The Bankers Capture the Money Machine
excerpted from the book
Web of Debt
The Shocking Truth About Our Money System And How We Can
by Ellen Hodgson Brown
Third Millennium Press, 2007, paperback
Home foreclosures and evictions were occurring in record numbers [in the
1890s]. A document called "The Bankers Manefesto of 1892" suggested
that it was all part of a deliberate plan by the bankers to disenfranchise the
farmers and laborers of their homes and property. This is another document with
obscure origins, but its introduction to Congress is attributed to
Representative Charles Lindbergh Sr., the father of the famous aviator, who
served in Congress between 1903 and 1913. The Manifesto read in part:
We must proceed with caution and guard every move
made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless
commotion .... The Farmers Alliance and Knights of Labor organizations in the
United States should be carefully watched by our trusted men, and we must take
immediate steps to control these organizations in our interest or disrupt
them... Capital [the bankers and their money] must protect itself in every
possible manner through combination [monopoly] and legislation. The courts must
be called to our aid, debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages foreclosed
as rapidly as possible. When through the process of the law, the common people
have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and easily governed through
the influence of the strong arm of the government applied to a central power of
imperial wealth under the control of the leading financiers. People without
homes will not quarrel with their leaders.'
The Bankers Manefesto of 1892
[While] our principal men ... are engaged in forming
an imperialism of the world ... the people must be kept in a state of political
antagonism... By thus dividing voters, we can get them to expend their energies
in fighting over questions of no importance to us... Thus, by discrete action,
we can secure all that has been so generously planned and successfully
Those is positions of real power, the bankers, the
CEOs, are not vulnerable to the vote, and in any case they fund both sides.
President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an
invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to
the people [corporate monopolies/trusts]. To destroy this invisible government,
to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is
the first task of the statesmanship of the day.
Congressman Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency
Committee, in a speech on the House floor in 1967
In the U.S. today, 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,
operating the money powers which are reserved to congress by the Constitution.
Mayor John Hylan of New York, 1927, in a speech in the New York Times
The warning of Theodore Roosevelt has much
timeliness today, for the real menace of our republic is this invisible
government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy length over City,
State, and nation... It seizes in its long and powerful tentacles our executive
officers, our legislative bodies, our schools, our courts, our newspapers, and
every agency created for the public protection.
[At] the head of this octopus are the
Rockefeller-Standard Oil interest and a small group of powerful banking houses
generally referred to as the international bankers. The little coterie of
powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for
their own selfish purposes.
They practically control both parties, write
political platforms, make catspaws of party leaders, use the leading men of
private organizations, and resort to every device to place in nomination for
high public office only such candidates as will be amenable to the dictates of
corrupt big business.
These international bankers and Rockefeller-Standard
Oil interests control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this
country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive
out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful
corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government.
Monopoly the growth and abuse were at their height in the Gilded Age, the
country's greatest period of laissez faire. he trusts were so powerful that the
trend toward monopolizing industry actually worsened after the Sherman Act was
passed)Before 1898, there were an average of 46 major industrial mergers a
year. After 1898, the number soared to 531 a year. By 1904, the top 4 percent
of American businesses produced 57 percent of America's total industrial
production, with a single firm dominating at least 60 percent of production in
50 different industries. Ironically the trusts became the strongest advocates
of federal regulation, since their monopoly power depended on the exclusive
rights granted them by the government. By planting their own agents in the federal
commissions, they used government regulation to gain greater control over
industry, protect themselves from competition, and maintain high prices.
There were many Robber Barons, but J. Pierpont Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and
John D. Rockefeller led the pack. Morgan dominated finance, Carnegie dominated
steel, and Rockefeller monopolized oil. Carnegie built his business himself,
and he loved competition; but Morgan was a different type of capitalist. He
didn't build, he bought. He took over other people's businesses, and he hated
competition. In 1901, Morgan formed the first billion dollar corporation, U.S.
Steel, out of mills he purchased from Carnegie.
