Young people expose money creation myth

PINE

An Open Letter to the Dean of SBE and all Economics Professors at Maastricht University (UM)
https://pinemaastricht.wordpress.com/pine-open-letter/?fbclid=IwAR3Sv7A1ReZTGUsd1Ks7FiMANBXOzCybqHpedMXG6Pnd2uuUyvHhDOM7JqE

Young people are increasingly stepping up to demand systemic change on many fronts — not just ecological but economic.

Here, it’s economic students blowing a hole into arguably THE greatest financial myth of all time — that banking corporations only lend money that they have. Total and complete BS. They create it out of thin air as debt. Why does this matter? When you add the fact that most money creation in our society originates from financial institutions as debt and that corporate money creation is THE greatest example of corporatization/ privatization in our society (a mammoth corporate coup since Art 1, Sec 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to coin money), what we have is a political and financial system controlled by financial corporations.

We’re all in debt to financial corporations — individuals, governments, even non-financial corporations. That means we’re all serfs to financial institutions. Even if you personally have no debt, a portion of everything you buy is priced to account for the debt of the producer.

Democratizing our money system goes hand-in-hand with democratizing our political system and Constitution. Good luck trying to having a real political democracy when banking corporations can create money out of nothing and convert their financial power into political power. The FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) industry remains #1 in legalized bribery (political donations) and right up there in lobbying. It’s been this way (sometimes dropping all the way down to #2) for a long time.

It’s also is directly connected to saving the planet. How? Under the current debt-based corporate money system, the only way to collectively to pay off debt (not just the principle, but interest — which wasn’t created by financial corporations) is to race and compete with one another in a system where there isn’t enough money to pay off our loans. We must race as fast as possible to earn as much as we can in competition with others, which for many in our economy means working at jobs which convert natural resources into stuff that can be sold/consumed as quickly as possible, which of course results in massive amounts of ecological “externalities” (trash, garbage, pollution). We absolutely MUST plunder the planet to collectively pay off our debts. Of course, it’s in the end a losing proposition for the losers of this race. The result — like addicts, more debt to pay off past debt (which of course means more interest payments due which weren’t created). It’s why we have cyclical financial bubbles and bursts of those bubbles when people/governments/non-financial corporations see more of their debt payments going to pay just the interest.

We’re now in the midst of the mother of all bubbles (what some call “the everything bubble” — the bursting of which in the next year or two will be devastating.

The alternative is publicly-created debt-free and inflation-free money. WE decide how much is created and where it should be spent, not financial corporations. Human and physical infrastructure is the priority. It’s how to fund any real Green New Deal. It’s what the NEED Act of a few years ago was all about.

Of course, we don’t have the people power to force the end of the banking coup of money creation. That must be the first step. And that’s where the #WethePeopleAmendment sponsored by #MovetoAmendcomes in. We have to take charge of our political system.

It won’t be easy.

The Second National Bank of the U.S. threatened to cause a financial depression (by calling in all their loans) when their corporate charter was not going to be renewed in the 1830’s. Cleveland’s banks threatened default of the city (and followed through) when then Mayor Dennis Kucinich refused to sell the city’s public electrical utility to CEI, the private electric utility (tied to the banks). By the way, Kucinich was the main sponsor of the NEED Act when in Congress. He gets it. We must too.

Financial corporations have the most to lose to democratize our political and monetary systems. They will both push (lobbying and political investments/contributions) and pull (call in loans) as means to disrupt, demean and distract.

What choice to we have?

It’s Up To Us To End The Corporate Monarchy

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https://movetoamend.org/its-us-end-corporate-monarchy

The fascination of the 29 million people in the United States who watched the British Royal Wedding over the weekend transcended the pageantry of the event and star power of the celebrity guests. In part, the interest was also due to trying to understand the current role of the monarchy in British society.

British Kings and Queens no longer possess unlimited authority. Dictating and defining virtually every action within the far-reaching British Empire is history —  British royalty today are mere figureheads, soap opera-like curiosities to many to distract attention from the day-to-day problems of life.

While people in the US are no longer “subjects” to British Kings and Queens following the colonial revolution, it would be a mistake to conclude We the People have authentically assumed ultimate or “sovereign” power to self-rule.

It’s never been true and much less true today as corporations, which at one time possessed only those powers and privileges granted by We the People through corporate charters, have fought in the courts to win constitutional rights.

