From the October 2008 Idaho Observer:

Paper money and credit destroy people and nations

Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton helped install the First Bank of the United States in 1791. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison criticized the bank, which was modeled after the Bank of England, as an engine for financial manipulation, corruption and a tool for usurers to gain unfair influence over public policy. The First Bank’s commission was not renewed during President Madison’s first term and its doors were closed in 1811. The Second Bank of the United States, a virtual copy of the first, was commissioned during Madison’s second term in 1816. By the time Andrew Jackson was elected in 1828, the Second Bank had branches all over the country and was a divisive political issue credited with creating America’s two-party system; Democratic-Republicans opposed the central bank and Whigs favored them. President Jackson, who also saw the central bank as an engine of manipulation, corruption and undue influence, destroyed the Second Bank in 1836 and brought the nation to within $34,000 of solvency before leaving office in 1837. The U.S. was free of central banks until Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act (under duress) in 1913. Ninety-five years after the Federal Reserve Bank was established, we live in an era of perpetual war financed well enough to be global in scope; our people are being impoverished, dispossessed, disenfranchised, sickened, dumbed down, stripped of their property, dignity and freedom and our once great nation is on the verge of moral, political, cultural and economic collapse. Central banking has once again shown itself.

Thomas Jefferson on central banking

"Private fortunes, in the present state of our circulation, are at the mercy of those self-created money lenders, and are prostrated by the floods of nominal money with which their avarice deluges us." ~Letter to John W. Eppes (1813)

"It is a cruel thought, that, when we feel ourselves standing on the firmest ground in every respect, the cursed arts of our secret enemies, combining with other causes, should effect, by depreciating our money, what the open arms of a powerful enemy could not." ~Letter to Richard Henry Lee (1779)

"The evils of this deluge of paper money are not to be removed until our citizens are generally and radically instructed in their cause and consequences, and silence by their authority the interested clamors and sophistry of speculating, shaving, and banking institutions. Till then, we must be content to return quoad hoc to the savage state, to recur to barter in the exchange of our property for want of a stable common measure of value, that now in use being less fixed than the beads and wampum of the Indian, and to deliver up our citizens, their property and their labor, passive victims to the swindling tricks of bankers and mountebankers." ~Letter to John Adams (1819)

"That we are overdone with banking institutions which have banished the precious metals and substituted a more fluctuating and unsafe medium, that these have withdrawn capital from useful improvements and employments to nourish idleness, that the wars of the world have swollen our commerce beyond the wholesome limits of exchanging our own productions for our own wants, and that, for the emolument of a small proportion of our society who prefer these demoralizing pursuits to labors useful to the whole, the peace of the whole is endangered and all our present difficulties produced, are evils more easily to be deplored than remedied." ~Letter to Abbe Salimankis (1810)

"The banks...have the regulation of the safety-valves of our fortunes, and...condense and explode them at their will." ~Letter to John Adams (1819)

"I sincerely believe... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale." ~Letter to John Taylor (1816)

"[The] Bank of the United States... is one of the most deadly hostility existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution... An institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war! It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile?" ~Letter to Albert Gallatin (1803)

"It is literally true that the toleration of banks of paper discount costs the United States one-half their war taxes; or, in other words, doubles the expenses of every war. Now think but for a moment, what a change of condition that would be, which should save half our war expenses, require but half the taxes, and enthral us in debt but half the time."

~Letter to John W. Eppes (1813)

"Everything predicted by the enemies of banks, in the beginning, is now coming to pass. We are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank paper. It is cruel that such revolutions in private fortunes should be at the mercy of avaricious adventurers, who, instead of employing their capital, if any they have, in manufactures, commerce, and other useful pursuits, make it an instrument to burden all the interchanges of property with their swindling profits, profits which are the price of no useful industry of theirs."~Letter to Thomas Cooper (1814)

"Certainly no nation ever before abandoned to the avarice and jugglings of private individuals to regulate according to their own interests, the quantum of circulating medium for the nation -- to inflate, by deluges of paper, the nominal prices of property, and then to buy up that property at 1s. in the pound, having first withdrawn the floating medium which might endanger a competition in purchase. Yet this is what has been done, and will be done, unless stayed by the protecting hand of the legislature. The evil has been produced by the error of their sanction of this ruinous machinery of banks; and justice, wisdom, duty, all require that they should interpose and arrest it before the schemes of plunder and spoilation desolate the country." ~Letter to William C. Rives (1819)

"The art and mystery of established on the principle that ‘private debts are a public blessing.’ That the evidences of those private debts, called bank notes, become active capital, and aliment the whole commerce, manufactures, and agriculture of the United States...And to fill up the measure of blessing, instead of paying, they receive an interest on what they owe from those to whom they owe; for all the notes, or evidences of what they owe, which we see in circulation, have been lent to somebody on an interest which is levied again on us through the medium of commerce. And they are so ready still to deal out their liberalities to us, that they are now willing to let themselves run in our debt ninety millions more, on our paying them the same premium of six or eight per cent interest, and on the same legal exemption from the repayment of more than thirty millions of the debt, when it shall be called for." ~Letter to John W. Eppes (1813)

The Do-Something Congress (Oct. 4, 2008)

It has not been a good week for the Republic. It took quite a bit of trampling of the Constitution, but the bailout bill passed, as I suspected it would.

The bailout failed the first time it was brought to the House. Undaunted, the Senate pressed on by attaching the bailout as an amendment to another House passed bill that was pending in the Senate. The new bailout version had new taxes, so according to the Constitution it should not have originated in the Senate.

The rallying cry heard all over the Hill the past two weeks was that Congress must act. Our economy is facing a meltdown. Would this bill fix it? Nobody could really explain how it would. In fact, few demonstrated any real understanding of credit markets, of derivatives, of credit default swaps or mortgage-backed securities. If they did, they would have known better than to vote for this bill. All they knew was that this administration was saying some frightening things, and asking for a lot of money. And when has Congress ever been able to come up with a better solution to a problem than to throw more of your money at it? So that is what Congress did, enacting a financial PATRIOT Act in the process.

In its embarrassment at being called a "Do-Nothing Congress," the 110th Congress took decisive action and did SOMETHING. No matter that it was the wrong thing. In fact, it wasn’t until the Senate had a chance to load it up with even MORE spending, when it was finally inflationary and horrible enough, at $850 billion instead of a mere $700 billion, that it passed – and with a comfortable margin. In spite of constituent calls still coming in overwhelmingly against it, 57 members switched their vote!

The market went down anyway. Our nation is now just that much more in the hole. You will pay your part of this mess through inflation, and very likely hyperinflation.

Sometimes doing nothing is much better than thrashing about aimlessly. When one is caught in quicksand, for example, or when one doesn’t understand economics and finds oneself in the position Congress was in for the past two weeks, with decades of irresponsible monetary policy coming to a head. Why should we trust the same people who said just a few months ago that the economy was perfectly sound? The same people who just knew there were weapons of mass destruction? The same people that crammed the PATRIOT Act down our throats? Why not consult the people who had the foresight and understanding to see this coming? They would have recommended such logical actions as repealing the Community Reinvestment Act, which forces banks to make bad loans, or allowing the market to set interest rates instead of the Federal Reserve system. How about abolishing the Federal Reserve altogether? There are many things that could have been done, but don’t expect Congress to take a course of action that comes from a place of understanding and competence when they could just spend money.

This bailout will be the legacy of the 110th "Do-Something" Congress, along with record low approval ratings. Here’s hoping the 111th Congress will be a "Do the Right Thing" Congress, and will focus on repealing and abolishing what is wrong with government instead of reinforcing it.

Andrew Jackson on Central banking

The paper system being founded on public confidence and having of itself no intrinsic value, it is liable to great and sudden fluctuations, thereby rendering property insecure and the wages of labor unsteady and uncertain. The corporations which create the paper money can not be relied upon to keep the circulating medium uniform in amount. In times of prosperity, when confidence is high, they are tempted by the prospect of gain or by the influence of those who hope to profit by it to extend their issues of paper beyond the bounds of discretion and the reasonable demands of business; and when these issues have been pushed on from day to day, until public confidence is at length shaken, then a reaction takes place, and they immediately withdraw the credits they have given, suddenly curtail their issues, and produce an unexpected and ruinous contraction of the circulating medium, which is felt by the whole community.

The banks by this means save themselves, and the mischievous consequences of their imprudence or cupidity are visited upon the public. Nor does the evil stop here. These ebbs and flows in the currency and these indiscreet extensions of credit naturally engender a spirit of speculation injurious to the habits and character of the people. We have already seen its effects in the wild spirit of speculation in the public lands and various kinds of stock which within the last year or two seized upon such a multitude of our citizens and threatened to pervade all classes of society and to withdraw their attention from the sober pursuits of honest industry.

It is not by encouraging this spirit that we shall best preserve public virtue and promote the true interests of our country; but if your currency continues as exclusively paper as it now is, it will foster this eager desire to amass wealth without labor; it will multiply the number of dependents on bank accommodations and bank favors; the temptation to obtain money at any sacrifice will become stronger and stronger, and inevitably lead to corruption, which will find its way into your public councils and destroy at no distant day the purity of your Government.

Some of the evils which arise from this system of paper press with peculiar hardship upon the class of society least able to bear it. A portion of this currency frequently becomes depreciated or worthless, and all of it is easily counterfeited in such a manner as to require peculiar skill and much experience to distinguish the counterfeit from the genuine note. These frauds are most generally perpetrated in the smaller notes, which are used in the daily transactions of ordinary business, and the losses occasioned by them are commonly thrown upon the laboring classes of society, whose situation and pursuits put it out of their power to guard themselves from these impositions, and whose daily wages are necessary for their subsistence.

It is the duty of every government so to regulate its currency as to protect this numerous class, as far as practicable, from the impositions of avarice and fraud. It is more especially the duty of the United States, where the Government is emphatically the Government of the people, and where this respectable portion of our citizens are so proudly distinguished from the laboring classes of all other nations by their independent spirit, their love of liberty, their intelligence, and their high tone of moral character. Their industry in peace is the source of our wealth and their bravery in war has covered us with glory; and the Government of the United States will but ill discharge its duties if it leaves them a prey to such dishonest impositions. Yet it is evident that their interests can not be effectually protected unless silver and gold are restored to circulation.