Rockefeller, too, dealt with competitors by buying
them out. His company, Standard Oil, became the greatest of all monopolies and
the first major multinational corporation. Before World War I, the financial
and business structure of the United States was dominated by Morgan's finance
and transportation companies and Rockefeller's Standard Oil; and these
conglomerates had close alliances with each other. Through interlocking
directorships, they were said to dominate almost the entire economic fabric of
the United States.
Other industrialists, seeing the phenomenal success
of the Morgan and Rockefeller trusts, dreamt of buying out their competition
and forming huge monopolies in the same way. But with the exception of
Carnegie, no other capitalists had the money for these predatory practices.
Aspiring empire-builders were therefore drawn to Morgan and the other Wall
Street bankers in search of funding.
... Those fortunate corporations favored with
funding from Morgan and the other Wall Street bankers were able to monopolize
their industries. But where did the Wall Street banks get the money to
underwrite all these mergers and acquisitions? The answer was revealed by
Congressman Wright Patman and other close observers: the Robber Barons were
pulling money out of an empty hat. Their privately owned banks held the
ultimate credit card, a bottomless source of accounting-entry money that could
be "lent" to their affiliated corporate mistresses. The funds could
then be used to buy out competitors, corner the market in scarce raw materials,
make political donations, lobby Congress, and control public opinion.
Although the Rothschilds were technically rivals of the Peabody/Morgan firm,
rumor had it that they had formed a secret alliance... That could explain why,
in the periodic financial crises of the Gilded Age, Morgan's bank always came
out on top. In the bank panics of 1873, 1884, 1893, and 1907, while other banks
were going under, Morgan's bank always managed to come up with the funds to
survive and thrive.
By 1890, Rockefeller owned all of the independent oil refiners in country and
had a monopoly on worldwide oil sales. In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled
that the Standard Oil cartel was a "dangerous conspiracy" that must
be broken up "for the safety of the Republic."... In 1914, Standard
Oil was referred to in the Congressional Record as the "shadow
government." Following the Court's antitrust order, the Standard Oil
monolith was split into 38 new companies, including Exxon, Mobil, Amoco,
Chevron, and Arco; but Rockefeller secretly continued to control them by owning
a voting majority of their stock.
The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was a major coup for the international bankers.
They had battled for more than a century to establish a private central bank
with the exclusive right to "monetize" the government's debt (that
is, to print their own money and exchange it for government securities or
I.O.U.s). The Act's preamble said that its purposes were "to provide for
the establishment of Federal Reserve Banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to
afford a means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective
supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes." It
was the beginning of Fedspeak, abstract economic language that shrouded the
issues in obscurity. "Elastic currency" is credit that can be expanded
at will by the banks. "Rediscounting" is a technique by which banks
are allowed to magically multiply funds by re-lending them without waiting for
outstanding loans to mature. In plain English, the Federal Reserve Act
authorized a private central bank to create money out of nothing, lend it to
the government at interest, and control the national money supply, expanding or
contracting it at will.
Representative Charles Lindbergh Sr., who served in Congress between 1903 and
1913, called the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, "the worst legislative crime
of the ages." He warned:
[The Federal Reserve Board] can cause the pendulum
of a rising and falling market to swing gently back and forth by slight changes
in the discount rate, or cause violent fluctuations by greater rate variation,
and in either case it will possess inside information as to financial
conditions and advance knowledge of the coming change, either up or down.
This is the strangest, most dangerous advantage ever
placed in the hands of a special privilege class by any Government that ever
existed .... The financial system has been turned over to ... a purely
profiteering group. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of
obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money.
Representative Louis McFadden, 1934, stating in the Congressional record:
Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are
United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey
upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their
foreign customers; foreign and domes tic speculators and swindlers; and rich
and predatory money lenders. In that dark crew of financial pirates there are
those who would cut a man's throat to get a dollar out of his pocket; there are
those who send money into states to buy votes to control our legislatures;
there are those who maintain International propaganda for the purpose of
deceiving us into granting of new concessions which will permit them to cover
up their past misdeeds and set again in motion their gigantic train of crime.
