Cash-starved States Need to Play the Banking Game: North Dakota Leads the Way

Forty-six of fifty states are insolvent and could be filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings in the next two years. One of the four states that is not insolvent is an unlikely candidate for the distinction – North Dakota. What does the State of North Dakota have that other states don’t? The answer seems to be: its own bank.

Read more here — http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/state_bank_option.php

If you like this idea, here is a sample letter to send to your congresspeople, prepared by Charlie Fleetham —

https://webofdebt.wordpress.com/sample-letter-to-congressmen-forming-a-state-owned-bank/

72 Responses

  1. Another winner, Ellen! This is not only what each and every state should do, it is what the federal govt should do. The power to create money is sovereign, and sovereignty in a republic is supposed to reside in the people, in the public citizenry.

    It is ridiculous for our govt to be borrowing money from private bankers (at great cost) instead of just creating it at the cost of printing.

    It was even more ridiculous for our US govt to give the private banks a monopoly on money-creation in 1913, so that they, the private Wall Street bankers, could conjure it out of thin air and then lend it to US at interest.

    I really need someone to explain the logic of that to me. It’s hard to image how helpful it would be for someone to explain that to me so that I could actually feel like it made even a little sense.

    But we know that isn’t going to happen, don’t we? Just keep on spreading knowledge and truth, Ellen. Hard lessons are waking the people up… now a little … later a lot!

  2. EHB knows where the rubber meets the road. This is a powerful idea because it has deep political resonance: it offers each state the opportunity to get out from under the federal thumb and exercise its autonomy.

    I wrote to my local state rep, District 11, North Carolina, and sent him the article in an e-mail.

    State government has the opportunity to shine.

    Brilliant, Ellen!

  3. Totally agree! Brilliant , Ellen!
    I think you do a wonderful job simplifying the underlying rules restricting the banks creation according to Basel2. The main point ( and you are really good at it) is to get the message out.

    But I actually think people should be even more pissed offed (sorry for the rude language) if they knew that the banks actually can create the loans out of thin air since the Risk weight i set out at 0 to municipals and states. Banks can leverage their lending next to infinity and are not restricted to the 12,5X(bank reserve) as you described.

    I think you will find Eriks blog regarding Basel2 with simple examples, interssting. He translated it into English for you. I quote an example:


    In this example, we say that a bank is going to issue a loan to a company which has been given the risk weight of 4% in total. The capital base of the bank is still 200K.

    The maximum theoretical loan the bank can issue is then:

    200,000/0.04=5,000,000SEK

    The balance sheet will then look like this:

    Assets Liabilities

    Money 200,000 kr Money 200,000 kr

    Loan 5,000,000 kr Money (IOU) 5,000,000 kr

    Sum Assets 5,2000,000 kr Sum Liabilities 5,200,000 kr

    Notice the same thing here. Deposited money in the bank is not used to issue new credit. The credit is issued over and above existing money, thus the money supply as a whole has increased in society. This is called the creation of wealth.

    The bank has now stretched its capital base to the maximum for loan recipients with this risk weight.

    Now the state wishes to take a loan from an additional 5,000,000SEK from the same bank. Since the reserve requirement is 0%, needed additional capital base the bank needs to issue the credit is also 0.

    The balance sheet will now look like this:

    Assets Liabilities

    Money 200,000 kr Money 200,000 kr

    Loan 10,000,000 kr Money (IOU) 10,000,000 kr

    Sum Assets 10,2000,000 kr Sum Liabilities 10,200,000 kr

    What happens if depositors withdraw money?

    The bank has now promised 10MSEK and only has 200K SEK as reserves. What happens if the demand for withdrawals exceeds 200K SEK?

    As you can see the bank has expanded it’s reserves far beyond 12,5X(bank reserveres). The 8 percent capital requirement don’t restrict the banks expansion when they lend to municipals and states – it can basically create as much as they want without almost any needed capital.

    Please read his blog, it explains a lot of things.
    http://sundapengar.bloggagratis.se/2009/01/20/1302986-fractional-reserve-banking-part-2-in-english/

    And again thanks for an excellent article. It’s the way to go!

