"In 1913, Congressman Charles August Lindbergh Sr. (father of the famed aviator) wrote: Banking, Currency, and the Money Trust, and in 1917 he wrote "Why is Your Country at War?," attributing high finance as America's involvement in World War I. According to Eustace Mullins, in his book, PUBLIC CENTRAL BANK - On Reclaiming Our Central Bank And Monetary Policy, plates of Congressman Lindbergh's second book were confiscated and destroyed by Government agents."Editor's Note:
The American people are in even graver danger from the Federal Reserve System in the modern day than they were in 1913, when Congressman Charles Lindbergh wrote Banking And Currency And The Money Trust,
in efforts to warn the public of what the Rothschild Communist central bank would do to the U.S. economy - All the more reason for Americans to read this book for themselves, before the Federal Reserve can have it removed from the Internet."Banking And Currency And The Money Trust"By Charles August Lindbergh - Part III Of V PartsContinued from part II ...
The following is taken from the report of the National Citizens’ League, Chicago :
“The League was obliged to get publicity through other sources. It printed and distributed in the first six months of 1913 nearly one million pamphlets. It began the publication of a semi-monthly—now published monthly—news bulletin, and, as interest increased under this system, it prepared hundreds of newspaper articles.”
“The League’s text-book, ‘Banking Reform,’ was published in May.
It was sent free to members of the League, and about 1500 copies were distributed to newspapers for review. Nearly 12,000 copies of the book have been distributed. The circulation of the news bulletin, ‘Banking Reform,’ is now 30,000 copies.”
The membership of this league is less than 10,000. The fee charged is $1. This fee entitles the member to all of the literature as long as the League lasts. The postage account alone amounts to more than the entire amount of the membership fee. The amount paid to the lecturers alone is more than the entire fees amount to, and the other expenses of the League are simply enormous, but, Wall Streeters are seeking to rob the people of tens of billions of dollars and that makes it worth while for those who expect to secure the benefits to pay the main costs.
The Philadelphia bankers contributed over $100,000 to this league’s campaign. Everything is being done which it is thought will cause the people to think as these bankers wish them to.
If it were not so important that we should know the truth about this disguise (which the leagues actually are for Wall Street), I would not take the trouble to give so many of these facts, but to know them may save us from having heaped upon us the greatest burden that humanity has yet had to bear. We should beware of the so-called National Citizens’ League and its branches. Numerous other facts could be shown that would be sufficient by themselves to convince any impartial person beyond a doubt that these leagues were conceived in the brains of Wall Streeters, officered by men educated in Wall Street methods, and supported by the Wall Street system.
It deceives the people, and more especially the agents of the people in Congress, who are entrusted with the people’s work and expected to help create a new banking and currency system. Its aim is to aid them in gaining the control of the financial monetary system in order to further enslave humanity in the aggregate.
Is it at all strange that the Glass Committee, composed mostly of bankers, their agents and attorneys, should be referred to by the Citizens’ League as having given out that “the preliminary draft of the Glass Bill” would “be sent in a few days for the private examination of a selected list of business men, bankers, and economists.” Oh, what inconsistency !
The Citizens Leagues, themselves, pretending to be organized for “publicity,” sending out a preliminary draft for the private examination of a selected list of business men, bankers and economists. What about the farmer, the wage earner, and people generally ? It is the same old game of deception. The people are always the last to know anything that is planned by the interests in order that they may only “lock their doors when their goods have been stolen.”
I wrote to the Glass Committee for a copy of its draft for a banking and currency plan and three weeks later received the following answer :
“February 12, 1913.
“Hon. C.A. Lindbergh,
“House of Representatives.
“My DEAR MR. LINDBERGH :
“I have been so engrossed recently with committee work that I have been unable to give attention to in correspondence, which accounts for this belated response to your letter of recent date. Replying now, I beg to say that we have not yet formulated a currency bill, but just as soon as we shall have done so, I will be glad to let you have one of the first copies of the measure.
“With cordial regards,
It was the duty of the Glass Committee to first report to Congress, but no effort has thus far, April, 1913, been made by that Committee to make such a report or to furnish Congress with a preliminary draft of a bill, and when the Citizens’ League had sent out their letter to the “selected list” informing them that the preliminary draft of the Glass Committee bill would be sent out in a few days for the examination of a “selected list of bankers, economists, business men,” etc.,
Congress had heard nothing about it. Many Members requested the preliminary draft, but it was impossible to secure even a suggestion about it.
I expressly requested it because I wished to read it and because of the many requests I received from people who were trying to keep posted, but the committee furnished me with no information other than the letter written by Mr. Glass, its
chairman. It is now four months since the Citizens’ League promised “in a few days” to send to its selected list of bankers and economists the draft of the Glass Bill, but the public has not been permitted up to this time to see it.
Further, the Wall Streeters, as might be expected, steered the persons whom they desired to appear before that Committee in order to influence, insofar as it would be possible, the form of any proposed bill. The real producers and consumers of the country and those who have studied their needs the most have had no hearing before that committee. Those who have been allowed to testify are principally those whose business it is to get all they can out of the people.
It will be observed that the letter written by Mr. Glass was dated 19 days later than the letter written by the Secretary of the Minnesota Citizens’ League to Mr. Hugh J. Hughes. The Secretary of that League stated on Jan. 24th that the preliminary draft of the Glass Committee bill would be sent within a few days for the “private examination of a selected list of business men, bankers, and economists.” Mr. Glass’ reply
to me states that his committee “have not yet formulated a currency bill.” It will be noticed that he makes no suggestion as to when one will be formulated, nor does he say anything about a preliminary draft. Now, then, note what “Banking Reform,” the publication of the National Citizens’ League, said in its issue of February 1st, 1913. On the front cover, surrounded by a heavy black line, is the following :
“DO BUSINESS MEN WANT BANKING REFORM ?
“Speaking before the Chamber of Commerce of the United States in Washington, January 21, Congressman Glass, of the Banking and Currency Committee, said that upon the business and commercial men of the country rests a large part of the responsibility for action on remedial banking legislation. He gave warning that unless the business world acts promptly, there would be a long postponement of currency legislation.”
On the same cover, immediately following, is a notice to members of the League in the following form :
“To Members of the National Citizens’ League:
“Congress is wavering over the question of banking reform. The Democratic leaders are undecided whether to bring in a currency bill at the special session in the Spring or defer action until the regular session next December.