These twelve private credit monopolies were deceitfully and disloyally foisted
upon this Country by the hankers who came here from Europe and repaid its our
hospitality by undermining our American institutions.
The "Federal" Reserve is actually an independent, privately-owned
corporation. It consists of twelve regional Federal Reserve banks owned by many
commercial member banks, which hold Federal Reserve stock in an amount
proportional to their size. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York holds the
majority of shares in the Federal Reserve System (53 percent). Its largest
shareholders are the largest commercial banks in the district of New York.
In 1997, the New York Federal Reserve reported that
its three largest member banks were Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, and Morgan
Guaranty Trust Company.
The Federal Reserve is owned by Federal Reserve Banks, which are owned by
American commercial banks, which are required by law to make their major
shareholders public; and none of these banks is predominantly foreign-owned.
That does not mean, however, that the banking spider is not in control behind
the scenes. According to Hans Schicht ... the "master spider" has
just moved to Wall Street. The greater part of U.S. banking and enterprise,
says Schicht, is now controlled by a very small inner circle of men, perhaps
headed by only one man. It is all done behind closed doors, through the game he
calls "spider webbing." ... the rules of the game include exercising
tight personal management and control, with a minimum of insiders and front-men
who themselves have only partial knowledge of the game; exercising control
through "leverage" (mergers, takeovers, chain share holdings where
one company holds shares of other companies, conditions annexed to loans, and
so forth); and making any concentration of wealth invisible. The master spider
studiously avoids close scrutiny by maintaining anonymity, taking a back seat,
and appearing to be a philanthropist.
Before World War II, the reins of international
finance were held by the powerful European banking dynasty the House of
Rothschild; but during the war, control crossed the Atlantic to their Wall
Street affiliates. The role of master spider, says Schicht, fell to David
Rockefeller Sr., grandson on his father's side of john D. Rockefeller Sr. and
on his mother's side of Nelson Aldrich, the Senator for whom the precursor to
the Federal Reserve Act was named. David Rockefeller was a director of the
Council on Foreign Relations from 1949 to 1985 and its chairman from 1970 until
1985; he founded the Trilateral Commission in 1976; and he was instrumental in
convoking the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, at which the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank were devised, and in founding the elite
international club called the "Bilderbergers." The Council on Foreign
Relations (CFR) is an') international group set up in 1919 to advise the
members' respective governments on international affairs. It has been called
the preeminent ( intermediary between the world of high finance, big oil,
corporate elitism, and the U.S. government. The policies it promulgates in its
quarterly journal become U.S. government policy.
The Trilateral Commission has been described as an
elite group of international bankers, media leaders, scholars and government
officials bent on shaping and administering a "new world order," with
a central world government held together by economic interdependence. Former
presidential candidate Barry Goldwater said of it:
The Trilateralist Commission is international [and]
is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of commercial and
banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the United
States. The Trilateralist Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort
to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power - political,
monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical.
Professor Carroll Quigley in his book Tragedy and Hope
The powers of financial capitalism had another
far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial
control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country
and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a
feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by
secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The
apex of the system was to he the Bank for International Settlements in Basel,
Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks
which were themselves private corporations.
Asia Times economist Henry C K Liu wrote in an article titled "The BIS
[Bank of International Settlements] vs. National Banks", Asia Times, May
National banking systems are suddenly thrown into
the rigid arms of the Basel Capital Accord sponsored by the Bank of
International Settlements (BIS), or to face the penalty of usurious risk
premium in securitizing international bank loans. Thus national banking systems
are all forced to march to the same tune, designed to serve the needs of highly
sophisticated global financial markets, regardless of the developmental needs
of their national economies .... National policies suddenly are subjected to
profit incentives of private financial institutions, all members of a
hierarchical system controlled and directed from the money center banks in New
York. The result is to force national banking systems to privatize ....
