Saturday, July 30, 2011

Obama’s Failed Jobs Subsidy | 99 Weeks

“Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.” ~Ronald Reagan

- Policies Have Consequences

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

Since 1948, the average duration of unemployment in the United States, has rarely exceeded twenty weeks. In fact, up until February of 2009, the average had only exceeded twenty weeks for a total of 8 out of 721 months. To be specific, the average exceeded twenty weeks for five months consecutively in 1983, for the month of January 1984, and for two non-consecutive months in 2004. But since February of 2009, the month after Barack Obama's inauguration; the average duration of unemployment has exceeded twenty weeks for his entire 29 month term. But more significantly, the average has doubled under his Hope & Change regime. The average duration of unemployment has skyrocketed from 19.9 weeks in January of 2009 to 39.9 weeks through June of 2011. So what’s up with that?

From Average Weeks Unemployed

I am reminded of the old Chinese Proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It may also be deduced that to borrow a fish and give it to a man, is to impoverish oneself; and that a nation borrowing and giving a ton of fish to men for 99 weeks will in time bankrupt itself. Of course it doesn’t get any better when one proffers to steal and give away the fish. For one thing, you can’t give away what you don’t have. And of equal importance, the act of extending unemployment benefits for 99 weeks actually does more to discourage, rather than encourage, employment. Can anyone dispute the end result?

If you take a look at Table A-12 (above), from the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest report, two items stand out. First of all, the officially counted number of unemployed persons, per Household Data, increased from 13.7 million in May to 14.2 million by June of 2011 (a fact overlooked by many). Secondly, the average duration of unemployment increased from 34.8 weeks in June of 2010 to 39.9 weeks by June of 2011. As you may recall, the recession officially ended in June of 2009, so what's causing this? The unintended consequences themselves dispute Obama’s errant theory that, extending unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks would help the unemployed find ‘good’ jobs. No one can deny the outcome.

It was back in July of 2010, after signing a bill extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, when Barack Obama said, "After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need." Excuse me, but I fail to see how an extension of unemployment benefits could ever be used as a tool for landing any kind of job. Exactly how does that work? As evidenced by the end result, not very well. And although unemployment benefits may help to support a family, when I was on unemployment for two weeks (many years ago), after having been furloughed by the federal government, it didn’t take any longer than that for me to figure out that my family of five could not survive on an unemployment check. So what did I do? I got religion, and found another job. “Finding a job is a full-time job.” ~Unknown

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” ~Matthew 7:7

I recently spoke with an acquaintance, who stated that he was going to have to get back to work soon, because the $1,200 per month check he had been getting for the past two years was about to run out. I thought for a minute, and then put two and two together. What he was saying was that he really wasn’t trying very hard while the unemployment checks were coming in. But as soon as the government-subsidy to not work came near an end, he knew he would have to get off of his behind and do what, for the past two years, he had no incentive to do. He also indicated during this dialogue that he had been doing some self-employed work on the side, using the government handout as a backstop. I’ve overheard a number of other people saying that they were working full-time jobs while continuing to collect unemployment checks as well, a behavior which I strongly condemn.

But this is really the government’s own fault. A government-funded, deficit-financed, subsidy to not work will always be respected for exactly what it is - free-money, carelessly doled out by a lackadaisical, sugarcoating, and weak-kneed Administration. It’s nothing more than an act of cold-blooded kindness. The act of extending unemployment benefits to 99-weeks has produced exactly what such a program should – an increase in the average duration of unemployment. If the big-time, millionaire, POTUS had an ounce of honesty; he would admit that you can’t support a family on an unemployment check, and that extending unemployment benefits doesn’t help anyone find a ‘good’ job. What sounds kind isn’t necessarily true. It is rather the threat of losing governmental assistance which produces the swift kick in the rear, necessary to inspire action.

When I took public transportation half way across town for four months, to a minimum wage job, to push a mop and empty trash cans, often standing at a bus stop in the pouring rain, I complained to no man. With simple faith in God, and a belief that He helps those who help themselves, it dawned on me one day that, ‘it really didn’t matter what I did for a living’. 'If I showed up everyday, and performed my job to the best of my ability, promotion would come from above.' And promotion did come, and in short order. Government has never been the solution to my problems, but for many unemployed persons today, government is the problem.

I have wondered at times how many people are really just lying around thinking that their lives would be so much better if only millionaires and billionaires would contribute more of their money to the federal government. If you listen to Obama's rhetoric long enough, you would think that there is a whole class of envious people sitting around somewhere dwelling on this thought, every waking day. But hopefully it’s just him. Whatever happened to words of encouragement?

“Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.” ~Calvin Coolidge

There was a day when I found myself jobless, homeless and broke. I didn’t have an unemployment check, or any other kind of governmental subsidy. When I checked into the local homeless center for a week (a center that I still donate to today), I wasn’t sitting around wishing I had someone else’s money. To the contrary, I was engaged in doing whatever I had to do to get out of there, and to get back on my feet. Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps used to be thought of as a noble feat, and in my view it still is. After all, doesn’t God help those who help themselves? Yeah, I went through some hard times, and worked some low paying, back-breaking, temporary jobs. But within three years of utter destitution, I had a good paying managerial job; good enough to buy a modest home, a car, to get married, and to move on to the next level. I haven’t looked back since.

