Ellen Brown, author, attorney, speaker, activist

Ellen Brown is the founder of the Public Banking Institute and the author of a dozen books and hundreds of articles. She developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In the best-selling Web of Debt, she turned those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She showed how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back.

In The Public Bank Solution, the 2013 sequel, she traces the evolution of two banking models that have competed historically, public and private; and explores contemporary public banking systems globally.

Brown developed an interest in the developing world and its problems while living abroad for eleven years in Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. She returned to practicing law when she was asked to join the legal team of a Ellen-photo2popular Tijuana healer with an innovative cancer therapy, who was targeted by the chemotherapy industry in the 1990s. That experience produced her book Forbidden Medicine, which traces the suppression of natural health treatments to the same corrupting influences  that have captured the money system. She also co-authored the bestselling Nature’s Pharmacy, which has sold 285,000 copies.

Ellen ran for California State Treasurer in 2014 with the endorsement of the Green Party garnering a record number of votes for a Green Party candidate. Her blog and articles are at http://EllenBrown.com. The Public Banking Institute is at http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.

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36 Responses

  1. Ellen,
    I’m trying to get your reaction to an idea I have: When Congress wants to deficit spend, Treasury needs to come up with the money outside of taxes. It issues Treasury securities and these are sold at
    auction, usually to large banks (who have the money to meet the needs of the Treasury). The Federal Reserve soon afterwards comes to the banks and buys them plus the interest with money created by the Fed out of thin air, using the powers delegated to it from Congress, which derives its powers to coin money and regulate the value thereof from the Constitution.
    Question: Why does Treasury have to come up with additional money from taxes, or wherever to buy back the securities from the Fed?
    Isn’t the Fed automatically an agent of the government when it buys the security and further, doesn’t the act of buying it with money created out of thin air exercise government power, and thus automatically redeem the security for the government? Why should the government have to buy the security twice and pay interest on it once it has been redeemed? Has anyone taken the government and the Fed to court over this? Isn’t it illegal or unconstitutional to buy something twice? But if my argument that the Fed has automatically redeemed the security for the government is correct, then we have
    debt free money. And there is no national federal debt. (The Fed
    can pay back the deposits the Chinese have in bonds they bought to find a secure haven for their dollars. They know they will always get back what they deposited with interest.) Treasury doesn’t borrow from China to deficit spend for Congress. Why should it when the Fed is an unlimited source of fiat dollars.
    Stanley Mulaik, Ph.D.
    pscccsm@prism.gatech.edu

    • Good questions. (I’ve been out of the country so am a bit slow getting to this; sorry.) The Fed rebates the interest to the government, so that part is okay; but the Fed doesn’t buy most of the federal debt. The Fed holds less than 10% of the outstanding debt right now I think. Why don’t we fund the whole thing through the Fed, interest-free? It’s because the banks have deluded us into thinking that would be inflationary. But Canada did it for 35 years (till 1974), and it did not create price inflation, their national debt stayed low, and there was plenty of money to create a national health care program, roadways, seaways, etc. (See my articles on that.)

    • I was not writing about a new idea that needs to be implemented. It’s the system we now have but even the Fed and Treasury do not yet fully recognize this because they are still using practices meaningful only when the dollar was backed by gold. The aim is to get people to realize that we do not need austerity but can have prosperity if we
      have our central government managing (as it now does) the money supply and we accept deficit spending during recessions and depressions as the normal practice. We should not deficit spend when inflation develops, but should raise taxes, encourage imports, raise interest rates, encourage savings–all of which take money out of active circulation in the nation.

      There really is no national debt problem. It is being paid off regularly by the Fed when it buys securities from the banks who got them from the Treasury in return for borrowing money to cover the deficit. The Fed is our government bank in these matters. It has other things to do with the private banking system, but these are usually distinct from its control of the money supply which is governed by law.

      The securities held at the Fed represent a debt obligation like that our money has, where the Federal government is obligated to accept taxes in it, provide services in return for fees paid with it. Only when the Fed or Treasury sells these securities to banks and investors is an additional debt obligation created, and the Fed creates the money out of thin air to buy them back. Money is just tokens of debt obligations in units of account between parties in exchanges in the economy. The money itself has no intrinsic value; it only has value as a means for quantitatively representing debt obligations. It’s essentially not different from monopoly money–it’s a necessary part of the game.

