The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond

The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump’s ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton – contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals.

Today’s populist revolt mimics an earlier one that reached its peak in the US in the 1890s. Then it was all about challenging Wall Street, reclaiming the government’s power to create money, curing rampant deflation with US Notes (Greenbacks) or silver coins (then considered the money of the people), nationalizing the banks, and establishing a central bank that actually responded to the will of the people. Continue reading

Charles Eisenstein on “It’s Our Money”

eisensteinEllen joins her daughter Jamie Brown in interviewing Charles Eisenstein, a highly popular visionary re-thinker of the nature and future of economics. The author of “Sacred Economics,” Eisenstein shares insights into some of the core flaws in our economic thinking and helps us to see that we have the power and the responsibility to choose the priorities of the system we want. Co-host Walt McRee also speaks with Santa Fe public banking leader Nichoe Lichen of Banking on New Mexico, which saw the release this past week of a highly positive  feasibility study supporting the creation of a new Santa Fe public bank. Listen here.

The Citadel Is Breached: Congress Taps the Fed for Infrastructure Funding

In a landmark infrastructure bill passed in December, Congress finally penetrated the Fed’s “independence” by tapping its reserves and bank dividends for infrastructure funding.

The bill was a start. But some experts, including Congressional candidate Tim Canova, say Congress should go further and authorize funds to be issued for infrastructure directly.

For at least a decade, think tanks, commissions and other stakeholders have fought to get Congress to address the staggering backlog of maintenance, upkeep and improvements required to bring the nation’s infrastructure into the 21st century. Countries with less in the way of assets have overtaken the US in innovation and efficiency, while our dysfunctional Congress has battled endlessly over the fiscal cliff, tax reform, entitlement reform, and deficit reduction. Continue reading

“Bail-ins Begin”: Interviews with Greg Hunter and Thom Hartmann

My Dec. 29th article “Bail-ins Begin” prompted two video interviews, with Greg Hunter on USAWatchdog.com, and Thom Hartmann, below.

 

 

Les Leopold on “It’s Our Money”

les leopoldEllen speaks with noted author and co-Founder of the Labor Institute, Les Leopold, about how the market mechanics of inequality have succeeded over the past 40 years and what we can do collectively to bring about real change. She also discusses her latest article about the looming crisis that could be triggered by the new practice of bailing-in depositor money to save failing banks. And Matt Stannard delivers some words about money from the mouths of historical figures. Listen to the archive here.

 

A Crisis Worse than ISIS? Bail-Ins Begin

While the mainstream media focus on ISIS extremists, a threat that has gone virtually unreported is that your life savings could be wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse. Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the infrastructure is in place in the US.  Poverty also kills.

At the end of November, an Italian pensioner hanged himself after his entire €100,000 savings were confiscated in a bank “rescue” scheme. He left a suicide note blaming the bank, where he had been a customer for 50 years and had invested in bank-issued bonds. But he might better have blamed the EU and the G20’s Financial Stability Board, which have imposed an “Orderly Resolution” regime that keeps insolvent banks afloat by confiscating the savings of investors and depositors. Some 130,000 shareholders and junior bond holders suffered losses in the “rescue.” Continue reading

Reinventing Banking: From Russia to Iceland to Ecuador

Global developments in finance and geopolitics are prompting a rethinking of the structure of banking and of the nature of money itself. Among other interesting news items:

  • In Russia, vulnerability to Western sanctions has led to proposals for a banking system that is not only independent of the West but is based on different design principles.
  • In Iceland, the booms and busts culminating in the banking crisis of 2008-09 have prompted lawmakers to consider a plan to remove the power to create money from private banks.
  • In Ireland, Iceland and the UK, a recession-induced shortage of local credit has prompted proposals for a system of public interest banks on the model of the Sparkassen of Germany.
  • In Ecuador, the central bank is responding to a shortage of US dollars (the official Ecuadorian currency) by issuing digital dollars through accounts to which everyone has access, effectively making it a bank of the people.

Continue reading

How to eliminate income taxes and the federal debt: Scott Smith on “It’s Our Money”

scott smithAmong other items of interest on “It’s Our Money” this week, Ellen interviews Independent presidential candidate Scott Smith, who has a clever plan for eliminating austerity, income taxes and the federal debt without creating inflation.  Archived here.