    • Thanks Michael! I knew federal securities were risk-weighted at zero but didn’t realize that was also true for municipal and state bonds. So why are they now having to pay exhorbitant interest rates for their short-term bonds sold at auction?

  4. In Newark, Mayor Corey Booker helped create the Brick City Development Corp., a gov’t run lending institution which resembles your model.

    http://www.bcdcnewark.org/

    • Great, thanks! So that was a city-owned bank, right? I wonder if they used fractional reserve lending (creating many times more loans than they had assets) or just recycled city funds.

  5. Ellen Brown, on March 7th, 2009 at 5:02 pm Said:

    “Great, thanks! So that was a city-owned bank, right? I wonder if they used fractional reserve lending (creating many times more loans than they had assets) or just recycled city funds.”

    Everything I can find on BCDC shows no government ownership at all, of any kind or level. Looks like and investment consortium to me. They are certainly not a city or municipal bank, nor do they appear to have any banking charters.

    That is only a quick 5 minute internet search, but I think it is fairly accurate. Sorry. It did sound a bit too good to be true, especially for Newark, NJ.

    It would be interesting to see if anyone could actually turn up a city or county owned bank… for real. North Dakota seems to be the only state owned bank in the USA.

  6. All we really need to do is focus on getting the private banks out of the money-creation business. Money-creation is a sovereign right, and that right belongs to the people in a democratic republic.

    Money power is not JUST a sovereign right; it is the most powerful sovereign right in an “advanced” civilization. Without it, all other rights can not be protected or enforced.

    The next big wave of freedom must be for economic freedom – Economic Democracy. Since all wealth flows from labor and land, all money should flow from that wealth creation, and should be a possession of the common economic community, or
    “the public”.

  7. Thanks, Ellen

    Well that’s a good question. Why should anyone need to pay tax to banks that creates the credit out of nothing when the government can create it to the benefit of the people? As you, Jere and Michael Hudson points out, the solution is letting the gouverment create the money. And as Jere says theres where the focus must be and you do an excellent job keeping the focus on the right spot.

    Michael Hudsons recent interview was excellent where he divide the economy in two parts – the financial parasitic part and the real economy. He makes the point that the way it’s built is basically a reverse model to what Adam Smith, Locke and Marx had in mind. They all wanted an economy where the non working part (whether feudal or financial – Hudson argue that they are basically the same – just different faces of the same parasitism) are restricted and heavily taxed but the real economy with goods and services are free. Thats what they meant with a “free market”. But instead we have the reversed in todays economy – the real economy is debt trapped by the financial parasitic economy. The financial parasitic economy is on the other hand totally free and they have manipulated peoples mind into thinking that this is “free market”.

    So the answer to your question, Ellen , is, according to Michael Hudsons analysis, that we have to “pay exhorbitant interest rates” in order to feed the parasite.

    Here’s a link to the Michael Hudson interview:
    [audio src="http://aud1.kpfa.org/data/20090304-Wed1300.mp3" /]

  8. I uploaded a segment of last Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher where Mayor Booker explains how the city of Newark created this bank. Ok, it’s only one million leveraged to 6 million, but the concept is accurate. Eloquent and highly motivated, one can expect Mayor Booker to set trends. I was only disappointed that Bill did not pick up on it when Corey brought up this bank. In his bold confrontations with the wealthiest Americans (see his opening salvo to Boone Pickens on the same show), it’s evident that Bill is trying to expose what the media still feels too shy to say.

    Here is the Youtube link to Corey Booker’s description of the bank :

  9. Hi Cathrine. I’d love to believe what you are saying about the a city owned bank. It’s just not so. The fact that Corey Booker is investing in it, or even a moajor shareholder in it, does not make it a public entity. It is a private entity, just like all the other banks in the USA except the Bank of North Dakota (BND).

    Of course the “concept” of leveraging “is accurate”, but under nearly all banking laws I know of, one million in deposits can be leveraged into far more than only 6 million. And no one can start a bank with only one million $. Takes muck more than that.

    My point is that what they are talking about is different from how you are interpreting it. Now, that doesn’t mean that the bank isn’t doing good things, and making loans that help the community, but all banks are supposed to be doing that.

    The real issue is WHO is pocketing the interest profits? Who is benefiting, the public or private investors? That is the focus, and the question we all need to keep asking.

