By Mark Anderson -
As the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement enters into its second month, will a sizable number of protesters move beyond listing various grievances regarding corporate greed and rampant joblessness, in order to search out specific solutions that would represent lasting, fundamental changes for the better?
Well, a story recently posted on this website, about a proposed bill for permanent and historic reform of the monetary system, drew a lot of traffic. It’s just a question of whether OWS, a diverse movement that wears a lot of ideological hats, can agree on the common enemy with enough passion and focus to see what must be done: Dethrone the bankers’ system, and carefully consider what to replace it with.
So far, AFP is hearing that such a consensus is “not there” yet. But there are some basic trends that could change that.
The proposed monetary reform bill, introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), is known as the “NEED” bill (the National Employment Emergency Defense Act, HR 2990). It came along just four days after rising public frustration over economic servitude for “the 99 percent” gave way to perhaps the biggest American uprising since the Vietnam War days.
This uprising started Sept. 17 in New York and by Oct. 6 had spread to the streets of Washington, Boston, and even to places as distant as McAllen in far-southern Texas and dozens of other large and small towns. Demonstrations also erupted in cities across Switzerland, Portugal, South Africa, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. OWS indeed can do a world of good, provided it does not fizzle and is not broken up by police, nor co-opted by insider sophisticates posing as populists.
The best thing that could happen, based on today’s hard economic and political realities that AFP has studied closely, is for this globe-girdling movement to truly wise up to the system of the financial overlords, so the “heat” of protest can lead to the “light” of inquiry and to real, lasting reforms—specifically by permanently replacing this predatory monetary system with something that liberates the people from debt slavery and makes the production and sale of goods and services flow normally, leading to prosperity.
After having received reader feedback on the constitutionality of HR 2990, this reporter found the following statement by Rep. Kucinich, representing his view and placed in the Congressional Record: [Volume 157, Number 141, Sept. 21, 2011, House, Page H6343]:
“Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following: The constitutional authority on which this bill rests is Article I, Section 8, which enumerates the power of Congress to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures. The bill will re-assert the sole grant of constitutional authority to Congress to create money.”
Of course, if Congress reasserts this sole constitutional power, then, by definition, the private banking system, at the top of which sits the Federal Reserve as far as these United States are concerned, must be denied the awesome power of money creation. Having that power in private hands, metaphorically speaking, arrogates the Federal Reserve Note above America, showing that bankers and their partners in credit-rating agencies have the captain’s seat in a command economy—to their perpetual profit as princes of “the 1 percent” caste.
HR 2990, referred to the House Financial Services Committee as of Sept. 21, has five general headings, or titles and 33 sections. Title 1 is “Origination of United States Money,” indicating that Federal Reserve Notes would be pushed aside by U.S. Treasury money, or what the bill refers to as simply United States Money.
Title 2 is “Entry of United States Money Into Circulation.” Title 3, perhaps the touchiest, is “Reconstruction of the Federal Reserve System.” Title 4 is “Transitional Arrangements.” And the fifth title is simply “Additional Provisions.”
As telling as some of these broad titles are, the details within them cover a lot of ground and may appeal to liberals, conservatives and many points between—perhaps as diverse as the protests themselves.
The bill champions a lot of libertarian and conservative goals by denying the Fed money-creation authority, which resonates with many socialists and liberals as well. Yet, title 5 has section 508 (“universal health care funding”) and section 506 (“Social Security trust funds”) which are traditionally liberal-Democratic themes but are often seen by conservatives as schemes leading to massive debt, waste and abuse.
However, if money is created free of interest, as this bill, if passed, would mandate, the mechanism to provide or sustain such programs would differ greatly from what we have today—where every attempt to make major changes or create a social safety net is saddled with debt.
In the bill, the Social Security part’s entire wording is: “The Secretary in consultation with the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds shall submit to the Monetary Authority any requests to cover impending deficits in Social Security Trust Fund accounts.”
In other words, with new interest-free money comes a perceived means of shoring up suffering funds, something that ought to draw the attention of aging baby boomers and younger citizens who feel Social Security will die before they get old.
Title 5 (Section 501) also contains “direct funding of infrastructure,” while another section (507) is, interestingly, “initial monetary dividend to citizens.” The latter, at least very generally, happens to resemble part of the “social credit” monetary reform first proposed by Maj. C.H. Douglas in the early 20th century; he called it a national dividend. Here is Section 507:
“. . . the Secretary [of the Treasury], in cooperation with the Monetary Authority, shall make recommendations to the Congress for payment of a Citizens Dividend as a tax-free grant to all United States citizens residing in the United States in order to provide liquidity to the banking system at the commencement of this Act, before governmental infrastructure expenditures have had a chance to work into circulation. . . . The Secretary shall maintain a thorough study of the effects of the Citizens Dividend observing its effects on production and consumption, prices, morale, and other economic and fiscal factors.”
The Monetary Authority, a U.S. Treasury entity under the bill, also would establish the criteria for “interest-free lending of United States Money to state and local government entities, including school boards and emergency fire services . . .” (Section 510)
No one is saying the Kucinich bill is perfect, though its timing and content call for the attention of the protesters and all other concerned Americans at this pivotal time in history.
The legislation does nationalize—and therefore does not completely dissolve—the Federal Reserve, and in fact it calls for placing a specific “Fed” component within the Treasury Department. The Federal Reserve Board as we know it would be disbanded but a “Federal Reserve Bureau” within the Treasury is created.
This bureau, which deserves cautious consideration, would “administer, under the direction of the [Treasury] Secretary, the origination and entry into circulation of United States Money, subject to the limitations established by the Monetary Authority [Treasury]; and administer lending of United States Money to authorized depository institutions.”
Also, HR 2990 stipulates that “money creation is solely a function of the United States Government;” and “fractional reserve lending is ended.” The Fed bureau’s commissioner and deputy commissioner would be appointed by the president to seven-year terms.
Back on New York’s streets, Matt Lepacek, a founding member of We Are Change/New York, told AFP what he told a national Fox News audience the evening of Oct. 16: There is a regular assembly, or people’s “think tank,” called the New York General Assembly, that meets every day on one end of Zuccotti Park—the main turf of the huge Manhattan protest—to share ideas. And it’s been there from day one, despite media claims that the protest has had no organized component whatsoever from the start.
“So many people speak on a number of issues,” he told AFP, adding that for now the assembly and overall protest are mainly about naming scoundrels such as Goldman Sachs, the New York Stock Exchange itself, and, yes, the Federal Reserve. The notion of debt-free money and/or ending the Fed, are mentioned in conversation. But the money idea as brought forth by Kucinich in Congress has yet to be highlighted in the park’s “congress,” at least as of this writing on Oct. 19.
Yet, it will be interesting to see how things play out as viral ideas spread around, and a movement that seeks to stay the course, as cold weather approaches, hears ideas and sharpens its focus. May monetary reform place highly on their list as Kucinich’s bill is reviewed.