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The American Crisis: Deficit Reduction Proposal Snags Treasury Misinformation

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Deficit Reduction Proposal Snags Treasury Misinformation

The below letter demands that the Treasury correct a simple and short statement that appears three times on its website -- and threatens a prompt suit to enforce that demand.   The demand merits serious consideration because:   (a) It puts at imminent issue a prospectively painless deficit reduction sized at a few hundred billion dollars.   (b) No-one who takes the statement at face value can understand what the national deficit really is (including how and why it is in ordinarily growing part structurally required and voluntarily assumed, per the adopted Federal Reserve System).

 Formal demand for correction, express mailed Nov. 8, 2011

Dear Mr. Geithner,

As specified below, this is to demand the immediate correction of misinformation prominently posted on the Treasury's website, because it officially contradicts and so implicitly impairs a common sense deficit reduction proposal, sized at a painless few hundred billion dollars, that I submitted to the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on October 26, 2011.   Please take notice that, if a correction to the website is not made within 10 days of your receipt of this demand, my intention is to file a legal action seeking a remedial writ before the final congressional vote on deficit reduction measures, by December 23, 2011.

As touted on its website, the Treasury stands alone as the nation's definitive source for precisely such information, and promises the utmost integrity in publishing it, as a high public duty.   In these crisis circumstances, what might otherwise be a humdrum correctional request to junior staff, properly assumes the form of an immediate and enforceable demand, addressed to the Secretary.

My proposal is that mandatory, automatic social security dues (held in trust as treasuries) be paid with a new issue of United States Notes, instead of with Federal Reserve Notes -- not as a rule going forward, but merely for a deficit-trimming trial, limited to a few hundred billion dollars.   Thereby, the payments would be made and that debt retired, instead of rolled over with interest rates reset, and dealer fees et alia added.   As explained in my OpEd article at, this would mitigate the fiscal crisis without impairing private contracts or impertinently interfering with the FED's effective authority and capacity to control the quantity of dollars in circulation.   And it would importantly open the public eye.

However, a reader pointed me to the "US Notes" ( ) and "Legal Tender Status" ( ) pages on the Treasury website, which thrice dismiss United States Notes as long discontinued, because:

"United States Notes serve no function that is not already adequately served by Federal Reserve Notes."

In fact, Federal Reserve Notes are incapable of serving the national deficit reducing function that in my proposal is served by United States Notes.   Besides correcting the website, I request that you so inform the JSC directly, with respect to my October 26, 2011 proposal.

Yours sincerely,

Clifford Johnson

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Clifford Johnson is a semi-academic naturalized Brit. He first entered the U.S. as a rah-rah Harkness Fellow. For theater, language, and also as a questionable ex-Brit, Johnson adopts a Tom Paine II persona. His activist credentials comprise serial (more...)
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