So how much is the federal government squandering on this failed, so called, jobs program? Well, per the President’s own 2012 historical budget, federal spending on unemployment compensation reached a record high of $166.2 billion in 2010, eclipsing the previous record of $127.6 billion in 2009. Prior to this, the old record of $57.4 billion was set in 2003. And in case you’re wondering, total spending on unemployment in 2007 and 2008 was $35.3 billion and $45.6 billion, respectively. So not only has Obama’s misguided policy doubled the average duration of unemployment, but it has exceeded the previous spending record by 189%. Chalk up two more historical, extraordinary accomplishments for Obama.

From Average Weeks Unemployed

If I was engaged in the battle to reduce government spending, the first thing I would do is cut unemployment back to the traditional 26-week benefit. If government wants to reduce the number of unemployed, the best thing it can do is get out of the way. That’s right! There are jobs available now, but people are not going to take them until the government pacifier is withdrawn. I thank God for every back-breaking, low paying, non-unionized job I ever had. To be blunt about it, if you are an adult, and can’t find work within 26 weeks, in the United States of America, it’s not because there aren’t any jobs, it’s because you’re not trying. I tell that to my children, who are all working now, and I will say it to anyone who has ears.

“Go to the ant, you hater of work; give thought to her ways and be wise.” ~Proverbs 6:6

Here are some more words of wisdom that will stick with me for the rest of my days: “Do what you don’t want to do, and don’t do what you want to do.” | “Grow up or die.” | “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” | “Get in where you fit in.” | “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” ~Proverbs 21:5

What? You don’t like this? Too bad! It’s time we had leaders who tell the people what they need to hear, and not what they want to hear. It’s time to take our ideals back. It’s time to restore integrity. It's time to judge men and women by the content of their character. It’s time to get government out of our way and off of our backs. It’s time for another shellacking. It’s time for the community destabilizer to shape-up, or ship-out.

“Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” ~Ronald Reagan

References:

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/801-economy/134443-unemployment-benefits-extension-in-tax-cut-deal-only-goes-so-far

http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Federal_Unemployment_Insurance_Extensions.htm

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm

http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy12/xls/BUDGET-2012-TAB-5-1.xls

Link to Data:

Data Tables

Images

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ending the National Debt ... There is a solution

What would Jesus do? - "And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers.." ~ Matthew 21:12

- The Money Masters -

Pass the Monetary Reform Act, now!

United States Constitution:

Article I, Section 7 [Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto] - "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives..."

Article I, Section 8 [Powers of Congress]- "To borrow money on the credit of the United States... To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures..."

Related:

Solving the Debt Crisis | A Catch-22

The Monetary Reform Act of 201X | Authentic

Debt Mayhem | End Fractional-Reserve Banking

Monetary Reform, Part II | Lending and Interest

Monetary Reform, Part I | End the Debt

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Solving the Debt Crisis | A Catch-22

~ Pass The Monetary Reform Act ~

By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

The Obama administration’s solution for the nation’s impending destruction, due to out-of-control deficit spending, is to increase the debt ceiling now, and worry about spending cuts later. The Obama administration is under the impression that more borrowing power will enable the nation to maintain its AAA Credit rating. The Catch-22 is that an instant increase in the debt ceiling will result in an instant downgrade to the nation’s credit rating. You see, the problem is not the level of the nation’s debt ceiling; the problem is America’s debt-to-GDP ratio. If raising the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion would result in an equal increase in gross domestic product, then the problem would be solved. However, there is no verifiable link between government spending and economic growth.

The following passage, from Joseph Heller’s book, “Catch-22”, about sums up the whole zero-sum debt dilemma: “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.” The solution to Orr’s problem would be to simply end the war. Similarly, the solution to the National Debt problem is to simply end the Fed.

Obama and his supporters are basically saying, “You have to buy more government bonds, otherwise the bonds you already own will go into default.” In other words, the only way the government can continue to pay the interest on its $14.5 trillion National Debt is through incurring more debt. Like Orr in Heller’s Catch-22, Obama must be thinking: I have bankrupted the federal government and need to borrow more to keep from going broke. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, the National Debt will be contained, but we will not be able to pay the interest on the current debt. If we raise the debt ceiling, we will increase our debt thus ensuring our demise, but if we don’t raise the debt ceiling then we must declare bankruptcy. If we raise the debt ceiling we will be bankrupt, and if we don’t raise the debt ceiling we will be bankrupt.

What AAA Rating? - While American politicians claim that their intention is to preserve the nation’s alleged AAA credit rating, Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd. (Dagong), China’s credit rating service, has already lowered its rating to A+/negative. Dagong initially assigned the United States a sovereign credit rating of AA in July 2010, but lowered this rating on November 3, 2010, when the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its QE2 monetary policy. In Dagong’s opinion, QE2 was “aimed at stimulating the U.S. economy through issuing an excessive amount of U.S. dollars”, which it saw as a sign of “the collapse of the U.S. government’s ability to repay its debt and a drastic decline of its intention to repay”. Dagong therefore downgraded the U.S.A.’s credit rating to A+/negative, and has since placed the sovereign credit rating of the United States on its Negative Watch List. But who cares about China’s credit rating service, right? After all, we only acknowledge Moody’s and S&P in the West, because we can always borrow from Europeans, right?

