All of the intellectual models of the new economy are about cooperation, sharing and abundance.
— Hazel Henderson, Economist (1933– )1
Reforming our money system has a simple solution: on behalf of WE the people, the Federal government takes back the power to create new money for our nation and creates a national 100% sovereign equity money – commonwealth money – our money, guaranteed by the health of our economy and our common wealth. We switch from privileged private banker money issued as debt-credit to our money issued as common wealth equity: US Money.
Key features of our current money system
- Private bankers and people of great wealth create our money and are in control.
- Decisions are made by a tiny few behind closed doors.
- Money is created by debt, a lien against the future productivity of Main Street, and guaranteed by the full faith and credit of our nation and our common wealth.
- Some people have special privilege and an advantage over everyone else.
Common wealth money key features
- WE the people, using the Constitutional powers of our democratic republic, create our money and WE are in control.
- Decisions are made by a democratic, accountable, and transparent process.
- Money is created as a token representing common wealth equity, and guaranteed by the full faith and credit of our nation.
- No one has special privilege; the playing field is level.
Simple and profound change
A new law and simple accounting change can switch systems overnight. The impact will be profound. In our new common wealth money system:
We, the people decide, through our duly elected representatives, to make this change. Unfortunately, many of today’s deciders in Congress have been corrupted – directly by those who fund their campaigns and by the propaganda of the money power. So, we must vote into Congress people who understand money systems and who commit to bringing ours into congruence with our Constitutional values and national goals. This will not be easy, but worth our commitment and effort. Remember the women who began the crusade for women’s rights at a convention in 1848, and their granddaughters who first went to the national polls to vote in 1920 – and then waited another 50 years until 1974 to be able to get a credit card. The great granddaughters of the first women voters are using the hashtag, #MeToo and #Equalpay to demand that equal rights and respect for women become a full reality instead of a work in progress. Deep change can take time.
Fortunately, we have tools our great grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers did not have. We can use social media and data tools to educate and develop support. This will shorten the time it takes to make change.
The new system: common wealth money
Common wealth money is created by a democratic, accountable and transparent process that gives, spends, lends, or invests new money into the economy, in amounts that maintain a stable value. We agree to use it in exchanges and to pay our taxes. Our money token is mostly electronic (as it is today). Seignorage goes to our government, our states and our citizens, to provide for the general welfare.
Money can only be added to the supply by the deliberate action of our government. Money cannot be leveraged by anyone else to create new money as happens in a fractional reserve system. This is critically important, and the financial industry will work very hard to create loopholes, so it must be very simply and clearly stated in the law. No exceptions.
We will still have private banks that store, transfer money, and keep accounts for depositors. They will be basic 100% banks. We will still have investment banks that serve as intermediaries between investors and investment opportunities (Chapter 3.25–3.26). They will compete for your business. You will pay a fee for banking services.
We will still have a central bank. It will be a basic central bank with no money creation powers (Chapter 3.25). We will keep some of what we now call the Federal Reserve System. Our central bank can reside in the Department of the Treasury of the Executive Branch. It will not be independent of the oversight and political will of the people. It will be fully audited. But it will no longer be a fractional reserve money creator bank, it will be a basic bank to the government and to the private banks. It will need a new name. How about, The Bank of the United States? This name was good enough for our founders and it’s simple and clear. The mission of our central bank will be that of a basic central banker. It will serve the nation as the banker to our government and provide central transfer services to its member banks.
Our central bank can continue in four out of seven of its current work areas.
1. Basic banking services. The Bank of the US will continue to provide banking services to the US government and central bank transfer services to the commercial banks (for a fee).
2. Supervision and regulation of the financial sector. Since the Bank of the US will continue to serve as the central bank for the commercial banking sector, it will continue to be in a position to catch fraud and malfeasance. So, it will maintain its role of supervision and regulation over the private banks.
3. Consumer protection and fair lending. Consumer financial protection and fair lending falls appropriately with the teams that supervise, regulate and monitor the financial sector.
4. Research, statistics and reporting on the money supply and economy. Our current central bank’s research capacity is a valuable asset. It can continue to be responsible for gathering data and reporting on banking, the financial sector and economic conditions. It can produce data on the impact of the various strategies that the government uses to enter new money into the economy – their impact on the general welfare and econ- omy as a whole.
Here’s what the central bank will NOT do:
5. Money creation. Our central bank will no longer have the power and authority to create new money. This power will reside only with our government. The Bank of the US will account for government money creation, but it will not create money itself.
Under our current system, this money creation function of the Federal Reserve is described as financial system stability, because, in theory, it is the central bank’s ability to be the lender of last resort to banks or big corporations that keeps the reserve money system relatively stable. Since we will no longer have a private profit-driven, unstable fractional reserve money creation system, there will no longer be a need for this power. The central bank will no longer create new money as lender of last resort to banks or big corporations. If a big bank or corporation makes mistakes with its investments, it must find private sector help or go bankrupt like any other business. There will be no bailouts from the central bank. And, the downfall of banks will no longer put the entire economy at risk. Our domestic tranquility will consequently increase.
6. Monetary policy. Monetary policy is about how much money should be in the economy. Currently, this decision is made haphazardly by the distributed and collective decisions of the individual private bankers. The Board of the Fed has three tools that influence, or more accurately accommodate, their decisions: open market operations (buying and selling US debt); the discount rate (what the central bank charges to create money/make loans to its member banks); and setting reserve requirements. None of these controls will be necessary in our new system.
In our new system, monetary policy is simple and defined by the law establishing our new system:
Money is 100%, common wealth equity money that can only be created by Congressional action. It must maintain as stable a value as possible.
It’s that simple. Ongoing maintenance policy requires addressing two important questions:
- How much new money must be created to keep the value stable?, and
- How will the new money be entered into the economy?
These questions are so important they each have their own sections coming up.
7. Economic policy. Our central bank will no longer be “influencing the money and credit conditions in the economy.” They will have no power or authority to influence interest rates or unem- ployment. These will be established in the marketplace based on supply and demand, or influenced as they are today by policy decisions enacted by Congress.
Our money token will continue to be the dollar. Cash will be produced in the same way that it is today by our Bureau of Engraving but will carry the phrase, United States Dollar, instead of Federal Reserve Note. In transition, the Federal Reserve Notes can continue to circulate and be honored as US dollars. As they circulate through banks, they will be replaced with the new currency once it is issued.
Authentic & Trustworthy
Our money will continue to get its authenticity from its designation as legal tender. The US Secret Service will continue to protect our currency from counterfeiters. Our money will continue to be made trustworthy by the full faith, credit and common wealth of our nation, as it is today.
Measure & Store of Value
By design, we change from money with an intentionally shrinking value to money that maintains as steady a value as we can manage. To keep the value steady, increases in the money supply must only reflect increases in population and/or productivity. These are already measured.
Some proposals for commonwealth money accept the old premise that when the value of money shrinks, people will spend it more quickly and the economy will prosper. Therefore, money should slowly be devalued by exponentially increasing the supply in proportion to the demand. However, as noted in Chapter 2.7 and Chapter 6.54–6.58, an exponentially growing financial system is no longer a sustainable option. We must figure out how to have a prosperous economy that does not grow in size. We will grow in ingenuity and productivity. And, it is in our continuously questing nature to do so. But, we have to stop metasta- sizing NOW!
Because a declining money value privileges some people and penalizes others, I have yet to find a good reason for slowly devaluing our money. If there is one, please let me know.
Our law establishing our new money creation system must spell out how we will measure the value of the dollar. This is what the Consumer Price Index is supposed to do. But, it needs some de-jiggering so that it no longer presents an inaccurate reflection of changes in the value of our money.
Creation & Destruction
As with any money system, who and how money is created is of supreme importance. In our new system, only our Congress will create new money. This must be absolutely and resolutely clear so there are no loopholes that allow the private sector to continue to create some form of money for the nation. For example, this means Wall Street investors will have to borrow money from someone in order to buy stocks; buying and selling naked or on margin without ever actually taking possession of a loan or a stock will not be lawful. A bank can only issue a line of credit to someone if the bank has the full amount on hand and available.
While these limitations will reduce activity on Wall Street, they will reduce it to a useful level and eliminate the transfer of wealth to a tiny, privileged elite. The financial markets currently constitute an oversized proportion of activity in the marketplace and take an inordinate amount of profits. The reduction in the financial marketplace will be like removing a metastasizing tumor from a useful organ – good for the nation.
New money is created by government giving, spending, lending or investing it into the economy. Once created, money circulates, serv- ing many exchanges, and, then in part, returns to the government in taxes. These taxes are again given, spent, invested, or lent and continue to circulate. Government taxing and spending (or giving, investing, or lending) is an important element in a healthy economy; it balances the I-for-me-and-mine spending, with what WE choose to invest in our common wealth. Government taxing and spending increases money circulation and enhances broad prosperity.
Because some portion of the money circulates through government accounts, we can reduce the money supply by not giving, not spending or not lending until the value is stable.
WE the people. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, claim the power of the people to create our national money, using the tools established in our Constitution for transparent and democratic public decision-making.