5 Reactions to Foreign Affairs Article Advocating Giving Money Directly to People

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Print Less but Transfer More: Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141847/mark-blyth-and-eric-lonergan/print-less-but-transfer-more

1.    It is shocking that the current article in Foreign Affairs calls for saving the plunging economy by giving money directly to people for consumption. Shocking in that Foreign Affairs, the publication of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) appears to be advocating a radical populist plan of income redistribution. CFR is a think tank of the power elite. It’s also surprising that CFR, which focuses on foreign policy and international affairs, would be advocating a plan that is seemingly exclusively domestic.

2. It is predictable that the current article in Foreign Affairs calls for saving the plunging economy by giving money directly to people for consumption. Consumer spending represents upwards of two-thirds of the U.S. economy. People aren’t spending because they don’t have money — due to stagnant wages, rising prices and large debt. The power elite realizes the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing (QE) program, which injected over $4 trillion into the economy which ended up in bank coffers and in the stock market, achieved little in real terms to generate real economic activity — which is based on demand. If people in the middle and bottom don’t demand stuff, producers won’t produce stuff. It’s also predictable because the power elite realize people are angry and may begin, as billionaire Nick Hanauer suggests, to wield pitchforks if they aren’t helped and the rising rich-poor gap isn’t closed. Move over, the Federal Reserve has run out of monetary tools to spur the economy — injecting money to bankers and lowering interest rates to zero hasn’t worked. Handing out money may also blunt increasing calls to abolish or nationalize the Fed.

3. The proposed plan contains a concept contained in the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act. This was the bill introduced in the two previous sessions of the U.S. House of Representatives which called for giving every single person in the US a certain fixed amount of money to help meet their needs. Most people, especially in the economic middle or bottom, would spend the money almost immediately, thereby, injected cash into the economy and creating an economic multiplier — with hopefully each dollar injected being exchanged multiple times. The concept is sound.

4. The specifics of the proposed plan are unsound. It appear the Foreign Affairs authors call for the US government to do further into debt to come up with the necessary initial cash, which would be invested in a bundle of diverse market investments that supposedly would earn 5% over 15 years. After that time, the proceeds would be distributed by the Federal Reserve, not the US Government, to the lowest earning 80% of the population into tax-exempt savings accounts with constrains on how the money could be spent (presumably spending on high speculative derivatives would not be on the list). What’s the plan between now and 15 years from now? Does the Fed in their right banking corporation-serving mind believe people can tread economic water for 15 years? Or will the mere fact that announcing that people are going to receive cash 15 years into the future enough to generate sufficient consumer confidence that people will go on a spending binge? Lastly, what exactly happens if and when the “diverse market investments” plummet anytime over the next 15 years? The markets are currently in extreme bubble territory. Will this plan only go into effect after a crash when the market resets 30% – 60% lower than today?

5. If economists (connected to the Fed or otherwise), policymakers and the public are serious about examining “outside the box” alternatives to (a) going into more debt, (b) robbing Peter to pay Paul spending shifts, or (c) significantly raising income taxes to generate funds to put into people’s hands, they should examine a fourth option: putting debt-free and inflation-free money into people’s hands by enacting legislation that would nationalize the private Federal Reserve system, end the practice of banks lending many times more than they actually possess (fractional reserve banking), and shifting the authority back from banking corporations to We the People in creating and distributing our own money, as called for in the US Constitution. US Money, similar to Greenbacks created by the Lincoln Administration, could be used to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, provide funding for needed investments at the state level and provide every person a certain amount of funds. Limited democratically controlled money creation would shift our nations money from banking corporations to people. The Fed isn’t stupid. Their plan seeks to co-opt the populist idea of bottom-up money distribution. We need to promote the real thing.

NEO AFSC August 29, 2014 Podcast

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Listen to podcast here:  http://afsc.org/audio/neo-afsc-august-29-2014-podcast

We summarize last week’s activities; announce upcoming events for next week; and comment on the call to Gov. Kasich to extend statewide a work requirement waiver to receive federal food stamps; the need to hold hearings and the corporate connections related to the poisoning of Toledo’s water system; corporate “inversions,” perversions and conversions; and a Labor Day weekend labor quiz question…and answer.

Madison on Government

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“It has been said that all Government is an evil. It would be more proper to say that the necessity of any government is a misfortune. This necessity however exists; and the problem to be solved is, not what form of government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect; and here the general question must be between a republican Government in which the majority rule the minority, and a government in which a lesser number or the least number rule the majority.

The result… is, that we must refer to the monitory reflection that no government of human device and human administration can be perfect; that that which is the least imperfect is therefore the best government; that the abuses of all other governments have led to the preference of republican government as the best of all governments, because the least imperfect; that the vital principle of republican government is the lex majoris parties, the will of the majority.”

— James Madison,

The trick, of course, is to find the right balance in government between direct and representative democracy in a manner where the will of the majority, in fact, prevails but where the basic inalienable rights (political, economic, social) of the minority are protected. Friends or Quakers believe in consensus decision-making, where the voice of every person is authentically heard: a worthy goal but impractical of a nation of hundreds of millions. The goal, however, should always be kept in mind as we constantly (re)adjust the terms for living together in society.

