This system of lending way more than you have is called fractional reserve lending. Almost all our money is created by banks, lending it to people, to companies, or government.
As we’ll see, there is a better way for our government to get money. Simply issue it without debt for the benefit of all citizens equally. Abraham Lincoln did it. Ben Franklin did it, Jefferson wanted to do it. Honest Americans have fought against this bank controlled-debt money system throughout American history. But unless we change it soon most of our freedoms will soon be lost in a tidal wave of debt.
75 years ago an employee of the Atlanta Federal Reserve explained the importance of the debt money system and how it can strangle our economy:
“Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation… If the Banks create ample money we are prosperous if not we starve when one gets the complete grasp of the picture the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is incredible… It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon.” -1934, Robert H. Hemphill, credit Manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Nobody’s talking about the debt problem as such. They’re talking about the fact that the the bankers aren’t making enough money to live in the way that they’re accustomed to.
After 600 years, the money changers were finally able to reassert their control over English money when they convinced the Parliament to create the Bank of England. This put the banking community back in control of manipulating the quantity of English money. Now England had to borrow its money supply from banks and pay interest on it, instead of the government simply issuing its own money without such debt. So in England we learned that simple sticks of wood broke the monopoly of gold money. This debt free money lasted for seven centuries and allowed a small island nation to rule the waves and freedom to root deeply in the new middle class, With the goldsmiths back in control, England was now financing its wars with this bank loaned money.
Just 75 years later, England’s war debts consumed 75% of its budget. Three quarters of British taxes were spent just on paying the interest on its war bonds. As a result England needed to squeeze more and more money from all her colonies to pay the interest on this new growing debt.
America was no exception.
Pre-revolutionary America was still relatively poor. There was a severe shortage of precious metal coins to trade for goods. So the early colonists were increasingly forced to experiment with printing their own homegrown paper money. This paper money was called Colonial Scrip. Colonial scrip was a dangerous concept for bankers. It broke the colonies free of the privately owned central banking system where a money had to be created by banks and then loaned to governments, as Franklin put it:
“In the Colonies we issue our own money. It is called Colonial Scrip. …we control its purchasing power, and we have no interest to pay to no one.” – Benjamin Franklin
In 1764 the British Parliament passed the Currency Act. Again it ordered all Americans to pay their taxes in gold or silver coin. For those who believe that a return to a gold backed money is the answer for America’s current monetary problems, look what happened to America after the Currency Act of 1764 was passed. As Franklin put it:
“In one year, the the conditions were so reversed that the prosperity ended, and a depression set in, to such an extent that the streets of the Colonies were filled with unemployed.” -Benjamin Franklin.
To Ben Franklin, this return to a gold money system was the basic cause of the American Revolution.
“The Colonies would have gladly borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction.” -Benjamin Franklin.
Americans were mad and did everything they could to get around Britain’s gold money system. In 1765 Parliament past the Stamp Act, requiring that every item sold had to have a stamp placed on it indicating that a tax had been paid on that item and paid in gold. This is what drove America to open revolt.
Do you understand what that means? Without gold you could literally buy or sell nothing. Why? Because the British had successfully forced the colonies to pay for everything using only a precious commodity, gold. This is the very definition of the word plutocracy, ruled by the rich.
By the outbreak of the revolution in 1775, the colonies started printing a new form of paper money to finance the war. I was called Continental Currency. Because unlike Colonial Scrip, it was the first issued by the new central government. Continentals worked great at first, but then the British started counterfeiting it massively sending it to America literally by the bail. By the end of of the war the currency was virtually worthless, as George Washington lamented: “A wagon load of money will scarcely purchase a wagon load of provisions.”
Earlier Colonial Scrip has worked, because just enough was issued to facilitate trade and counterfeiting was minimal. In other words the quantity was controlled by the government that issued it. Gold bugs today try to claim that because paper money didn’t work during the Revolutionary War, it shouldn’t be used today. But keep in mind it doesn’t matter what backs your money. All that matters is who controls its quantity. Will it be your elected officials? Or will it be some unelectable banker? Colonial paper money, before the revolution had worked so well, that the Bank of England had Parliament outlawed, and forced America to use only gold money. Gold which they controlled.
On our next stop on the yellow brick road, which represents the bankers gold money system, we find how the curse of the privately owned central bank first came to America.
In 1781 towards the end of the war, the Continental Congress met here in Philadelphia. They pondered what to do about their grave financial situation. The money was so worthless that the people papered their walls. Congress finally agreed to give a group of bankers a monopoly on creating US money by loaning it to the Government. It was the first privately owned central bank. The plan of course was modeled on the bank of England. The new bank would be called the Bank of North America. It would be the first of a string of controversial privately owned central banks which Congress would charter, and then in the face of public outrage, uncharter over the years.
Four years later in 1785, the value of the new currency had plummeted. Inflation was rampant. Prices had risen by 72%. So after a stiff battle, Congress killed this, the first privately owned central bank in America.
Two years later when it came time to write the Constitution in 1787, many of the delegates did not remember how well America’s government issued paper money had worked in Pennsylvania. They were still stung by the inflation of the Bank of North America and the hyper inflation during the revolution, primarily caused by British counterfeiting. Strangely the Constitution allows the Federal Government to borrow money, but is silent on the federal role on printing paper money, known in the language of the day as emitting Bills of Credit. This defect in the Constitution is at the root of all our economic problems today.
Two years after the Constitution was signed, debt free money was tried in Sweden in 1789, but with tragic results. To pursue a war with Russia, King Gustav III persuaded the Swedish Parliament to print debt free money called riksdalers. This was very costly to the bankers. Sweden had learned the secret to printing its own money without debt. In 1792, only three years into the experiment, King Gustav was assassinated by money lender Jacob Johan Anckarström. As is frequently the case in time of war, too many riksdalers were printed. The quantity was not controlled. A nation with sacrifice everything for survival during time of war. So inflation ruined the debt free money experiment in Sweden by 1834 just as it had a few years earlier during the American Revolution, again, because the quantity was not controlled.