I. The Problem
Bank interest on debt is destroying America and the world! If that sounds outlandish, recall that thirty years ago, anything over 20% would have been usurious and illegal in most states, but today credit-card rates run up to 32%. That's only a percentage point less than 1/3rd, and if that is not usury, what is? Usury, like the bed bug, has returned to America.
Ellen H. Brown's examination of the history of money and banking in her definitive work, "The Web of Debt" (Third Millennium Press, 2008), lays open the ugly innards of the greatest money-manufacturing machine in human history, the big banks. Since pre-Christian history, banks have been making high-interest loans, thereby creating new money, to reap enormous profit and control nations. Let's look at how it's done.
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In the US when a bank writes a new loan, it creates instant new money as credit. Although the bank creates the principal as new money, it does not create new money to pay the interest. The borrower now has to earn the principal and interest, and since this is happening to millions of people, most are scrambling to earn enough to pay the interest. Why? The money to pay interest doesn't exist! With interest rates so usurious, most Americans and people worldwide are on treadmills that pump enormous sums into bank coffers. There is simply not enough money in circulation to pay the interest.
Through the centuries there have also been communities and countries that had their own tallies (sticks of wood used as money) that could be redeemed at stores and shops for good and services, thereby avoiding the usury of the local banks. These communities and countries flourished compared to those dominated by usurious banks. Ms. Brown takes us through these periods when the banks and their usurious interest took control of nations and through other periods when people devised their own currency and lived in a time of plenty. I'll summarize some of the highlights starting with Lincoln.
President Lincoln had a choice when the South seceded. He could have borrowed hundreds of millions from the banks, or he could do what the Constitution says the government should do when it needs more money in circulation: coin and print money. Lincoln chose the latter and printed $400 million in greenbacks to finance the war, pay and equip the soldiers, and pay for the operation of the government in time of our greatest turmoil. By going around the banks and following the Constitution, he saved his government a total of $4 billion in interest. The banks, however, re-gained control after his assassination.
James Garfield was the next American President to prick the ire of the usurious banks. Listen to him in 1881, shortly after becoming our twentieth president: "Whosoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce. And when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate." Garfield was assassinated shortly after he fired that shot across the bow of the banks.
William McKinley's crime was favoring high tariffs to keep the British free-traders out, and he too was assassinated shortly after re-election. The two Roosevelts failed to challenge the bankers in a serious way. FDR financed the climb out of the Great Depression and World War II by printing Federal Reserve Notes, not greenbacks, and thereby enriched banks and burdened the U.S. with enormous debt.
The last president to tangle with the banking establishment was Jack Kennedy. Opposed to "free trade" and for "sound money," he was also the last president to issue U.S. Treasury silver certificates and U.S. Notes, greenbacks. JFK also took on the CIA and the military-industrial complex. When we consider the many toes he stepped on and the power of the institutions he opposed, riding through the heart of the military-industrial complex in Dallas in an open limo was the height of hubris. He paid dearly for it.
Consider Brown's summation of the destructive effect of interest: "... and it is here that we find the real cause of global scarcity: 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." (All italics are hers.)