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR August 25 – 31

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AUGUST 29

1632 – BIRTH OF JOHN LOCKE, ENGLISH PHILOSOPHER
“Observe well these rules: It is a very common mistake to say that money is a commodity…Bullion is valued by its weight…money is valued by its stamp.”

1786 – BEGINNING OF SHAYS’ REBELLION
Sparked in large part by personal debt, nonpayment of salaries, and collapse of the national currency, farmers in Massachusetts, led by Daniel Shays, attack a US Armory. The lack of a focused response to the uprisings led to calls to reforming the Articles of Confederation. The Philadelphia Convention, which followed, rather than reforming the Articles of Confederation, created a new more centralized Constitution. While less democratic in many ways (as it was drafted by and gave exclusive rights ony to white, male landowners), the new Constitution empowered the government to coin its own money, separate from banks and financial institutions.

2005 – DEATH OF JUDE THADDEUS WANNISKI, AMERICAN JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL ECONOMIST
“There was a big party at Morgan Stanley after the Mexican peso devaluation, people from all over Wall Street came, they drank champagne and smoked cigars and congratulated themselves on how they pulled it off and they made a fortune.”

AUGUST 30

1930 – BIRTH OF WARREN BUFFET, INVESTOR
“Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.”

AUGUST 31

1959 – ROBERT B. ANDERSON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY UNDER PRESIDENT EISENHOWER
“When a bank makes a loan it simply adds to the borrowers’ deposit account in the bank by the amount of the loan.  The money is not taken from anyone else’s deposit; it was not previously paid in to the bank by anyone.  It’s new money, created by the bank for the use of the borrower.”

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Why this calendar? Many people have questions about the root causes of our economic problems. Some questions involve money, banks and debt. How is money created? Why do banks control its quantity? How has the money system been used to liberate (not often) and oppress (most often) us? And how can the money system be “democratized” to rebuild our economy and society, create jobs and reduce debt? Our goal is to inform, intrigue and inspire through bite size weekly postings listing important events and quotes from prominent individuals (both past and present) on money, banking and how the money system can help people and the planet. We hope the sharing of bits of buried history will illuminate monetary and banking issues and empower you with others to create real economic and political justice. This calendar is a project of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Adele Looney, Phyllis Titus, Donna Schall, Leah Davis, Alice Francini, Deb Jose and Greg Coleridge helped in its development. Please forward this to others and encourage them to subscribe. To subscribe/unsubscribe or to comment on any entry, contact monetarycalendar@yahoo.com

NEO AFSC August 22, 2014 Podcast

podcasticon

We summarize last week’s activities; announce upcoming events for next week; and comment on why economically strapped voters are and are likely to continue to vote down local tax levies; the impact of big banks buying Congress; how the record Bank of America settlement will not help homeowners; how wage growth is the worst of any so-called economic “recovery” since WWII; how Ferguson, MO is not just about race but about class; and what the impact would be if the law treated people as corporations in the same way that they’re treating corporations as people.

WHY POCLAD SUPPORTS THE MOVE TO AMEND COMMITMENT TO AN ANTI-OPPRESSION ORGANIZING FRAMEWORK

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POCLAD was formed over 20 years ago with the premise that transnational corporate CEO’s did not merely exercise power, but that they had become de facto rulers. We argued that the Constitution was created by a ruling elite of propertied white men to protect their property rights over the human rights of “the rabble” (never mind the rights of ecosystems), and that Supreme Court decisions granting corporations constitutional rights and misinterpreting the commerce clause had created an entire legal system that allowed a predatory class to wield the power of law and culture to subvert the will of the people. We began using the phrase “corporate rule” to try to describe this illegitimate usurpation. We also argued that the systems of male domination, white supremacy, European imperialism and the exploitation of the working and non-working class was the toxic interconnected foundation upon which corporate rule was built.

We provoked lots of good conversations, and grappled with many people. We know that many of you reading this have been part of those conversations from the very beginning.  We are proud of the role that POCLAD played (along with MANY others) in helping to nurture what has blossomed into an actual democracy movement in this country. And not a moment too soon! As we witness the ecological, economic and political collapse being caused by corporate rule and the widening political influence of the super rich, it is clear to us that only a broad, deeply conscious and educated mass movement can create the just, peaceful, ecologically sustainable society we so desperately need, and so richly deserve.

We are thrilled to see that our work has helped to inspire so many people, including the founders of Move To Amend. (As a matter of full disclosure, all of us still active as POCLAD now support Move To Amend in one capacity or another). We are such avid members and supporters because we believe that Move to Amend is one of the premiere examples of groups doing the deep grappling and political education necessary to understand the social, legal, and historical basis for corporate rule.