“The reason given for this hesitation is that the business men of the country have not made it plain to Congress that they demand a new banking law. In short, business men have been challenged to show that there is a demand for immediate action.
“There is such a demand.
“The one thing to do is to get it home to Congress that demand exists. The only way to do that is to tell your representatives and senators that you want immediate action. “If business men and bankers of the country make it clear to Congress that immediate action is demanded, there will be action at the special session.
“Through Representative Glass, of the Banking and Currency Committee, Congress has said to the business men of the country that unless they act promptly the remedial legislation ‘so badly needed will be long deferred.’
“The question has been placed squarely before the business men of the country.
“Make your decision. “Write a letter to your representative. Write to your senator. Write to Mr. Glass. Write to Mr. Underwood. “President-elect Wilson has been quoted as holding the view that public sentiment as to banking reform has not yet crystallized. Write to Mr. Wilson, if you know him. If you don’t know him, it is a good way to get acquainted.”
Following these disclosures by the National Citizens’ League, comes its April issue of “Banking Reform” with the following notice : “LAUGHLIN RETIRES.
“J. Laurence Laughlin, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Citizens’ League since its organization, has returned to his position as professor of political economy in the University of Chicago.
“In June, 1911, Professor Laughlin was given a year’s leave from the university, that he might give all his time to the campaign of education undertaken by the League. Last fall this leave was extended for three months, and then until April 1st, at the request of the League’s directors.
“To the League Professor Laughlin brought, in addition to natural endowments of an unusual nature and a profound knowledge of economics, a wide experience in campaigns for sound money and better banking conditions. On all the questions involved in the campaign he was able to speak with authority. He has worked indefatigably, and it is largely due to his efforts and his persistence that the campaign enters the final stage with flattering prospects of a successful outcome. ...”
The reader knows that the University of Chicago is an institution endowed by John D. Rockefeller, with nearly $50,000,000. It may truly be said to be the Rockefeller University. Of course it does not follow that its professors would teach as Rockefeller wished them to, nor that there is any understanding between him and them. They may be, and undoubtedly in most cases are, independent in their work, but in the selection of the professors for that institution careful consideration has always been given to select such as actually believe in the general scheme of
things as they have developed under the present capitalistic era.
In the same issue of Banking Reform was an article from which I quote the following parts :
“While this was going on [referring to the investigation of the Money Trust] another section of the Banking and Currency Committee was doing effective work. This section, presided over by Representative Carter Glass, who will be Chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee in the 63rd Congress, has given nearly a year to study. It has held many hearings at which bankers and business men gave information and opinions. It has had expert counsel. It has had the benefit of all the work done by the Monetary Commission.
It has digested the information, reached a conclusion and has a plan of reform practically outlined. “There are some new actors on the scene, however. There is a new President, a new Secretary of the Treasury, and a new Chairman of a new Banking and Currency Committee in the new Senate. We need not worry about the President. He is too familiar with economic questions to admit doubt of his power to grasp the details of any plan of banking reform instantly.
The Secretary of the Treasury is well equipped to come to a speedy conclusion, and Senator Owen, who has not yet had time to familiarize himself with details, has long been a banker and will have the advantage of the work of his associates.”
Senator Owen, as the reader probably knows, is the chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee in the Senate. It is wonderful what absolute information the National Citizens’ League claims to have as to what will happen in Congress. The committees that control financial legislation in both the Senate and House are presided over by chairmen who are bankers and personally are financially interested in the proposed legislation.
The people of this country have good reason to be ashamed of their Congress for permitting such a state of affairs, but it is not only the chairmen who preside who are thus interested. These committees are chiefly composed of bankers, their agents and attorneys, all of whom have a personal financial interest. We do not expect the National Citizens’ League to admit that it is a creature of Wall Street. We know that it repudiates Wall Street on the same principle that all things of that character are denied by those who join in them. We know, of course, that in promoting the formation of the State leagues, everything possible was done to conceal its Wall Street affiliations.
We know that that method enabled it to secure many members who are opposed to the Wall Street demands. But after all, its admission of having only 10,000 members, after its statement of having sent out in the first six months nearly a million pamphlets, is sufficient to show that the 94,000,000 people are not falling over each other in their eagerness to be gathered in by this Wall Street scheme. And it will also be borne in mind that of the 10,000 members that it has secured in its several years of existence, some were always Wall Street supporters, or those employed by or under the domination of Wall Streeters ; that they are active for selfish reasons, and therefore will follow the suggestion made by the Panic Circular of 1893: That is, to “Use personal influence with your Congressman and particularly let your wishes be known to your Senator.”
Thousands of letters asking immediate financial legislation are now pouring in on Members of Congress. Some are written in good faith with the honest hope of influencing Congressmen in favor of just legislation. But the majority of the letters received are from persons selfishly interested, while those who are not selfishly interested seldom take the trouble to write. And yet, it is the duty of every citizen to take an interest in this most important subject and write to his
Congressman and I do not criticize those who write, whether their purpose is a selfish or unselfish one.
The vast majority of citizens should have a similar interest in this proposed legislation ; an interest which is worth their most earnest thought and consideration, and their influence in shaping the proposed legislation. To all of these I suggest that they should write to their Congressmen on all problems of vital importance requiring the action of Congress, and then it will not appear to the Congressmen that the interest of the public is only in shaping legislation
that will further promote the special interests.
The Congressmen receive a dozen and more letters from those selfishly interested to every one that they receive from the general public whose interest it is simply to preserve the general welfare.
Having defined what I am convinced to have been the original and controlling influence in the organization of the so-called National Citizens’ League and its State branches, I do not wish to dismiss the subject and leave the impression that its members generally desire to fasten on the country a false money system, but I do not hesitate in saying that those who control the distribution of literature do so in the interests of the selfish Wall Streeters, but there is no disposition on my part to make the public believe that these men are wilfully opposed to the public welfare.
They are a production of this capitalistic era and they believe in it and are fighting for its supremacy, but as against that, I claim that no careful honest student will deny that the commercialism and speculation of the present period, and the basis on which business and speculation are conducted, lead the rank and file of the population into industrial slavery—in fact that condition actually exists, now, and it is that that I am pointing out, and trying to remedy.
INTEREST, DIVIDENDS AND RENTS.
