of the Supreme Court in the next few years will relate to matters of corporate “rights,” protections, and dominance and their impact on the rights of human beings in this so-called democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that questions be asked concerning the doctrines of corporate autonomy and authority that insulate these collections of capital and property from control by the people and their legislatures – a control that existed at one time in this nation.

Have the judiciary’s efforts been so successful over the last 200 years to find corporations within the US Constitution and bestow constitutional “rights” upon them that current lawmakers fail even to question this democratic and illegitimate reality? Indeed, for two centuries Supreme Court justices, the closest institution we have to Kings and Queens, have been at the center of affirming and expanding corporate rule and placing corporations well beyond the authority of the people. We hope you do not concur with this history and its consequences.

We hope the questions on the following page are asked of nominee Sotomayor during her Senate hearings. Only after she responds to these concerns and her answers promptly made available to the general public and to all U.S. Senators should voting on her confirmation occur. It should be noted that these questions were the same that we requested be put to Judge Samuel Alito during his January, 2006 confirmation hearings. To our knowledge, none of them were asked.

The appointment for life of a person who will assume a position of vast and seemingly ever growing power in our society demands an exhaustive review of every issue area that he/she is likely to address on the high court. Corporate constitutional rights and their impact on our rights as self-governing human beings certainly qualify as one such area of questioning. This decision is of the utmost importance to the fate of the country.

Respectfully,

The Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Attachments: Questions for Supreme Court Justice Nominee Sonia Sotomayer
Quotes from Previous Supreme Court Decisions and Justices on Corporations

Questions for Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

First a bit of background. In a 1978 case, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, the Supreme Court decided, 5 to 4, that business corporations — just as flesh and blood like you and me — have a First Amendment right to spend their money to influence elections. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist dissented. “It might reasonably be concluded,” he wrote, “that those properties, so beneficial in the economic sphere, pose special dangers in the political sphere.” The late Chief Justice went on to write: “Furthermore, it might be argued that liberties of political expression are not at all necessary to effectuate the purposes for which States permit commercial corporations to exist.”

— Do you believe that corporate money in our elections poses “special dangers in the political sphere”?

–Do you believe “that liberties of political expression” are necessary “to effectuate the purposes for which States permit commercial corporations to exist”?”

— Do you believe that money is speech? Or is it property?

In 1886, only eighteen years after the people ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court had before it Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. The issue was whether the Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection barred California from taxing property owned by a corporation differently from property owned by a human being. Chief Justice Morrison Waite disposed of it with a bolt-from-the-blue pronouncement: “The Court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a state to deny any person the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.” The conferring of Fourteenth Amendment rights on the corporate form appeared in a clerk’s headnote to the case.

— How would you characterize the Court’s refusal to hear argument in a momentous case before deciding it?

— Was the “person” whose basic rights the framers and the people sought to protect through the 14th amendment to the Constitution the newly freed slave?

— Was the “person” a corporation?

— Is a corporation a person “born or naturalized in the United States”?

— In proclaiming a paper entity to be a person, was the court faithful to the intent of the framers of the Amendment and to the intent of the people who ratified it?

— How would you characterize the court’s refusal to hear argument in a momentous case before deciding it?

–Would you describe the court’s action in Santa Clara as conservative? As radical? As open-minded?

— Would you characterize the Court’s Santa Clara action as being an example of judicial activism?

Quotes from Previous Supreme Court Decisions and Justices on Corporations

Standard Oil of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911):
All who recall the condition of the country in 1890 will remember that there was everywhere, among the people generally, a deep feeling of unrest. The nation had been rid of human slavery– fortunately, as all now feel–but the conviction was universal that the country was in real danger from another kind of slavery sought to be fastened on the American people: namely, the slavery that would result from aggregations of capital in the hands of a few individuals and corporations controlling, for their own profit and advantage exclusively, the entire business of the country, including the production and sale of the necessities of life.

