- Politics and Social Issues»
- United States Politics
Hillary or Trump.....who would stand up to the Fed?
The Ghost Issue.....
In the thick of this year's election fight, we are engrossed in an unusual election year competition.
Frankly, this whole election has been rather strange.
For example; for the first time in years, the contest (almost) fielded two "outsider" candidates from both parties, one ultimately winning out and one giving an establishment figure a serious challenge.
In many ways, I feel as if this rather unusual election duel is made highly interesting by two dynamic leaders - one, a woman (the first ever to receive a major party nomination for president) who seems to be fearless in her convictions and the other an outsider businessman who, though hated by many in his party establishment, managed to beat out many of the party establishment's candidates to win a nomination.
So, keeping in theme with this year's political tendency to skirt the norm, I will not be arguing (at least not directly) tax issues, immigration, or gun rights. Others will do that for me.
I wish to discuss, however, what I feel should be a major point of discussion for every debate - monetary policy and The United States Federal Reserve.
Let me be clear - I am a Trump fan. .
But I'm going to present the facts for each candidate's position on the Fed and hopefully spark a bit of debate on this - because there needs to be one.
The "Fathers" of the Fed.....
The Federal Reserve - the "Fed" to most - has been around for a very long time. In fact, it is the only money issuing authority I have ever known as an American Citizen.
Established in 1913, the United States Federal Reserve was the brainchild of America's banking Elite - A. Piatt Andrew (Assistant Treasury Secretary), Frank Vanderlip (President of National City Bank of New York); Henry P. Davison (Senior Partner at J.P. Morgan Company); Benjamin Strong (associate at J.P. Morgan and President of Banker's Trust and Co.) and Paul Warburg, heir of the Warburg banking family.
On the political side, the movement to create the Fed was spearheaded by Senator Nelson Aldrich, father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
The origins of the Fed can be traced back to 1910 when the above mentioned people met on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia met in secret at the Jekyll Island Club who's membership included the Morgans, Rockefellers, Warburgs, and Rothschilds. Their mission was simple; create a draft of a reform the nation's banking industry.
At the time, the banking industry was in turmoil and they knew there was bound to be legislation aimed at controlling their industry. The country was without a central bank and there was a lot of instability: according to gilderlehrman.org, "Banking panics occurred in 1873, 1884, 1893, and 1907. The last was especially embarrassing because by 1907 the US economy was the largest in the world, as was the US banking system."
In trying to establish a central bank, the Jekyll island group had plenty of American history upon which to draw.
Amid financial trouble in 1781 during the ending stages of the American Revolution, Congress chartered the Bank of North America at the behest of Robert Morris, then a wealthy shipping merchant who was "superintendent of Finance" of the United States.
The Bank eventually failed to win the favor of the public, so by the end of the war. it was downgraded from a National Bank to a private commercial bank.
The next effort was led by Alexander Hamilton who was opposed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Hamilton won out and the First Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791.
Like the Bank of North America, it had the power to create paper money and loan it to the government with nothing backing it, payable back to the bank with interest.
By 1795, the government sold off 20% of its share in the bank, making the bank fully private. By 1811 when the bank's charter had run its course, it was permitted to expire by a congress answerable to a rather angry public.
Under the auspices of that bank, prices had risen 72%.
Off and on again, our country has gone with and without a central bank issuing the Nation's currency.
Throughout the years, there have been many who stood staunchly against such a system.
Perhaps the most stringent opponent of the creation of a central bank was President Andrew Jackson.
Writing about the Second Bank of the United States when renewal of its charter was being considered, President Andrew Jackson, in a veto message of a bill to renew the Bank's Charter, commented that "Whatever interest or influence, whether public or private, has given birth to this act, it can not be found either in the wishes or necessities of the executive department, by which present action is deemed premature, and the powers conferred upon its agent not only unnecessary, but dangerous to the Government and country. It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.[…]If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy.”