The greatest of all the present social burdens is the excessive interest, dividends and rent charges levied on us by those who control centralized capital. It may seem to those possessing great wealth that they are vested with the right to levy for its use whatever toll they please upon the plain people. What they do levy makes it evident that they think the people owe them more than it is possible for us to pay.
I shall not question the present extent of the individual ownership of capital, even though I might do so (in a degree) considering the present methods of obtaining it. But I do now question the methods of its present use. I concede that everyone has a right to the products of his energy, properly applied, and also to a reasonable compensation for the same, but, I deny that anyone has any right to prevent such an organization of society as will prohibit those who possess the present wealth of the world from charging for its use a toll that is measured by monopoly regulation, and increased more and more as the necessity of the people increases, and the grasp of the monopolies tightens into a strangle-hold.
The mental and physical need of a people is a condition of their existence and not a matter of production or limitation, to be subject to the prey of individuals, and as the things necessary to supply their needs are constantly in demand, their cost to consumers should be determined by the expense of production, and not by the opportunity presented for taking an unfair advantage of an inherent condition. Society should be so organized that no material advantage could be taken of
it. My objection to capital as a power is not so much based upon what capital now costs, as it is upon the claim of the capitalists that they have the right or power which justifies their attempt to control society and not permit it to become independent of capital.
We can so reconstruct society that it will be self-perpetuating instead of as now, self-exhaustive. Everyone should realize that it is not possible for us to secure absolute justice in all practical dealings, and that there will be more or less inequality under any condition that man can establish. But that fact does not justify our support of practices that, by their natural application, make a few men immensely wealthy, create many parasites, and make industrial slaves of the
masses. Our present system does all of that by its very nature. By that I mean that the law as it now stands and is interpreted by the courts and legislatures, forces that condition upon us and the manner in which commerce and speculation go on forces the people into unfavorable conditions even more rapidly than if the letter of the law were followed.
Government is properly the framing of rules of conduct that aid in rendering the results of transactions entered into by the people more advantageous, and not in fostering monopolies as it now does. But the present social belief seems to be that Government should support the capitalists in the collection of interest, dividends, and rent charges which are so excessive that they cannot be collected except by an excessive reduction of the compensation made to those rendering useful services, and increasing the hours of labor for the producers. The use of this false system is undermining the strength of our nation and will ultimately destroy it, unless we substitute a true economic one.
If interest, dividends, and rents were based on the economic savings of those to whom they are paid, or on capital acquired in a just and proper manner, there would be no dangerous accumulation. A few do save and secure interest on some part of their actual earnings, but the general public does not save anything on which to collect either interest or dividends.
It does not seem credible that the farmer, the wage earner, and others should continue to perform useful services, when they know (at the same time) that that part of the product which is the result of their work, but in excess of their pay, and a proper compensation to the employer, forms dead capital on which they and their children will be taxed in the future by a geometrical progression of accumulated profits which will add to their daily burdens and force them and their
children to continue living a life of poverty.
Does it seem possible that such a condition is supported by the laws of our land and the decrees of our courts ? Look at the great combinations of wealth, commonly known as trusts. They are the logical effects of the geometrical progress on of
interest, dividends and rents, all of which result in a greater and greater centralization of material wealth to be possessed by those same trusts. They are our masters now by virtue of the practice of that rule, and will continue to be so just as long as we allow the present practices to continue.
They are the fruits resulting from the peoples toil and accumulated by the wealth absorbers who, by the rules of government and practice in business, possess the privilege of taxing all of the people. It is virtually the same system that prevails in England. In 1823 the land in England was owned by 165,000 people. One-half of the land in the whole kingdom is now owned by less than fifteen persons. Less than a dozen persons in our own country dominate its finances.
It is easy to understand how that is possible if one seeks carefully to get a correct understanding of the rules by which society is governed. How does it happen that the legislatures and the courts have the right to measure the services—that is, the use of dead property—with a more important scale than it measures the services of living persons ? It is not because of dishonesty, but it is because the legislatures and the judges, who are men like ourselves, have failed lamentably to see whither we would be carried by such doctrines. But the light of a new day has broken, and the meaning is clear.
Who shall say that, understanding, we will permit the practice to go on indefinitely ? Who will deny our right to protect ourselves from such a system ? We absolutely know that no people can (on the past and present basis) produce so-called capital and centralize it in individual ownership, along with the right of the owners to tax us by the rule of geometrical progression of accumulative interest, dividends, and rents, without making of us a nation of insolvents and creating a condition of poverty for all men. Most men are in a condition of poverty now.
Also, we absolutely know that the trusts, as a result of the centralizing of the control of the industrial agencies and material resources, operated in connection with their juggling of credits and money, have made us dependent upon the trusts for employment. This is the industrial slavery that the capitalistic interests prefer to chattel slavery. If we were chattel slaves they would have to care for us in sickness and old age, whereas now they are not concerned with us except for the time during which we work for them.
Knowing these facts, will the people continue to remain in such a state of bondage ?
Certainly not ? The trusts have taught us the principle of combination. If it is good and profitable for the trusts, it is good and profitable for the people. It would be better to have one great trust created by all of the people for their common benefit than to have our actions controlled by several trusts operated for the individual benefit of a few persons.
We must make a choice and either accept absolute Socialism or establish Individualism with opportunity for all. For one or the other we are bound to stand, or we shall all fall. THE CAPITALISTS DEMAND A SOCIALISM OF DOLLARS, THEY TO OWN THEM—IN OTHER WORDS, A MONEY TRUST, AND THEREFORE THEY ARE OPPOSED TO THE PEOPLE BECOMING SOCIALISTS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT. The trusts will maintain the first and prevent the latter if they can do so. Let us understand this clearly.
The capitalists all denounce the existence of socialistic tendencies of whatever kind, if they are held by the majority of the people. But they are socialists themselves, as their absolute control of concentrated capital will show. They form combinations and operate them for their joint advantage. Yes, that is socialism operated in the interests of the selected few.
Socialism for them means their absolute control of the material products resulting from the toil of the people, the right to charge for the use of this material and to make of us industrial slaves. They are practical socialists in the interests of the few. But, they are filled with shivering horrors when the people suggest the practice of socialism by themselves, for themselves.
Would it not be more desirable and much more practical for the general welfare of the people to have socialism include all of us than it is to permit the trusts to adopt and practice a form of socialism for themselves alone ? Notwithstanding that, I do not advocate socialism in the entire sense in which that term is commonly understood. Ordinarily, one can attend to his own affairs with less waste to himself than there would be if his business was everybody’s business.
