Last month, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged Fed power to create debt-free money for direct payment of public goods and services. This would create money as a “positive number” rather than current practice of only and always creating what is used for money as debt, a negative number, with obvious implications of increasing aggregate debt that will never be repaid and will only increase as negative numbers pile on forever.
This week, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland confirmed this power to create debt-free money at a University of Sydney conference, with initial report that she considered it a “next step.” Doug Campbell of the Fed Cleveland Bank contacted me to correct ABC’s reporting that “that” meant quantitative easing rather than “helicopter money”:
Q. “There’s been some talk in this world of low interest rates about the use of helicopter money. What are your views on the effectiveness of that?”
A. “We’re always assessing tools that we could use. I think in the US we’ve done quantitative easing and I think that’s proven to be useful. So my view is that would be sort of the next step if we ever found ourselves in a situation where we wanted to be more accommodating.”
In a world history of empire, the Emperor’s New Clothes facts for anyone who cares to raise their head and look is that this game-changing power transforms economics almost instantly, and with easily documented benefits of literally a million dollars per US household.
See for yourself. With apparent $1,000,000 benefits per US household of objective and independently verifiable data, you literally have nothing more valuable to do.
Simply, this is as easy to understand as a coin having two sides with current showing/use of just one side of the coin: creating what we use for money as debt. An obvious response for responsible citizens is to demand professional, independent, and multiple economic cost-benefit studies to best understand the public benefits available with this power. The prima facie data described below demonstrate breakthrough and revolutionary power.
From my report of last month’s admission from Fed Chair Yellen:
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen affirmed last Wednesday in a press conference that the power to create debt-free money for direct payment of public goods and services is a legitimate consideration.
In a statement parsed with eleven references that this action is “unusual,” “rare,” and claimed fears of hyperinflation, Yellen’s admission of this game-changing power is poisoned with lies of omission and commission. The top three lies, with more below:
- The current “monetary” system only and always creates debt for what we use for money. This is taught in every economics course, and is like adding negative numbers forever. These mechanics directly connect to escalating debt totals of $19 trillion for the federal government debt with annual gross interest cost of over $400 billion, total debt of all US sectors of over $60 trillion with over $5 trillion in states’ government debt. Yellen lies in omission to disclose that the Fed “monetary” system’s mechanics can only create increasing and unpayable debt. To call “debt” its Orwellian opposite (“money”) is literal criminal fraud in her legal fiduciary responsibility to fully disclose our most important monetary information. The so-called “developed” nations with this debt-based system total $50 trillion of central government debt.
- Yellen lies that this is an “academic” debate only as an “all-out attempt” in a “very abnormal” situation without reminding us that Benjamin Franklin helped “invent” operating government without taxes when colonial Pennsylvania directly created currency to pay for its public goods and services. He was so excited about this breakthrough, he wrote a pamphlet on this topic. Yellen lies about “academic debate” when 86% of US economics professors agreed that debt-free money to directly pay for goods and services is superior mechanics than our current debt and tax model when asked directly. Yellen lies in omission to not remind us that debt-free money was tried on a national scale after the most tragic-comic hyperinflation imaginable to rebound that nation to the most powerful economy of Europe: Nazi Germany. This was only a partial experiment, with caveat that monetary power is amoral, as are other powerful tools like hammers, cars, and computers. Yellen won’t remind us that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford dedicated a media tour on the “invention” of debt-free money to pay directly for infrastructure.
- Yellen lies by not telling us that America’s infrastructure produces more economic output than investment cost, and therefore debt-free money to buy it produces game-changing triple benefits: employment, upgraded infrastructure, and overall falling prices. With a history of monetary reform extending to the founding of the US (British agents counterfeited colonial script to make it worthless), Lincoln’s Greenbacks, the Greenback political party and monetary reform being the US 2nd-most debated topic after slavery, and most currently in Congressman Kucinich’s NEED Act in 2011, this subject is not a mystery to any professional in this area.
The motivation for Yellen’s lies are to preserve the privately-owned banking system she represents that has unique power and profit to create what is used for money (debt/credit) out of nothing, then “lend” credit to the public at interest payable to them.
“In normal times I think it is very important that there be a separation between monetary and fiscal policy, and it is a primary reason for independence of the central bank. We’ve seen all too many examples of countries that end up with high or even hyperinflation because of those in charge of fiscal policy direct their central bank to help them finance it by printing money and maintaining price stability and low and stable inflation is very much aided by having central bank independence.