Unasked Questions - The questions that politicians have failed to consider in this entire futile debate are as follows:

Why is the government in debt? - The federal government is in debt because it has given its ability to create money over to the privately owned Federal Reserve, and to privately owned National Banks. Every time the government needs money, it must first borrow it from the Federal Reserve by exchanging bonds for cash. Why? If the government were to simply print its own currency, similar to Lincoln’s Greenbacks, then there would be no National Debt at all. So why not change this first? If the federal government were to pass the Monetary Reform Act, it would be able to payoff the entire National Debt within a year, and would simultaneously extinguish from its budget $400 billion per year in interest payments.

Where will the money come from? - When the Obama administration proposes to increase the National Debt by another $2.5 trillion, it’s most profound that no one is asking where the money will come from. So where will the money come from? The answer is out of thin air. That’s right. The money the government borrows is created out of thin air. But creating money out of thin air has consequences, namely inflation. When the Fed prints money and exchanges it for government bonds, the existing money supply is diluted, in other words, worth less. Who needs QE3, when you’ve got Obama-Year-3? If you don’t know where the money the government borrows comes from, then I recommend that you take the time to watch at least one of the following videos:

Modern Money Mechanics

The Secret of Oz

Money as Debt

Money as Debt II

Dazed and Confused - Many, so called, conservatives seem to be confused on the matter of Monetary Reform. When we say, “Who cares about the banks, let them go broke”, they reply, “but banks are businesses and what you are proposing is anti-capitalism.” It’s funny that when it came to big bank bailouts, the same crowd who was chanting, “Let them go broke,” is now saying, “Don’t take away our precious banks.” I maintain that banks are not businesses. Banks produce no real goods or services; they merely buy, sell and hold debt. They also receive the largest government subsidy there is, the ability to create money out of thin air and to loan it out at interest.

Real businesses produce real products and services such as oil companies. Oil companies drill for oil and natural gas, and then refine it into tangible products sold to the public for profit. When politicians speak of taking away, so called, tax subsidies for oil companies, what they are really saying is that U.S. citizens should pay more in energy costs, not that oil companies should pay more in taxes. When we say, “End the Fed,” what we are really saying is, “End the National Debt”. When we say, “Raise bank reserve ratios from 0% to 10%, to 100%”, what we are saying is, “Take away the national banking system’s ability to create and loan out money that it doesn’t have.”

The Only Solution - Cutting taxes, reducing spending, raising taxes, and increasing spending are proposals which no matter how you structure them will not solve the real problem. Borrowing more to keep from going broke is not only absurd, it's insane. So who’s kidding who? Passing the Monetary Reform Act will solve the National Debt problem and place America firmly on the road to recovery. In my opinion, there is no other solution.

Until there is reform, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto The United States the things that are the Federal Reserve Bank’s.”

Related:

The Monetary Reform Act of 201X | Authentic

Debt Mayhem | End Fractional-Reserve Banking

Monetary Reform, Part II | Lending and Interest

Monetary Reform, Part I | End the Debt

Photo Credit: World Crisis by Petr Kratochvil

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Monetary Reform Act of 201X | Authentic

The Two Step Plan to National Economic Reform and Recovery

Step 1: Directs the Treasury Department to issue U.S. Notes (like Lincoln’s Greenbacks; can also be in electronic deposit format) to pay off the National debt.

Step 2: Increases the reserve ratio private banks are required to maintain from 10% to 100%, thereby terminating their ability to create money, while simultaneously absorbing the funds created to retire the national debt.

These two relatively simple steps, which Congress has the power to enact, would extinguish the national debt, without inflation or deflation, and end the unjust practice of private banks creating money as loans (i.e. fractional reserve banking). Paying off the national debt would wipe out the $400+ billion annual interest payments and thereby balance the budget. This Act would stabilize the economy and end the boom-bust economic cycles caused by fractional reserve banking.

Monetary Reform Act – Summary

This proposed law would require banks to increase their reserves on deposits from the current 10%, to 100%, over a one-year period. This would abolish fractional reserve banking (i.e., money creation by private banks) which depends upon fractional (i.e., partial) reserve lending. To provide the funds for this reserve increase, the US Treasury Department would be authorized to issue new United States Notes (and/or US Note accounts) sufficient in quantity to pay off the entire national debt (and replace all Federal Reserve Notes).

The funds required to pay off the national debt are always closely equivalent to the amount of money the banks have created by engaging in fractional lending because the Fed creates 10% of the money the government needs to finance deficit spending (and uses that newly created money to buy US bonds on the open market), then the banks create the other 90% as loans (as is explained on our FAQ page). Thus the national debt closely tracks the combined total of US Treasury debt held by the Fed (10%) and the amount of money created by private banks (90%).

Because this two-part action (increasing bank reserves to 100% and paying off the entire national debt) adds no net increase to the money supply (the two actions cancel each other in net effect on the money supply), it would cause neither inflation nor deflation, but would result in monetary stability and the end of the boom-bust pattern of US economic activity caused by our current, inherently unstable system.