I believe that the individual can do his own life work, and secure his fortune, better than the state could do it for him, provided that the state had reasonable laws and regulations to govern in the interests of all the people. I believe that with the human brain, and the inclinations of the people generally as we find them now, we can be assured of greater progress under the influence of individual incentive than would be probable if property were made a common stock
held in trust for all. Theoretically, socialism is beautiful.
Theoretically I believe in it, and I would prefer that it should be in actual operation rather than that the present methods of commerce, business, and general practices should continue. No one doubts that socialism will take the place of the trusts and other selfish organizations now existing if we do not adopt methods by which the people generally shall be able to reap more benefit from their own well-directed energies. The Socialists are seeking to give better results to humanity as a whole, and if that can be accomplished through the establishment of socialism more satisfactorily than by any other system, the Socialists certainly ought to win.
We cannot continue to allow the mental and physical state of society to be the basis on which are issued the stocks, bonds, and other securities for which we are taxed. That is, we cannot permit our good will, our inclinations, and desires, nor our dire necessities to be taken advantage of for the purpose of selfish promotion in stocks, bonds and securities.
The one objection most commonly heard in opposition to socialism is that too many persons would shirk their duties, and that others who were active and willing would be forced to do more work than it was their duty to perform. That cannot be urged as a legitimate objection and sufficient to cause us to reject Socialism in favor of our present system, because under the present system there are more idlers, and others who are supported by the sweat of others’ toil,than could possibly exist under any other system, unless we were to accept a state of anarchy which would require no system at all. But we now have a worse affliction than idlers.
We have the greedy trusts, and they are operating under conditions that enable them to appropriate the products of our industry and create wealth which is concentrated into the hands of a few who not only levy a most burdensome toll on the present generation, but possess the legal privilege and, apparently, the opportunity to enforce the same conditions upon future generations. The idlers die and cease to be a further burden, but it is not so with the trusts. They continue. The remedy
for our social evils does not consist so much in changing the system of government as it does in increasing the general intelligence of the people so that they may learn how to govern.
The only excuse for government is the facility it affords the citizens for securing advantages that operate for the common welfare, which could not be obtained with the same degree of equability through independent individual action. In no case has government so signally neglected its function as in its failure to issue money and control the charges made for its use.
Banks and individuals have been permitted to set up a system for financial action which is supported by credits and the products of the people’s industries. Through its use they are enabled to collect exorbitant dividends, interest, and profits on what they do not produce. From the testimony given by George F. Baker (President of the First National Bank of New York City) before the committee appointed to investigate the Money Trust, we learn that the operations of a single bank produced, in fifty years, profits equal to $86,000,000, or 172 times its original capital. If that bank continues to do business and is allowed to pile up profits in that geometrical progression, it alone, in less than 100 years, will extort from the people all of their property, and—that bank is but one of the 30,000 banks operating on an uneconomic system.
The total capitalization (which includes surplus and undivided profits) of 30,000 banks in 1913, was considerable over $4,000,000,000 and dividends compounded on that sum, as is the custom of banks, will, if allowed to do so by the indifference of the people to their own rights, consume the balance of the nation’s wealth. The accumulated holdings of all the trusts that centralize wealth would immensely reduce the time it will take for the interest and dividends on these holdings to absorb all of our present property, and all of what we earn in the future, except what is required to be left to enable us to eke out a bare subsistence.
But, notwithstanding the community of interest existing between the trusts in order that they may uphold the system that enables them to PAY the LEAST price for wages, farm and other products, and to sell their own services and resell the products controlled by them at the HIGHEST available price, they compete with each other in their efforts to secure the most of our earnings.
So, you see, there is competition even between the trusts, and this competition is resulting in their absorption of each other. Anyone with a little imagination and reasoning power can look ahead and see what would be the outcome of that competition if the interests are allowed to carry it to its finish. It is utterly impossible for us to become independent as a nation as long as we are subservient to the present system of excessive interest, dividend, and rent charges,—toll on dead capital.
I call attention to the power of a single dollar, and then I ask you to multiply the power of the ONE DOLLAR by the billions that are controlled by a few hundred financial wizards. Here is the table for a single dollar : The following table, compiled by the Librarian of Congress, illustrates the power of money to enrich the owner through interest accumulations :
One dollar loaned for 100 years at compound interest at
3% per annum would amount to. ........ ..$19.25
We must bear in mind that there is no difference in principle and final result between interest, dividends, and rents, when the latter are compounded on the capital basis. It is easily apprehended that the banking institutions alone, by the geometrical progression of accumulation of interest, dividends, and profits, would if left free to do so, take the most of our earnings and property holdings and utterly exhaust our means. We will also find that the time that will be required to complete this legalized plunder is still further reduced when we take into consideration the fact that the principal stockholders make more profits outside of the banks than they obtain from dividends paid directly to them by the banks.
But it is not necessary for us to wait for the banks alone to absorb our property and collect the greater part of our daily earnings, because there are other great aggregations of centralized capital.
The railways alone are valued at more than a dozen billions of dollars, and by a decree of the court (not yet overruled, April, 1913) it has been decided that 7% is a reasonable profit for them, and you will find that if this 7% were to be compounded for a generation and a half it would consume all of the property in existence exclusive of its own, and even if the rate were to be reduced to 6%, or even 5%, it would only postpone the day of reckoning.
Thus, you see, we have another claimant for our earnings besides the banks—namely, the railroads. But even these two are not all. We have the Standard Oil Company and its subsidiaries, the Supreme Court decision notwithstanding. There is also the Steel Company and its subsidiaries, the Tobacco Company, the Sugar Company, and various other companies and their affiliations, each of which possesses vast capital so centralized that each separate trust, by the geometrical progression in accumulated interest, dividends, and profits, will require only time in which to consume our present property, as well as our accruing earnings, and, if we allow it, force upon us a state of bankruptcy, because the geometrical progression is impossible to be carried out without so doing. Regardless of this fact, we still have the absurdity of our courts holding that a certain percentage should be a reasonable profit and anything less unfair.
If this law were enforced it would ultimately create abject slaves and bankrupts of our children, and we, the parents, should be made to work toward that end. What do you think of that for a democratic government such as ours is supposed to be ? Are you going to rest content and permit the Political bosses to continue running our government for us ? They have had all the past—plenty of time, I am sure—to remedy such evils. But the story is not yet one-tenth told.