Hazel Henderson on “It’s Our Money”

Ellen speaks with co-host Walt McRee ahendersonbout negative interest and the war on cash, then talks with renowned futurist Hazel Henderson about how far afield economics has gone from its practical obligations to serve the public interest. Matt Stannard rounds out this week’s program on “It’s Our Money,” archived here.

Hang Onto Your Wallets: Negative Interest, the War on Cash, and the $10 Trillion Bail-in

In uncertain times, “cash is king,” but central bankers are systematically moving to eliminate that option. Is it really about stimulating the economy? Or is there some deeper, darker threat afoot?

Remember those old ads showing a senior couple lounging on a warm beach, captioned “Let your money work for you”? Or the scene in Mary Poppins where young Michael is being advised to put his tuppence in the bank, so that it can compound into “all manner of private enterprise,” including “bonds, chattels, dividends, shares, shipyards, amalgamations . . . .”?

That may still work if you’re a Wall Street banker, but if you’re an ordinary saver with your money in the bank, you may soon be paying the bank to hold your funds rather than the reverse. Continue reading

Power Point: Can the Federal Debt Be Repaid?

Here is a power point I gave last night at an American Freedom Alliance event in Los Angeles on  whether the federal debt can be repaid (yes), how it can be repaid (by simply issuing the money), and why that would stimulate the economy without leading to hyperinflation.  Ellen

Can the Debt Be Paid 11-17-15

“Can the Debt Be Paid?” — Bill Still and Ellen Brown in Los Angeles Nov 17; Bill Still, Margaret Flowers, and Thomas Marois on “It’s Our Money.”

On November 11th on “It’s Our Money,” Ellen spoke with Bill Still on how to pay off the national debt; and Walt spoke with Dr. Margaret Flowers on ominous developments involving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Listen to the archive here.

The Still interview was prelude to an American Freedom Alliance event on November 17th at 7:30 pm at the Luxe Sunset Blvd Hotel in Los Angeles, at which Ellen and Bill will be addressing the topical question —

“Can the National Debt Be Paid Down and If So, Who Will Pay It?”

Public invited. Details here.

Also now in the PRN archives is the enlightening October 28th interview of UK Prof. Thomas Marois on public banking developments around the world. Listen here.

How Obama Could Beat the Debt Ceiling and Go Out a Hero

Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.

                  — Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, 1935

On November 3rd, the US government will again run out of money due to a debt ceiling artificially imposed by Congress. This is the third time in four years that a radical faction has taken the country to the brink of default to extort concessions that are at best only marginally related to the budget.

The debt ceiling is an unconstitutional gimmick that violates the 14th amendment, which says the validity of the government’s debt shall not be questioned. The debt was incurred by Congress when it passed the budget, and the money has been borrowed and spent. Congress cannot now refuse to pay.

One good gimmick deserves another. The debt ceiling could be eliminated for good, by restoring to the government its constitutional authority to create money. Article 1, Section 8, provides: “The Congress shall have the power to coin money [and] regulate the value thereof . . . .” The president could pay the government’s bills by issuing some large denomination coins by executive order. Continue reading

Killing Off Community Banks — Intended Consequence of Dodd-Frank?

The Dodd-Frank regulations are so lethal to community banks that some say the intent was to force them to sell out to the megabanks. Community banks are rapidly disappearing — except in North Dakota, where they are thriving. 

At over 2,300 pages, the Dodd Frank Act is the longest and most complicated bill ever passed by the US legislature. It was supposed to end “too big to fail” and “bailouts,” and to “promote financial stability.” But Dodd-Frank’s “orderly liquidation authority” has replaced bailouts with bail-ins, meaning that in the event of insolvency, big banks are to recapitalize themselves with the savings of their creditors and depositors. The banks deemed too big are more than 30% bigger than before the Act was passed in 2010, and 80% bigger than before the banking crisis of 2008. The six largest US financial institutions now have assets of some $10 trillion, amounting to almost 60% of GDP; and they control nearly 50% of all bank deposits.