  10. “The real issue is WHO is pocketing the interest profits? Who is benefiting, the public or private investors? That is the focus, and the question we all need to keep asking.”

    That is the point that conceals the continuing dominance of private capital. Seems like Booker is styling himself after M. Yunnis and the Grameen Bank (sp?), setting up a micro-lending facility.

    If it were a non-profit, then it would make sense and its lending could be seen as the management of a public utility.

    Private capital and its perceived entitlement to profit is the issue. How much is Booker entitled to?

    • True, and that would be good information to know; but even if private investors are making money on the deal, it’s freeing up credit in the city at reasonable rates, which is a good thing.

  11. Agreed.

    But it’s a band aid for a broken arm when we recognize that the problem is not actually liquidity, but insolvency. Credit remains the prerogative of private capital and the self-annihilating core principle of the private banking system ( high interest rates) remains unchallenged.

    In the present environment, interest should only be enough to cover operating costs. But this can’t be, since Booker doesn’t want to give his money away. So, they’ll charge 6% at least, most likely, and still lose their capital because their lending capacity is so tiny it cannot counteract the crushing impact of the deflation juggernaut.

    BTY, Ellen, my state rep, Ray Rapp, 11th District, NC, acknowledged receipt of your ND bank proposal and he’s looking at it, and I think you’ve started a fire at the grass roots! I hope, I hope, I hope! I’ll keep you posted.

    • Great! On the lobby, my vision would be a lobby with financial clout capable of matching the bankers’, e.g. a million homeowners in foreclosure armed and prepared to bring the produce-the-note defense.

  12. PS to Catherine: Shy media? The media doesn’t cover the things that Moyers covers because they are all controlled by the same corporate financiers that want the truth suppressed.

    Hi Michael, All fine points, as usual. Katherine Austin Fitts has been a champion “tapeworm killer” for many years. Of course the tapeworm is her name for the financial parasites who are sucking the lifeblood out of our real industrial productive economy.

    Thanks for posting that link to an outstanding interview with Dr. Michael Hudson. What a summary of our financial situation he gave Bonnie Faulkner on Guns and Butter. Hudson may just be the most brilliant honest financial thinker alive. I met him and heard him speak at the last AMI conference in Chicago. He was Dennis Kucinich’s financial adviser, which is just one reason I liked DK during the last primary season.

    I’m going to try to get an interview with Dr Hudson, if I can, and video it. I value his opinions. Thanks again.

  13. Jere,
    I, too, admire Michael Hudson as a progressive and compassionate voice. I have not heard him cal for the end of the rule of private capital, however. I haven’t heard him say we need to get rid of the Fed. Can you link me to something that might indicate he is a genuine populist, and not merely a charming progressive?

  14. I just mailed President Obama and Michelle Obama each a copy of “Web of Debt”! I wonder if it will get to them…I hope at least of them might read it…Just dreaming…

    • Thanks Ann! I was interviewed twice in the last two weeks by Santita Jackson in Chicago, daughter of Jesse Jackson and one of Michelle Obama’s best friends. She’s having me on again this week because of heavy listener response. Could be promising!

  15. AnnT

    I think you’d have better luck sending the books to your state reps, along with this article we’re (supposed to be) commenting on.

    The beauty of EHB’s proposal is that it gives the states an immediate practical way to deal with the budget crisis. It empowers the states to take action on their own and get out from under the federal government to some extent. This is very appealing to state legislatures.

    Obama is in bed with private capital interests. The federal government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Federal Reserve Corporation. Private banking lobbyists are swarming all over the capital like a plague of lice.

    The states by comparison are relatively free of the bank lobbying assault. You’d have better luck dealing with your local state people. It just may be that action at the state level will pull us out of this crisis. Thanks to Ellen Brown! This modest proposal has truly revolutionary potential!

    I’ve sent it to my state rep, and he’s acknowledged it, and that may mean that he’s going to give it some study. In a crisis, an idea like this could explode into action overnight……..almost….:)

  16. Good Comments all. It’s great that Ann has actually sent those books to them. I had thought about how to send it so that they would actually get it.

    Ann, did you use any special address? Did you just send it to the White House, or what?