The several trusts cannot, of course, absorb all, but after legally (and otherwise) seizing the principal part of our earnings, they swallow up the smaller of their own kind. The big fishes eat the little ones. As a result, the trusts become less and less in number, but their holdings become greater and greater, the same as the number and holdings of the English landowners. The Government has given its support to the banks by delegating to them the power to issue a substitute for money, and besides that advantage they are depositories for the cash of the people,with which they command a large credit. As a consequence, they have had the inside track in this unequal commercial struggle and they are now largely the masters of business, with the results — which I have described.
That is why all of the great trust builders have themselves become bankers. They bought up the larger banks, and control, by a community of interest, most of the smaller ones, as well as influence them all. As late as 1912 James J. Hill absorbed great banking interests in the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He testified before the Money Trust investigating committee that he is a director in three of the greatest banks in New York City, Chicago and St. Paul. I consider Mr. Hill a great, as well as a good man, from the viewpoint of the social order of things that has existed during most of the time in which he has been doing his great constructive work.
We cannot criticize him for the work that he has done, but we should feel that we ourselves are to blame for having allowed the continuance of that system under which he and a few of his associates have been permitted to accumulate so great a part of the result of our earnings. If we had had a proper system, Mr. Hill would have fitted into that as a great constructor. He would have worked with the tools at hand. All great men do. There are other wealthy men of whom we could say the same as we do of Mr. Hill. It is the system to which we should give our first attention and not the men.
The part of the press controlled by the trusts tells us that the corporate stocks are owned by the people—widows, orphans, etc.—and that he who attacks the present system is an enemy to these. It is wonderful how the trusts can find excuses for everything that they do and endeavor to support their system by such sophistry. They stated through the press that the stockholders in these interests number many thousands, and it would seem that they intended to convey to us thereby the idea that we, the people, possess the stack. Some families own stocks in, possibly, as many as a thousand companies. Some individuals own stocks in hundreds, and all of these persons are counted in different companies.
How many of us own corporate stock of any kind ? There are approximately 94,000,000 people in the United States, and there are but a few thousand stockholders with holdings large enough so that the dividends they secure are not assessed back to them in the increased cost of living as a result of this infernal geometrical progression of excessive interest, dividends, and profits, most of which ultimately goes to the big fellows.
It is not distributed back to the people, as they attempt to make us believe. Only a small part of it is. Ex-President Taft suggested to us, through the medium of a speech, that these things would adjust themselves by the deaths of the holders, and the distribution of the property to their heirs and legatees. He could not have given serious thought to that statement, because we can easily understand that once these things have grown up out of certain conditions they will not disappear as long as those same conditions exist. Besides, even if things were to correct themselves in some unnameable future generation, that fact is not sufficient for the present generation.
We have a right to the advantages which God has created for the use of all mankind—and right now. What fools we have been for permitting a few money wizards to use our dire necessities, and our desires for the conveniences and reasonable luxuries of life as a basis for capitalization,—capital on which we must pay interest and dividends to them without any degree of proportion to the true value of the services they render. If we continue to be a government by party—influenced by boss politics and political factions-and allow them to make the laws as we have been doing in
the past, we shall be slow in overcoming this one-sided affair.
In a speech made by Vice-President Marshall, in April, 1913, at a New York meeting, is to be found the following statement.:
“Suppose a Governor and a General Assembly in the State of New York should repeal the statute of descents for real and personal property and the statute with reference to the making of will on their death, how much vested interest
would any relative have in the property which fell from their nerveless hands at the hour of dissolution ? The right to inherit and the right to devise are neither inherent nor constitutional, but on the contrary, they are simply privileges given by the state to its citizens.”
The Vice-President is absolutely correct. But even if the laws of inheritance were abolished, it would not affect the system by which great fortunes are accumulated. Carnegie, the Rockefellers, the late Jay Gould, E.H. Harriman and J.P. Morgan, and the most of those who have individually amassed wealth by the hundreds of millions, began with little or nothing in the way of capital, except their ability, and the system which permitted their enormous accumulations.
As I have already said, it is the system that deprives the plain people of the profits resulting from their work, and gives it to the class of men mentioned. It ought to be of comparatively little satisfaction to this generation to let the system remain unaltered and calmly sit back and allow these enormous fortunes to be accumulated. It is undoubtedly true that the present possessors, if the laws of devise and inheritance were abolished, would dispose of most of it as they wished while still living, but there would be a new set on hand to rob our children.
I do not, however, understand that Vice-President Marshall suggested the possibility of abolishing the inheritance laws as a remedy for the social evils complained of.
There is one class of property, however, that I have not mentioned thus far. This is the farm interests. These are the greatest of any single property interest, but these holdings are at the present time diffused among millions of holders, but a geometrical progression of interest, dividends, and profits, in favor of the farmers has never been decreed by the courts. They are not permitted to add interest as a part of the price for which they sell the products of their farms.
They must take their chances with the sun, rains and storms, and no court decree has given to them “profits commensurate with the risks” as it has to the railroads and other trusts. The farmer, like the wage earner, lives but to be fleeced by the beneficiaries of the present system. The two, the farmer and the wage earner, support the whole burden of a system which leads continually to immense wealth for the few and bankruptcy or poverty for the rest of us.
Farm property has been subject to the highest rates of interest, while all the great industrial properties have been used as a basis for comparatively low rates of interest when money has been loaned on them. Therefore I repeat my earlier statement, that the only excuse for government is the facility it affords its citizens for securing advantages that operate for the common welfare, which could not be secured with the same degree of equability through independent individual action.
Instead of that our government, which is of our own creation, has insured to the banks and other trusts a system which renders it easy for them to oppress the masses. It enables the few to live as non-producers and exorbitant spenders, while almost the entire burden falls on the rest of us. Such a condition is impossible of long tolerance by the proud, honest and intelligent citizens of our country.
We must seek for a remedy.
We hear many objections raised against short selling, going short in the sales of stocks, securities, grain, provisions, etc., on the market. Short selling means the selling of what the vendor does not possess. In Congress there is pending at all times one or more bills purposed to prohibit this practice. There is, at the present time, serious consideration of passing a bill which will prohibit all short selling, because it is claimed that the practice enables speculators to manipulate the market in a manner that makes it possible for them to pay the producers less and charge the consumers more.