Liggett Co. v. Lee 288 U.S. 517 (1933) (dissent by Justice Brandeis):
The prevalence of the corporation in America has led men of this generation to act, at times, as if the privilege of doing business in corporate form were inherent in the citizen; and has led them to accept the evils attendant upon the free and unrestricted use of the corporate mechanism as if these evils were the inescapable price of civilized life and, hence, to be borne with resignation. Throughout the greater part of our history, a different view prevailed. Although the value of this instrumentality in commerce and industry was fully recognized, incorporation for business was commonly denied long after it had been freely granted for religious, educational and charitable purposes. It was denied because of fear. Fear of encroachment upon the liberties and opportunities of the individual. Fear of the subjection of labor to capital. Fear of monopoly. Fear that the absorption of capital by corporations, and their perpetual life, might bring evils. . . There was a sense of some insidious menace inherent in large aggregations of capital, particularly when held by corporations.

Justice Brandeis warned ominously of the threat to democracy that justifies sovereign control of corporations:

Able and discerning scholars have pictured for us the economic and social results of thus removing all limitations upon the size and activities of business corporations and of vesting in their managers vast powers once exercised by stockholders–results not designed by the states and long unsuspected. . . . Through size, corporations, once merely an efficient tool employed by individuals in the conduct of private business, have become an institution–an institution which has brought such concentration of economic power that so-called private corporations are sometimes able to dominate the state. The typical business corporation of the last century, owned by a small group of individuals, managed by their owners, and limited in size by their personal wealth, is being supplanted by huge concerns in which the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of employees and the property of tens or hundreds of thousands of investors are subjected, through the corporate mechanism, to the control of a few men. Ownership has been separated from control; and this separation has removed many of the checks which formerly operated to curb the misuse of wealth and power. And as ownership of the shares is becoming continually more dispersed, the power which formerly accompanied ownership is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. The changes thereby wrought in the lives of the workers, of the owners and of the general public, are so fundamental and far-reaching as to lead these scholars to compare the evolving “corporate system” with the feudal system; and to lead other men of insight and experience to assert that this “master institution of civilized life” is committing it to the rule of a plutocracy. Liggett, pp. 564-565.

First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978) Dissents by Justices White, Brennan, Marshall
…the special status of corporations has placed them in a position to control vast amounts of economic power which may, if not regulated, dominate not only our economy but the very heart of our democracy, the electoral process… The State need not allow its own creation to consume it.

Rethinking Activism in Times of Turmoil

Talk at Appalachian Peace & Justice Network Annual Meeting; June 9, 2009; Athens, Ohio

There’s a part of the human species that craves predictability. Order. Routine.

While we behave not quite as rigidly as some of our fellow animal earthlings that are genetically coded to perform certain actions in specific places at particular times of the year, homo sapiens nevertheless love their life patterns — at work, in school, with families and friends, engaged in their communities.

We activists too have our own comfort zones. Issues or concerns we’ve become accustomed to working on based on what we know, who else is involved (both friend and foe), and how we’ve acted to bring about the changes we seek.

Many have their issue niches…or silos. Stopping this war or that weapon system. Creating universal health care or affordable housing. Protecting a particular river or animal species. Boycotting a certain food product or article of clothing. Advancing the rights of a certain group of people.

We’ve become near experts both in the breadth and depth of whatever issue we take on. We know the history of the problem, significant leaders in our field both locally and globally both past and present, current legislation related to the issue, grassroots campaigns and initiatives, alternatives (both micro and macro), what forces exist in opposition, and the latest articles, books, websites and blogs connected to the issue.

Many have been at it for years if not decades — some on the very same issue. Others have switched issues based on changed interests, evolution of understanding, or other factors – substituting one issue for another and becoming near experts again by drilling down in the theoretical, technical, political, social, philosophical and/or spiritual dimension.

Some of the work is very impressive – especially considering the circumstances and context. There have been real accomplishments which have been all the more impressive given our few resources, little credibility in mainstream society, virtually no access to people in power, no formal schooling in the issue or problem we address. and competing demands on our time as few activists are financially compensated for their deeds. In fact, the victories are often astonishing given these and other impediments.