    Joseph, I find myself in agreement with you on all points, except when you begin condemning Obama and/or Hudson for being in bed with the capital interests. It’s not that I don’t understand where you and others that hold similar views are coming from. I do. I’m actually one of those who realizes the great divide between what needs to be done and what is being done to solve our economic crisis/apocalypse.

    However, I think it’s more a matter of practicality than anything else. Hudson knows what’s what. He was at the AMI money reform conferences. The guy has positions and has to walk a fine line.

    Same with Obama, although in his case he might have some gaps in his “education” about money. It’s like FDR once told reformers that came to him with proposals. “OK, you’ve convinced me. Now go out and convince enough people to make me do it!” (paraphrased from memory). His point was that no one, not even a president, can swim against overwhelming popular opinion for long, and remain in office long enough to effect any changes.

    I really do believe, or want to believe, that Obama is walking that fine line. He is juggling blindfolded on a tightrope strung between mountaintops. Maybe you and I would prefer that Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader was appointed the Sec. Treasury spot, but the realities are that the Fed runs the govt, and not the other way around, as you noted.

    Let me ask you this: How would you do things differently than Obama so far? And stop to consider before you answer, that Kucinich and Ron Paul never got more than a few percentage points in the primaries. Obama would never be where he now is had he taken similar positions to theirs. That’s the reality.

    I could go on, but this is long enough now. I hope you get the point. It’s easy to criticize those who are in the arena from the sidelines and cheap bleacher seats. I don’t envy Obama’s position. The very least I can do for him, and us, is to give the man a chance. I think he has made remarkable progress so far. More than I had hoped for. Is it all I’d like? Hell no. But we didn’t get into this mess in 6 weeks, and its going to take a lot longer than a few weeks to get us out of it.

    First we have to go out and convince the people to “make him (and the congress) do it”.

    Bottom line is this: I think if we could get the ideal legislation on this president’s desk, HE WOULD SIGN IT! I think that is all you could reasonably expect to say of any president, past, present or future.

  17. Ellen Brown, on March 8th, 2009 at 11:13 pm Said:

    “Thanks Ann! I was interviewed twice in the last two weeks by Santita Jackson in Chicago, daughter of Jesse Jackson and one of Michelle Obama’s best friends. She’s having me on again this week because of heavy listener response. Could be promising!”

    You just GO girl! That is more than just promising. I think Michelle and Barack are a great twofer. She is going to be an active player in this administration, I think. That means her “best friends” who are also radio talk show hosts may play a role. Synchronicity may be at work here. We might even have the Jedi on our side. 😉

  18. The Jedi! I like it.

  19. jere

    I don’t condemn Obama or Hudson for anything. I can better understand Obama’;s waffling, though, and I don’t see why Michael Hudson has to walk the same fine line. He’s an academic, so he either believes the privatized monetary system is the way to go, or he simply hasn’t studied any alternative, or he doesn’t want to incur disfavor from academia. Maybe he’ll change his tune after his visit to AMI. I hope so.

    I believe Obama is following FDR’s lead, but FDR himself didn’t challenge the money trust, and that is what the time requires, IMHO. It’s marvelous that Ellen has the chance to get the First Lady’s attention on an inside track. But here’s the truth: private capital will see the people starve before they will voluntarily surrender the money power. They are manning the barricades against nationalization.

    They will abandon that position if political pressure and circumstances force them to. Then they will take up another obstructionist agenda. Private capital fears populism above all and will compromise and shape-shift endlessly so long as the money power remains in their hands and populist monetary reform is defeated. I do not condemn Obama for not challenging the control of private capital. It is an international power with unlimited resources. He will play the FDR role, which the money master will tolerate.

    The greenback was not Lincoln’s idea, remember. He was against it. ( Reference Zarlenga.) The greenback came from Congress and Lincoln signed the bill. It was sheer desperation that drove Congress in the heat of war, but it was also Congress that passed the National Banking Act of 1864.

    A populist solution will not come from the top down. A progressive solution, yes. There is precedent for that. But the progressive solution may not work this time. There is no gold standard to modify and ultimately jettison on the road to a pure fiat system. The great irony is that private capital ultimately embraced the populist greenback solution in 1971.