This short selling is a much more comprehensive affair than the sponsors of the bills referred to have allowed the public to gather from any expression of theirs which has been given to the public. It is from the practice of short selling that the bankers derive the greatest profits. That statement will, when first read, meet with resentment and denial on the part of the bankers. It will also surprise many others, but the banker, as well as the others, will admit of its truth when they have fully considered it. If a person were to sell a thousand bushels of wheat or ten shares of stock that he does not own, it becomes necessary for him to go into the market and buy it at the time that he is required to deliver it to the purchaser. Ordinarily, the purchaser on the stock or produce market does not require the vendor to do that, but settles with him for whatever the actual market price is at the time for final settlement.
The banker is doing the same thing with the dollar. All of the money in all of the banks and trust companies combined is only slightly in excess of a billion and a half of dollars, and the banks owe approximately twenty billion dollars. There
is not enough money in all of their vaults to pay one-tenth of what they owe. There is not money enough in the whole country, including that outside of the banks, to pay one-sixth of what they owe. That statement may sound a little different from the statement made about the grain and stock gambler, but to those who understand the effect of existing facts,—conditions,—it is clear that the banks are sold short just as effectively as the stock and grain gambler.
Let us follow these facts further as to their reality. No bank could pay its obligations without collecting its outstanding credits. If a simultaneous demand were to be made by all of the creditors of all of the banks, all of the banks would fail. That is because they are all short sold. There is, however, one difference between the banker's practice of short selling, and that of the ordinary stock gambler. The man who borrows from a bank will give his note to the bank, and ordinarily the banker simply credits him on the books of the bank, with the amount of the note less the interest.
The bank does not part with the cash, but lets the borrower draw checks upon the account, and, therefore, merely transfers the credit to someone else, for these checks are, in most cases, deposited instead of cashed. The bank continues to draw interest on the note. The party who borrowed sold short to the bank by agreeing to deliver to the bank, when due, the number of dollars that his note calls for, and the bank sold short to the borrower by agreeing to deliver to him that many dollars before the note comes due. Now, in that transaction there were two short sales. The man who borrowed the money agreed to pay at a future date what he did not have when he borrowed, and the banker agreed to pay immediately what he would not have had if he had first paid his other demand obligations.
Now, the difference in the way that deal was conducted, and the manner in which the stock gambler carries on his short sales is, that the stock gambler, when a person sells short to him (that is, agrees to sell him stock or provisions to
be delivered), does not pay interest to the person so selling.
Anyone who carefully investigates the effect of this fact upon the cost of living will find that the short-selling operations of the stock gamblers influence the cost of living far less than the short selling which I have described as being practised by the banks. The banks should not be condemned for this, however, because it is the only way in which the business of the country can be carried an under the present system, or until a new system has been inaugurated. Every student who has carefully considered this subject knows that the people, as a whole, which includes themselves as individuals, the General Government, the states and municipalities, cannot pay interest on all of the money that they have agreed to pay.
That is because money does not create itself. It is claimed that everyone who has a dollar and loans it out is entitled to interest. It takes one dollar to furnish the exact equivalent of another dollar. It takes a dollar to pay a dollar debt, and, since that is true, there are no dollars left with which to pay interest. The whole country has sold money short and could not possibly deliver or pay the money that it has agreed to pay. The present outstanding interest-bearing contracts are rapidly approaching the hundred-billion-dollar mark. The annual interest alone, contracted to be paid on these obligations, probably exceeds all of the money in existence. Of course, some of this interest is paid from other interest collected and is offset, and the total net interest is reduced somewhat by that fact, but the greater part of it still remains to be made up from other sources.
The only way that interest can be liquidated, considering the statement in its general application, is by a transfer of the property or the services of the debtor class to the creditor class. But, all interest cannot be paid in full even in that way, because, as we have already seen in a former chapter, the geometrical progression of computing interest accumulates it so rapidly that it would exhaust all there is and fail because of the impossibility of its going further. We, as a people, are in that economic state and cannot extricate ourselves from it under existing conditions.
The whole country is sold short by the debtors who have agreed to pay what they have not, and what they cannot get. The creditors “have a corner” on us. How are they enforcing settlement ? It is being done in several ways. We are compelled to work more hours per day, receive less pay per hour, pay more for what we buy, and receive less for what we sell.
The consequence is that we must work harder and more hours per day than we should, and in the end have less than what is due to us as our part of the advantages, conveniences and opportunities resulting from the advancing civilization. This means absolute destitution for great numbers of the debtor class and an enormous general loss. When I say the debtor class, I do not mean only those who have borrowed money or who owe open accounts.
Debt is now one of the most positive influences in our system. The consumer is a debtor because he owes it to the producer to pay his part of the interest and taxes that are added to the cost of production under the present system. As a consequence, we are all virtually debtors, and comparatively few of us have credits and profits enough to offset the debt, or any other way by which to pay it except from the products resulting from our daily toil. Such a condition reduces the general efficiency of the people, and they are compelled to live on a lower scale than they should.
THE POLITICAL ASPECT OF THE PROBLEM OF FINANCES.
When one thinks seriously, and honestly follows the study of the truths preciously stated in regard to finances, he realizes that the systems of short selling and others practised by the speculators, who give almost nothing and receive everything in return for their juggling of credits, are of extreme importance when compared with the tariff and the many other problems that are given first consideration by Congress. The statement that the tariff problem should receive the first consideration of Congress is absurd, and has grown out of the trickery of party bosses, and been incorporated into party pretenses as a means of inducing the people to transfer what is called “the responsibility of government” from one party to another, even after both have shown utter incompetence to deal with great problems.
The transfer has been made more than once on the tariff issue. It may be interesting to note how many statesmen there are who believe that the cost of living can be reduced by making the people of other countries help to feed and clothe us. It may not occur to them that if a combination can be put up in a country as extensive as the territory of our own, the same methods will ultimately, in fact, already have been extended in a large measure to all of the world. It does not seem to have occurred to them that the tariff is merely an administrative measure and that what might be a suitable tariff measure today may be unsuited to our condition in less than a year. In fact, we shall see in a later study that the whole tariff system as now practiced is false. It is one of the jokers which are used to fool the people
from time to time.
But, even though we have been fooled into shifting the so-called “responsibility of government” from the shoulders of one party to those of another, when we should have taken it from all parties and placed it where it belongs, with the people, we may, notwithstanding, force the party falsely claiming the sole responsibility for the present government, to aid us in securing reforms in financial legislation that will actually make the people independent of the infernal system now in practice.
