Monday, April 20, 2009


We the People:

In Response to President Obama’s Request for Economic Solutions from the Citizenry


“The government [not private banks] should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credit needed to satisfy the spending power of the government and the buying power of the consumers. The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of government, but it is the government's greatest creative opportunity. By the adoption of these principles, the long-felt want for a uniform medium [of exchange] will be satisfied. The taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. The financing of all public enterprises, and the conduct of the Treasury will become matters of practical administration. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity.”
- Abraham Lincoln, as attributed in Senate Doc. 23, 76th Congress

In the providence of Nations, each brings to humankind a gift. It is the destiny of America to establish in the earth a threefold social order to bring, first, a new birth of freedom, second, the rule of democratically determined law, and third, an economic life that nurtures individual liberty and provides for the common good. It is the neglect of this third dimension of the American experience via the abdication by Congress of its Constitutional power to create and issue the public’s own money that is at the root of unprecedented distress in the economic life of the nation, and, by extension, the world.

Accordingly, We the People of these United States, mindful of the hopes and prayers of millions around the world, do resolve to restore the economic providence of the American nation.

In 1690 the colonial assembly of Massachusetts became the first government in the Western world to issue its own paper money. It was based, not on precious metals, debt bonds, land parcels, or other privately controlled “backing” schemes, but on the need for a stable currency issued in proportion to commerce, the general welfare and human dignity. Massachusetts prospered, and its example was copied by its sister colonies. A protracted contention ensued between the American Colonies and the Mother Country to determine who would exercise the sovereign right to create and control the “coin of the realm”, and for whose benefit that power would be exercised.

Representatives of the Colonies gathered at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in June of 1775 and claimed the prerogative of the sovereign by issuing a new currency by fiat of the public will, the “Continental Currency”. A nation was effectively born, and the famed Declaration of July 4, 1776 followed.

Benjamin Franklin stated the root of the matter succinctly: “The Colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the Colonies (the right to issue) their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction.”

The struggle over the control of money was revisited time and again as the new nation evolved. Fateful events transpired around the chartering and eventual rejection of the First and Second Banks of the United States, financing of the Civil War, emergence of the Populist Movement, passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, the money and banking legislation of the Depression era, the “farm parity” monetary reform of the WWII and demobilization period, and the slide into an unbearable burden of private and public indebtedness, which has culminated in the monetary crisis we face today.

Furthermore, there are specific passages established already in the law by which the current monetary distress, can, and indeed is called to be relieved:

On June 4, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110, which invoked “The authority vested in the President by paragraph (b) of section 43 of the [Agricultural Adjustment] Act of May 12, 1933,” passed under Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

This Agricultural Adjustment Act specifically directs the President to take whatever measures he deems necessary to protect the value of the currency of the United States, and states further in Sec. 43, Par. (b) that if he is unable to secure the cooperation of the Federal Reserve Board, or for any other reason determines that additional measures are required, he is specifically authorized:

“To direct the Secretary of the Treasury to cause to be issued in such amount or amounts as he may from time to time order, United States notes, as provided in the Act entitled ‘An Act to authorize the issue of United States notes and for the redemption of funding thereof and for funding the floating debt [bonds against the debt] of the United States,’ approved February 25, 1862. . . but notes issued under this subsection shall be issued only for the purpose of meeting maturing Federal obligation to repay sums borrowed by the United States and for purchasing United States bonds and other interest-bearing obligations of the United States: Provided, That when any such notes are used for such purpose the bond or other obligation so acquired or taken up shall be retired and canceled.”

Taken to its logical end, the effect of this act is to specifically authorize, and indeed direct, the President to redeem Federal bonds with United States Notes as they come due if a stable currency is not achieved under the auspices of the Federal Reserve. It outlines a process whereby the debt of the Federal government can be retired in an orderly manner, and debt-bearing Federal Reserve Notes replaced in the money supply with lawful US currency.

Kennedy’s executive order caused to be issued directly out of the US Treasury over $4 billion in non-interest-bearing United States Notes, in this case Silver Certificates. Further issues were halted shortly after his death.

Significantly, the ‘Act of February 25, 1862’ cited in this 1933 legislation is Lincoln’s original “Greenback Act”, by which he declined to borrow the money to finance the Civil War, and instead issued $450 million in United States Notes. Had he acted otherwise, the debt from that war would remain as a burden of the Federal Government to this day, compounded by interest charges to many times its original amount. Lincoln’s leadership may well have redeemed the Union, on the battlefield, and in the financial arena as well.

The Acts referred to above cite as their authority the power delegated to Congress to “coin Money (and) regulate the Value thereof . . .”, as stipulated in the United States Constitution. They remain the law of the land. Why then, it is fair to ask, are they not being implemented in this time of crisis?

We the People uphold the Constitution of the United States and the intent of the laws derived therefrom. Further, we support President Obama in his promise, stated during his February 24th, 2009 address to the Joint Session of Congress, to do “whatever it takes” to address our current economic crisis.

In the practical spirit of “whatever it takes”, immediate steps can be duly taken (the issuance of United States Notes to redeem outstanding Federal debt) as an emergency measure under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, until a more permanent solution can be effected by repealing the Federal Reserve Act, and returning the creation and issuance of the people’s own money to the public domain through the US Treasury.

Furthermore, the people and physical assets of the Federal Reserve can be incorporated into the Department of the Treasury, where they would continue to assist with administering our nation’s monetary policy, but now subject to the People’s will through our duly constituted system of checks and balances. It is this form of monetary system, we believe, that our most far-sighted and public-spirited Founding Fathers envisioned.

