I interviewed Ellen Brown on April 30th. This is part two of a two part interview transcript. Here's a link to the audio podcast.
Thanks to Don Caldarazzo for doing the transcript.
Rob Kall: So tell us a little bit more about the conference, and what's happening at the conference, and who is speaking there. What are you hoping to accomplish with this conference?
Ellen Brown: Ideally what we should do is bring an initiative, particularly in California where I live. We do initiatives, and they've been quite successful, quite often. But before you can do an initiative, people have to understand what you're talking about. If you walk into a supermarket and you say, "Do you want to sign my initiative for Gay Marriage?" or something like that, people know immediately 'yes' or 'no' whether they support that or they don't.
But if you say, "Will you sign my petition for a State-owned bank?" their first thought is, "I don't trust the government, we've got too many banks already." They don't understand the concept of why it's better for the people and even better for the local banks, etc; better for business, better for everything. So we wouldn't get very far with an initiative. We've already done - in California, we had a bill that made it all the way through both Houses of the Legislature, and the Governor didn't sign it; so it's very difficult to do it in the ordinary legislative way.
Our goal is to get lots of information out there. The more people understand it, then the more people understand how in jeopardy their money is right now in the current system, and how corrupt the system is, then the more ability we'll have to get the groundswell of support that you always need in order to change a system like that, if you look at it historically.
Rob Kall: Just how in jeopardy is the money that the people have? From what I'm hearing from you is primarily their retirement, their life savings that could be at risk, because the retirement funds and 401K's and what have you, they've got money that could be basically grabbed by derivative bankers. This is a problem.
Ellen Brown: Right. All that money is sitting, to the extent that it's setting anywhere -- I mean your stocks of course all you own is a piece of -- well, it's not even a piece of paper, that's the problem: you own these fungible stocks with no names on them. But the only actual money in the bank would be money between your sales of stocks, and all that goes to the TBTF banks. But as far bank deposits go, that would be normally the sort of lower -- I mean, the richest people don't keep a lot of money on deposit; they'll only keep enough to pay their bills, and all the rest they put somewhere else. So it's really the small depositors, the people who live from paycheck to paycheck - they're going to be the most vulnerable to that type of wipeout.
But even the big money, the money that you put away in your 401K or your IRA or whatever, is going to be at risk because those exchanges themselves use the TBTF banks. It's all at risk. The whole system is highly, highly risky, and we don't have much hope of changing it at the Federal level. Everything is gridlocked at the Federal level. So if we are to have any hope of change, it's at the local level. That's where you can actually get some action.
We have a very active group in Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, that's pushing for county-owned banks and for a State-owned bank. In Philadelphia County, a small county, you can get three people over lunch, the commissioners can meet over lunch and decide to form a bank, and they can do it. It's much easier to get done, if they understand the concept and why it's a good idea, and how they can do it.
So at our conference, besides the broad brush of why this is a good idea, we'll be going into the details of how you would set up a bank, where you would get the money; you know, all the different objections, and how you can overcome those. But it will start out, Matt Taibbi's role will be to lay the groundwork on how highly risky and corrupt the current system actually, is and why we need a change.
Rob Kall: Tell us again: how do people find out about the conference? Where do they go? What's the website?
Rob Kall: Yes, you've been amazing with what you've been doing with this. And when is the date of the conference again?