“It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” – Henry Ford.
The Jackson Hole Summit, hosted by the American Principles Project, was held August 27-29 in the beautiful and scenic resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
According to Steve Lonegan, Director of Monetary Policy at American Principles Project, the goal of the American Principles Project’s Jackson Hole Summit was to “return the ‘Currency Debate’ into the public arena and to educate Americans on the impact of the Federal Reserve System “discretionary” policies on the economy – and our liberty”.
For clarification, Mr. Lonegan described “Currency Debate” as Monetary Policy.
The Summit was mostly a casual event that provided each of the 200 or so attendees with plenty of opportunity to meet and chat with all the presenters, to engage in a real life discussion with a presenter that they always wanted to meet, or with that presenter whose words inspired them to learn and do more. The opportunity for each attendee to meet, connect with and in some cases, make new friends with so many motivated and active attendees was in some ways, it self, worth the price of admission.
The Summit was comprised of presentations from 35 different speakers and panel discussion moderators. By my count, the presenters included 7 PhDs, 2 members from the British House Commons, 1 member from our Congress, several directors, founders and presidents from various economic related groups and many well know economists and financial analysts. Many journalists and bloggers were also in attendance, the youngest being 17-year old high school student Benji Backer.
A list of topics presented and discussed include the following:
– A Historical Perspective of Government & Money,
– Lessons and Legacies of Bretton Woods,
– The Fed and the Rest of the World,
– What If Central Bankers Are Wrong,
– Regulatory Failures at the Fed,
– Fed Policy Impact on Millennials,
– Global Monetary Policy and the Future of Capitalism,
– Digital Currencies and the Gold Standard.
Overall, the topics were very interesting, educational and provided a solid base of understanding regarding the problems directly connected to our national monetary system and the negative economic impact created by policies of the Federal Reserve System (FED), both nationally and internationally. The detrimental economic effects that our economy has had to suffer as a direct result of FED action or inaction, includes policies from the past as well as the present. This leads this writer to come to the conclusion, to paraphrase a famous quote, the real reason to know history is to know what to repeat and what not to repeat.
What did I learn? Space does not permit a full discussion of all the nine hours of great and insightful presentations made by all the speakers. Therefore, I will present just some of the major items and thoughts that I heard and processed.
Steve Lonegan discussed that America, our America, must wake up to the threat that is the FED and how it manipulates, to our individual and mutual detriment, the value or the purchasing power of our money, the Federal Reserve Note. Mr. Lonegan made the point that in the national media Monetary Policy apparently can not be discussed because it’s to complicated, however, nationally, we can discuss global warming and illegal immigration to name just a two very complex national issues and problems.
Lawrence White, PhD, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, discussed how the FED, by its actions and inactions, creates monetary or price level uncertainty. When the FED went operational in 1914, a 1914 dollar was worth 100 1914 pennies. Today’s 2015 dollar is worth approximately 3 to 4 1914 pennies. This clearly shows what loss of purchasing power looks like. Dr. White also mentioned that since the FED went operational, the number of recessions in our economy has increased not decreased and the length of each recession is longer not shorter.
Marc Miles, PhD, Economist from Global Economics Solutions, spoke about the failure of FED policies. That lower interest rates were expected to produce lower unemployment, when in fact the lower interest rates did the opposite and the lower rates also helped increase, not decrease, the income divide.
According to Brian Domitrovic, PhD, a Historian from Sam Houston University, Private Capital is not fully deployed into our economy because of all the uncertainties that are a result of FED monetary policies.
In Kwasi Kwarteng, MP, a Member of the British Parliament, believes that for a country to be stable it must have a balanced budget and a sound fiscal policy. That the task of creating a balanced budget is extremely difficult if those in charge of the political system pander to the people instead of doing what is necessary.
Judy Shelton, PhD, Co-Director at the Sound Money Project, made a great case to explain why the Central Bankers are wrong and are the problem not the answer. After all the trillions of dollars of quantitative easing, the end result did not produce any meaningful increase in wages or in the economy’s performance. Quantitative Easing did not create any multiplier effect because employees were given fewer work hours which resulted in earning less money and, the funding needed by entrepreneurs was not made available by the banks.