Thus our entire national debt would be extinguished – thereby dramatically reducing or entirely eliminating the US budget deficit and the need for taxes to pay the $400+ billion interest per year on the national debt – and our economic system would be stabilized, while ending the terrible injustice of private banks being allowed to create over 90% of our money as loans on which they charge us interest. Wealth would cease to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands as a result of private bank money creation. Thereafter, apart from a regular 3% annual increase (roughly matching population growth), only Congress would have the power to authorize changes in the US money supply – for public use -not private banks increasing only private bankers’ wealth.

Support the Monetary Reform Act – write your Congressman today!

Read the full version of the Monetary Reform Act here.

If not now, when?

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The Secret of Oz - Winner, Best Documentary of 2010

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Source:

The Money Masters

Related:

Monetary Reform, Part I | End the Debt

Monetary Reform, Part II | Lending and Interest

Debt Mayhem | End Fractional-Reserve Banking

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Debt Mayhem | End Fractional-Reserve Banking

An Empire Built on Sand ~

~ By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

Those of us who lived through the financial crisis of 2008 are most familiar with the drawbacks of fractional-reserve banking. It's core theory, that wealth is created through debt, is now so ridiculously out of control, that every newborn American citizen today enters this world more than $46,000 in debt. Those naive enough to think that America’s most pressing problem started in January of 2001, or some other arbitrary date, need to look back a bit further, to 1913 to be precise. In America, taxpayers have been the suckers, while the “middle class” have been lulled into serfdom. But since we the people are no longer willing to perpetuate this fraud, the federal government, on our behalf, and at our expense, has volunteered to further prop up a broken and obsolete monetary system, yet the days of fractional-reserve banking are numbered.

What is fractional-reserve banking? – Fractional-reserve banking is a type of banking whereby a bank does not retain all of a customer’s deposits within the bank. Funds received by the bank are generally loaned out to other customers. This means that the available funds, called bank reserves, are only a fraction (reserve ratio) of the quantity of deposits at the bank. As most bank deposits are treated as money in their own right, fractional reserve banking increases the money supply, and banks are said to create money, literally out of thin air.

Fractional-reserve banking is prone to bank runs, or other systemic crisis, as anyone who has studied the American economy since 1913 is well aware. In order to mitigate this risk, the governments of most countries, usually acting through a central bank, regulate and oversee commercial banks, provide deposit insurance and act as a lender of last resort. If the banking system could only find a big enough sucker, one dumb enough to borrow say $14.4 trillion or more indefinitely, its prospects would be unlimited.

How does it work? – As an example, let’s say you work hard and are able to deposit $100,000 into Bank A. What does the bank do with your money? I mean if you wanted to withdraw it all in the following week, would it still be there? The answer is yes, and no. You see once you deposit your money, the bank immediately loans it out to someone else, likely keeping none of it in reserve, or at the most 10%. Let’s assume that Bank A is one of the mega-banks subject to the maximum bank reserve requirement of 10%. What happens is that the bank will hold $10,000 of your money either in its vault, or in a regional federal reserve bank, and will loan the other $90,000 to someone else.

Let’s say that Joe, a borrower, walks in to Bank A and applies for a $90,000 home loan on the day after you make your deposit. Bank A gladly gives Joe the $90,000 loan, at 5% interest over 30 years. When Joe closes on the loan, the $90,000 is paid to Jenn, the seller of the home. Jenn then deposits the $90,000 into her account at Bank B. Bank B keeps $9,000 of her money in reserve while lending out the other $81,000. Now let’s say that Jack comes along and secures an $81,000 business loan from Bank B on the day after Jenn makes her deposit. Now Jack deposits the $81,000 into his account with Bank C, and the cycle continues.

Bank A counts the $100,000 in your account as a liability, because it owes this amount back to you, and at the same time counts the $90,000 loan made to Joe, and the $10,000 held in reserve as assets. In effect Bank A has created a $90,000 loan asset for itself out of thin air. Fractional-reserve banks count loans as assets, and then earn their money through charging interest on this fictitious money. They also make money through repackaging loans as investments and selling them on the open market, potentially creating an even bigger fraud.

Following the money, your bank statement shows a balance of $100,000 at Bank A, Jenn’s bank statement reveals a balance of $90,000 with Bank B, and Jack has a balance of $81,000 on deposit with Bank C. The money supply has amazingly increased by $171,000 (90,000 + 81,000), through very little effort. Amazing, considering that the only real money introduced into the system was your initial $100,000 deposit. Through the system of fractional-reserve banking your original $100,000 has been magically transformed into $271,000 of liquid cash, while at the same time creating $171,000 of debt.

So what happens if you come back the following week to withdraw all of your money? Well first of all, Bank A will likely tell you that you need to give them several days notice before making such a large withdrawal, because in reality, they don’t have your money anymore. Bank A is then forced to do one of three things: borrow the money overnight from the Federal Reserve, or another member bank; sell some of its loans on the secondary market; or wait until another customer makes a $100,000 deposit – using $90,000 of that plus the $10,000 it held in reserve for you. If this sounds like a Ponzi scheme, it just might be.