The currency and banking problem should not be a political one in the sense that politics are commonly understood and considered. Politics ought to be made a matter of business. It ought to be taken out of the control of political charlatans and administered by representatives with common-sense business judgments. If that were done the currency and banking problem, as well as other social problems, would be dealt with from the standpoint of business principles.
Partisanship has been the cause of retarding all social progress. The interests have done everything that has been possible for them to do in order to divide the people of this country into factions commonly known as political parties, because it was directly in their interest to do so. The interests can deal with the political bosses much more satisfactorily than they could with half or more of the people’s representatives. Party government is factional government and not national government. Anyone who claims that political parties are required in order that some one shall be made responsible for government is either ignorant or dishonest. Anyone who claims that all of the people’s representatives cannot rule in the interests of a majority of their number, better than a political party can rule by a majority of its number, is not informed in the elementary principles of democracy.
If there are too many members of a legislative body to make it practicable, reduce their number sufficiently to render it practicable. It would seem that the people are too well advanced in their understanding to permit government by caucus, yet that kind of government is practiced by Congress. It is not strange, though, that this false practice is allowed, in view of the fact that the people have not taken a
sufficient part in the government, even though the government is entirely their business and they are to blame for the frauds perpetrated upon them. If they paid attention to their own interests the political parties would not be able to run a legislative body that is supposed to represent all of the people and actually represents merely a faction of them.
The one prominent thing that the political parties have done from time to time has been to create jobs for professional politicians. The survival of party government, instead of the administration of the government by the people for themselves, is due to the people’s neglect of their own best interests. It is not strange, in view of that fact that the officers, politicians and jobseekers seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, and run the government for selfish purposes. The great special interests have encouraged, both by direct and indirect means, the division of legislative bodies up into factions each of which supports some certain political party. They have furnished aid to the leading politicians in every possible manner. But, after all, what are we to do about it ?
There is no general rule by which we can distinguish a professional politician from one who is not. The leaders in the game of politics are cunning and intellectual, as well as technical and adroit in their moves, and this adroit cunningness usually increases in proportion to the increasing information obtained by the people behind them. There is no sure rule by which to know who is or is not friendly to the people’s government. It requires eternal vigilance, and even that sometimes does not make timely discoveries. To be observing and keep informed on general principles is about all that one can do.
There are some things, however, that may be of aid to a voter. He should be able to discriminate between a reasonable and unreasonable statement made by persons or contained in the press. Take, for instance, the following notice which appeared and was substantially the same in the press generally :
“Mr. Underwood, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and President Wilson will have a conference this evening on the new tariff bill, to determine if it is satisfactory to the Administration.”
The next day the press gave notices of the meeting and stated that the bill had been gone over. The purpose of this news item was to impress upon the public mind the idea that the President was directing the legislation. In this connection it is only necessary to suggest to the intelligent that all that the President could possibly learn about the tariff bill in one or two hour conferences, even if several times repeated, might be compared to the impression that a farmer and his team would make on a thousand-acre field after one or two hours of plowing. In fact, all of the statements made about the “directing power exerted by the President over Congress” are folderoy when considered from the standpoint of a proper government. The President has less time to give to the study of any particular bill than any Member of Congress.
He is probably the hardest worked man in all of the country, and it is certain that he has less time to give to the study of detailed matters, because of his more numerous duties, than Members of Congress. The President’s executive duties alone place upon him a greater burden than that placed upon any other official. He requires a large Cabinet to aid him in carrying out his duties. How could he successfully span his powers over Congress and control the details of even the material provisions of the most important and complicated bills ? It is a physical impossibility, and we should not be led to believe that the president can do anything of the kind.
Every Member of Congress should feel it his duty to take a vital interest in some part of the work to be done in Congress. The President may exercise a great moral influence over Congress in a broad sense, but we shall have to look to Congress to do its own work-the work that it was created to do. To rely upon the President to do the work of Congress is not only unfair to the President, but it would reduce the efficiency of the Government. Take, for instance, the recent decision o
f President Wilson to disassociate the Government from extending any influence or connecting in any way with the so-called “Six Power Chinese Loan.” I believe that his action in that matter will be pointed to in the future as of far greater
importance and consequence than anything that has recently occurred. But whether it shall be publicly recognized to be so or not, I now believe it to be of very great importance.
We may never actually realize what troubles we have avoided by refusing to connect the Government with that deal. The important matters continually coming before the President are manifold, and they give him responsibilities that are too great to permit him to divert his energies and exercise more than a broad moral influence over Congress.
The most important of all human affairs is government, and yet governments exercise less science and less system in their administrations than is exercised by the great Trusts and Corporations in the performance of their business. Is it not time that we administer the Government of the United States in the general behalf by supplying a systematic, scientific and true economic basis ? We can do this and operate it at least equally as well as the Corporations and Trusts operate their corporate business in behalf of their own stockholders.
If we are to accomplish what we desire in that direction we shall have to stop our partisanship in Congress. After that each of the Departments of Government will be enabled to render to the people the service that it was contemplated it should render when it was originally designed.
GOVERNMENT GUARANTEE OF BANK DEPOSITS.
After the 1907 panic there were many people who advocated the guarantee of bank deposits as a remedy for panics. The guarantee of bank deposits would have little, if any, relation to the cost of living and would not affect any of the fundamental relations of the people with each other. My only reason for considering this subject at all in this book is because it may be raised as an issue in the contemplated banking and currency legislation.
“I have grave fears as to the ultimate success of a guarantee of bank deposits. In the first place, unless there should be some provision prohibiting certain kinds of speculation, or unless human nature should change, even the guarantee of bank deposits will not prevent panics, but will simply defer the day by postponing the hour of fear; for by the very nature of things, when a bull market starts the momentum continues until it reaches a point when economically a breakdown is inevitable.
“There is, in so far as the legitimate industrial pursuits of the country are concerned, both a theoretical and a practical possibility of a self-sustained credit system, based upon monetary foundation, but when you inject into that the complications arising out of speculative gambling, the more you reinforce the system of credit and give an unguarded confidence in it, the greater the opportunity the gambling speculators have to fleece us by keeping up a bull market.
“Just as long as we leave that Wall Street gambling contingent, with its allied banks, in a position that enables it to throw its influence into the markets, we are going to have our occasional panic troubles. It seems to me that it would be more advisable to check up accounts more often in order to prevent panics.
