Money Power for the Green Economy
Editorial by Howard Switzer, GPUS National Committee delegate from Tennessee
Money Power is what eighth president, Martin van Buren, called the power to issue money. It is a privilege, which bestows great wealth and political power. It is the issue that sparked the American Revolutionary War, when the colonist’s paper money systems were outlawed by the British government, which in turn was controlled by the Bank of England. Throughout most of U.S. history private financial interests have controlled the Money Power to the detriment of the American people. The Green Party of the United States is working to reclaim the Money Power, our economic sovereignty, in order to put it under democratic governance.
Looking back historically, it started when the Revolutionary War needed funding. The first Continental Congress, instead of borrowing it, exercised its sovereign right and issued interest-free money to be spent in the economy. Congress created $200 million in Continentals.
Money Power remained an issue at the Constitutional Convention. The Constitution was an attempt to avoid authoritarian rule, having just fought a war to defeat it. The Separation of Powers and the Bill of Rights seemed to do that but actually failed because the private financial interests of the day lobbied hard to prevent the new nation from being able to issue its own paper money. In the end a back door was created in the Constitution that allowed the private financial interests to enter and establish the authoritarian government, which we now suffer under. It remained a major political issue for 140 years. Public education on this is vital, after decades of misdirection, confusion and suppression of the science and history of money.
One of the misconceptions about money is that it must be a commodity or be backed by one. This view of money has always favored the bankers but, as Aristotle noted, “Money exists by law, not by nature.” Aristotle had identified a critical foundation of democracy realizing that issuing money had to be a public function because in private hands the problems, as we see today, are huge.
Now nearly ALL money is created by the privately owned banking system with the stroke of a computer key, based on a promise to repay when an individual, business or government borrows money from the banking system. While the principle is created, the money needed to pay the interest is not, that money must come from money created when someone else, an individual, business or government, borrowed money. This system drives predatory competition, the economic growth imperative, short term thinking, a devastating concentration of wealth into the hands of a few who fund bubbles, fraud, wars and cause a lot of very bad behavior. It is important to understand that this system is global as every nation, including Russia and China, are beholden to the private central banking authority.
It is the first plank of the Green Party Platform to have been made into an actual bill in U.S. Congress!
The Green Party plank on monetary reform was based on the work of Stephen Zarlenga and the American Monetary Institute, with the help of long time Greens Dee Berry and Ben Kjelsus. It was further developed as policy, going through the three year rigorous non-partisan legislative legal review, and emerged as The National Emergency Employment Defense Act, the NEED Act, and HR2990. Dennis Kucinich courageously introduced this policy to Congress in 2010 and 2011. It is the first plank of the Green Party Platform to have been made into an actual bill in U.S. Congress!
The key elements of Green monetary reform are:
1) Dismantle the Federal Reserve transferring its functions to the U.S. Treasury where a Monetary Authority would be created to monitor prices to avoid inflationary or deflationary trends.
2) Change accounting rules to prohibit banks from creating debt for money and ending what’s known as fractional reserve banking.
3) Empower Congress to create new U.S. money spending it into circulation to fund the Green New Deal. This would include funding for new food, fuel, energy and transportation infrastructure to address climate change, as well as, health care and education. Funding the Green New Deal would create millions of new jobs moving us toward full employment within months. These steps would eliminate the largest creator of economic hardship and inequity the world has ever known.
The Green Party is dedicated to reclaiming economic sovereignty for the people of the United States and for the world. We have an opportunity to revive our national politics, by uniting honest people from all political persuasions to reclaim our Money Power. It is an issue that can help people rise above the shallow issues and petty divisions to see the real culprit behind our nation’s troubles, the wizards behind the curtain, those with their hands on the levers of Money Power.
There are those who say the government can’t be trusted who seem to believe it is an entity with its own will. However, our government has a good record on Money Power, when they used it. Government is a tool that can build or tear down. It is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands and should be run by free citizens, not by a few large financial corporations. This issue is about returning the Money Power to the people of the United States, a key leverage point for building democracy. It is said that such a bill is not “politically feasible” but for over 200 years we have been doing only what is politically feasible instead of what is economically sound. The world situation will get worse if we continue to let expediency determine our actions.
The Green Party is uniquely poised to make Money Power a primary issue again as Howie Hawkins is scheduled to speak at the 11th Annual International Monetary Reform conference in Chicago this September. Greens are being given a special low rate to attend, see you there.