John Fund, a national affairs columnist for the National Review Online, highlighted that the real monetary issues include economic stagnation and low wages. That 0% interest rates actually helped to increase asset values which produced the negative result of also increasing the income gap between the haves and the have nots. Though the view may be bleak, Mr. Fund encouraged all to not waste this crisis. He encouraged all to help make the FED, its monetary system and its monetary policies a major issue in the upcoming 2016 election.
Jared Meyer, a Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, made the points that FED policies, or lack thereof, have had many negative effects on Millennials. Examples include that fewer Millennials own homes, have little to no retirement and have a very difficult time finding full time work. He also mentioned that his generation is on the hook for trillions of dollars of national debt that they never voted for. This is truly a classic example of taxation without representation.
Steve Baker, MP, a Member of the British Parliament, put it bluntly by sharing that Central Banks don’t save us, they actually put us all in more economic danger. Mr. Baker spoke about how the actions of Central Banks actually debauch their currency. This is one way saying lessening the currency’s purchasing power. To have a stable and just government, each country must have sound money, a credit system that does not distort the economy, a free market, private property and risk taking that comes with consequences attached.
Several speakers presented on the importance and value of a Gold Standard and the potential future impact of Bitcoin and that digital currencies may revolutionize commerce. There are many more fine speakers to discuss, however, I do feel confident that the above sampling adequately expresses the overall discussions and thoughts presented at the Summit.
In summary, the FED has specific statutory mandates or operational objectives when formulating and conducting its monetary policies that include maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long term interest rates. As the above clearly indicates, the FED has failed.
This writer has come to the conclusion that what is not needed is another economic summit or forum to discuss the failings of the FED and its discretionary and self serving policies and procedures. FED policies have been shown to have a negative and adverse impact on our American economy, the value of our American dollar and how all of this puts our country and way of life at great risk. These topics have been fully vetted. The FED has not only been found to be not needed it has been found to be harmful to our economy, does not meet any of its mandates and by its own actions or inactions, creates an unstable monetary system that produces a unit of value (the dollar) that continually decreases in value. To sum it all up, the FED has been weighed, has been measured and has absolutely been found to be wanting.
What is now needed is a doable, specific Call To Action (CTA) with the end goal to bring the FED to an end. The CTA must provide details on how the End Goal can be accomplished, list a handful of choices in what our future monetary system can be, with all their pros and cons fully described, and what immediate steps must be taken to begin this essential, protect our way of life, process.
In discussing each monetary system option, this writer believes four questions must be answered, and they are:
- Who will create the money? Today, in the FED system, money is created by banks.
- How will money be created? Today, banks create money by making loans.
- Will the People directly benefit from the money creation process? Today, we don’t.
- Can the new monetary system eliminate the need for the national government to tax or borrow? Today, you know this is not happening in our monetary system.
In conclusion, is the FED really a bad thing? I’ll leave to Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist and all the others listed below to answer this very important question. Dr Friedman has been quoted as saying, “The Federal Reserve definitely caused the Great Depression by contracting the amount of currency in circulation by one-third from 1929 – 1933.” He also is quoted as saying, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
Long before Dr. Friedman, John Adams, made a simple comment that speaks volumes when it comes to the discussion of debt creation when he said, “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword.. The other is by debt.”
Texas Congressman Wright Patman said, “In the United States we have, in effect, two governments … We have the duly constituted Government … Then we have an independent, uncontrolled and uncoordinated government in the Federal Reserve System, operating the money powers which are reserved to Congress by the Constitution.”
Nevada Senator George W. Malone is quotes as saying in 1957 that, “I believe that if the people of this nation fully understood what Congress has done to them over the past 49 years, they would move on Washington: they would not wait for an election …It adds up to a preconceived plan to destroy the economic and social independence of the United States.
In an 1813 letter to John Eppes, Jefferson wrote, “But although we have so improvidently suffered (foolishly allowed) the field of circulating medium to be filched from us by private individuals, yet I think we may recover it in part, and even in the whole, if the States will co-operate with us.” “The states should be applied to, to transfer the right of issuing circulating paper to Congress exclusively, in perpetuum (perpetuity).”
In an 1816 letter to John Taylor, Jefferson wrote, “And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity (future), under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
The reason to act is in these Thomas Jefferson words, “When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty.”
In response to these words from Thomas Jefferson, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, I would ask – Have we even made a down payment on the price of our Freedom?