I have personally been fortunate as an activist. This is my job, my career over the past 26 years. I began by focusing on nuclear weapons. Then nuclear freeze. Military spending. Economic conversion. Macro social and economic alternatives. Housing and local economic development. Leadership development. Campaign finance reform. Corporate abuses. NAFTA/WTO/bilateral trade agreements. Wars and occupation in any number of countries (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Bosnia, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Grenada, Columbia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan)…not to mention the Cold War with Russia and China. Toxics (IEL), Privatization. Bank bailout.

What I’ve come to realize from my own activist evolution is that the solution to our issues or problems, as diverse as they may be, is basically the same – expanding the authentic right to decide. We as people, as citizens, simply do not possess real authority to influence the decisions that ultimately affect our lives, families, communities, or the natural world. What used to be democratic spaces, places and arena are now privatized/corporatized. The commons are being enclosed.

We the people are not at the table when health care policies are decided or reformed. We’re not involved in energy policies, in agricultural policies, in trade agreements, in foreign policy decisions, in federal budget priority considerations, in financial regulatory decisions.

Noted Australian academic and activist Alex Carey explained the 3 most important 20th century developments: “The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.’

Giant business corporations are the deciders – not you or me. The very few who run them make governing decisions. They influence public opinion through the press. They determine what candidates are electable through campaign contributions/investments. They influence public officials and judges. They buy, rent, lease, retain elected officials. They write laws. They influence the regulatory process. And of course they have literal domination over jobs and economy under the guise of “The Market” and sacred “Invisible Hand.” They consolidate wealth and power so their directors and managers can dictate their values upon communities, the nation, the earth.

Corporate directors and managers have long defined how people live, what people do. As Richard Grossman says, “Sometimes, they take their paychecks from their corporations, sometimes, from our governments. For generations, they’ve been writing our laws, propagandizing our children, dictating policy, plundering the planet. To gain such power, they long ago got Congress, federal judges and state legislatures to wrap their corporate bodies in the Constitution of the United States. To bestow upon their corporate “fictions” the authority to govern.”

Armed with “freedom of speech,” “due process,” “equal protection of the law,” the “commerce clause,” “the contracts clause,” and other constitutional powers, corporate directors and managers have been wielding the law to deny people’s most fundamental human rights.

This power and authority is a usurpation of citizen self-governance. It’s a violation of We the People who fought a war for independence.

No subset of business corporations may be more powerful than financial corporations – those who create and control the flow of the vast amount of money in our nation.

Amshel Rothschild, patriarch of the family, once said “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.”

The truth is that financial corporations, namely the banks, control the creation of 95% of our nation’s money.

Their ability to create money out of thin air and charge and receive interest has caused the indebtedness of people, nation states and even other business corporation that produce real goods and services. (The same process occurs by the IMF/World Bank and their loans to Third World countries who demand as conditions “structural adjustments” which impoverish people and privatize/corporatize public assets. The global economic crisis has provided the pretext to confuse, coerce, consolidate, and concentrate. It has forced many individuals and groups to focus on simply survival.

Banking corporations seeks to maximize profits – not necessarily to invest in anything of real value. Their wild and bizarre speculative ventures are largely responsible for the global financial crisis.

Financial corporations who received federal TARP funds invested $114 million in contributions and lobbying along in 2008 alone. These same recipients received $275 billion in TARP funds. That’s a 258,449% return on their investment.

Now Preseident Obama’s “Car Czar” wants to grab pension funds of GM and use them to pay off JP Morgan and Citibank. That’s illegal.

But the global economic crisis also provides enormous opportunities. It focuses attention on the inherent unsustainability of our economic system – and the undemocratic nature of our societal institutions. It provides a moment to raise questions and are most of the time never acknowledged, let alone discussed, never mind challenged.