Corporations increasingly act like monarchs.

These never-intended rights have allowed corporations to capture our government and elected officials. The continual and far-reaching wedding of corporations and politicians takes many forms — most of which don’t make television and aren’t of the feel-good, Camelot variety. Their nuptial offspring have been laws that harm people, communities and the planet — adversely affecting health care, education, jobs, housing, trade, budgets, food, transportation, energy, the environment, taxes, finance, and more.

If We the People are to be real rulers, then we have to end corporate rule.

Move to Amend is the only organization that not only takes on the undemocratic, unjust and unsustainable role of corporate personhood, we do something about it — specifically working for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate constitutional rights.

That’s what our We the People Amendment with its 56 co-sponsors in the House of Represenatives, and hundreds of nationwide resolutions and ballot initiatives, and hundreds of other organizational endorsements are all about.

We seek to end corporate monarchy.

To be legitimately politically independent beyond the reach of corporations, government or big foundations, Move to Amend must be economically independent. We must rely for the vast majority of our funding from people like you — dedicated to ending corporate rule and creating authentic democracy. 

Support Move to Amend. We are still $80,000 short, and we need everyone to pitch in — now! Even better than a one time donation is a pledge to invest in the movement to amend by making your donation monthly.

Royal weddings may be fascinating. But it will take many more than the 100,000 people in the streets who gawked at the royal union to royally volunteer your time, energy and resources to divorce corporations from government and governance.

That’s a disunion worth not only watching, but being a part of! Join us!

Thank you,
Greg Coleridge
Outreach Director, Move to Amend

Rebuilding the infrastructure of democracy

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http://www.heightsobserver.org/read/2017/03/30/rebuilding-the-infrastructure-of-democracy

by Greg Coleridge

From the local to the global, the ability of people to govern ourselves has been under assault for many decades. We can expect this to intensify for multiple reasons, including:

• Business corporations seeking huge profits by converting what once had been “public” to “private” (called privatization, though a more descriptive term would be “corporatization”), including traditional public assets such as water and sewer systems, roads, police and fire protection, airports, hospitals and schools.
• Individuals looking to increase their power, status and/or privileges by concentrating decision-making from many (“We the People” and government) to a few (their own) hands.
• Continual legal and constitutional definitions that further restrict and redefine “public” arenas as other “p” words: private, property, proprietary, privileged—and thus [place them] beyond the reach of public planning, shaping and evaluation.
• A national government that uses the excuse of “terrorism” to stifle dissent, intimidate dissenters and interrupt efforts of self-determination, even at the local level.
• A culture that tells us public policies are too complicated for ordinary people to understand (thus restricting policymaking to “experts”); distracts public attention from self-determination, toward the trivial and inane; worships “the market” as the sole route to financial and economic salvation; defines economic arenas as outside the scope of public input; erases the memory of historical examples of citizen control and self-governance; denigrates anything that is “public” as inefficient, wasteful, outdated and dangerous; celebrates anything “private” as efficient, modern and safe; and encourages social isolation, keeping us from learning from each other and organizing to (re)assert meaningful changes.

There is another side to this—an existing democratic/self-determination culture or “infrastructure” that perhaps many of us seldom think about. Alternatives to corporations, corporate governance and elite control exist right now in our communities and states.

Scores of documents, policies, institutions, structures and groups reflecting inclusiveness, accountability and responsibility are commonplace—[and provide] examples [of] where those who are affected by decisions and policies have a legitimate role in the making of those decision—or could [have] if we made the effort. They are where “We the People” have a voice—or could if we merely flexed our self-determination muscles.

Examples of a democratic infrastructure abound right here in the Heights, including:

• A legacy of active citizen engagement over many decades, on many issues, through block or street groups and communitywide campaigns.
• Municipal charters (our local constitutions) defining the cities’ overarching governing rules, including provisions for charter amendments.
• Council elections, open and televised meetings, public records, and multiple boards and commissions composed of citizens who advise and assist our city councils.
• Public fire, police, water and other basic municipal services.
• Municipal courts and citizen juries.
• A public library system.
• Public schools with an elected school board, active engagement of parents and even a student union.
• Labor unions of city workers, teachers and others.
• This publication, the Heights Observer, a volunteer, not-for-profit hyper-local news source.
• P.E.A.C.E. Park and other public spaces where events that build community occur.
• Vibrant groups of residents, such as Noble Neighbors and the Cain Park Neighborhood Association, who have formed to fight foreclosures and revitalize their neighborhoods.
• Community gardens and the City Fresh community supported agricultural (CSA) program.
• Nearby community credit unions, which, unlike banks, are member-owned and governed.
• Active social action or change organizations, including Sustainable Heights Network, Heights Community Congress, the Heights Coalition for Public Education, Reaching Heights and FutureHeights.

