Take Control of Our Money

Your 2/1/11 issue has many column inches about US finance. Writing about Fractional Reserve Banking, raising the US Treasury debt limit, Keynesian deficit spending, TPP contributors gave us much to think about. The general belief is that not enough money is available and banks are not lending those trillions of new money they received from The Fed.

To maintain its economy, Keynes said, the government should spend even if it had to borrow. But must it borrow? Most US money resides in checkable deposit accounts and was borrowed into existence when somebody got a bank loan. The bank created that new money and it will vanish when the loan is repaid. The Fed created trillions of dollars to save Banks Too Big to Let Fail. The Fed creates money to buy US Treasury bonds. It is a reality that nearly all money today is created from interest-earning debt. To maintain that debt-money supply and pay its interest, new debt-money must be constantly created.

But the US Treasury need not borrow its own money from The Fed. Congress can change the rules so Treasury can start spending money directly from its Bureau of Printing and Engraving! There need be no further increase in the US national debt as Congress then spends money to rebuild our bridges, our highways, expand VA Hospital care for wounded veterans and even fund National Health Care. Money would enter circulation free of debt!

There are many good sources to learn about money. A recent book is The Web of Debt by Ellen Brown. Her frequent articles are collected on her web site (webofdebt.com). “The Grip of Death” by Michael Rowbotham explains how debt-money is unsustainable, a prime cause of economic booms and busts. The first chapter can be read at (cfoss.com/grip.html). Rep Dennis Kucinich has introduced HR 6550 to reclaim Congress’s constitutional power of money creation.

Robert W. Zimmerer
Beaverton, Ore.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Everything

While Donald Kaul calls the GOP “Man of the Year” (2/1/11 TPP), I believe the entity of the year, past decade, century and millennium is FEAR. Ever since 9/11, we have been fed a steady diet of lies based on fear: of foreign terrorists; of any kind of governmental action that doesn’t help the wealthy or the corporations; of taxes to fund a civilized society; and of the newest boogeyman, the federal budget deficit and long-term national debt.

And more fear: to speak out against war and militarism; to speak out against economic, social and environmental injustice; and to speak out against the growing corporatist/plutocratic grip strangling our nation in the false guise of freedom.

Even the highly respected, supposedly progressive and anti-corporate former senator from Wisconsin, Russ Feingold, has bought into that mindset and refuses to make a run for president in 2012 (as has Bernie Sanders), instead supporting the current corporatist-in-chief, Obama, stating that we can’t let a Republican get in. That is fear speaking, and it’s the same broken record we hear election after election — vote your fears, not your hopes.

We are a country terrorized by fear. Hitler certainly recognized the power and promise of fear when he said, “Terrorism is the best political weapon.” Yet even the most evil of people recognize that the courageousness of truth can and will melt the terrorizing grip of fear. And that is what they fear the most.

Alexander Clayton
Westminster, Colo.

Don’t Jam the NRA

Your editorial of 2/1/11 prompts me to write. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence believes that the Supreme Court decision to allow home possession of guns has given respectability to insurrection rhetoric. Really? How did they arrive at that conclusion? [Editor’s Note: As the editorial noted, the court affirmed the National Rifle Associations argument that one of the purposes of the right to firearms is to “assure the existence of a ‘citizens’ militia’ as a safeguard against tyranny.”]

Why would you or anyone else give credence to a disingenuous organization such as the CSGV? There is no organization of note that I know of that supports gun violence (maybe Osama bin Laden is an exception). Their true goal is to ban all handguns first and all guns secondly. I know of no anti-gun groups that openly admits its true goals. They all hide under a noble, reasonable-sounding banner that obfuscates their true intent. Common-sense gun laws? Just an incremental way to outlaw firearms possession completely.

The assault weapons ban was ridiculous! Banned were guns based solely on the fact that they had a military appearance, while guns with more deadly capabilities were exempt. The gun banners even usurped the term “assault weapon.” An assault weapon originally meant having full auto capacity [which] is illegal except for Class 3 registration.

If Mr. Loughner had any knowledge of firearms, he would never have used a 32-round magazine! It is very rare and unusual that he was able to discharge all 32 rounds without a misfire. It has to do with spring tension in the magazine. It takes 3 seconds to change a 10-round magazine and unfortunately his gun didn’t jam.

I belong to the NRA. I belong only because it is the only pro-Second Amendment organization that has any clout. I don’t believe that the NRA leadership deserves to be called charlatans. That term belongs to the Brady heirs, however; they certainly associate with bad company.

The likes of Newt Gingrich, Oliver North and all those other right-wing phonies are just about enough to make me upchuck. The NRA leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I am passionate about the Second Amendment. ...

J. Wiedenmann
Madison, Wis.

Evolving Backward

In your editorial (“Keep Up the Fight But Put Down the Gun,” 2/1/11 TPP) you claim that you support the District of Columbia V. Heller decision as far as it acts to defend a law-abiding citizen and his/her family. Most law officers have claimed that unless you can pull out your gun swiftly (from whichever designated storage of your choice) and disarm/kill the intruder, owning guns will not help. Unless Americans get over the “frontier days” state of mind (which has been kept alive by scores of Hollywood Western movies) we will always maintain our love affair with guns. With due respect, Mr. Darwin, we Americans are about to change your central theme from “the survival of the fittest” to “survival of the fastest” — obviously, Mr. Darwin, you could never have envisaged a society legislating something like the Second Amendment, or part of that Society (Utah) that wishes to have a gun symbol on their State Flag. We are evolving!

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Editor’s Note: The right to keep and bear arms was part of English and British common law, according to William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England so the Second Amendment, ratified in 1791, shouldn’t have surprised Charles Darwin, who lived from 1809 to 1882. What he’d think of Utah, no telling. Parliament adopted the first British gun controls in 1824.