National economies under financial globalization no longer serve national
interests. They operate to strengthen... US financial hegemony in the name of
private profit... Reversing the logic that a sound banking system should lead
to full employment and developmental growth, BIS regulations demand high unemployment
and developmental degradation / in national economies as the fair price for a
sound global private banking system.
The Bilderberger group in a June 2004 BBC special
... "an elite coterie of Western thinkers and
power-brokers" who have been "accused of fixing the fate of the world
behind closed doors." The group has been suspected of steering
international policy and plotting world domination. But nobody knows for sure,
because its members are sworn to secrecy, and the press won't report on its meetings.
U.S. Congressman Oscar Callaway. 1917 stated on the Congressional Record:
In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the
steel, shipbuilding, and powder interests, and their subsidiary organizations,
got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world, and employed them to select
the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of
them to control generally the policy of the daily press of the United States
.... They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the
greatest papers. The 25 papers were agreed upon; emissaries were sent to
purchase the policy, national and international, of these papers; ... an editor
was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information
regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and
other things of national and international nature considered vital to the
interests of the purchasers [and to suppress] everything in opposition to the
wishes of the interests -served.
historian Howard Zinn
Whether you have a Republican a Democrat in power,
the Robber Barons are still there... Under the Clinton administration, more
mergers of huge corporations took place [than] had ever taken place before
under any administration... Whether you have Republicans or Democrats in power,
big business is the most powerful voice in the halls of Congress and in the
ears of the President of the United States.
In The Underground History of American Education (2000), educator John Taylor
Gatto traces how Rockefeller, Morgan and other members of the financial elite
influenced, guided, funded, and at times forced compulsory schooling into
mainstream America. They needed three things for their corporate interests to
thrive: (1) compliant employees, (2) a guaranteed and dependent population, and
(3) a predictable business environment. It was largely to promote these ends,
says Gatto, that modern compulsory schooling was established.
in 1895, in Pollock v Farmer's Loan & Trust Co. the Court held that general
income taxes violate the constitutional guideline that taxes levied directly on
the people are to be levied in proportion to the population of each State.
That ruling has never been overruled instead, the
Wall Street faction decided to make an end run around the Constitution. In
1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was introduced to Congress as a package deal
along with the Federal Reserve Act. Both were supported by the Wall Street
Senator, Nelson Aldrich. The Amendment provided:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect
taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the
several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Wealthy businessmen who had opposed a federal income
tax were won over when they learned they could avoid paying the tax themselves
by setting up tax-free foundations. The tax affected only incomes over $4,000 a
year, a sum that was then well beyond the wages of most Americans. The
Amendment was simply worded, the tax return was only one page long, and the
entire Tax Code was only 14 pages long. It seemed harmless enough at the time
... The Tax Code is now a 17,000-page sieve of
obscure legalese, providing enormous loopholes for those who can afford the
lobbyists to negotiate them.
A report issued by the Grace Commission during the Reagan Administration
concluded that most federal income tax revenues go just to pay the interest on
the government's burgeoning debt. Indeed, that was the purpose for which the
tax was originally designed. When the federal income tax was instituted in
1913, all income tax collections were forwarded directly to the Federal
Reserve. In fiscal year 2005, the U.S. government spent $352 billion just to
service the government's debt. The sum represented more than one-third of
individual income tax revenues t bat year, which totaled $927 billion.
As for the other two-thirds of the individual income
tax tab, the Grace Commission concluded that those payments did not go to
service necessary government operations either. A cover letter addressed to
President Reagan stated that a third of all income taxes were consumed by waste
and inefficiency in the federal government. Another third of any taxes actually
paid went to make up for the taxes not paid by tax evaders and the burgeoning
underground economy, a phenomenon that had blossomed in direct proportion to
tax increases. The report concluded:
With two-thirds of everyone's personal income taxes
wasted or not collected, 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by
interest on the Federal debt and by Federal Government contributions to
transfer payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone
before one nickel is spent on the services which taxpayers expect from their
Even the third going for interest on the federal
debt could have been avoided, if Congress had created the money itself on the
Franklin/ Lincoln model. But the obscurely-worded Federal Reserve Act delegated
the power to create money to a private banking monopoly; and Congress, like the
sleeping public, had been deceived by the bankers' sleight of hand. The head
had thundered and the walls had shook.
