Monday, October 27, 2008


(Week 12 - Monday, Oct. 27)

In the last column I posed the question of why the current candidates for President, like almost every candidate for national office in election-cycle-after-election-cycle going back decades, repeats the same mantra about their intention to reduce the Federal deficit by at last reducing "out-of-control spending", in spite of the fact that the Federal "debt" arises from the very process by which money is created and issued in our system (via borrowing money at "interest" from a private banking system), and cannot be effectively addressed within the context of taxing and spending parameters.

In September I had a conversation with Ralph Nader that may shed some light on the riddle. He, of all candidates, has been a strident and knowledgeable critic of the abuses wrought by corporations. I asked him if he realized that a private corporation has been granted a charter (via the Federal Reserve Act of 1913) to issue the nation's money supply, and that it does so by creating and "lending" it out on such terms that our nation as a whole cannot service the "debt" so incurred (due to the attachment of a compounding "interest" fee) without borrowing ever greater quantities of money, and thereby slipping ever further into "debt." I also suggested to him that this private-money-creation franchise was the linchpin of the whole globalist corporate order of which he offers such an impassioned critique, and that the abuses he documents cannot not be effectively resolved until the monetary power is returned to the public sector.

He said that he understood this to be the case. Why, then, I asked him, does he never mention the corporate control of the issuance of the public's money supply in his public pronouncements? He replied that he does indeed mention it in very small gatherings, but he has not found a way to talk about it to the larger public.

From my decades in trying to address the matter in public, I can understand his dilemma. The public's consciousness about money has deteriorated greatly since William Jennings Bryan won Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party for three election cycles after declaring in his famous Cross-of-Gold speech in 1896 that he did not put all the issues he believes in into his platform because: ". . . when we have restored the money of the Constitution, all other necessary reforms will be possible, but until this is done there is no other reform that can be accomplished."

The lesson of this story is that clearly the monetary awareness of the Presidential candidates of the modern era has changed; but so has that of the public. Do the candidates not talk sense on the issue of "debt" because they do not know what is happening, because they are in denial about the facts, or because they cannot find an opportunity in the public discourse to talk about their true thoughts? Is it possible that McCain and Obama have an understanding on this matter that runs deeper than what they are letting on, but feel constrained because, in the current cultural and political climate, any mental processes they might express that fall outside the bounds of the dominant socio/economic/political paradigm (and this would certainly be that) would be interpreted by the pundits and public alike as unintelligible gaffs that would quickly destroy their candidacy? I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that we need to lay aside the talking points and partisan bombast, and start talking sense with each other on matters of money.

There is an element of cynicism in the country that is convinced that the major candidates are bought-and-paid-for shills of the system, and as such are lying outright to the electorate. I can't prove that that is not so, but the assertion seems to me to be simplistic at best; dangerously irresponsible at worst. I observe that great mass of the electorate, as well as the media pundits that would presume to pose the burning questions of the day in our stead, are themselves virtually universally ready to accept the bromide that it is out-of-control-spending that is causing the "debt", and would likely dismiss any candidate that would dare to suggest otherwise. How, then, could we summarily blame any candidate for not committing political suicide by speaking out?

A more productive course of action, I would suggest, is for each of us to think carefully and self-reflectively through the subject of money for ourselves; always seeking the truth, and leaving aside our pet ideologies, idiosyncratic prejudices and personal interests. From there we can cultivate a dialogue that would bring people together to discuss the subject on a fresh basis. Such an approach would naturally include an invitation for the candidates to join in. This may seem like a futile gesture given the shortness of time before the day of decision and the scope of the issues involved, but it behooves us to look beyond the election. We have to start somewhere.

It has become axiomatic to say that this is a pivotal election cycle, but pivotal around what? If We the People, candidates and voters alike, cannot break out of our habitual unproductive thought patterns concerning the "debt" crisis, I see only precious time lost, and a turn for the worse in our prospects for coming to grips with its monetary cause. But, if we can use the period of heightened public consciousness in the run-up to election day to plant the seed of an authentic dialogue, even if there is not time and opportunity for it to come to fruition by November 4, then truly we can hope to turn the situation for the better. Events are telling us that the monetary matter is urgent, and we have already put it off for too long.

Richard Kotlarz

The complete set of columns from this series is posted at the following websites.