Meanwhile, their smaller competitors are struggling to survive. Community banks and credit unions are disappearing at the rate of one a day. Access to local banking services is disappearing along with them. Small and medium-size businesses – the ones that hire two-thirds of new employees – are having trouble getting loans; students are struggling with sky-high interest rates; homeowners have been replaced by hedge funds acting as absentee landlords; and bank fees are up, increasing the rolls of the unbanked and underbanked, and driving them into the predatory arms of payday lenders. Continue reading

Jamie Brown on “It’s Our Money”

Jamie 2010
Nature limits all systems — nothing grows forever. Economic systems built around growth, like ours, are no different. Ellen revisits that topic with biomimicry expert Jamie Brown-Hansen about what nature teaches regarding sustainable economic systems that last for eras rather than just decades. The theme is picked up by Bernie Sanders as he reflects on the precarious nature of our national economy, while Matt Stannard considers what’s not being addressed on the topic by the presidential candidates. And co-host Walt McRee talks with New Hampshire State Representative Valerie Fraser about the movement underway there to create a public State bank.

Listen to the archive here.

Mary Mellor on “It’s Our Money”

The debt-money regime seems to have run its course. Happily, alternatives are being explored in the form of outright free public issue of money directly to the people — “QE for the People.” On “It’s Our Money,” we look at several dimensions of these ideas. Ellen speaks with noted UK professor and author Mary Mellor about the democratization of money and financial systems. Co-host Walt McRee discusses the current Bretton Woods IV Convocation which is focusing on the vital need for reclaiming public control of money, and on the Public Banking Report Matt Stannard takes a look at the morality of money.

Archived here.

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Mary at a Sept 2015 workshop in Berlin with event hosts Michel Bauwens and David Bollier. The event was sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and was called “Deep Dive: Capital for the Commons.”

Conferences: Two Upcoming and a Video

I’ll be attending four conferences before I get home October 8, two down (Berlin and Basel) and two to go. The two upcoming are in Columbus OH and Bretton Woods NH and are open to the public. I’ll be speaking on Oct 3 and 6, respectively. It would be great to see you there! The first one is also livestreamed. Details below:

BINZAGR INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE PROSPERITY

Inaugural Conference
October 2-3, 2015
Denison University, Granville, Ohio

“PROVISIONING AND PROSPERITY

Sustainable Full Employment and Transformational Technologies”

http://www.binzagr-institute.org/conference-2015/

http://www.binzagr-institute.org/scholars/

BRETTON WOODS IV CONVOCATION

Toward the Redemption of Our Financial System & Restitution of Our Common Wealth

Sept 29- October 6, Mt. Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH

http://brettonwoodsiv.org/

Videos have also now been posted of the Economics of Happiness Conference in Portland OR on Feb 27, 2015. My power point presentation is below.

Cheers, Ellen

Time for the Nuclear Option: Raining Money on Main Street

Predictions are that we will soon be seeing the “nuclear option” — central bank-created money injected directly into the real economy. All other options having failed, governments will be reduced to issuing money outright to cover budget deficits. So warns a September 18 article on ZeroHedge titled “It Begins: Australia’s Largest Investment Bank Just Said ‘Helicopter Money’ Is 12-18 Months Away.”

Money reformers will say it’s about time. Virtually all money today is created as bank debt, but people can no longer take on more debt. The money supply has shrunk along with people’s ability to borrow new money into existence. Quantitative easing (QE) attempts to re-inflate the money supply by giving money to banks to create more debt, but that policy has failed. It’s time to try dropping some debt-free money on Main Street. Continue reading

“It’s Nature’s Way of Telling You” — Dr. Lynne Walker & Jamie Brown on “It’s Our Money”

The evolution of financial systems is seldom matched with the evolution of biological systems, just as Western medicine has too long ignored nature’s own abilities to heal and sustain personal health. In both cases imposition of monetary control over these systems ignores signposts and laws that can lead to doom. Ellen speaks with co-author, physician and pharmacist Dr. Lynne Walker about the institutional hypocrisy that drives profits over people’s health, while co-host Walt McRee reviews Jamie Brown’s groundbreaking work on the wisdom of mimicking nature when designing new sustainable economic systems.

Archived here.

Dr. Richard Wolff on “It’s Our Money”

Capitalism is often touted as the most dynamic marketplace performer capable of lifting more boats faster than any other — but why then do we see its colossal failures as a stable and equitable driver of well-being for the vast majority of its practitioners? Ellen speaks with one of the most knowledgeable experts on economic systems, Dr. Richard Wolff, about how capitalism fails in part because of its anti-democratic underpinnings that rock many of those boats and swamp others while letting the captains of capital cruise on. We also talk about the emerging popularity of Quantitative Easing for the People and the importance of values-driven common cause for change.

Listen to the archive here.

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