Representative Charles Lindbergh Sr. warned on the day the Federal Reserve Act
This [Federal Reserve] Act establishes the most
gigantic trust on earth. When the President signs this bill, the invisible
government by the Monetary Power will be legalized. The people may not know it
immediately, but the day of reckoning is only a few years removed.
The stock market held little interest for most people until the Robber Barons
started promoting it, after amassing large stock holdings very cheaply
themselves. They sold the public on the idea that it was possible to get rich
quick by buying stock on "margin" (Or on credit). The investor could
put a down payment on the stock and pay off the balance after its price went
up, reaping a hefty profit. This investment strategy turned the stock market
into a speculative pyramid scheme, in which most of the money invested did not
actually exist.' People would open margin accounts, not because they could not
afford to pay 100 percent of the stock price, but because it allowed them to
leverage their investments, buying ten times as much stock by paying only a 10 percent
down payment. The public went wild over this scheme. In a speculative fever,
many people literally "bet the farm." They were taking out loans
against everything they owned - homes, farms, life insurance - anything to get
the money to get into the market and make more money.
A scheme [was established] between Benjamin Strong, then Governor of the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Montagu Norman, head of the Bank of
England, to deliver control of the financial systems of the world to a small group
of private central bankers.
... In February 1929, Norman and Strong concluded
that a collapse in the market was inevitable and that the best course was to
let it correct "naturally" (naturally, that is, with a little help
from the Fed). They sent advisory warnings to lists of preferred customers,
including wealthy industrialists, politicians, and high foreign officials,
telling them to get out of the market. Then the Fed began selling government
securities in the open market, reducing the money supply by reducing the
reserves available for backing loans. The bank-loan rate was also increased,
causing rates on brokers' loans to jump to 20 percent.
The result was a huge liquidity squeeze - a lack of
available money. Short-term loans suddenly became available only at much higher
interest rates, making buying stock on margin much less attractive. As fewer
people bought, stock prices fell, removing the incentive for new buyers to
purchase the stocks bought by earlier buyers on margin. Many investors were forced
to sell at a loss by "margin calls" (calls by brokers for investors
to bring the cash in their margin accounts up to a certain level after the
value of their stocks had fallen). The panic was on, as investors rushed to
dump their stocks for whatever they could get for them. The stock market
crashed overnight. People withdrew their savings from the banks and foreigners
withdrew their gold, further depleting the reserves on which the money stock
was built. From 1929 to 1933, the money stock fell by a third, and a third of
the nation's banks closed their doors.
Many wealthy insiders also did quite well, quietly pulling out of the stock
market just before the crash, then jumping back in when they could buy up
companies for pennies on the dollar. While small investors were going under and
jumping from windows, the Big Money Boys were accumulating the stocks that had
been sold at distressed prices and the real estate that had been mortgaged to
buy the stocks. The country's wealth was systematically being transferred from
the Great American Middle Class to Big Money.
The Homestead Laws were established in the days of
Abraham Lincoln to encourage settlers to move onto the land and develop it. The
country had been built by these homesteaders, who staked out their plots of
land, farmed them, and defended them. That was the basis of capitalism and the
American dream, the "level playing field" on which the players all
had a fair start and something to work with. The field was level until the
country was swept by depression, when homes and farms that had been in the
family since the Civil War or the Revolution were sucked up in a cyclone of
debt and delivered into the hands of the banks and financial elite.
Milton Friedman, professor of economics at the University of Chicago and winner
of a Nobel Prize in economics
The Federal Reserve definitely caused the Great
Depression by contracting the amount of currency in circulation by one-third
from 1929 to 1933.
Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee
[The depression] was not accidental. It was a
carefully contrived occurrence The international bankers sought to bring about
a condition of despair here so that they might emerge as rulers of its all.
Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, in
1934, filed a Petition for Articles of Impeachment against the Federal Reserve
Board, charging fraud, conspiracy, unlawful conversion and treason. He told
This evil institution has impoverished and ruined
the people of these United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically
bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the defects of the law
under which it operates, through the maladministration of hat law by the Fed
and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.
A document called "The Bankers Manifesto of 1934, an update of "The
Bankers Manifesto of 1892," was reportedly published in The Civil Servants
Yearbook in January 1934 and in The New American in February 1934 and was
circulated privately among leading bankers. It read in part:
Capital must protect itself in every way, through
combination [monopoly] and through legislation. Debts must be collected and
loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of
law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and
more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power
of wealth, under control of leading financiers. People without homes will not
quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principal men now
engaged in forming an imperialism of capital to govern the world.
From his first months in office, [FDR] implemented tough legislation against
the Wall Street looting and corruption that had brought down the stock market
and the economy. He took aim at the trusts and monopolies that had returned in
force with the laissez-faire government of the Roaring Twenties. By 1929, about
1,200 mergers had swallowed up more than 6,000 previously independent
companies, leaving only 200 corporations in control of over half of all
American industry. FDR reversed this trend with new legislation, reviving the
policies initiated by his cousin Teddy. He also imposed strict regulations on
Wall Street. The Glass-Steagall Act was passed, limiting speculation and
preventing banks from gambling with money entrusted to them. Regular commercial
banks were separated from investment banks dealing with stocks and bonds, in
order to prevent bankers from creating stock offerings and then underwriting or
selling the offerings by hyping the stock. Banks had to choose to be either
commercial banks or investment banks. Commercial banks were prohibited from
underwriting most securities, with the exception of government-issued bonds,
speculative abuses were regulated through the Securities Act of 1933 and the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
... Needless to say, the Wall Street financiers were
not pleased. "They are unanimous in their hatred of me," Roosevelt
said defiantly, "and I welcome their hatred!" A clique of big
financiers and industrialists was rumored to be so unhappy with the President
that they plotted to assassinate him. Major General Smedley Butler testified
before Congress that he had been solicited by Morgan banking interests to lead
He said he was told by a Morgan agent that Wall
Street was about to cut off credit to the New Deal, and that Roosevelt
"has either got to get more money out of us or he has got to change the
method of financing the government, and we are going to see that lie does not
change that method."
Change the method of financing the government to
what? Hemphill had urged the government to issue its own Greenback-style
currency, and Patman had proposed nationalizing the banks. Greenback-style
funding was actually authorized by the Thomas Amendment, which provided that
the President could issue $3 billion in new Greenbacks if the Federal Reserve
Banks failed to fund $3 billion in government bonds." That authority was
never exercised, but the threat was there. The plot to assassinate Roosevelt
failed, but according to Smedley, it was only because he had refused to lead
As for Congressman McFadden's impeachment action
against the Fed, he never got a chance to prove his case. His investigation was
terminated by his sudden death in 1936, under suspicious circumstances.
... McFadden then died mysteriously of
"heart-failure sudden-death," following a bout of "intestinal
flue." His petition for Articles of Impeachment against the Federal
Reserve Board for fraud, conspiracy, unlawful conversion and treason was never
Representative Wright Patman
Federal Reserve is a total moneymaking machine. It
can issue money or checks. And it never has a problem of making its checks good
because it can obtain the $5 and $10 bills necessary to cover its check simply
by asking the Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving to print them.
Virtually all money in circulation today can be traced to government debt that
has been "monetized" by the Federal Reserve and the banking system.
This money is then multiplied many times over in the form of bank loans."