In the spirit of “With malice towards none”, this statement represents, not a condemnation of any segment of society, including bankers (whose due services will continue to be needed). Rather, it seeks to fulfill the American providence to establish a new economic principle on the earth whereby “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish” from falling under the control of the “moneylender”. It is alike in the best interests of all citizens of our nation, and in these times the world, that such a new economic order be at last established.

“The weight of this crisis”, President Obama stated in his February 25, 2009 address to the Joint Session of Congress, “will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity
in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more . . . , that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here . . . .

So I ask this Congress to join me in doing whatever proves necessary. Because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession . . . . As we stand at this crossroads of history, the eyes of all people in all nations are once again upon us – watching to see what we do with this moment; waiting for us to lead . . . , in our hands lies the ability to shape our world for good or for ill.”

Richard Kotlarz

1904 1st Ave. S, #12
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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


(January 30, 2009)

Other commitments bid that this be the last column before I take a two-week hiatus. I plan to resume the series on February 20 (though I reserve the option to send out commentary in the meantime if emerging events call for it). Much has transpired in the world between the last break in October and now. This is perhaps a good introspective winter's time to take what has been said into our contemplations and meditations.

Last fall the economic dispensation of the world changed. Now we are informed in the media daily of the mounting national, and now worldwide, "debt" crisis, the further loss of homes and businesses, and the latest waves of job losses. There have been enough paychecks and other financial resources still in the pipeline to maintain a sense of normalcy through the holiday season, and through the Presidential inauguration. Our attention now turns naturally to the
question, "What will the year ahead bring?" To be sure, the signs are by most reckonings far from positive, but a time of maximum crisis is also a time of greatest opportunity.

I would leave you for now, dear friends, with a note of perspective. In the course of the columns many strong statements have been made. This is not surprising given the vital nature of the subject. I would emphasize, however, (as I have done before) that there are no enemies in the monetary story; only a perverse principle that we, virtually all, have in our own lives and niches become subject to: that is, the idea that life is limited and controlled by money, rather than money being an extension of life. Its effects range from overt thievery, to the most subtle deceptions of the soul. There are none, as far as I know, who have not to some extent at least lived in a glass house on this matter. Who then can cast a stone of judgement? It is altogether fitting then that we move forward with the attitude of removing the beam from our own eye, before attempting to pluck the mote from our brother's or sister's.

Throughout this series of columns I have interjected the American story about money. This is particularly so in the last three installments, where I have drawn out the monetary thread in a manner that reads somewhat like a heroic tale. Indeed, there is heroism in this litany of historical events, but, of course, life is not that simple. There would have been many nuances, contrary weavings and instances of human mendacity along the way, if the truth were fully

My intention is in part to precipitate a new American mythology, which is the story that we tell our children, each other, and the world about who we are and how we got to be this way. I would not, however, that it be a new American jingoism. We as a nation have our unique tale to tell and our contribution to make. Indeed, the case may be made that a new way of doing money is a particular gift that this nation has to offer the world, as part of our "manifest destiny", if you will.

But even in this area, that is not the whole of the story. The evolution of money can be traced back to other times and lands. Some of the thoughts and practices "pioneered" by Americans had significant antecedents of various forms in, for example, ancient China, early classical Greece, the pre-empire Roman Republic and the Islamic civilization of the Middle Ages. The argument over the creation, issuance and control of money in colonial America was in essential ways the coming to a head of a contention that had already taken place in England and France for several centuries, and many of its ideas can be traced from there.

What is more, the American Revolution was not a battle pitting, simplistically, the good guys against the bad. It was, rather, a struggle between heroic people on both sides. This was a soul-wrenching time, and some of the most venerated of our "Founding Fathers" felt rent within by opposing viewpoints, sympathies and loyalties. From a larger perspective, even King George could make a reasoned and passionate argument for his case.

The tenor of these articles might, if one is not fully attentive, be taken to be a screed against bankers and banking. Let me be clear: the enemy is not bankers or banking. In the current monetary crisis is it not true that many banks also are going bankrupt? If I have an attitude regarding the institution of banking, it is not to tear it down, but to see it redeemed for the sake of the People, including the bankers themselves. If we do not engage the financial world constructively, but opt instead for the gratification of comeuppance, we will pull the monetary temple down on our own heads.

In this modern age we are essentially all economic players, and have in our own particular ways and niches contributed to the distressed circumstances that are unfolding in our financial lives at present. Even withdrawing to the woods to live a hermit's life is a profound economic act. Certainly the simple use of a credit card has significant implications, of which we need to become fully conscious if the current "debt" crisis is to be addressed. Let us resolve, then, to take responsibility for our own role in the economic order, and to not blame the other.

In my perception, all the major dilemmas of today converge upon the same question, and that is: "What can we do about money?" Could it be that the outbreak of the present world financial chaos, in conjunction with the belief in new possibilities that seems, for whatever providential reason, to attend the latest change in government in Washington, constitutes a priceless opportunity? I don't know. That question remains for us to answer. I have a feeling, though, that whether we seize upon it in a constructive, as opposed to blame-saying, manner will make all the difference. To be sure, we need to remain discerning and not withhold a critique when it is due, but cynicism holds no power for good. It behooves us always to be mindful of the distinction. There is no reason, in my view, to think that this time of crisis could not be redeemed, and become known to future generations as the year the world finally turned around. I offer this as something to think about, until we reconvene.

Thank you all for your continued interest. I love you, every one.

Looking forward to resuming the conversation,

Richard Kotlarz
1904 1st Ave. S, #12
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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