Creating Wealth through Debt - The table below displays how loans are funded and how the money supply is affected. It shows how a commercial bank creates money from an initial deposit of $100,000. In the example, the initial deposit is lent out 10 times with a fractional-reserve rate of 10% to ultimately create $686,189 of commercial bank money. Each successive bank involved in this process creates new commercial bank money (out of thin air) on a diminishing portion of the original deposit. This is because banks only lend out a portion of the initial money deposited, in order to fulfill reserve requirements and to allegedly ensure that they have enough reserves on hand to meet normal transaction demands.

The model begins when the initial $100,000 deposit of your money is made into Bank A. Bank A sets aside 10 percent of it, or $10,000, as reserves, and then loans out the remaining 90 percent, or $90,000. At this point, the money supply actually totals $190,000, not $100,000. This is because the bank has loaned out $90,000 of your money, kept $10,000 of it in reserve (which is not counted as part of the money supply), and has substituted a newly created $100,000 IOU for you that acts equivalently to and can be implicitly redeemed (i.e. you can transfer it to another account, write a check on it, demand your cash back, etc.). These claims by depositors on banks are termed demand deposits or commercial bank money and are simply recorded on a bank's books as a liability (specifically, an IOU to the depositor). From your perspective, commercial bank money is equivalent to real money as it is impossible to tell the real money apart from the fake, until a bank run occurs (at which time everyone wants real money).

At this point in the model, Bank A now only has $10,000 of your money on its books. A loan recipient is holding $90,000 of your money, but soon spends the $90,000. The receiver of that $90,000 then deposits it into Bank B. Bank B is now in the same situation that Bank A started with, except it has a deposit of $90,000 instead of $100,000. Similar to Bank A, Bank B sets aside 10 percent of the $90,000, or $9,000, as reserves and lends out the remaining $81,000, increasing the money supply by another $81,000. As the process continues, more commercial bank money is created out of thin air. To simplify the table, different banks (A – K) are used for each deposit, but in the real world, the money a bank lends may end up in the same bank so that it then has more money to lend out.

Although no new money was physically created, through the process of fractional-reserve banking new commercial bank money is created through debt. The total amount of reserves plus the last deposit (or last loan, whichever is last) will always equal the original amount, which in this case is $100,000. As this process continues, more commercial bank money is created. The amounts in each step decrease towards a limit. This limit is the maximum amount of money that can be created with a given reserve ratio. When the reserve rate is 10%, as in the example above, the maximum amount of total deposits that can be created is $1,000,000 and the maximum increase in the money supply is $900,000 (explained below).

Fractional reserve banking allows the money supply to expand or contract. Generally the expansion or contraction is dictated by the balance between the rate of new loans being created and the rate of existing loans being repaid or defaulted on. The balance between these two rates can be influenced to some degree by actions of the Fed. The value of commercial bank money is based on the fact that it can be exchanged freely as legal tender. The actual increase in the money supply through this process may be lower, as at each step, banks may choose to hold reserves in excess of the statutory minimum, or borrowers may let some funds sit idle, or some people may choose to hold cash (such as the unbanked). There also may be delays or frictions in the lending process, or government regulations may also limit the amount of money creation by preventing banks from giving out loans even though the reserve requirements have been fulfilled.

What are the Fed’s current reserve requirements? - According to the Federal Reserve, banks with less than $10.7 million on deposit are not required to reserve any amount. When deposits reach $10.7 to $58.8 million the requirement is just 3%. It’s only when deposits exceed $58.8 million that a 10% reserve requirement applies. The table below was extracted from the Federal Reserve’s website.

How much money can our banking system create out of thin air? - The most common mechanism used to measure the increase in the money supply is typically called the money multiplier. It calculates the maximum amount of money that an initial deposit can be expanded to with a given reserve ratio.

Formula - The money multiplier, m, is the inverse of the reserve requirement R:

Examples

A reserve ratio of 10 percent yields a money multiplier of 10. This means that an initial deposit of $100,000 will create $1,000,000 in bank deposits.

A reserve ratio of 3 percent yields a money multiplier of 33. This means that an initial deposit of $100,000 will create $3,300,000 in bank deposits.

A reserve ratio of 0 percent yields a money multiplier of ∞ (infinity). This means that an initial deposit of $100,000 will create an unlimited amount of bank deposits.

What’s the problem? - The system works fine as long as everyone plays along. The biggest problem is that it’s a system by which wealth is only created through debt. Through this system, the lender always wins; while debtors - nowadays referred to as the middle class - always lose. As long as there are willing borrowers, our economy grows. When consumers, businesses, and the federal government stop borrowing, the system shuts down. But one cannot very well borrow into infinity; after all, life itself is finite. “There is a time to borrow, and a time to repay; a time to live and a time to die.” One definitely cannot borrow while lacking the means of repayment, unless of course, it has a seeming unlimited ability to tax.

The next biggest problem is that of absurdly low bank reserve requirements. With bank reserve requirements set at 0% to 10%, what could possibly go wrong? I mean besides banks having the ability to create an infinite supply of make-believe money through debt. The modern mainstream view of reserve requirements is that they are intended to prevent banks from:

  1. Generating too much money by making too many loans against the narrow money deposit base;
  2. Having a shortage of cash when large deposits are withdrawn (although the reserve is thought to be a legal minimum, it is understood that in a crisis or bank run, reserves may be made available on a temporary basis).

Let's face the facts. Our present monetary policy is a disaster. When too many players wish to withdraw their money to hold as cash, or too many purchases are made overseas, or an excessive amount of loan defaults occur, the house comes crashing down. When all three events occur at the same time, as actually happened in 2008, it should have spelled the end of fractional-reserve banking. But instead, our leaders are in denial. Now "wealthy" U.S. taxpayers are being called upon to bailout the federal government, while at the same time, the government seeks more borrowing power. But when all our wealth is gone, who will rescue us then? And if the entire global monetary system has likewise been built on the same sinking sand, who will rescue them?

Well, hopefully you now have a better understanding of why our present monetary system is dysfunctional, why the federal government wants you to borrow more, and why it wants to borrow more itself. We are a nation built on a Ponzi scheme; one which cannot grow without incurring further debt. But as I said before, growth through debt amounts to nothing more than spending next year’s income today. Man does not live by debt alone.

What’s the solution? – We have to put an end to fractional-reserve banking. It should be clear, to all those with understanding that we need to get off of this merry-go-round. The first step is for the Federal government to take the power of money creation away from the Federal Reserve and from commercial banks by both issuing and controlling the quantity of its own currency (rather than Federal Reserve Notes). The second step is to increase bank reserve requirements to 100%, as banks should never again be allowed to loan out more money than actually on deposit. If there was a way to end the debt-money system and to payoff the national debt within a year or two, wouldn't you want to know? For the details on how to accomplish this, I implore you to watch Bill Still’s video entitled, The Secret of Oz.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” ~ Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)

References:

Fractional-Reserve Banking

Oz Economics

Federal Reserve: Monetary Policy

Related:

Monetary Reform, Part II | Lending and Interest

Monetary Reform, Part I | End the Debt

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Monetary Reform, Part II | Lending and Interest

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

The interest that U.S. taxpayers pay on behalf of the federal government, for the privilege of having money in our wallets, and to cover irresponsible deficit-spending, is only the beginning of our woes. When it comes to our personal credit needs, American citizens are once again shackled and sold down river. With regards to borrowing and lending, we may be able to take a few pointers from Islamic banking. I know what you’re thinking, but just bear with me. Let me make one thing clear, I am a Christian, and I do not agree with any of the principles of Sharia, except for those it shares in common with the Bible. Upon these, I think most humans can agree. For in this case, we are not talking about matters of heaven or hell; we’re talking about money.

“If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.” ~ Leviticus 25:35-37

Interest - Sharia prohibits the charging of interest (known as usury) for loans of money. The Bible is also very clear on the matter of usury. The Biblical term for usury, neshek, is strongly negative, coming from a root whose basic meaning is to strike as a serpent. Islamic banking has the same purpose as conventional banking: to make money for the banking institute through the lending of capital. But because Islam forbids simply lending out money at interest, Islamic rules on transactions have been created to avoid this problem. The basic technique to avoid the prohibition is the sharing of profit and loss, via terms such as profit sharing, safekeeping, joint venture, cost plus, and leasing.

Loans in pre-industrial societies were made to farmers in seed grains, animals and tools. Since one grain of seed could generate a plant with over 100 new grain seeds, after the harvest, farmers could easily repay the grain with "interest" in grain. When an animal was loaned, interest was paid by sharing in any new offspring. What was loaned had the power of generation, and interest was a sharing of the result. Interest on tool loans would be paid in the produce which the tools had helped to create.

Monetary problems didn’t surface until societies began using metals, like gold, as forms of currency. When interest was allowed to be charged on loans of metals, with the interest to be paid in more metal, life became more difficult, particularly with agricultural loans. The problem is that inorganic materials, not being living organisms, have no means of reproduction. Thus, any interest paid on them must originate from some other source or process. The same is true with paper money today.

For example, if you borrow money to start a farming business, the only way to pay it back is if you are able to sell your crops to others in exchange for sufficient paper money to cover your expenses, including principal and interest. If your crops happen to get wiped out one season, then most likely, so do you. Even if you borrow money to start any kind of business, and are successful, you must make enough profit to cover the principal and interest payments on the debt. And in case you don’t know it, principal repayments are never deductible for income tax purposes. So a business with $100,000 in profit, which uses it to repay its debt, must then come up with additional money to cover the income taxes thereon; leading to the incurrence of more debt. What we have in the United States is a system of winners and losers, where the big banks always win, while the citizens of the Republic mostly lose.

Mortgage Loans - Let’s say you decide to buy a home for $110,000 by paying $10,000 down, and taking out a $100,000, 30 year - 5% fixed rate mortgage. When the term is over, you will have paid the lender $193,256, plus your down payment, for a total of $203,256. What you get in exchange is the privilege of living in a home which may or may not be worth its original value of $110,000 in 30 years. If your home loses value midstream, as far as the lender is concerned, “too bad”. If you miss, or are late on a payment, the lender will charge you penalties and destroy your credit, preventing you from obtaining future loans. If you get too far behind, the lender will put you out on the street. It doesn’t matter how good your credit was before your troubles, or how long you made timely payments, you will be destroyed. The lender will then confiscate your home, and sell it to someone else, pocketing any profit in the process.

In an Islamic mortgage transaction, instead of loaning the buyer money to purchase a home, a bank might buy the home itself from the seller, and re-sell it to the buyer at a profit, while allowing the buyer to pay the bank in installments. However, the bank's profit cannot be made explicit and therefore there are no additional penalties for late payment. In order to protect itself against default, the bank asks for strict collateral. The property is registered to the name of the buyer from the start of the transaction. This arrangement is called Murabahah.

An innovative approach applied by some banks for home loans, called Musharaka al-Mutanaqisa, allows for a floating rate in the form of rental. The bank and borrower form a partnership entity, both providing capital at an agreed percentage to purchase the property. The partnership entity then rents out the property to the borrower and charges rent. The bank and the borrower will then share the proceeds from this rent based on the current equity share of the partnership. At the same time, the borrower in the partnership entity also buys the bank's share of the property at agreed installments until the full equity is transferred to the borrower and the partnership is ended. If default occurs, both the bank and the borrower receive a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of the property based on each party's current equity.

Business Loans - U.S. banks lend money to companies by issuing fixed or variable interest rate loans. The rate of interest is based on prevailing market rates and is not pegged to a company’s profit margin in any way. U.S. banks currently borrow the money they lend to businesses at rates as low as 0.25%. When was the last time you saw an ad for small business loans charging 0.50%, which would give the lender a 100% return? The fact is that banks are still charging rates of between 4.0% and 30.0%, in spite of the cost of money. When prevailing interest rates are too high fewer businesses are able to borrow, thus inhibiting economic growth; and when rates are too low, profit-dependent banks are less willing to lend, also hindering the economy at large. If a business with a profit margin of just 5.0% could only borrow money at interest rates of 10.0% or more, why would it bother?

Islamic banks lend their money to companies by issuing floating rate loans. The floating rate is pegged to the company's individual rate of return. Thus the bank's profit on the loan is equal to a certain percentage of the company's profits. Once the principal amount of the loan is repaid, the profit-sharing arrangement is concluded. This practice is called Musharaka.

Risk - Under our present system, if a company has a bad year and misses a few payments, it may be forced into bankruptcy. In the U.S. the risk of failure is placed squarely on the back of entrepreneurs. If a small business owner defaults on a loan, he is run out of business and his future ability to borrow is destroyed. In the case of government guaranteed loans, which are backed by the full faith and credit of you and I, the banks get their money back, while the failed entrepreneur, having been made a personal guarantor, is hunted down by his own government, like a fugitive, for the rest of his days.

Islamic banks also lend through Mudaraba, which is venture capital funding to an entrepreneur who provides labor while financing is provided by the bank so that both profit and risk are shared. Such participatory arrangements between capital and labor reflect the Islamic view that the borrower must not bear all the risk/cost of a failure, resulting in a balanced distribution of income and not allowing the lender to monopolize the economy.

End Usury, Now - Our monetary system needs a complete overhaul. But so far, the only reforms offered have been to further back big banks, at the expense of U.S. citizens. This is not acceptable. Until there is real reform, you and I, our children and grandchildren will remain enslaved. Backing our currency with gold is not the answer. The first step is for the government to begin printing its own fiat currency. The second step is to outlaw the practice of charging interest.

References:

Islam in the Bible - Usury

Islamic banking

Leviticus, Chapter 25

Related:

Monetary Reform, Part I | End the Debt

Monetary Reform, Part I | End the Debt

~ By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

The rich rule over the poor. The borrower is servant to the lender. ~ Proverbs 22:7 ~

Free Our Money - So what’s the problem? You know, you think about it all the time. It’s debt, debt, debt! The way our economy is set up now, the only way it can grow is through incurring more debt, either by government, business or consumer borrowing. Our economy cannot grow without increasing its money supply, and the only way that new money can be introduced, under the present monetary system, is through debt. But growth through debt really amounts to nothing more than spending next year’s income today. It’s a vicious cycle, one which has reduced millions to poverty, and to lives of indentured servitude. It’s time to end the debt, now. I believe that most good ideas are simple, and that any lasting reform must, like our very Constitution, be rooted and grounded in Judeo-Christian Principles.

There are two ways to approach monetary reform. One involves making changes to our current system, and the other involves a complete overthrow, starting over from scratch. I believe that one method is practical while the other is not. I am from the school of thought who believes that it is impossible to make the necessary reforms within the present corrupt system. Our monetary system has failed. Revolution is the only solution.

Under the current debt regime, there are two primary ways that our money supply is increased.

  1. The first way is that the Federal Reserve (the Fed) prints new money and loans it to the federal government by purchasing Treasury Bonds through Open Market Operations. The cash then enters the economy by being deposited into regional Federal Reserve banks accounts. Thus, the federal government, as it is today, can only create money through borrowing.

  2. The other way that money is created is through fractional-reserve banking. Under this system, Federal Reserve member banks are allowed to loan out at least ten-times the amount deposited with them in checking and savings accounts. When fewer loans are demanded, the supply of money contracts. It’s only when loan demand is high that the money supply increases.

Let’s face the facts. Consumers are tapped out. Most Americans have lost the equity in their homes and are buried in consumer debt. It’s not that banks aren’t willing to lend, it’s that nobody is willing to pay 4.0% to 30.0% interest on money the banks borrow at 0.25%. The system is broken. So today, our economy is being propped up mainly through deficit-financed government spending, but this will not continue. We have already passed the point of no return. This mark was decisively breached in early 2010, when per capita national debt surpassed per capita personal income. At this point there is no longer enough income to support the federal debt. Every additional dollar the government borrows merely expands the base of government-dependent citizens. If the course is not altered today, the government will eventually run out of other people’s money, leaving its citizens vulnerable to enslavement by an alien entity. So the problem is the federal government’s inability to create new money without incurring debt. If we can fix this, the problem is solved.

What happens when population growth outpaces the money supply? As an example, let’s say we have a two person society comprised of you and me, with a total of $1,000 in our economy. Our per capita money supply is $500. Now let’s say two more people cross over the border and become members of our society. Without an increase in the money supply, our standard of living will decline to $250 per person. This is also known as a recession or even depression. Recessions occur coincident with declines in the supply of money, as there is no longer enough to go around. Economic activity declines without an ability to increase the money supply. In order to maintain our standard of living, our money supply will need to increase from $1,000 to $2,000.

As long as there is population growth, the supply of money must constantly increase. In fact, regardless of population changes, in order for there to be any meaningful economic growth at all, a society demands steady increases in its supply of money. That’s our dilemma today. With U.S. population increasing by approximately 1.0% per year, the money supply must keep pace. However, the only way that the money supply can increase, without reform, is through debt.

Who’s to blame? - We the people have knowingly or unknowingly subscribed to a monetary system in which the Federal Reserve is our master, and we are its slaves. In this respect, we are not truly free. Some blame the bankers; others blame politicians; while still others blame more affluent taxpayers such as small businessmen or corporate jet owners. (By the way, corporations and their assets, including jets, are owned by shareholders; so if you own stock either directly, or through a retirement plan, you might be a corporate jet owner yourself.) In reality, you and I are to blame. We are the ones who have elected ignorant and corrupt politicians, who have allowed our government to maintain its flawed monetary policy.

When our monetary system achieved total failure in 2008, we had an opportunity to institute real reform, but instead we were conned into bailing it out, again at our own expense. The present administration promised change, but instead has delivered more chains. Next time will be different. We know that if we want a different result, we have to try something different. Any political candidate who doesn’t have a monetary reform plan which promotes the creation of debt-free money (fiat money), and solid debt reduction, and balanced budget plans is dead in the water.

“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” ~ Matthew 3:10

Who’s Getting Hosed? - Under our present monetary system, the federal government, through the Treasury Department, prints Federal Reserve Notes and hands them over to the Fed. The Fed then lends the same money back to the federal government in exchange for U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds. The Fed then sells some of these Treasury obligations at a discount to its member banks, investors, and foreign governments. The interest paid on these bills, notes and bonds is paid from income tax revenue collected off of the backs of U.S. taxpayers.

If the federal government could ever pay off its debt and balance its budget, it wouldn’t need to borrow as much. With the national debt already in excess of $14.4 trillion, it has become a burden for our government to meet its real responsibilities. This is the main reason why the national debt matters. As politicians do battle over whether or not the debt ceiling should be raised, in this case, to cover its own irresponsible spending, a more critical issue, the creation of money has been left in the hands of the Fed. Under our current system, the money supply cannot increase without adding to the debt. But if there was a way that the federal government could simply issue its own debt-free currency (fiat money), rather than Federal Reserve Notes, it would never have to borrow money from anyone ever again.

The more the federal government borrows, the more it binds U.S. taxpayers to cover its interest payments. It makes you wonder why a U.S. citizen would ever invest in Treasury obligations at all. I mean, in a way, the same citizen who buys this debt is also responsible, through income taxes, for paying the very interest he or she receives. And to make matters worse, the same citizen is taxed again on the interest earned. It’s a spiral of negative returns in which those who actually pay income taxes and invest in government debt are the losers; while the Fed, its member banks, and foreign investors can’t fail.

The Fed also loans some of this borrowed money to its member banks and to other “too big to fail” entities at interest rates currently as low as 0.25%. The banks then provide you and I, and our businesses with loans, or allow us credit, for the privilege of paying them anywhere from 4.0% to 30.0% interest, plus other transaction fees, pocketing the difference as profit. Banks even allow us to open checking or savings accounts for the additional privileges of earning next to nothing, and paying them even more in transaction fees, for the use of our own money. So we pay interest on debt just so the government can issue currency, we pay interest on the national debt, and then we pay more interest for banking and loan privileges. These are hidden taxes of which certain politicians, those who are always harping about higher taxes, seem to be completely ignorant. But we know better.

End the Debt, Now - Why does the federal government print money, give it to the Federal Reserve, and then borrow its own money back at interest? Couldn’t the government simply print United States Notes, rather than Federal Reserve Notes, and spend it into the economy without a middle man? According to Bill Still, yes it can. In fact, Mr. Still says that if the government took this route, it could repay all of its existing debt within a year or two, by simply replacing the old notes with new ones. For more on this, I recommend that you watch his video entitled, The Secret of Oz.

“There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged!” ~ Patrick Henry

Other References:

Oz Economics

Related:

Monetary Reform, Part II | Lending and Interest