Charity Begins at Home

New House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in November 2010 and vowed that he and his GOP colleagues would protect and defend Israel’s interests against his own government [according to Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com (11/13/10), citing reports by Politico.com and the Jewish Telegraph Agency]. I have never heard a US congressman make such an audacious and traitorous statement. Cantor has now proposed that the $3.5 billion we annually give Israel no longer be classified as foreign aid. He wants this money buried in our defense budget so it loses its identity and is safe from future budget cuts. Cantor has always been a major recipient of Israeli PAC money and, if you’re interested in what 70% of our Congress persons are gleaning from Israel-related PACs, consult Open Secrets.org and Aid to Israel. (Keep a bottle of pain reliever handy as you go through this process.)

More disgust, America sends millions of our tax dollars to Israel, which has a national health care plan, while Cantor and his GOP colleagues are fighting hard to deny American citizens the same entitlement. And, can anybody explain the $1.5 billion we give in aid to Egypt?

Approximately 1.2 million American children are classified as homeless on any given night and have no health care. We have millions of Americans living at or below the poverty level, millions more out of unemployment benefits or about to lose what they have. Yet we send monetary aid to Israel to assist them in making war on the Palestinians and building settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

It’s a national shame that, via our Congress, Israel has bought access to our treasury while the poor and poverty-stricken masses of America are struggling to survive. Of equal self reproach, is that our citizens do not flood our federal legislators with letters informing them CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME.

Ed Hodges
Appleton, Wis.

Editor’s Note: The aid to Egypt is to keep the peace with Israel. Adam Serwer also noted at Prospect.org (11/13/10) that in 2007, when then-House Nancy Pelosi visited Syria — and didn’t pledge to side with them against her own country, just visited them — Eric Cantor was one of many Republicans accusing her of likely having committed a crime.  Cantor wrote:  “Several leading legal authorities have made the case that [Pelosi’s] recent diplomatic overtures ran afoul of the Logan Act, which makes it a felony for any American ‘without authority of the United States’ to communicate with a foreign government to influence that government’s behavior on any disputes with the United States. ... Based on Cantor’s own standard, he’s just committed a felony.”

Why All These Revolutions?

I am not an historian and frankly no serious student of revolutions either. Off the top of my head, however, I would think that popular uprisings are often caused by hunger, unemployment and excessive taxation.

Another generality is the observation that it has often been a matter of a minority in power causing hardships and suffering by the bulk of a population.

We have had a French revolution, an American revolution, a Russian revolution, a German revolution, a Chinese revolution, two Iranian revolutions and more recently a Tunisian revolution and now an ongoing Egyptian revolution. All of these revolutions cost many people their lives or made them amputees.

Another purpose most, if not all, of these revolutions had in common was a democratization of the government from oppressive to caring.

The world-wide change from oppressive to caring regimes could be a Grand Evolution, so are bloody revolutions the price we pay for non-violent evolution?

The French, American, Russian and German revolutions have been over with for more than half a century, and we can see that these countries are better off than before their revolutions and apparently more stable.

Unemployment is still a threat against stability, but as long as a majority is caring enough to support that minority in their bad times, there will be no revolt.

I think it is also safe to say that a prosperous middle-class promotes democracy.

John A. van Huizum
Action, Calif.

Blame the Right Guys!

Attention Tea Party Tigers! You are chewing up the wrong guys! You blame the “Government” for the economic ills engulfing us while letting the owners of the “Government” — Big Banks and Wall Street — get off with a free pass. It’s like blaming the golf ball for ending up in the rough. Your taxes paid for bailing out the Big Banks and Wall Street while letting the poor shmucks with underwater mortgages go bankrupt. Now that they are multi-profitable again they tell you they don’t need regulations to prevent this from happening again. But if you look past their paying CD owners 1% while charging credit card holders 18-36%, you will see that they are quietly reinstating adjustable rate teaser mortgages and other sucker-bait schemes. Go get ’em tigers, but pick the right adversary.

Arthur Robbins
San Diego, Calif.

Grain of Sand

Remembering that a great sand dune is moved by the wind, one grain at a time, could we not deal with our deteriorating bridges and high unemployment, one little step at a time? Why not raise our federal gasoline tax? Most of the proceeds could be used for bridges and highways. Based upon Wikipedia, our Federal and State gasoline taxes come to about 46 cents per gal. By comparison, in Canada the tax is $1.20 per gal.; in Germany it’s $6 per gal.; in the Netherlands it’s $3.50, etc. If our gasoline sales tax were raised just 12 cents per gal. it would raise (very roughly) $10 billion per year. We proudly say ours is the “most prosperous” nation in the world; could we not afford this increase or even more? Based upon driving an average of 150 miles per week per car in the US, a 12-cent-per-gallon tax increase would amount to about 84 cents per week per driver, a few cigarettes or one third of an ice cream cone. At $50,000 per year, $10 billion would also mean about 200,000 new highway construction jobs. But, I forgot, Exxon Mobil might object.

Wallace Wolff
Souderton, Pa.

Reverse ‘Citizens United’

If Congress doesn’t rescind, or over-ride that January 2010 ruling by the Supreme Court, that allows corporations to exercise their free speech, by dumping unlimited funds into a political campaign, this is the end of our democracy. No more government of, by, and for the people. It is useless to vote in a campaign controlled by corporate cash. There will be no Congress, only a mob of puppets on the Potomac, doing the will of their corporate masters.

Lamar Wray
Eupora, Miss.

CORRECTION: In his 2/15/11 TPP column, Ted Rall mistakenly stated that the memorial service for the Tucson shooting victims took place at Arizona State University. In fact, it was the University of Arizona.

From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2011


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