It’s all too easy to take the above examples for granted, even if some are not (yet) perfect democratic expressions. When we fail to utilize or be involved in them, they will wither and die or will be manipulated, eliminated, replaced or co-opted by corporations, top-down government and/or the powerful few.

To really make the Heights the “Heights of Democracy” will require us all to be actively engaged in strengthening our democratic infrastructure.

Guest columnist Greg Coleridge, a Cleveland Heights resident, is coordinator of the Move to Amend Ohio Campaign and writer of the blog Create Real Democracy (https://createrealdemocracy.wordpress.com). He can be reached at gcoleridge1@gmail.com.

THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY IN OHIO LOOKS LIKE! Ohio’s Democratic/Self-Determination “Infrastructure”

DemocraticInfrastructure

We are pleased to present our January, 2017 updated edition.

To read the full report, go to: https://www.afsc.org/sites/afsc.civicactions.net/files/documents/DemocraticInfrastructure.pdf

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From the Introduction…

From the local to the global, the ability of people to govern themselves is under assault, which will intensify over the next four years. Some of the major sources of this attack are:

• Business corporations looking to make huge profits by converting what once had been “public” to “private” (“privatization,“ though a more descriptive term would be “corporatization”), including traditional public assets like water and sewer systems, roads, police and fire protection, airports, hospitals, and schools.

• Individuals looking to increase their power, status, and/or privileges by concentrating decision-making from many hands (We the People and government) to few (their own).

• A culture that reinforces notions that public policies are too complicated for ordinary people to understand (thus leaving policy making to experts); that distracts public attention away from self-determination toward the trivial and inane; that worships “the market” as the route to financial and economic salvation which is not to be regulated or controlled; that define certain arenas (economic in particular) as outside the scope of public input; that continues to erase memory of any/all historical examples of citizen control and definition of their lives; that equates anything that is “public” as being inefficient, wasteful, decrepit, and dangerous and anything “private” as efficient, modern and safe; and that keeps people separated to learn from one another and organize to (re)assert meaningful changes.

• Continual legal and constitutional definitions that further “enclose” and redefine “public” arenas as other “p” words: “private,” “property,” “proprietary,” “privileged” — and thus beyond the reach of public planning, public shaping, and public evaluation.

• A national government that under the guise of “terrorism” has given itself permission to stifle dissent, intimidate dissenters, and interrupt efforts of self-determination.

But there is another side to this – a democratic/self-determination culture or “infrastructure.” Alternatives to corporations, corporate governance and elite control exist in our communities and across the state.

Scores of documents, policies, institutions, structures and groups reflecting inclusiveness are in place – examples where those who are affected by decisions and policies have a legitimate role in the shaping and making of those decisions… or could if we made the effort. They are where We the People have a voice… or could have a real voice if we merely flexed our self-determination muscles…

Response to PD OpEd, “Let’s debate getting our fiscal house in order”

Greenback.

Let’s debate getting our fiscal house in order: Sandy Cutler and Maya MacGuineas (Opinion)
http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/08/lets_debate_getting_our_fiscal.html

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This was my posting at the end of yesterday’s opinion piece on cleveland.com…

Why is it they everyone who talks about the debt only considers spending and/or tax policies as possible alternatives?  There is an entire third arena that is constantly ignored: monetary policy. Namely, the power and authority of government to create its own debt-free and inflation-free money. This is, incidentally, what the father of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, did in the 1860’s when “Greenbacks” were printed and circulated. Rather than be fleeced by bankers and their incredible interest rates, Lincoln simply encouraged what the US Constitution (Art 1, Sec 8) empowers and authorizes Congress to do: “to coin Money.” That means to print. Not banks (which create the vast quantity of our nation’s money as debt). Not the bankers bank — the Federal Reserve. But, rather, our government.

