Link to podcast: America is NOT Broke: Interview with Scott Baker
Thanks to Tsara Shelton for help with transcript editing.
Rob: Welcome to Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township reaching Metro Philly and South Jersey. Sponsored by opednews.com My guest tonight is Scott Baker. Scott's one of the managing editors and the economics editor for OpEdNews, he's a lecturer at the New York Henry George School, and the New York coordinator for the Public Banking institute. I'm having him on to talk about his new book, America Is Not Broke-- Four Multi-trillion Dollar Paths to a Thriving America. Welcome to the show Scott.
SB: Thank you. It's good to be here and it's good to talk about the book.
Rob: Yeah, so what's the basic concept of the book?
SB: Well basically, I'm challenging the notion that America is out of money, that we can't afford social programs, that we can't cut taxes on people who need it to be cut such as the middle class. And that we're basically in decline because there's no way we can afford not to be and I'm doing it from a different way, not from the usual way where I just say we should tax the rich more, although we should, but certain kinds of wealth. I'm trying to show that there are four big solutions, four macro-economic solutions that people don't even know about that would put trillions into the economy. So if I can do that, and people understand it at a gut level, then we really have a different conversation.
Rob: Trillions into the economy. Why isn't this being done if it's available?
SB: Well some people they just don't know and the people who do know are not wanting to do it because they're basically rentiers, they're seeking rent. And these things would undermine all of that. For example, money creation itself is a province of the bank, it's a monopoly of the banks. It could be done by the government itself, it has been done by the government under Lincoln's, President Lincoln's administration. We had something called the Greenbacks or the United States Notes, that was sovereign money that was debt free money. It was produced to pay the civil war costs when the banks wanted 24-36% interest. And that's something that's allowed under the coinage clause, which is article 1 section 8 clause 5 of the constitution which SCOTUS, the Supreme Court rather, has upheld in Julliard vs Greenman as being a way that the United States can produce paper money and that it doesn't have to go to a bank or borrow it or even raise taxes. It has this provision where it can produce money as it needs to. So that's one thing, that's of four solutions. There's other ones, there's land value taxation.
Rob: Well wait, why don't you list the four different ones so we have them up front.
SB: Alright. So the first one was sovereign money, debt free money. The second one is land value taxation. Which is basically taking the site value of the land which is particularly important in urban areas. And putting it back into the community which created it in the first place because it's the demand that creates the value. It's not anything a developer puts on top of the land.
Rob: The third one.
SB: The third one is public banking. And that's been around since 1919 in North Dakota.
Rob: And the fourth one.
SB: The fourth one is government asset hoarding and basically that's accounting for pension funds and the agency funds. They have trillions of dollars that could be reallocated and people don't know it exists.
Rob: Okay so now we've got a list. Sovereign money, land value taxation, public banking and government asset hoarding. What do you think would be the easiest one to free up?
SB: Well I didn't play favorites in the book because people have different political persuasions and that's why I came up with four. If people don't like one or two of them there's still two more to choose from.
Rob: I'm thinking along the lines of reaching for the lowest hanging fruit. You get the first one maybe the second one will be easier. Yeah?