In 2006, M3 (the broadest measure of the money supply) was nearly $10 trillion,
and the Treasury securities held by the Federal Reserve came to about one-tenth
that sum. Thus the money supply has expanded by a factor of about 10 for every
dollar of federal debt monetized by the Federal Reserve, and all of this
monetary expansion consists of loans on which the banks have been paid
interest." It is this interest, not the interest paid to the Federal
Reserve, that is the real windfall to the banks - this and the fact that the
banks now have a moneymaking machine to back them up whenever they get in trouble
with their "fractional reserve" lending scheme. The Jekyll Island
plan had worked beautifully: the bankers succeeded in creating a secret source
of unlimited funds that could be tapped into whenever they were caught
short-handed. And to make sure their scheme remained a secret, they concealed
this money machine in obscure Fedspeak that made the whole subject seem dull
and incomprehensible to the uninitiated, and was misleading even to people who
thought they understood it.
Edward Griffin, in his book 'The Creature from Jekyll Island'
[The function of the Federal Reserve] is to convert
debt into money. It's that simple..
Edward Griffin, in his book 'The Creature from Jekyll Island'
[T]he Fed takes all the government bonds which the
public does not buy and writes a check to Congress in exchange for them ....
There is no money to back up this check. These fiat dollars are created on the
spot for that purpose. By calling these bonds "reserves," the Fed
then uses them as the base for creating additional dollars for every dollar
created for the bonds themselves. The money created for the bonds is spent by
the government, whereas the money created on top of those bonds is the source
of all the bank loans made to the nation's businesses and individuals. The
result of this process is the same as creating money on a printing press, hut
the illusion is based on an accounting trick rather than a printing trick.
The Fed reports that 95 percent of its profits are now returned to the U.S.
Treasury." But a review of its balance sheet, which is available on the
Internet, shows that it reports as profits only the interest received from the
federal securities it holds as reserves. No mention is made of the much greater
windfall afforded to the banks that are the Fed's corporate owners, which use
the securities as the "reserves" that get multiplied many times over
in the form of loans. The Federal Reserve maintains that it is now audited
every year by Price Waterhouse and the Government Accounting Office (GAO), an
arm of Congress; but some functions remain off limits to the GAO, including its
transactions with foreign central banks and its open market operations (the
operations by which it creates money with accounting entities). Thus the Fed's
most important - and most highly suspect - functions remain beyond public
Hedge funds were originally set up to "hedge the bets" of investors,
insuring against currency or interest rate fluctuations; but they quickly
became instruments for manipulation and control. Many of the largest hedge
funds are run by former bank or investment bank dealers, who have left with the
blessings of their former employers. The banks' investment money is then placed
with the hedge funds, which can operate in a more unregulated environment than
the banks can themselves. Hedge funds are now often responsible for over half
the daily trading in the equity markets, due to their huge size and the huge
amounts of capital funding them. That gives them an enormous amount of control
over what the markets will do. In the fall of 2006, 8,282 of the 9,800 hedge
funds operating worldwide were registered in the Cayman Islands, a British
Overseas Territory with a population of 57,000 people. The Cayman Islands
Monetary Authority gives each hedge fund at registration a 100-year exemption
from any taxes, shelters the fund's activity behind a wall of official secrecy,
allows the fund to self-regulate, and prevents other nations from regulating
Derivatives are key investment tools of hedge funds. Derivatives are basically
side bets that some underlying investment (a stock, commodity, market, etc.)
will go up or down. They are not really "investments," because they
don't involve the purchase of an asset. They are outside bets on what the asset
will do. All derivatives are variations on futures trading, and all futures
trading is inherently speculation or gambling. The more familiar types of
derivatives include "puts" (betting the asset will go down) and
"calls" (betting the asset will go up). Over 90 percent of the
derivatives held by banks today, however, are "over-the-counter"
derivatives - investment devices specially tailored to financial institutions,
often having exotic and complex features, not traded on standard exchanges.
They are not regulated, are hard to trace, and are very hard to understand.