What are the solutions : democratizationa and municipalization

1. Short term legislation / judicial
– No more public funds to banks. Financial institutions have already received $8.5 trillion. The Obama administration requested another $250 billion as a “placeholder” in next year’s federal budget.
– Enforce the Prompt Corrective Action Law which would nationalize banks
– Revoke corporate charters and certificates of authority

2. Local alternatives
– Credit unions
– Worker owned banks
– Local currencies

3. Long term social change
– Enact the American Monetary Act which would allow only the government to print money – not financial corporations.
– Overturn Santa Clara v Southern Pacific Supreme Court decision –permitting corporations to be legally defined as “persons”
– Overturn Buckley v Valeo Supreme Court decision — equating money with free speech

Unless we acquire the right to decide and profoundly democratize society in general (beginning with money) all the issues we care will simply never be realized. We will never possess the power.

Democratization is a unifying issue. It can connect issues and constituencies. It can break us free from the silos that activists often find themselves within.

Thoreau said, “There are a 1000 hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”

Let us strike at the root rather than simply hack at the branches of the lack of democracy.

Crisis into Opportunity re State Debts

California is currently facing financial crisis. Like many states (including Ohio), it’s required to balance its budget. The global financial crisis has resulted in severe revenue decreases and spending increases to meet the economic and social needs of its citizens…just like Ohio.

Unable to balance its budget by July 1, the state began issuing IOUs. They can be thought of as a form of money. The article below looks at California’s crisis as an opportunity to rethink the issue of money and credit and to explore ways (namely forming a state bank) that would provide economic…and political…independence from corporate banks that bleed through interest payments all those (nations, states, individuals) who receive their loans.

Now is the time to democratize money!

CALIFORNIA’S EMPTY WALLET: TURNING CRISIS INTO OPPORTUNITY
Ellen Brown, June 30th, 2009
http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/california_wallet.php

“Our wallet is empty, our bank is closed and our credit is dried up.”
– Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, June 2, 2009

California State Controller John Chiang has warned that without a balanced budget in place by July 1, he will begin using IOUs to pay most of the state’s bills. On June 25, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a plan that would save the state $3 billion by cutting school spending, saying he would rather see the state issue IOUs than delay the funding problem with a piecemeal approach. The state’s total budget deficit is $24.3 billion.

Meanwhile, other funding doors are slamming closed. The Obama administration has said it will not use federal stimulus money to prop up California; and Fitch Ratings, a bond rating agency, announced that it was downgrading the credit rating of the state, which already has the lowest in the nation. Once downgraded, California’s rating is likely to fall below the minimum level legally required for most money market funds, forcing the funds to sell their California bonds. The result could be a cost of millions of additional dollars in higher interest rates for the state.

What to do? Perhaps California could take a lesson from the island state of Guernsey, located in the English Channel off the French Coast, which faced similar funding problems in the 19th century. Toby Birch, an asset manager who hails from there, tells the story in Gold News:

“As weary troops returned from a protracted foreign war [the Napoleonic Wars ending in 1815], they encountered a land racked with debt, high prices and a crumbling infrastructure, whose flood defenses were about to be overwhelmed . . . . While 1815 brought an end to the conflict on the battlefront, . . . severe austerity ensued on the home front. The application of the Gold Standard meant that loans issued over many years were then recalled to balance the ratio of money to precious metals. This led to economic gridlock as labor and materials were abundant, but much-needed projects could not be funded for want of cash.

“This led to a period of so-called ‘poverty amongst plenty’. . . . The situation seemed insoluble; existing borrowing costs were consuming 80% of the island’s revenues. What was already an unsustainable debt burden would need to be doubled to fund the two most essential infrastructure projects. This was when a committee of States members was formed . . . . The committee realized that if the Guernsey States issued their own notes to fund the project, rather than borrowing from an English bank, there would be no interest to pay. This would lead to substantial savings. Because as anyone with a mortgage should understand, the debtor ends up paying at least double the amount borrowed over the long-term.”

To prevent an unwanted inflation of the money supply, the Guernsey States issued the notes with a date due, and on that date the bearer was paid in gold. The money came from rents on the finished infrastructure, supplemented with a tax on liquor. Birch goes on:

“The end result of the Guernsey Experiment was spectacular – new roads, sea defenses and public buildings were established, fostering widespread trade and prosperity. Full employment was achieved, no deficits resulted and prices were stable, all without a penny paid in interest. What started as a trial led to a string of construction projects, which still stand and function to this day. Money was used in its purest form: as a convenient mechanism for oiling the wheels of commerce and development.”