    • ABSOUTELY CORRECT; YOU CAN DO THE SAME BY MAKING THE TREASURY THE CENTRAL BANK AND LET THEM BECOME THE LENDER OF LAST RESORT. TREASURY CAN PRINT MONEY WITH CONGRESSITIONAL APPROVAL THE SAME AS THE FED. RESERVE HAS. TAX TO REIMBURSE TREASURY EXPENDITURES TO PREVENT INFLATION. NO NEED TO BORROW, NO DEBT, NO INTEREST. PAYOFF EXISTING DEBT WITH NEW TREASURY FIAT MONEY.

    • Please consider http://www.grb.net.

  2. Hi Ellen,

    I saw these articles and thought of how your work dovetails with theirs:

    http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2011/05/how-to-destroy-the-web-of-debt/

    http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2012/08/a-waiting-game/

    Best regards!

  3. Modern Monetary Theorists argue that the Treasury bonds bought
    by China and others are not used to fund deficit spending. The money
    is just kept at the Fed Reserve like bank CD’s, and when they mature the money is refunded plus interest. Which are the “old securities” that the Fed’s FAQ says it is buying, if it is not buying new securities, for, say, current deficit spending?
    Even so, minting ten $10 Trillion denomination bullion coins and depositing them at the Fed in a special account and having the Fed credit the account for $100 Trillion in Fed Reserve Notes it creates out of thin air, would create a reservoir of debt-free dollars the government could draw upon to redeem Social Security’s Treasury securities left as IOU’s by Congress, and also fund from year to year deficit spending by Congress. It would have to be drawn upon by Congress in a judicious manner to avoid inflation. That would require educating Americans and their politicians in the properties of fiat money and when to create it and when to tax, sell bonds, cut spending, encourage savings and tax investment, to take excess money out of circulation chasing resources, goods, services and manpower. It would have to take into account the balance between exports (bring money back into circulation) and imports (take money out of circulation).

  4. It might be interesting to read the Grace Commission Report of 1984. This report was submitted to then President Reagan. Grace told Reagan that the vast majority of federal income taxes go to the Federal Reserve to pay only the interest on the debt. The report states that federal incomes virtually pays nothing to keep the government going. Ron Paul is right. If we eliminate the Federal Reserve, we can eliminate federal income taxes. It’s just a thought.

    • They don’t keep all the interest on the securities. They take a transaction fee of 6% of the interest. They return the rest to the Treasury.
      There is no need to use taxpayer money to pay these transaction fees. The Treasury can issue separate securities to fund the fees.
      Fed will buy this and redeem the debt on them (they need to admit that). Treasury will pay the transaction fee with debt-free money it gets from banks (after redeemed by the Fed).

  5. As Ellen points out, the Fed returns all but 6% of the interest paid
    on the Treasury securities it holds to the Treasury. The 6% is for
    operations of the Fed.
    But why the Treasury is supposed to redeem the securities from the
    Fed and with taxpayer money is a mystery. Once the Fed acquires
    the securities from those who bought the securities at public auction, and uses new money it creates out of thin air to do the purchase,
    it has acted as government redeeming the securities, meaning it has
    cancelled the debt with debt-free money. The Treasury has no need
    to come along and buy them in turn from the Fed or even to pay the interest on them, since the securities have been redeemed and the
    obligation on them cancelled. There is no national debt at the Fed,
    and other debts and obligations are on bonds that serve as CD’s
    for private holders of them. The Treasury also has power delegated
    to create money out of thin air, actually to coin bullion coins in platinum in any denomination and any quantity. It can convert these
    to Federal Reserve dollars by depositing them at the Fed. Ten $10 Trillion coins deposited at the Fed would yield $100 Trillion dollars that
    could be used to cancel the national debt at the Fed, redeem securities at the Social Security and other federal agency Trust Funds,
    and be a reservoir of debt-free dollars to fund future deficit spending by Congress.
    Americans are sorely deficient in understanding of our fiat money system, and the powers our government has to meet its debts without
    taxpayer money. They focus just on balanced budgets, without considering the flow of money in and out of circulation in the country,
    and whether the budget coincides with full employment and needs for national defense. Australia has had surpluses for a decade, and ordinarily this would produce depressions, since a surplus is taking money out of circulation and just sitting on it and not respending it.
    In time the money in circulation will shrink and cause a depression.
    But Australia has been exporting iron ore in great quantities to China, which brings new money into circulation in lieu of doing deficit spending.
    Japan has a national debt twice the size of its Gross Domestic Product
    and is deficit spending all the time, but there is no inflation. The reason: the Japanese have been furiously putting their money into savings for retirement, so much so that the government has to deficit spend to continue introducing new money into circulation to avoid
    recession and/oir depression.
    So balanced budgets, deficits don’t have any special meaning except when considered in the context of savings, investment; exports and imports, government spending, taxing; credit and debit.
    The fact that our government creates its own money means that its finances are not like household finance, business finance, state or
    local government finance, which Americans generally use as analogies to understand (erroneously) federal finance.

