Archive for December 2012

DOC Meeting notes 12/12/12

12/16/2012
Democracy Over Corporations
Meeting notes
12/12/12
 
Gini Coover – facilitator
1. Bill Safranek shared a letter he had written to Senator Sherrod Brown, applauding Brown’s co-sponsorship of the disclosure act, and urging him to speak out on the need for Constitutional amendment in response to the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court. A copy of the letter is below. Bill urged that DOC members all contact Brown to speak out on this issue.
I urge that all of you do that. If you do, please send to DOC a copy of your letter. We will collate these and use them in a follow up with Brown in a personal meeting as Bill has suggested.
Bill reported meeting recently with Debbie Phillips and Debbie Silverstein, of SPAN-Ohio, discussing what state representatives and senators might be receptive to moving toward an Ohio resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to end to corporate personhood and to specify that campaign contributions do not constitute speech protected by the first amendment. Several other states have now adopted such resolutions. People interested in working with Bill in establishing ongoing contacts with legislators, contact Bill (bill.safranek@gmail.com).
2. Dick McGinn reported on his efforts toward getting the Athens City Council to put an Athens Bill of Rights on the November ballot. The ordinance appeals to language in the Ohio Constitution to enable the city to prohibit fracking and fracking related activities in defense of the implied right to clean water. Dick has assembled a committee, The Bill of Rights Committee (BORC), with representatives from the various neighborhood groups in Athens, to push this forward. Those interested in working with Dick on this should contact him (mcginn@ohio.edu).
3. The educational portion of the meeting consisted of a talk by John Howell on Monetary Reform. The essential component of monetary reform is to return to the government the authority to create money.
It was privatized by the 1913 Federal Reserve Act. Few people realize that money is created out of nothing by banks when they make loans, but that is the current situation. People tend to think that government creates money, since government agencies print bills and mint coins. But the bills (Federal Reserve Notes) are made available to the Fed for the cost of printing, and the vast majority of the money supply (~97%) is digital – in the form of computer entries, created solely by the private banks which make up the Federal Reserve System. The government has to borrow the money, which it prints, from the Fed or other sources. Another common misconception is that banks loan out money they actually have. But they are only required to have a fraction, typically 10%, of the amount they loan out; the rest they create. All money is created as debt.Banks create the principle, but not the interest. Consequently there is more debt than there is money.
John described the contents of the bill, H.R. 2990 introduced to change these practices, and the history of the effort going back going back to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Great Depression. He pointed out that H.R. 2990 has been thoroughly analyzed by economists at the International Monetary Fund and has been showed to produce, with no new taxes and with a reduction of the federal debt, a 10% stimulus to the economy that can be used for infrastructure projects. The current system, on the other hand, continually transfers money from the many to the few and is unsustainable. John directed people to two websites for more information, monetary. org and positivemoney.org.uk.
4. The next DOC meeting will be the second Wednesday of January 9 at UCM.
John Howell
P.S. Thanks to those of you who offered feedback and constructive criticism in the small groups. It will help me improve the presentation.

Monetary reform: why it is essential to the sustainability of the economy and of society

12/11/2012

John Howell – presenting

See the letter below, which has been sent to our senators and congressman.

According to Senator Sanders, speaking on the Senate floor, Mr. Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman-Sachs, and his Wall Street colleagues are lobbying Congress hard to avoid the “fiscal cliff” by cutting social service benefits. These are the guys who caused the recession we are in, through their irresponsible actions, were bailed out by the government (by us), and now want to solve the problem they created by cutting social services! Lloyd Blankfein was paid $16.1 million in 2011, a 14 percent increase while earnings fell 47 percent. During the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs received a total of $814 billion in virtually zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve and a $10 billion bailout from the U.S. Treasury. Goldman Sachs received a $278 million refund from the IRS in 2008, even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion that year. (http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/media/view/?id=55a0f9e5-5c9e-42ad-b451-dc037215e022)

As naïve as it may sound, there is a bill before this Congress, H.R. 2990, which would solve the current fiscal problem. It provides a way for Congress to increase infrastructure and social service spending while reducing the federal debt, all with reduced taxes. H.R. 2990 changes the way money is created.

Since the 1913 Federal Reserve Act all money, except coins, is created by the member banks of the Federal Reserve System; it is created as debt, when banks loan money – to individuals, to businesses and to the government. Although the Board of Governors of the Fed is federally appointed, the member banks, which do the business of the Fed, are privately owned. The Federal Reserve Act privatized the creation of money, terminating the issuance of “greenbacks,” government money, first issued during the Lincoln administration.

Why should any particular group of businessmen, namely bankers, be given the very lucrative authority to create money? Why should any group be given that authority, when Article 1, section 8, of the Constitution gives it to Congress?

H.R. 2990 returns the creation of money, and its lucrative benefits, to the Federal government – to the people. Under 2990, instead of borrowing money to cover the difference between tax revenues and expenditures, the government uses the money it creates. There is nothing to be paid back to private sources and no interest payments due.

H.R. 2990 is based on the Chicago Plan, originally proposed by distinguished economists during the 1930’s. The Plan has now been quantitatively analyzed by economists, including from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), using modern analytical techniques, and shown to be feasible and to be without inflationary or deflationary effects. (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2012/wp12202.pdf)

So with H.R. 2990 everyone is a winner! How can that be? There must be losers. The only losers are the central bankers, the Mr. Blankfeins of Wall Street. They lose this extraordinary privilege they have enjoyed, namely the authority to create money, which has made them wealthy and powerful, a privilege which they have badly abused. Isn’t this really who should lose, rather than you and your constituents?

If you or your staff would like more information about this, I would be happy to meet with you.

John Howell, 12/2/12