Years before, Thomas Jefferson expressed a similar point of view:
"Whatever interest or influence, whether public or private, has given birth to this act, it can not be found either in the wishes or necessities of the executive department, by which present action is deemed premature, and the powers conferred upon its agent not only unnecessary, but dangerous to the Government and country. It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.[…]If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy.”
Fast forward to 1907 whereas you have perhaps the most powerful banker in history, JP Morgan, financing the founding and growth of essentially mega-corporations (many of whom still today exist) including AT&T, DuPont, and the New York Central Railroad.
He had even convinced President Grover Cleveland to allow him to sell 62 million dollars of our nation's gold to the Treasury in return for government bonds.
In 1907, Chase was spreading rumors about one of his competitors, the Knickerbocker Trust Company (one of the largest financial institutions of the time) that they were financially unstable (sound eerily similar to the cry of the Federal Reserve in 2008 that the Nation's largest financial institutions were "too big to fail")???
This helped cause the Panic of 1907 whereas Morgan sold himself as sort of a hero, offering to help underwrite (basically, "save") faltering banks and brokerage houses to keep them afloat - because, in other words, they were "too big to fail." Oh, how history repeats itself!
A resulting Congressional Committee investigation into the nation's money trust operations targeted Paul Warburg, Benjamin Strong, Jr., and JP Morgan himself. All of these individuals are identified as being key players in schemes that almost brought upon terminal financial ruin onto the United States.
Tthe ensuing public hatred of these individuals was powerful.
The public thought that the establishment of a central bank would help end this behavior, as the institutions wielding the most power were affiliated with above said individuals, namely being the J.P. Morgan firm, National City Bank, and the City Bank of New York.
The public advocacy for a Central Bank was very high, as it was thought that such an institution would eliminate recurring panics. It was desired that this institution be entirely under the control of the public, answerable directly to Congress. The public saw a publicly controlled Central Bank as being an institution that would limit the power of the aforementioned private financial interests.
But have no fear - because those same interests were themselves advocating for a Central bank, answerable to them in order to enable them to have a source of stability for their ultimate control of the system, acting as a lender to them (their banks and other financial institutions) to avoid collapse.....2008 again, people? "Too big to fail"?????
And (as a funny little side note), those powerful New York financial houses were closely allied with European financial houses.
Mr. Warburg himself was a partner with Kuhn, Leob and Company, a European banking house. His brothers were also bankers in Germany, and Mr. Warburg had many friends in the banking industry, both domestic and abroad.
Enter again Mr. Aldrich, who's family later on married into the Rockefellers.
But that's just a side note.....
Let's discuss the meeting on Jekyll Island.....
So now that we're on Jekyll Island.....
The "plan" to create the Fed was drafted in 1910 and was presented to Congress in 1911. It was shot down.
Known as the "Aldrich Plan," the public rejected it, as they were very wary of Aldrich's connection(s) to bankers.
The group however knew they were on the heels of something monumental. They understood that, as Rahm Emanuel put it, it a good crisis "cannot go to waste."
So they went to work. And they went underground.
Instead of revising their plan and calling it the Aldrich plan, they renamed it the Federal Reserve Act and it was promoted by Representative Carter Glass and Senator Robert Owen.
The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law in 1913 and the Fed opened its doors a year later.
Our Money After the Fed.....
Since the Fed began operations in 1914, our money has been.....pillaged.
Consider this; the function of the Fed has been to expand and contract credit. This means that banks to whom the Fed lends have basically had an unlimited amount of credit to ascertain from the Fed; this has especially been true since 1970 when the Fed no longer used Gold as a standard against which to hold the value of the US Dollar. In other words, our currency went completely Fiat.
It wasn't always this way, however.
In his landmark book "End the Fed", Dr. Ron Paul, MD, puts it this way; " Part of the public relations game played by the chairman of the Fed is designed to suggest that the Fed is an essential part of our system, one we cannot do without. In fact, the Fed came about during a period of our nation's history called the Progressive Era, when the income tax and many new government institutions were created. It was a time in which business in general became infatuated with the idea of forming cartels as a way of protecting profits and socializing losses."
Now, see, when we see the word "cartel" we automatically think of.....what? Criminal drug empires.....right?