  6. [...] Ellen Brown recently blogged “In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our GDP.” [...]

  7. I am glad to have found Ellen Brown blog about the fed. I am a person with only a ged education level (recently acquired) I have always had a severe dislike of the federal reserve bank with out any knowledge of their back room dealing. I guess stems from their arrogance to not account to any one of their ways of operating such an opaque business. I wrote a few article in Italian for a small magazine where I predicted the trouble for the Greek nation and surely one week after my article, Greece was all over the media. (Mine was just a prediction with just a lucky coincidence.) I am so glad for Miss Ellen Brown to give to the public her acquired knowledge where it shows that there is a solution to a very large and serious problem with ramifications through out the society at large by changing to a public banking system. I would like to add an extreme transparent and simple operational system where every one have an understanding of how the banks and financials companies are operating.

  8. There is a paper on hyperinflation at the GMO institute

    http://www.gmo.com/America/:

    Hyperinflations, Hysteria, and False Memories — James Montier

    There is some stuff there that might interest

  9. WHY do they do it as they do? – with interest paid to private banks instead of saving that money [with a public bank for government finances] – is it simply to “help their friends in the banking industry”?
    That would fit with “creating wars to help the weapons industry” and “keeping fossil fuels as the main source of energy to help the oil and gas and coal people” and so on and so on.

    Shovelling money to the Elite Wealthy people is what it is about.

    Those Elite wealthy people also choose the people they want in government, and help them get elected [and hinder any challengers] to ensure this scheme keeps going.

    When problems like “2008” arise, it is a mere hiccup to the Elite Wealthy people – they just ask their minions in government to bail out banks. When that gets to be difficult because the government is running out of money [for various reasons] they have government craft legislation like we saw in Canada this year, and in Cyprus – close the banks for a few days and take the money needed out of people’s savings accounts.

    When the whole big Ponzi Scheme house of cards starts to fall apart, the Elite Wealthy might not see their wealth GROW, but they have enough to ride out a major depression for 10 years – no big deal to them.

    These financial predations can be stopped. We need to demand another way to elect our government – democracy is dead now, we must work to restore it. What will it take to do that? Nothing will change until we do.

  10. Ellen, can you elaborate on your remarks of several years ago regarding the theoretical possibility of the Fed coming directly to the financial aid of the states? Dr Bernanke was quoted at the time as saying his hands were tied by the wording of the Fed’s charter. I believe you wrote that changing the applicable section(s) would mean only two cosponsors in Congress would be needed together with a voice vote. I’ve lost track of my downloads since then and would appreciate it very much if you could let me know what the mechanics of such an action would be.

    • Hi, here’s my article on that, but I don’t think I said how it could be changed.

      http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/nobailout_mainstreet.php

      Good idea though!

  11. Ellen,
    Could you comment on the usefulness of a “Canadian” (or, another offshore – non EU/UK location or Country) bank account; to side step this issue of Bail-In ?
    The basis is simple – RETIRED, no large holdings/investments, combination of incomes: SSI, VA, Muni pension = $52K per year.
    All income is “demanded” to be “direct deposit” – with no recourse. Current “banking” is via a Fed Credit Union, which I am told puts us (as a “member account holder”) into the “secured creditor” status for our funds on deposit. (any “savings” is held in-hand here at home)
    My concern is “allowing such deposits” to be landed during any bank holiday/seizure period without recourse. Thinking that an ordered shift to deposits in such an offshore/Canadian account would shield them.