US money created for productive purposes (vs speculating — which banks are masters at doing — leading to perpetual booms and busts) is not inflationary. Many top global economists have documented this.

We need Sovereign money. Democratic money. That is exactly the plan of the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act, which was introduced in the last Congress. A political independent publicly accountable body would determine the quantity of money needing to be created and Congress, like now, would decide how to spend it. The plan is at https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2990

The NEED Act would make the largely private and misnamed Federal Reserve system accountable to the public, not their investors (all banking corporations); end the ability of banks to create money out of thin air and leverage their loans (called “fractional reserve lending”); and create several trillion dollars hiring millions of people to repair our nation’s infrastructure. Federal bonds, bills and notes would be redeemed when they came due with US money — thereby overtime ending the anti-democratic addiction of debt and dependency to creditors. It also could reduce overtime taxes.

Republican candidates for President in Cleveland should be asked whether they support creation of a new “Greenback” program similar to their party’s founder, Abe Lincoln, as a means to reduce the national debt, increase jobs, repair our nation’s infrastructure (mandatory for any economic expansion), reduce the economic and political power of banks (the #1 sector contributor/investor in federal elections) AND to expand democracy?

I would love to hear their responses.

Using the Public Power to Create Money to Create Jobs, Repair Infrastructure & Reduce Debt

Audio of AFSC Monthly Conference Call Conversation

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Speaker: Joe Bongiovanni — Co-Director of the Kettle Pond Institute, second generation monetary reformer, annual speaker at the American Monetary Institute national conference.

Joe discussed the topics of money and how it’s created by banking corporations, how monetary policy connects to the economy and our lives, and why it’s important to become monetarily literate, He talks and answers questions about the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act, which if enacted would infuse debt-free money into our economy to meet our basic physical and human needs, create jobs and reduce our national debt.

http://afsc.org/audio/afsc-monthly-conference-call-conversation-joe-bongiovanni-part-1

http://afsc.org/audio/afsc-monthly-conference-call-conversation-joe-bongiovanni-part-2

Fund Crumbling Infrastructure by Democratizing Money Creation

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Our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling. It’s estimated that more than $2 trillion is needed to repair the decaying roads, bridges, sewers and other basic physical assets across the nation.

Money will soon run out of the highway trust fund to repair roads. Congress needs to decide what to do. Ideas are many, but fall into 3 categories: go further into debt, increase taxes or shift existing funds (i.e. rob Peter to pay Paul).

There is a 4th option — to create debt-free and inflation-free US money, as proposed by the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act — HR 2990 in the last Congress.

The US could simply create US notes equal to what’s needed to pay for engineering, materials, labor, etc. This is not the same as the misnamed Federal Reserve (more of a private than public entity) creating money out-of-thin-air through their Quantitative Easing nonsense that has mostly helped Wall Street and fueled ever more speculative bubbles.

US money, similar to what action President Lincoln took in creating federal “Greenbacks,” has no attached interest payments. Several prominent economists, including IMF’s Michael Kumhof, have said this type of public money creation does not increase inflation when such funds are used for needed functions.

Of course, bankers hate the idea. One of the major sources of profits by banking corporations is interest from loans. Banking corporations don’t want anything to impede the license they’re been given to create money. When the US borrows, it in essence borrows money that it could have created. The difference is the US has to pay back the loan plus interest.

No wonder HR 2990 didn’t get very far in the last Congress. Banking corporations got their monies worth via lobbying and political campaign investment thanks to their never-intended First Amendment constitutional free speech “rights” to prevent public creation of public money. Even the idea of democratic public money creation must be suppressed.

Canadian economist William Hixson said:

“The very idea of a government that can create money for itself, allowing banks to create money that the government then borrows, and pays interest on, is so preposterous that it staggers the imagination. Either everyone in government in charge of the procedure is lacking in intelligence or they have been bought and paid for by those who profit from their skullduggery and their infidelity to the public interest.”

Seven million jobs would be created under the NEED Act. Over $2 trillion would be injected into the economy.

We should all ask US Senator Sherrod Brown (who’s on the Senate Banking Committee) to introduce the NEED Act. This would, at least, create a vehicle for mass education — necessary to build awareness and, hopefully, a movement for eventual passage.

More info on the NEED Act is at http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf