End the Fed!

Recommended Book: Creature from Jekyll Island

G. Edward Griffin wrote Creature from Jekyll Island in 1994. This 600-page book is now on its 5th printing, on Amazon, and all hard-core liberty-minded folks quote from it. It is not an easy read, but a project for maybe several months. However, because it reads like a thriller, you will be enthralled enough for how long it takes. By the end of the book, you should have a clearer idea why some people go around carrying signs at rallies reading “END THE FED!” You will know where the money to finance the U.S. endless wars comes from, and you will know how we have gone from a nation of pioneers to a nation of supplicants.

occupy-wall-street-protesters

Not a Horror Movie – Just Real Life

Ask a random number of people where or what is Jekyll Island, and most will respond with some association to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Most will be surprised that Jekyll Island is a very real, beautiful state-owned park off the coast of Georgia, managed and conserved by the Jekyll Island Authority, a self-supported state agency funded by the island’s leases, fees, and amenity operations. It acquired its name in 1733, when British colonial leader General James Edward Oglethorpe named the island in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll, a financial backer of the colony of Georgia.

Jekyll Island went through several iterations and owners. However, the owner that interests us here is Christophe Poulain DuBignon, who consolidated his ownership of the island in 1794. He and his descendents owned the island from 1794 until 1886. John Eugene DuBignon, together with his brother in law Newton Finney, got the ball rolling in our story when they turned Jekyll Island into a private hunting club. Finney had contacts in New York among the monied social elite, and the likes of J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, and William K. Vanderbilt invested in the new club. In 1886 Eugene DuBignon sold the club to the Jekyll Island Club Corporation.

They Did Not Go Duck Hunting

The plot thickens when in November 1910, Senator Nelson Aldrich from Rhode Island gathered some banking and finance folks — among them representatives from the U.S. Treasury, J.P. Morgan & Co., National City Bank, and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. – to go duck hunting at the Jekyll Island Club. Apparently, they did not hunt any ducks, but instead, under a cloak of great mystery that was not revealed until the 1930s, they wrote a plan to reform the nation’s banking system. Thus the Federal Reserve Bank was born.

The fact that the Federal Reserve was born on Jekyll Island backed by the cream of the banking elite, it enables a debt-based economy, and it finances wars is freely acknowledged even by the Federal Reserve. However, saying for instance that the Federal Reserve worked closely with the U.S. Treasury to sell Liberty Bonds to help the War Effort is different than saying the Fed enables eternal wars for oil and Wall Street. Therefore, The Creature from Jekyll Island is often relegated to conspiracy theory for stating the latter.

The banking elite did not really go duck hunting in November of 1910. What did they really do and why? What would be the purpose of a central bank in 1910, or in 1791? What track record of predecessor U.S. central banks was the banking elite considering in 1910? How do the writings of other people affirm what G. Edward Griffin said in Creature from Jekyll Island?

Bankers Reforming Banking

Observe that at Jekyll Island, bankers wrote the plan to reform banking. Since presumably these bankers were human, we need to assume their native instincts prompted them to benefit banks. In his 2012 article Who Benefits From The Federal Reserve Charles Hugh Smith asks “Cui bono–to whose benefit?” He then lists what the Federal Reserve does or enables others to do. Here is a summary list:

* Setting of interest rates at zero or near zero – Allows banks and other already powerful financial institutions to borrow great quantities of money. With this money such institutions concentrate their wealth and ensure their perpetuity by buying up competitors and becoming too big to fail. The high debt to equity ratio pushes earnings towards debt servicing, and away from productive investments, innovation and workers’ benefits.

* Accepting ever-expanding debt leveraged by questionable collateral – Normalizes junk financial tools such as derivatives and sub-prime mortgages. The proliferation of such financial tools spreads debt and leveraging throughout the economy. Households learn to survive on debt generated by mortgages and credit cards. Students and their parents become dependent on student loans that can limit the financial and emotional well being of young people for a long time.

* Supporting an inefficient and exploitative banking system – The Federal Reserve is sold to the general public as protection against economic panic caused by bank failures. Businesses fail when they are mismanaged by inept or bad-intentioned handlers. Banks are no exception. However, they have learned that if they are big enough and powerful enough they can behave as they please, since the Federal Reserve and the FDIC will be there to bail them out when they behave exceptionally poorly.

Predecessor Financiers

* The Fist Bank of the United States

The Bank of the United States, a national bank promoted by then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, was established by Congress in 1791. The bank was authorized to operate across state borders, and was intended to foster economic growth. It collect revenue, lent money to the U.S. Treasury, sold bonds to investors, and it helped to pay off the huge national debt created by the Revolutionary War. However, Thomas Jefferson and his followers viewed this central bank, as well as all other indication of federal expansion, with extreme distaste; they succeeded in causing the closure of the bank after 20 years of its operation.

* The Second Bank of the United States

Debt mounted again as a result of the War of 1812, but this time, Congress knew of a quick fix, and charted the Second Bank of the United States in 1817. To the dismay of central banking advocates, President Andrew Jackson, a foe of central banks which he viewed as benefitting Northern industry to the detriment of Southern agriculture, vetoed the re-chartering of the Second Bank of the United States in 1836.

Interestingly, central banking advocates blame a shortage of gold and silver currency and the ensuing economic panic of 1837 on Jackson’s elimination of the Second Bank of the United States. Why was there a shortage of hard money? Because the Second Bank of the United States encouraged debt instead of gold and silver.

Bottom Line: How are you better off with today’s central bank?

Widely distributed prosperity for the citizenry results from increases in real income that flow from productive investments and higher productivity that’s passed on to workers. The Fed’s model of “prosperity” is to enrich the banks and incentivize workers to take on more debt to boost their consumption and their purchase of phantom assets in stock bubbles, housing bubbles, etc.  Who Benefits From the Federal Reserve?  by Charles Hugh Smith, September 2012.

How many members of your household need to work outside the home to make ends meet?  If you own a home, how are you managing repaying your mortgage?  We send you our heartfelt wishes that you do not depend on your credit cards to pay your rent.