At one time, tough rules regulated speculation of this sort. The Glass-Steagall
Act passed during the New Deal separated commercial At one time, tough rules
regulated speculation of this sort. The Glass-Steagall Act passed during the
New Deal separated commercial banking from securities trading; and the
Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was created in 1974 to regulate
commodity futures and option markets and to protect market participants from
price manipulation, abusive sales practices, and fraud. But again the
speculators have managed to get around the rules. Derivative traders claim they
are not dealing in "securities" or "futures" because
nothing is being traded; and just to make sure, they induced Congress to
empower the head of the CFTC to grant waivers to that effect, and they set up
offshore hedge funds that remained small, unregistered and unregulated. They
also had the Glass-Steagall Act repealed.
Christopher White, in a report to the House Committee on Banking, Finance and
Urban Affairs in 1994
The derivatives market... is the greatest bubble in
history. It dwarfs the Mississippi Bubble in France and the South Sea Island
bubble in England. This bubble, like a cancer, has penetrated and taken over
the entirety of our banking and credit system; there is no major commercial
bank, investment bank, mutual fund, etc. that is not dependent on derivatives
for its existence. These derivatives suck the life's blood out of our economy.
Our farms, our factories, our nation's infrastructure, our living standards are
being sucked dry to pay off interest payments, dividend yields as well as other
earnings on the bubble.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reported that in mid-2006, there
were close to 9,000 commercial and savings banks in the United States; yet 97
percent of U.S. bank-held derivatives were concentrated in the hands of just
five banks. Topping the list were JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, the citadels of
the Morgan and Rockefeller empires.
In 1992, George Soros and his giant hedge fund Quantum Group backed by Citibank
and other powerful institutional speculators, used derivatives to collapse the
currencies of Great Britain and Italy in a single day. The European Monetary
System was taken down with them.
John Hoefle, banking columnist for the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), in
We are on the verge of the biggest financial blowout
in centuries, bigger than the Great Depression, bigger than the South Sea
bubble, bigger than the Tulip bubble. The derivatives bubble, in which
Citicorp, Morgan, and the other big New York banks are unsalvageably
overexposed, is about to pop. The currency warfare operations of the Fed,
George Soros, and Citicorp have generated billions of dollars in profits, but
have destroyed the financial system in the process.
Giant international banks are now major players in global markets, not just as
lenders but as investors. Banks have a grossly unfair advantage in this game,
because they have access to so much money that they can influence the outcome
of their bets. If you the individual investor sell a stock short, your modest
investment won't do much to influence the stock's price; but a mega-bank and
its affiliates can short so much stock that the value plunges. If the bank is
one of those lucky institutions considered "too big to fail," it can
rest easy even if its bet does go wrong, since the FDIC and the taxpayers will
bail it out from its folly. In the case of international loans, the
International Monetary Fund will bail it out(In Sean Corrigan's descriptive
[W]hen financiers and traders get paid enough to
make Croesus kvetch for taking wholly asymmetric risks with phantom capital -
risks underwritten by government institutions like the Fed and the FDIC ... . -
this is not exactly a fair card game .
For every winner in this game played with phantom
capital, there is a loser; and the biggest losers are those Third World
countries that have been seduced into opening their financial markets to
currency manipulation, allowing them to be targeted in powerful speculative
raids that can and have destroyed their currencies and their economies.
Lincoln's economist Henry Carey said that the twin weapons used by the British
empire to colonize the world were the "gold standard" and "free
trade." The gold standard has now become the petrodollar standard, but the
game is still basically the same: crack open foreign markets in the name of
"free trade," take down the local currency, and put the nation's
assets on the block at fire sale prices. The first step in this process is to
induce the country to accept foreign loans and investment. The loan money gets
dissipated but the loans must be repaid. In the poignant words of Brazilian
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
The Third World War has already started .... The war
is tearing down Brazil, Latin America, and practically all the Third World.
Instead of soldiers dying, there are children. It is a war over the Third World
debt, one which has as its main weapon, interest, a weapon more deadly than the
atom bomb, more shattering than a laser beam.