    And the greater irony is that the pure fiat system cannot work under the administration of private capital. Why? Because private capital requires high interest rates to control and to dominate, which is its accustomed role. A pure fiat system will always fulfill the dire predictions of the Austrian commodity money crowd if it does not strictly regulate interest at a level far too low for private capital to accept.. These people who live by usury and control society by usury, will not abandon usury in the interest of the general welfare. They will see us starve in gulags first.

    Obama is a defender of private capital. Believe it. He does not know that it is impossible for a private monetary system to serve the general welfare. He thinks it can, just like he thinks private insurance can provide universal and affordable health coverage. It can’t.

    This is why I think it is more fruitful to pursue monetary reform at the state level. The federal apparatus has lost control, but doesn’t know it yet. Just as economic recovery spells the end of globalization, and the turning inward of every nation in a scramble for self-sufficiency, so in these United States, recovery will come from each state component pursuing a populist solution of credit as a public utility as each pursues self-sufficiency in the face of the failure of the centralized apparatus.

  20. Even though the whitehouse.gov says to send it to “The White House,” I added “President Barak Obama” to the top of the address to hopefully increase the chances that he would see it. Same with “Mrs. Michelle Obama.”

    I think there is a tiny chance the Obama’s will read it because, I would think, that they too would want to educate themselves about the whole issue. They’re smart, educated people.

    Thanks for the reminder, Joseph. I was going to contact my state Reps. I’ve emailed Kucinich (who already seems to be aware of the issue) and Ron Paul. I’ve also signed up for blogs to throw in my 2 cents on “Web of Debt.” I’d like to convince Ron Paul fans that the gold standard is not the answer …and that the private banks are the problem.

  21. I meant to say: “Just as economic disaster spells the end of globalization…”

    We are at an historic crossroads more profound than the 30’s. The next domino to fall is commercial real estate, as Gerald Celente says. The crisis will not relent, but become more intense until it is undeniable that the stimulus isn’t working and the banks can’t be saved. Nationalization is inevitable.

    Obama has a good heart. He loves babies! He’s a born leader and potentially as historic a figure as FDR. But he’s not his own man. No president is. They will kill him if he doesn’t play ball and he knows it. Even with an aroused constituency behind him, they will kill him and deprive the people of their leader and the people will mourn and believe a skinhead assassin acted alone. The people want to believe in fairy tales, just as they want to believe OBL masterminded 911.

    I can’t imagine the pressure. The financiers are the most ruthless, amoral group of people on the planet. They engineer war and terror in the name of power & profit. They don’t give their power away. The masses of people are cattle to them. I am not speaking of George Soros, Warren Buffet, T. Boone Pickens, or any of the uberrich with familiar faces.

    The populist solution can only come from below from an irresistible mass. of people who are educated and understand the nature of their captivity and the nature of their captors.

  22. Ellen,

    I heard your interview on Lila Garret’s Connecting the Dots program and thought you two missed a teaching moment. The fight to establish the North Dakota State Bank was depicted in an obscure, but great, film titled: “Northern Lights.” It is about two brothers who organize sceptical Norwegian decent farmers to vote yes on a referendum to establish the bank. A small filmaker made the film in the late 1970’s to show what grassroots, people’s movements could do. It’s a good film, only available on old videos at this point.

  23. Joseph: Thanks for a couple of nice rants. I entirely agree with most of it. There are a few minor points we could debate, if I had more time now. I do think the reforms are going to have to come from the ground up. I’ve always felt that way. The reforms that come from the top down are probably going to be the ones we don’t want, and the bankers do.

    One point I’ll question now is “I meant to say: “Just as economic disaster spells the end of globalization…” I think you were right the first time. The economic collapse is going to trigger a move to the global money system, but by the time that happens I think people just might wake up enough to start taking local counter actions.

    All the time I have now. Wife’s calling me to dinner.

  24. Joseph Danison, on March 8th, 2009 at 7:04 pm Said:

    Jere,
    I, too, admire Michael Hudson as a progressive and compassionate voice. I have not heard him cal for the end of the rule of private capital, however. I haven’t heard him say we need to get rid of the Fed. Can you link me to something that might indicate he is a genuine populist, and not merely a charming progressive?