Dr. Paul continues on; "The largest banks were no exception. They were very unhappy that there was no national lender of last resort that they could depend on the bail them out (sound familiar?) in times of crisis. With no bailout mechanism in place, they had to sink or swim on their own merits. What was more, following the Civil War, American presidents worked to implement and defend the gold standard, which put a brake on the ability of the largest banks to expand credit without limit. The gold standard worked like a regulator in this way. Ultimately, banks had to function like every other business. They could expand and make risky loans to a point, but when faced with bankruptcy, they had nowhere to turn. They would have to contract loans and deal with extreme financial pressures. Risk bearing is a wonderful mechanism for regulating human decision making. This created a culture of lending discipline."
So.....is it any wonder that, in 1929 (15 years after the creation of the Fed that was "supposed to" save our money system) there was a great depression? Is it any wonder that the 1900s were shaped largely by financial boom-bust cycles as interest rates were raised and lowered by the bank (not by market forces) and that credit was likewise arbitrarily expanded and contracted?
If that doesn''t convince you, this will; since the inception of the FED, the US Dollar has lost over 90% of its value. That's it. 90% of the dollar's value. Gone. See ya. Sayonara.
How Central Banks Work.....
How the Fed Operates
The Fed is operated by a Chairperson and a 5 member board located in D.C. The chairperson is a presidential appointee (for a term of four years) and each member of the 5 member board holds their position for 14 years. That's right - 14 years.
Since the Fed was create by Congress, it can also be dismantled by Congress.
The Federal Reserve System consists of 12 member banks, each located throughout the country. Though there is no real "owner" of the Fed, "ownership" consists of shares of each of the 12 regional banks, owned by the private member banks in their districts. The shares cannot be sold and a 6% dividend is paid.
Note this; the Federal Reserve, though its name includes "Federal," is NOT a governmental agency. Repeat; it is NOT a governmental agency.
Even the Fed's own website states that "The Federal Reserve System fulfills its public mission as an independent entity within government. It is not "owned" by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution."
In theory, the Federal Reserve's operations are subject to congressional oversight. Congress created it, so they can oversee it. Again from the Fed's website;
"The Federal Reserve is subject to oversight by the Congress, which often reviews the Federal Reserve's activities and can alter its responsibilities by statute. Therefore, the Federal Reserve can be more accurately described as "independent within the government" rather than "independent of government."
Notice the key word; "oversight." Notice one word that is missing; "accountable."
The "oversight" that is mentioned here is generally accomplished through periodic meetings with the Fed Chairperson who more or less "tells" Congress what the Bank is doing to manipulate our currency. Rarely does Congress take any further action to look into its operations, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan furthering this point when he acknowledged that the Bank had more power than any governmental agency.
To understand how the Fed affects monetary policy, we need to have a rudimentary understanding as to how money is created within the Federal Reserve System.
Our banking system operates on what is known as a "fractional reserve" system. Basically, that means that your bank keeps on hand a fraction of cash in relation to its total holdings as reported on its books.
Much of the money "supply" is "created" by bank deposits. As Harley Hahn from the independent puts it, "Most of the money deposited in banks is not actually kept by the bank. In fact, it is loaned out."
"When this happens," he continues," more money is now available to be spent, which as the effect of increasing the money supply of the country. For example, let's say Person A deposits $100 in a bank, which means he has $100 he can spend. In accordance with Federal Reserve regulations, the bank is allowed to loan up to 90% of this money to someone else."
Let's say that that "someone else" has $90 in his account, making for a total of $190 available to be spent. Being that the bank can loan this 90% to someone else, now someone has $80.00, bringing up the total of $271 to be spent.
This is how circulation is created. Sound a bit sketchy?
With this regulation, the Fed can increase the country's money supply by increasing bank deposits. It can also decrease the money supply, sending the orders to accelerate or decelerate printing to Treasury. The increase or decrease in deposits is achieved by purchasing (indirectly) and selling bonds. Bonds are typically issued by the Treasury - so in other words, in order to "create" money, the Fed buys our debt.
Let that sink in.
When the currency supply is increased, it is done so because the Fed buys our own debt from the Treasury and reissues it in the form of paper currency. Our currency is leveraged against bonds, not anything more concrete (such as gold or silver).
This, of course, is a nutshell explanation of how our banking system works.
Being that the Fed has absolute money-issuing power, it would naturally make sense that the Fed is highly regulated.....right?
The truth is.....it's not. In fact; since its inception, the Fed has not once been subject to an external audit. Let me repeat that; since its inception the Fed has not once been subject to an external audit.
Attempts have been made; the most recent one being The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015 (H.R. 24) introduced by congressman Thomas Massie, its Senate companion being S. 264 introduced by Senator Rand Paul.
The House Bill passed the House of Representatives but died in the Senate.The Senate has not moved forward on S. 264. In January of 2015 it was submitted to the committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban affairs where it has since remained. A Senate floor vote has not yet been conducted.
So with how the Fed has literally manipulated our currency and, by default, been able to significantly influence the direction of our economy, what are the stances regarding the Fed held by Trump and Clinton? Which one will be most in favor of lassoing this behemoth and reigning it in (hopefully with the end result of being total abolishment)?
Reported in Business Insider in early 2016, the Clinton plan on the Federal Reserve calls for the removal of bankers from the boards of the Fed's regional branches.
You're kidding me, right?
To quote from (then) clinton campaign spokesperson Jesse Ferguson "The Federal Reserve is a vital institution for our economy and the well-being of our middle class, and the American people should have no doubt that the Fed is serving the public interest. That's why Secretary Clinton believes that the Fed needs to be more representative of America as a whole and that commonsense reforms -- like getting bankers off the boards of regional Federal Reserve banks -- are long overdue. Secretary Clinton will also defend the Fed's so-called dual mandate -- the legal requirement that it focus on full employment as well as inflation -- and will appoint Fed governors who share this commitment and who will carry out unwavering oversight of the financial industry."
The biggest issue in Clinton's mind, Business Insider goes on to mention, is that the Federal Reserve's boards are mostly made up of Fed employees.
This position was also affirmed in a letter signed by several Democrats (including Senator Sanders) to the Fed, which essentially argued that the most important issue facing the Fed is that its leadership does not reflect our nation's diversity.
Since its inception, our dollar has lost 90% of its value and our nation has continued to accrue massive and unsustainable debt that is now almost mathematically impossible out of which to get.....and diversity is the Fed's biggest issue?
The letter did mention monetary policy, but only after diversity;
"Moreover, as you make crucial monetary policy decisions in 2016, we urge you to give due consideration to the interests and priorities of the millions of people around the country who still have not benefited from this recovery," said the letter.
"We share the vision that you laid out in Chicago two years ago: an economy in which all working families 'get the chance they deserve to build better lives'."
Now; for all of you whiny liberals who are going to accuse me of having not read the letter, well, I have.
In fact, in the interest of fairness and honesty, here's a link to that letter:
Its very clear to me that the Clinton is much more concerned about "diversity" than it is with regulating the Fed's issuance of currency and manipulation of interest rates.
Mrs. Clinton has also received money from the Fed - that's right, money. Lael Brainard, a Fed. governor, donated $750.00 to her campaign which proves that the Fed is not the "independent" agency they want you to believe they are.
Again, whiny liberals, copy and paste.....
Incidentally, Brainard's husband is a former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs who served when Hillary was Secretary of State.
Just from this I have here, it appears as if Mrs. Clinton is rather friendly to the Fed.
February 22nd, 2016 saw Mr. Trump tweet something that should have every lover of freedom shouting for joy, saying that it "is so important to audit The Federal Reserve."
That says alot right from the start.
Even Bernie Sanders, according to a February 25th Newsmax article, had this to say: " Requiring the Government Accountability Office to conduct a full and independent audit of the Fed each and every year, would be an important step towards making the Federal Reserve a more democratic institution that is responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans rather than the billionaires on Wall Street."