  12. […] By Ellen Brown […]

  13. Rothchild was speaking as a private banker. In a democracy where the government is sovereign in its control of the money supply it issues, it would be highly regulated. The state and municipal banks Ellen is speaking about are postulated on the belief that these are government banks subject to public regulation. So, what’s the difference between them and the Fed, essentially?

  14. Don’t be naive. Rothschild was speaking as the founder of a worldwide banking cartel which has expanded dramatically since that statement was made.

  15. Hi y’all! I am from Singapore but have lived in Australia and USA for a while. When I was there, I learned about the banking usury fraudulent system and even though I was prompted by people there to help them legally sue the system (e.g. I have a law degree and was also studying laws there)…I never really did care or think it is possible or even “ethical” to sue the bank. I just cannot bother (e.g. I got too much student loans, bills and personal staffs to care about anything. And most law schools do not teach you the ‘real’ staffs to change the world ‘legally’.).

    Anyway, I am getting older by the year and my life seems almost meaningless. Going to work 9-5, trying to save that little enough to pay off more debts, cannot even secure a bank loan to start a business or buy a house… and I am also unable to go back to Australia or USA to further my legal studies (e.g. unable to secure a student loan)….and I have also become more aware and mindful of the people around me (e.g. friends in Australia and the USA are also complaining of loans and debts)…I realized our world is seriously twisted, something is very wrong. And so, I began to really research and look into the banking usury fraudulent system. I regretted for ignoring and not ‘helping’ when I was first approached some many years ago.

    The more I learned about the twisted anti-christ usury system and how it will eventually enslaves and totally destroy the freedom and livelihood of the majority of humanity (e.g. 90%) 100 years down the road, the angrier I become and the more I regretted for not helping or doing anything ‘gentlemanly, peacefully and legally’ about such a system when I had the chance and with good ‘awakened’ people supporting me (e.g. in 2008 when the banks were given a bailout. They should play by the rules like every other entity and just go bankrupt. Then the common people will have a quasi-jubilee globally. Meaning, they do not have to pay anymore debt or interests and still get to keep their properties). Now, I am all alone here. I will be suing the bank. Myself. Pro-se. I am keeping a very low-profile here.

    I have prepared a defence and counterclaim against the bank (e.g. HSBC and Citibank) for the way they run their business (e.g. fraud, usury and scam) using common law of fraud and contract, a few USA case laws, UN’s law and some tort law. I am also claiming that the bank must write off all form of credit/loans locally and globally. Of course, we all know most judges are controlled and without a jury trial (e.g. trial by your own peers), it is basically next to impossible to win. Nevertheless, I am risking being mocked at for free humanity’s future, for God and the Universe.

    I have intention of creating a website and posting up all my court documents (e.g. precedent templates) for people all over the world to use. They just have to change the headings (e.g. to the relevant American, Australian, Canadian or English courts) and amend the facts to fit their situations. The main legal principles, laws, facts and arguments I utilized are applicable ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE – and just pray that you get a jury trial or that the judge is not too corrupted or ‘dumb down’.

    There are so many things I want to put up on my websites. Not just stating or explaining the history and ‘long-term’ problem BUT also provide the real solution which is, basically, SUE the banks peacefully and legally. This is the best way to create awareness and to ignite the fire of gradual change. And it also shows ‘we’, the ‘awakened ones’ are serious.

    It is going to take a while before I can get the money and time to create my website and upload all the court documents for people to download. So, contact me and I will send you my ‘defence and counterclaim’ if any one of you are interested and want to start suing now where ever you may be.

    Also, most lawyers are either too “dumb down”, “stuck up” or have been conditioned and programmed since law school to care (e.g. they’d rather be the court minions of the banks since it pays their bills better). As such, it is basically next to impossible for me to find a good ‘awakened’ lawyer willing to go through my draft and comment constructively.

    But, if there are any good lawyer(s) here who would like to have a look at my ‘defence and counterclaim’, please contact me or reply with your email and I will email you the document. You have my permission to amend, edit or use all or part of the contents of my ‘defence and counterclaim’ in any of your law suit(s) over there.

    I believe we, the ‘awakened ones’, all over the world should support one another.

    Sincerely,

    Gary

  16. Ellen,
    How did you verify that the DHS has agreed to purchase 1.6 billion rounds of ammo? It would be more credible if I could see something on the DHS website.