Now that said, in unusual times where the concern is with very weak growth or possibly deflation — rather rare circumstances — first of all, fiscal policy can be a very important tool. And it is natural that if it can be employed that just as monetary policy is doing a lot to try to stimulate growth that fiscal policy should play a role. And normally you would hope in an economy with those severe downside risks, monetary and fiscal policy would not be working at cross-purposes, but together.
Now whether or not in such extreme circumstances there might be a case for close coordination where the central bank playing a role in financing fiscal policy. This is something that academics are debating. And it is something that one might legitimately consider. I would see this as a very abnormal, extreme situation where — I warn you it’s an all-out attempt — and even then it’s a matter that academics are debating — but only in an unusual situation.”
Link to Yellen explaining in two minutes of video.
In greater detail and with further data:
The top three benefits each of monetary reform and public banking total ~$1,000,000 for the average American household, and would be received nearly instantly.
Monetary reform is the creation of debt-free money by government for the direct payment of public goods and services. Creating money as a positive number is an obvious move from our existing Robber Baron-era system of only creating debt owed to privately-owned banks (a negative number) as what we use for money. Our Orwellian “non-monetary supply” of adding negative numbers forever causes today’s tragic-comic increasing and unpayable total debt. You learned these mechanics of positive and negative numbers in middle school, and already have the education and life experience to conclude with Emperor’s New Clothes absolute certainty that accelerating total debt is the opposite of having money. As a National Board Certified and Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teacher, I affirm this is also exactly what is taught to all economics students.
The public benefits of reversing this creature of Robber Barons are game-changing and near-instant. We the People must demand these, as .01% oligarchs have no safe way to do so without admission of literal criminal fraud by claiming that debt is its opposite of money.
The top 3 game-changing benefits of monetary reform:
- We pay the national debt in proportion to removing private banks’ ability to create what we use for money as debt in order to prevent inflation. We retire national debt forever.
- We fully fund infrastructure that returns more economic output than investment cost for triple upgrades: the best infrastructure we can imagine, up to full-employment, and lower overall costs.
- We stop the ongoing Robber Barons who McKinsey’s Chief Economist documents having ~$30 TRILLION in tax havens, and the Fed finding the US top seven banks creating shell companies to hide $10 trillion. This amount is about 30 times needed to end all global poverty, which has killed more people since 1995 than all wars and violence in all human history.
Public banking creates at-cost and in-house credit to pay for public goods and services without the expense and for-profit interest of selling debt-securities. North Dakota has a public bank for at-cost credit that results in it being the only state with annual increasing surpluses rather than deficits.
Top 3 game-changing benefits of public banking:
- a state-owned bank could abundantly fund all state programs and eliminate all taxes with just a 5% mortgage and credit card.
- a state-owned bank could create in-house and at-cost credit to fund infrastructure. This cuts nominal costs in half because, as you know, selling debt securities typically doubles the cost. For example, where I live we’re still dismantling the old Bay Bridge in NoCal from the upgrade that cost $6 billion, but the debt-service costs will add another $6 billion when it’s all paid.
- CAFRs (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports) stash “rainy day” funds no longer required with a credit line from a public bank. In addition, the so-called “retirement funds” currently deliver net returns of just a few percent on good years, and negative returns on bad years (here, here). California’s ~14,000 various government entities’ CAFRs have a sampled-data total estimate of $8 trillion in surplus taxpayer assets ($650,000 non-disclosed assets per household, among California’s ~12.5 million households).
$1,000,000 of benefits per US household:
- California’s CAFR data of ~$650,000 of assets per household is evidence of huge cash assets of similar magnitude in every state.
- Paying the US national debt of ~$18 trillion saves ~$180,000 per household.
- Ending state taxes in California to pay a budget of ~$170 billion saves each household ~$15,000, with similar savings in every state.
- ~$30,000 per household savings annually: the American public would no longer pay over $400 billion every year for national debt interest payments (because almost 30% of the debt is intra-governmental transfers, this is a savings of ~$300 billion/year). If lending is run at a non-profit rate or at nominal interest returned to the American public (for infrastructure, schools, fire and police protection, etc.) rather than profiting the banks, the savings to the US public is conservatively $2 trillion (1). If the US Federal government increased the money supply by 3% a year to keep up with population increase and economic growth, we could spend an additional $500 billion yearly into public programs, or refund it as a public dividend (2). This savings would allow us to simplify or eliminate the income tax (3). The estimated savings of eliminating the income tax with all its complexity, loopholes, and evasion is $250 billion/year (4). The total benefits for monetary reform are conservatively over three trillion dollars every year to the American public. Three trillion is $3,000,000,000,000. This saves the ~100 million US households an average of $30,000 every year. Another way to calculate the savings is to figure those amounts per $50,000 annual household income (for example, if your household earns $100,000/year, you save ~$60,000 every year with these reforms). This savings represents a 60% raise for every US household’s income.
- Related, if the ~$30 trillion hidden in tax havens by the .01% have $10-$15 trillion from Americans, and we count the Federal Reserve report that the US top seven banks have over $10 trillion stored, then the average US household could clawback ~$200,000 to ~$250,000.
Famous Americans already on record for these reforms:
- Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Thomas Jefferson,
- President Andrew Jackson, famous inventor Peter Cooper,
- New York City Mayor John Hylan, two House of Representatives Banking Committee Chairs,
- Benjamin Franklin, William Jennings Bryan,
- Charles Lindbergh Sr., 86% of Great Depression economists,
Please understand that I represent likely hundreds of thousands of professionals making factual claims with objective evidence anyone with a high school-level of education can verify.
The Emperor’s New Clothes obvious pathway out of these mechanics of our “debt system” is to start creating debt-free money (a positive number) for the direct payment of public goods and services, and create public credit for at-cost loans (a negative number). I have three academic papers to walk any reader through these facts; an assignment for high school economics students, one for Advanced Placement Macroeconomics students, and a paper for the Claremont Colleges’ recent academic conference:
Let’s examine just some of the facts of the current US economy that demonstrates its criminal status:
- We’ve already documented how the global so-called “elite” 1% are now wealthier than the 99% while ~30,000 children die daily from preventable poverty in gruesomely-slow agony. Just 62 people on Earth own more than the bottom 50%.
- The US .1% own more than the bottom 90%.
- The top 20 Americans (.000006%) own more than the bottom 50%.
- The top three public benefits of monetary and banking reform would add ~$1,000,000 to every US household. The lies of omission and commission by US “leaders” with legal fiduciary responsibility to communicate full and transparent economic data to never advise Americans of these options is a massive crime causing damages in the trillions of dollars yearly.
- Our current system of creating what we use for money as debt has the so-called “developed” and “former” colonial nations $50 trillion in debt, and lying for public austerity rather than admit the option of monetary and banking reforms.
For Americans still zombiefied to “believe” in America, please embrace the reality that 40% of US children live at least one year of their lives in under-measured poverty, while oligarchs most responsible literally laugh in grandiose glee of the poverty they euphemise as “income inequality.” Please absorb this 1-minute reality check:
More game-changing economic data that confirm what we receive for economic leadership is literal criminal fraud:
- decaying infrastructure getting uglier from “deferred maintenance,”
- real unemployment near 25% with most families demanding both parents work longer and longer hours,
- real inflation well above official reports,
- US poverty of 20% among children, 40% for living at least a year in poverty,
- 72% of California students in schools with over half the children classified as “socio-economically disadvantaged,”
- the annual interest payment of ~$450 billion for the US national debt is over four times the amount needed to invest for ending all forms of global poverty (~$100 billion/year for ~10 years).
- a rigged-casino economy designed for “peak inequality,”
- “too big to fail” banks demand public subsidies (so-called “bailouts”) while gambling with over $200 TRILLION in derivatives,
- these “too big to fail/jail” banks deriving most of their income from subsidies and apparent market manipulations,
- Daily and never-ending Orwellian criminal-complicit lies of corporate media.
- US college Class of 2015 students average $35,000 in debt, with the total for 2015 graduates nearly $70 billion: more than ten times the amount from just 20 years ago. The average time to pay this debt is now 15 years (think paying until age 40).
- half of US 25-year-olds live with their parents, more than twice the number from 15 years ago.
- Over one million US college students are “Sugar babies”: selling sex as part-time employment. The UK has the same condition (here, here).
- 31% of US adjunct professors live in poverty.
15-minute video of obvious solutions: Mark Anielski and Ellen Brown’s powerful 15-minute response to an interview at the Seizing an Alternative conference (and here, with videos here) with former World Bank economist Herman Daly and co-author John B. Cobb of For the Common Good (video should start at 1:04:43):
1) Of $60 trillion total debt, a conservative current interest cost of 5% is $3 trillion every year. Two trillion dollars of savings if the profits are transferred to the American public rather than to the banking industry is probably low. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank: https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/TCMDO
2) The US GDP is ~$17 trillion. Three percent growth is moderately conservative.
3) Of the US Federal government’s ~$4 trillion annual budget, about $1.7 trillion is received from income tax.
4) Tax Foundation. Hodge, S, Moody, J, Warcholik, W. The Rising Cost of Complying with the Federal Income Tax. Jan. 10, 2006: http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/1281.html
Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.
Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu
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