It is in that spirit that we offer our praise, support, and appreciation for the Move To Amend commitment to an anti-oppression organizing framework that understands and accepts that it will take a broad and deep social movement to win real democracy in this country. Because they know what we know and what you know– there is not some mythological age of American democracy to “restore” or to “reclaim.”

In order to create real democracy, the phrase “We the People” must include all of the people. (D’uh). But let’s not forget or sweep under the collective rug of our political consciousness that when the Constitution was originally drafted only wealthy, white land-owning men were understood to be legal “persons.” It took broad and deep social movements to drive other human persons into the definition of “legal personhood.”

Let us be crystal clear – corporatism can’t exist without white supremacy and racism; it depends on a ‘throwaway’ class of people who must suffer to maintain the comfort of the rich and powerful elite. We know this is nothing new. “Divide and conquer” is the oldest game in empire’s playbook. It has been—and still is—used by elites to retain their privilege and maintain minority control over the majority.

It’s not out of some sense of altruism that we promote these ideas. Yes, it is the “right thing to do.” But in addition, it MUST be done. Quite simply, the only way our movement will have the power needed to make such revolutionary change is if we commit ourselves to doing this work.

We literally cannot have a successful democracy movement — let alone a real democracy — without centralizing the economic and political realities of people of color, and following their leadership in changing these realities. Those realities include mass incarceration, police harassment, beatings, and murder.

That is partly because the rules of law and culture have been historically applied unequally by race. The objective reality is that white males are treated with privilege, and punishments are harsher for crimes committed by people of color. In order to win a democracy movement, systemic racism must be uprooted from both law and culture.

Since the most critical barrier to organizing an effective mass movement is race, Move to Amend has engaged in an ongoing study for the past year among its local leadership to examine race in our country. They have been studying and learning the way race was manufactured historically in the United States to prop up corporate rule, and how it continues to prevent us from winning the world that most of us want.

People bring with them the social constructs they learn as innocent children. No one is immune to the biases inherent in their upbringing and culture– including you the reader and we the collective members of POCLAD writing this essay.

American society divides us into status groups and attaches different values to each. Typically, white people rank higher than people of color, and the deeper the color, the lower the rank. Men have a higher rank than women, youth is valued over age, physically and mentally challenged people are marginalized, and Christians rank above other religious groups. Non-heterosexuals are seen as flawed, and poor people are treated as lesser no matter how hard they work. Wealthy people are admired and catered to regardless of how they accumulated that wealth. Though these generalizations do not always hold, in most cases they are the norm. This is a shocking realization to confront for many of us, but it is absolutely essential to do so. These different valuations show up as personal prejudices and are woven into the fabric of our culture and our organizations, and they impact the ways we experience and understand the world.

Diversity is a key factor in producing high quality work as a team. Along with differences come a variety of perspectives, which give a richer base for understanding situations and coming up with successful solutions. At the root of many institutional problems in U.S. culture is our history that decisions are made by a homogeneous group of middle- and upper-class white men. Today’s world is far too complex to be negotiated by a homogeneous group, no matter how many credentials they possess. If our goal is a society that is just and that maximizes human potential, it is also necessary to reject the oppressive programming that ranks some groups of people higher than others.

Move to Amend is building a multi-racial, multi-generational movement demanding real democracy, an end to corporate rule, and justice for all with two central goals as an organization:
1. Amend the Constitution to read that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech
2. Create genuine, justice-driven, participatory democracy in the United States.

POCLAD supports and endorses Move to Amend’s efforts, and we share their belief that building a democracy movement requires a commitment to dismantle the structures of exploitation and a dedication to building just structures and cultures in their place.

So we of the POCLAD collective invite and lovingly challenge our supporters to join us in not only supporting Move To Amend, but to also participate with their Movement Building Internal Education Project (https://movetoamend.org/education).

With respect and commitment,
David Cobb
Greg Coleridge
Mike Ferner
Lewis Pitts
Jim Price
Virginia Rasmussen
Mary Zepernick

Permalink: http://poclad.org/BWA/2014/BWA_2014_Aug.html

Make a donation to POCLAD. Contribute what ever you can online at http://poclad.org/donate.html or by sending it to POCLAD, P.O. Box 246, S. Yarmouth MA 02664. For a tax deduction, send your check of $50 or more — earmarked for “POCLAD”– to the Jane Addams Peace Association, 777 United Nations Plaza, 6th Floor, New York City, NY, 10017. Thank you!

Corporate War and Profit Cycle

This is how it works: the military industrial complex producing weapons that ends up in the hands of both sides of a conflict. Of course, military upgrades will be requested by the War Department (which is what “the Pentagon” was called until 1947) to maintain an edge, which increases the profits of military contracting corporations, to be paid for by the government which will go further into debt to banking corporations, which produce money out of thin air as loans to the government, to be paid back at interest, increasing bank profits. Empire wins. Military contracting corporations win. Banking corporations win. We he People lose.

In Iraq, U.S. is spending millions to blow up captured American war machines
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/08/18/how-much-it-costs-the-u-s-to-blow-up-captured-u-s-military-hardware-in-iraq/