    And..

    Joseph Danison, on March 9th, 2009 at 3:41 am Said:

    jere

    I don’t condemn Obama or Hudson for anything. I can better understand Obama’;s waffling, though, and I don’t see why Michael Hudson has to walk the same fine line. He’s an academic, so he either believes the privatized monetary system is the way to go, or he simply hasn’t studied any alternative, or he doesn’t want to incur disfavor from academia. Maybe he’ll change his tune after his visit to AMI. I hope so.

    *********

    Hi Joseph, I was just revisiting the AMI website at http://www.monetary.org and found these two different quotes from Dr. Hudson about Stephen Zarlenga and his book and the AMI money reform efforts. Seems very supportive of the Greenback movement to me. 😉

    From Prof. Michael Hudson
    “The history of money is critical to understanding the greatest problem the third millennium will face. Stephen Zarlenga’s Lost Science of Money provides the needed background for seeing the basic structural issues at work. One of the most valuable things that Zarlenga has done in the book, that is not understood by the Europeans and by most economists is to show how the Greenbacks functioned.” – Prof. Michael Hudson, University of Missouri, Kansas City; Director, Institute for the Study of Long Term Economic Trends; Author of Super Imperialism, and Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East. Public Radio economics commentator.

    Then Stephen Zarlenga himself wrote: ” Dr. Michael Hudson wrote:

    “The history of money is critical to understanding the greatest problem the third millennium will face. Stephen Zarlenga’s Lost Science of Money book provides the needed background for seeing the basic structural issues at work.”

    Hudson has been behind the money reform movement for a long time. I wrote earlier that I had met him and heard him speak at the last two AMI conferences, which I attended.

    Cheers, Jere

  25. I found this from Michael Hudsons excellent article:

    “The alternative is a century and a half old, and emerged out of the ideals of the classical economic doctrines of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, and the last great classical economist, Marx. Their common denominator was to view rent and interest are extractive, not productive. Classical political economy and its successor Progressive Era socialism sought to nationalize the land (or at least to fully tax its rent as the fiscal base). Governments were to create their own credit, not leave this function to wealthy elites via a bank monopoly on credit creation. So today’s neoliberalism paints a false picture of what the classical economists envisioned as free markets.”

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12328

    So I think he promotes that governments should create the credit.

    In my country, Sweden, we got this member bank. It don’t create it’s own money but it lend it’s members money free of interest. Margrith Kennedy makes some interesting remarks as well (four parts):

    Kennedys book (very Gessel inspired): “Interest & Inflation Free Money” can be downloaded for free from her site:

    http://www.margritkennedy.de/pdf/BUE_ENG_Interest.pdf

    The original “JAK” bank came from Denmark heavily indebted farmers created an own bank creating it’s own money. The central bank of Danmark shut it down when the farmers quite quickly could get out of debt.

  26. “In my country, Sweden, we got this member bank. It don’t create it’s own money but it lend it’s members money free of interest.”
    ——————————————————–
    ———————————————————

    In the United States the JAK would be considered a deceptive trade practice, since though it calls itself “interest free,” it actually charges higher interest than conventional banks.

    Brock

  27. In any just and equitable society the entire US Federal Reserve System would be considered a deceptive trade practice, and morally reprehensible.

  28. Except the JAK is an actual fraud. Your premise that the Federal Reserve is a fraud is based on your true belief ideology and ignorance.

    Brock

  29. My premises are based on factual evidence, not ideology or ignorance. However that does seem to be a projection of your own situation onto me. Projection. Psychology. Look it up.

    The house of cards that has been built on interest-bearing bankster money creation is as fraudulent as any Ponzi or chain-letter scheme, and we are now witnessing the first years of its eventual total collapse.

    However it is obvious that no amount of real world evidence will convince one whose mind is totally dedicated to preserving his vested interests in a corrupt, unethical and immoral status quo.

  30. This Wikipedia article doesn’t seem to think JAK is a fraud. In fact it appears to be very similar to the model we are looking for in an honest bank.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JAK_members_bank

    I have not studied it long enough to have in-depth opinions on it, but apparent Broke More does. Perhaps he will share some of the sources of his infinite wisdom about JAK banking fraud with us. – Jere

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