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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 3/2/15

Who owns American Debt?

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I wrote to the "president" aka Kevin Spacey, and to the real-life writer and director, Beau Willimon last March, suggesting a plot twist to counter the debt ceiling in both real life and as a plot element in future episodes. I haven't binge-watched all the episodes yet, but it looks like this will not be an element of this season's adventures. I am past episode 5, and it's not leaning that way yet.
Also, my letter bounced back address unknown, and when I sent it electronically, the site said unsolicited scripts were not accepted. So, it seems Netflix TV is as locked into the dominant, and wrong, paradigm as any regular network TV program.
Here is my letter. It's a bit over the top, but so is the show.

Beau Willimon C/O Creative Artists Agency CA

9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California, 90212-1815

Re: House of Cards -- Plot proposal: Sovereign Money March 2, 2015

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CC: Kevin Spacey

Dear Mr. Willimon:

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I am a big fan of "House of Cards" and of Kevin Spacey's character, Frank Underwood.

When then Vice President Underwood faced off with Tea Party Senator Haas, who threatened to shut down the government over the debt ceiling, he could only compromise, manipulate, strong-arm, and cajole.

As president, he has a new option, one that will effectively give President Underwood the one power over Congress that a president normally lacks -- the power of the purse.

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Perhaps best of all, president Underwood could do all this while seemingly opposing the big banks, wrapping himself in the constitution, and even invoking our country's greatest president -- Lincoln.

Although little remembered today, during the Civil War, President Lincoln and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase used the constitution's coinage clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5) to "coin Money" (case structure in the original Constitution), specifically, the country's first Legal Tender: United States Notes. These were not dollars issued from a Central Bank (which did not exist then), but money directly issued by the U.S. Treasury -- debt-free, Sovereign Money. The New York City banks wanted 24-36% interest during the Civil War, when the North's treasury was nearly depleted. Instead of bankrupting the country, this issuance, in 3 installments, (1862-1863) of $450 million, was used to pay the Northern troops, and constituted 40% of the national budget at its peak. Its legality was later successfully upheld in a series of Legal Tender cases, culminating in the 8-1(!) Supreme Court decision Juilliard v. Greenman (1882) in which SCOTUS ruled that the Federal Government had the right to issue paper money, not just coins as it had done since 1792. This decision still stands and has never been challenged. United States Notes were produced until 1971, and a few remain in circulation today. Of course, most money is in electronic form now, and United States Notes could be too.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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