  17. Dear Ellen! I would like to respond as to the FED/Rothchild association and the other owners of the FED. We are almost 50 years from the Murder of President Kennedy. Pres Kennedy Had Canceled the FED contract by signing the Green Hilton Memorial Agreement to replace the FED with 6,000MT of Gold put up Soekarno President of Indonesia. We feel that the Rothchilds need to go Home. We have the means and ability to pay the $17T FED Debt.
    Should you wish to have more information on our Plan, Please contact me confidentially as I don’t want to end up like our good President Kennedy.

  18. One issue with your post: the Fed doesn’t have a contract. They are a creature of statute.

  19. Dear Dr. Brown, this notice is not regarding the subject discussed here. Just maybe could help you in the propagation of public banks, or other type of help. Some time a go I listened to a small part of an interview with Ex- minister of treasury of Italy Giulio Tremonti ( I believe he is a honest man ) In that interview he mentioned public banking as mean to resolve this deep crisis enveloping our society, and I connected your project to those words. I felt compelled to inform you hoping for a good result.

  20. Ellen – as a citizen, I deposit my money specifically to local or state Credit Unions, rather than any Bank with ties to Private Banks or the Fed. Is this a safe bet or should I go instead to the North Dakota public bank system with my money?

  21. Ellen, I would like to hear your appraisal of the banking changes outlined here:

    http://realmoneyecon.org/lev2/answers.html

  22. To curb debt, there’s no way around changing how money is created.
    Please visit http://www.banks-need-boundaries.net and consider signing the petition, thanks!

  23. Dear Ellen,
    my name is Tatiana Coan and I am Italian, I am a Kinesiologist and Naturopath and I am hereby asking permission to translate your latest article on GMO and glyphosate and have it displayed on my site http://www.mytributetolife.com, which is now under construction. It is understood that your name and website will be stated in the English version of the site.
    I look forward to hearing from you and I remain. Tatiana Coan
    ps. I hope to have more time to traslate other articles of yours since I find them more than interesting…

    • Thanks, permission granted for that and any other articles!

  24. Dear Ellen
    I have followed your discussions and articles re: The Fed and State Banking and have a corollary which should be considered as a part of your arsenal.
    I posted this on the web about a year ago and have received nothing but positive responses, from both ends of the political spectrum.

    http://www.tractorparts.com/jobs_program.htm

    It is quickly scalable because of the public employees involved at the city, county, state, and federal levels.

    best wishes and good luck!
    John Parks

  25. I am a UK Chartered Accountant
    Recently my house was repossessed while I was sectioned in a mental institution by CHL Mortgages a UK subsidiary of Hydra (I will use this term to mean the bad guys) (Irish Life and Permanent Bank). I lost my life savings and took them to County Court. I have a court of appeal hearing in London on 10 April.

    The evidence I have is that before Receivers were appointed they broke into my house.

    Also they collateralised the debt and Citibank were on the deeds not CHL.

    The judge (District Judge in Whos Who) is part of Hydra and he said not relevant wehen I raised the fairness requirement under Consumer Credit Act 2006

    Have you any comments Ellen from a legal perspective..

  26. Finally! A woman who’s got it all down and can tell it in easy to understand words…love the interview re: pharma/banks/natural health. How can I help get you elected????????

  27. Could Dodd/Frank 2010 Bail-in procedures possibly affect members of large credit unions that have financial transactions (collateralization arrangements?) with TBTF banks by redefining credit union members as creditors or bond holders of insolvent TBTF banks, thus negating FDIC credit union insurance?

    I’ve been a member of a very large midwestern credit union for many years and I sense some red flags that caused me to seriously be concerned about the possibility that such a thing could happen.

  28. Anything short of what Kennedy was doing is capitulation to tyranny. If you don’t have the courage of Kennedy, then GTFO. because we don’t need a compromise that indulges the bankers.

  29. Jimin, with all respect, while I fully agree with your general point of view your estimation of Ellen’s approach is not valid. What she is proposing is a strong approach which has been proven here in the USA and many other countries. It is NOT a compromise with bankers. It will reduce bank profits and it will increase economic freedom for citizens. Bankers will be her main adversaries and may very well try to belittle her ideas from an uninformed left position.

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