Trump has indicated what I believe to be a legitimate concern; the "quantitative easing" (money injection) policies that the Fed has recently embraced is causing a rather unsustainable bubble in our economy - and this bubble will have to burst.
And - as many have unfortunately found out - the extremely low interest rates supported by Yellen have done much damage to many Americans by permitting basically no growth in interest-bearing accounts.
A May 31, 2016 article from The Hill really adds meat to my argument. Building on a point that central bankers have failed to aid in the recovery from the worldwide 2008 financial meltdown, Judy Shelton makes an excellent point:
"In the meantime, who has reaped the benefits from those ultra-low interest rates that were meant to stimulate economic growth? Not entrepreneurs, not owners of small businesses; not the individuals willing to take on the risk of starting a new enterprise or expanding an existing one. Those folks have largely been cut off from getting bank loans due to enhanced regulatory scrutiny by the Fed; instead, banks have preferred to make "safe" loans to big corporations (who use cheap funds to buy back their own shares, driving up prices in stock markets), or to already-wealthy investors, or especially to our own federal government."
After all, why would a bank portfolio manager give loans to an unproven local prospective borrower when he can demonstrate to the Fed that his bank is purchasing Treasury securities (which, as mentioned earlier, the Fed buys and sells)? Again; the Fed (and its banks and stakeholders) win and we, the people.....lose.
What Trump does argue for is heightened interest rates - which, of course, may mean the oust of Yellen under a "Trump" presidency. Heightening interest rates would also make it more attractive - and easier - for state and local municipalities to make what could be coined as long-term capital investments such as rebuilding infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) and giving tax incentives for startup businesses.
Of course, a potential downfall of a Trump-style interest rate hike could make exporting our manufacturing goods more difficult, as the Dollar would rise, making for the necessity of tricky negotiations to convince countries to purchase our goods at an inflated price.
There is one point that Trump continues to make, however, that convinces me of his unusually good knowledge of how Central banks damage trade - currency manipulation. Anyone who has been paying attention to Trump's speeches has heard him constantly lament on how China is a master-manipulator of its currency, devaluing its currency to make exports cheaper.
Quite simply, that is cheating because it violates principles of free, market-based trade.
The article continues: "When it comes to generating productive economic growth, central bankers have not come through: The world economy is pretty much in a dead zone, with the United States exemplifying a woeful lack of dynamism. Low-cost borrowing, courtesy of the Fed, has only succeeded in enriching the closed-loop world of finance while starving the very people who actually create new enterprises, hire new workers, and provide real goods and services."
Trump has also noted that when our country was on the gold standard, we were stronger. On that point, he couldn't be more right, which indicates to me that he may be ultimately in favor of the ultimate blessing, the creme de la creme, the big kohana - the total and COMPLETE abolition of the Fed and the return of the money power to Congress.
Oh, how good it is to dream....
All in all, it is my personal desire that whomever gets elected this November takes very seriously the threat that the Fed poses to our economy and to freedom as a whole.
Our money system is highly insecure. Many of the problems we face - like a broken welfare system and overly extended armed forces - come from having a Central Bank that is able to extend credit and print money in an almost limitless fashion.
We, the people, deserve far better than what the Fed has dealt us. We deserve a sound money system. We deserve a money system that is accountable to us and not to its own special interests.
It is my hope and desire that, at the very least, this article has got you thinking about how our monetary system operates and how, especially during elections, many political issues debated are symptoms of the underlying problem.
For example; every single politician runs on a platform of wanting to do "reform" or "cut taxes".....meanwhile many of us know all too well that the cost of living continues to rise and jobs are continually sent overseas where operating costs for said companies are "cheaper".....and that, of course, our wages are out of line with the cost of living.
Not even 60 years ago, a family of four or five could survive on one income. Now, it takes two to often barely make ends meet. A loaf of bread and a gallon of gas.....well, you get the idea.
Please.....when choosing between Hillary or Trump, take a hard look at their proposed monetary policies and decide for yourself who is best fit to lead. Remember this; with whomever gets in, the ramifications of their policies will extend far beyond their term in office.