Like Guernsey, California is facing “poverty amidst plenty.” The state has the eighth largest economy in the world, larger than Russia’s, Brazil’s, Canada’s and India’s. It has the resources, labor, and technical expertise to make just about anything its citizens put their minds to. The only thing lacking is the money to do it. But money is merely a medium of exchange, a means of getting suppliers, laborers and customers together so that they can produce and exchange products.

As has been explained elsewhere, today money is simply credit. All of our money except coins is created by banks when they make loans. The current crisis stems from a credit freeze that began on Wall Street in the fall of 2007, when banks were required to revalue their assets due to a change in accounting rules, from “mark to fantasy” to “mark to market.” Banks that were previously considered in good shape, with plenty of capital for making loans, suddenly came up short. Lending fell off, and so did the available money supply.

Just understanding the problem is enough to see the solution. If a private bank can create credit on its books, so can the mighty state of California. It merely needs to form its own bank. Under the “fractional reserve” lending system, banks are allowed to extend credit – or create money as loans – in a sum equal to many times their deposit base. Congressman Jerry Voorhis, writing in 1973, explained it like this:

“[F]or every $1 or $1.50 which people – or the government – deposit in a bank, the banking system can create out of thin air and by the stroke of a pen some $10 of checkbook money or demand deposits. It can lend all that $10 into circulation at interest just so long as it has the $1 or a little more in reserve to back it up.”3

The 10 percent reserve requirement is now largely obsolete, in part because banks have figured out how to get around it. What chiefly limits bank lending today is the 8 percent capital requirement imposed by the Bank for International Settlements, the head of the private global central banking system in Basel, Switzerland. With an 8 percent capital requirement, a state with its own bank could fan its revenues into 12.5 times their face value in loans (100 ÷ 8 = 12.5). And since the state would actually own the bank, it would not have to worry about shareholders or profits. It could lend to creditworthy borrowers at very low interest, perhaps limited only to a service charge covering its costs; and on loans the bank made to the state, the state would ultimately get the interest, making the loans essentially interest-free.

Precedent for this approach is to be found in North Dakota, one of only three states currently able to meet its budget. North Dakota is not only solvent but now boasts the largest surplus it has ever had. The Bank of North Dakota, the only state-owned bank in the nation, was established by the legislature in 1919 to free farmers and small businessmen from the clutches of out-of-state bankers and railroad men. By law, the state must deposit all its funds in the bank, and the state guarantees its deposits. The bank’s surplus profits are returned to the state’s coffers.

The bank operates as a bankers’ bank, partnering with private banks to loan money to farmers, real estate developers, schools and small businesses. It makes 1% loans to startup farms, has a thriving student loan business, and purchases municipal bonds from public institutions.

Looking at California’s budget figures, projected state revenues for 2009 are $128 billion. At a reserve requirement of 10%, if California deposited all $128 billion in its own state-owned bank, it could issue $1.28 trillion in loans, far more than it would need to cover its $23 billion budget shortfall. To lend itself the money to cover the shortfall, it would need only $2.3 billion in deposits and about $2 billion in capital (assuming an 8% capital requirement). What Sheldon Emry wrote of nations is equally true of states:

“It is as ridiculous for a nation to say to its citizens, ‘You must consume less because we are short of money,’ as it would be for an airline to say, ‘Our planes are flying, but we cannot take you because we are short of tickets.’”

As a card-carrying member of the banking elite, California could create all the credit it needs to fund its operations, with money to spare.

——

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her earlier books focused on the pharmaceutical cartel that gets its power from “the money trust.” Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are http://www.webofdebt.com and http://www.ellenbrown.com.

Garfield on Control

Meant to post this yesterday…

“Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.”
— James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States — from Ohio
[Shot on July 2, 1881, died 2 months later]

—-

In the United States, those who control the volume of money happen to be the private Federal Reserve and private banking corporations.