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My Lunch with President-Elect Obama--The Meeting in the Annex

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"Well, I had help. Can you expound on that argument again. It's a very tenuous source on which to build a new society of equality, but ah... your conviction and confidence then and...ah... in your speech was convincing."

"Sure," I said as I realized that he had watched my speech on the web, which is what he meant by 'had help.' "Yeah, how convincing are the words of a black Moslem convict who has been dead for 43 years? But that paragraph has been field-tested on adults and hostile students, and I've seen the light bulbs that blink on when I tell people that we are all humans first and foremost. Even most adults have never seen themselves that way. It starts them thinking, especially when I tell them it is a weapon that they can use any time anyone tries to put them down. And I've never had anyone, including you, come up with a better paragraph or try to refute my argument for equality throughout our systems.

I was smiling to beat Dixie, but he only smiled back, ignoring the challenge, then looked at the paper in his hand as he said absently, "Okay." He put the paper aside as he gathered his thoughts before giving me a direct look and saying, "Your problem number three is my problem number one because as you just said, we could have a total financial collapse. Do you have other arguments for ah... controlling the corporate beasts?"

As he was speaking, I reached down and pulled out Ellen Brown's Web of Debt, but I kept it in my left hand, below the table.

"Let's cut to the chase, sir. The whole world is on the brink of a mammoth economic collapse because the bankers have been controlling, with very few exceptions, the source of all money for three hundred years. That's what the Fed is, a collection of private bankers who issue money in our name and collect the interest off of it. Right?"

Obama looked at Eisen to see if he understood, but Harry was looking at me, waiting for an explanation.

"How does the Federal Reserve collect interest off our money?" Obama asked dubiously.

"Bankers, who own the Fed, create money when they make loans, when they issue credit cards. Who makes the interest off that? The bankers, of course." I pulled up Web of Debt and read, "Somebody is paying interest on most of the money in the world all of the time. A dollar accruing interest at 5 percent, compounded annually, becomes two dollars in about 14 years. At that rate, banks siphon off as much money in interest every 14 years as there was in the entire world 14 years earlier!"

There was a moment of silence before he threw open his hands and asked, "So we should nationalize all the banks in the country?" His eyes were on the book before me.

"That's already happening with this bailout," I answered with wry grin. "But let's focus on the exceptions when the bankers didn't control the money. The middle colonies in the 1740s and 1750s were very prosperous because they were using their own colony script, thanks to Franklin who promoted the idea. It worked well for them-until he was sent to London as a negotiator and tried to convince them. Parliament passed the Currency Act in 1764, prohibiting the printing of colony money, and it helped bring on the war."

"So nationalize all of the banks?" he said and shook his head in skepticism.

I ignored the question and offered two more examples. "Lincoln established a national bank that issued greenbacks as legal tender, and he funded the war with it and so much more. Or take Germany. It was a basket case in the 1920s, having to pay reparations for World War I. Once it established its own national bank and issued money through it, Germany became an economic powerhouse by the mid and late thirties." I pushed the book forward. "There are other examples in there of what can be done, but taking back the power to print our own money is the key to the future. The banks will still exist, once we change the system and collect most of the interest off of money creation, but they will have to borrow money from the government at very low interest."

He leaned forward a little in his chair and said with some skepticism, "So they, ah, the bankers, borrow from us instead of we borrow from them." I could see he wanted to believe it, but was having a hard time.

"That's it in a nutshell. The whole world is suffering from usurious charges on the use of money. Each nation should issue its own money, and it should be pegged to a basket of goods, stable, not used for speculation."

"And what about our enormous debt, which is ah..." he said and shook his head. "What does the author say about that?"

"She says we, meaning your Administration, simply pay it off with American dollars that you issue as it comes due. And you cancel out the bonds and don't issue more"

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Ed Cowan attended high school and the University of Texas in Austin, getting his BA in English in 1964. In 1965 he moved to Vermont, became a writer, and spent ten years, most of it on the staff at Montpelier High School after manning a fire tower (more...)
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