“It is probable that if the Government had guaranteed all of the deposits on October last (1907), and continued that guarantee, the panic would not have occurred in that month, but it had to come sooner or later, because the rottenness that caused it would not have been eradicated. Speculative parasites had over-subscribed the credit and crowded out legitimate industry by over-bidding it for the use of the money and credits of the country. If our credit had been still more expansive, and if the people in addition to what they had on deposit had deposited a considerable part of the $1,666,000,000 which they held outside of the banks, industry could have thrived a while longer, but the growth of the speculative parasites would eventually have monopolized the credit.
Yes, the speculators would have pushed the bull game, and tossed up the prices until such time as even a Government guarantee could not hold back a panic, and when it did come, it would be greater in its severity in proportion to the amount to which the market was over-bulled, and the fact that the Government was responsible for the guaranteed amount might ultimately destroy the credit of the Government.
“We must not forget that our confidence is the stock in trade and capital of the professional gambling bulls, and that we must not give them too much of it, nor should we forget that distrust is the stock in trade and capital of the professional gambling bears, and that these two sets of speculators are watching the plain people with the keenest eyes.
They rob us on both the rising and falling markets. The bulls catch us when prices go up and the bears when they go down. A satisfactory remedy for panics cannot be gained by creating confidence unless we can eliminate the professional speculators. In other words, we need confidence in legitimate enterprise and distrust in predators speculation. We plain people must not repose too much confidence in the speculator class of people and thereby permit them to work the confidence game on us to our own ruin. The more confidence we have in our present system, the more we shall lose in the end.
“I have another reason for doubting the advisability of the guarantee of bank deposits. Under the present loose system of examining banks, the doors are left open for easy trickery, which makes it possible for sharpers to rob the people. Let me illustrate : Under our present system it is possible for ten men to combine and start a national bank with 50% of the capital required and to immediately borrow, from the deposits that they secure, enough to recoup their 50% capital, and, in addition, enough to fully pay their stock, so as to leave no capital in the bank except their promissory notes, and, what is more, they are free to repeat that operation by starting a hundred banks in as many different towns and not invest an actual dollar.
But even that is not all. The loose way in which banks are examined makes it possible for them to put into the banks the notes of irresponsible parties, which notes might eat up the deposits as rapidly as they are received. No one can prevent this condition, except the bank examiners. I have seen an examiner enter a bank in the morning and finish his examination the same day. During that time he had covered a business of several hundred thousands of dollars, without learning the value of the bills receivable. I have seen this happen again and again in various banks. In the cases that I have observed the bankers have been men of integrity and responsibility. Otherwise they could easily have done all that I have described as possible.
“From what I have said it may easily be seen that a few schemers could abuse the privilege the system gives them. In fact, some of them could so arrange it that their representatives could have large deposits evidenced upon the books of the bank in their control and never have deposited any money, but merely covered the deposits by the class of notes before referred to.
Those deposits, under a guarantee system, would be protected unless the fraud could be established. That cannot often be proven, regardless of the fact that it exists.
“If there is to be a guarantee of bank deposits, the guarantee of the deposits of any one person in any one bank should be limited. Under no condition would I be in favor of a guarantee of deposits of the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars that are owned by single individuals.
“But even the guarantee of the smaller deposits would have its dangers, for those with large deposits, if they became frightened, might make a run for the excess and defeat the very objects of the law. Such a law, again, would, from the standpoint of securing deposits, put the careful, conservative, able and honest banker on the same footing with the careless, indifferent or even dishonest banker. Depositors would also be careless under such a system.
“The above are, I believe, sufficient reasons to prove that it is unwise for the Government to guarantee bank deposits. Nevertheless, I might vote for such a system if the people generally demanded it, because my office is one of representation rather than one in which I can act entirely from my own convictions.
“Let us suppose, for instance, that on October last (1907) instead of a lack of confidence in the bankers, the people should have had so much confidence in them that they had deposited in the banks, and with the trust companies, the most of the $1,666,000,000 that was then in general circulation outside of the banks. What would have happened ? The banks would have made loans to anyone from whom they thought they had a fair chance of getting it back.
You would now (1908) see such a boom and inflation as has never been known in the history of the world. That might have continued for two, three or four years. What do you suppose the gambling contingent would be doing during that time ? Everybody knows. Will somebody answer where a guarantee of bank deposits would land us under such conditions when the crash actually did come ?
“The people require a system that will make their capital available in order that they may develop the natural physical resources of the country. Everybody desires to encourage enterprise. I have noticed that when there is active enterprise, there is also a tendency to bull the markets, and the mark is constantly being overshot, because the country is honeycombed with speculators possessing the gambling instinct. Setbacks are the economic penalty and there is not the least possibility, even with a guarantee of bank deposits, of averting them under our present plan of
The above statements are quoted from my speech delivered in Congress after the panic of 1907. Since then I have watched more closely than I had before the way that things have been manipulated, and I am more certain now of the correctness of my statements than I was at the time that I made them. A guarantee of bank deposits would only serve to promote a temporary confidence which would be more completely shattered when it was found that that confidence would be seized upon by speculators to further their selfish interests.
In many respects money is the strangest of all human creations. On the one hand it has civilized the world, and on the other has commercialized and in a manner criminalized the people. But that is not because the purpose of money is erroneous. It is because the office of true money has been usurped by false money, which has served as a false god, and the worship of this false god has caused the degradation of the soul of humanity. None of the dramatic stages through which humanity has passed has been as intense and complicated as that through which it is now passing.
That is because a false system has been established, and the longer humanity attempts to struggle forward under it the more severe the struggle will become. Men must appeal to their intelligence to secure for them information in order that they may understand the reason for this false condition in which they find themselves.
For what are we striving ? It would seem that our object was to create the most complex conditions and secure the least satisfactory results. As proof of that, we have on the one hand strikes of the poor and underpaid wage earners, and on the other the accumulation of billions of dollars of wealth into the hands of the few, and between the two extremes are those who are paying for it all—the working men and women on the farms, in the shops, in the stores and in all the various occupations that serve to supply mankind with the necessaries of life.
Those who gain enormous fortunes as a result of the complex conditions donated approximately $300,000,000 from their superabundance in the single year of 1912 (world). That does not mean that the gifts were sent back to those from whom the wealth had been extorted, but that this vast sum was merely donated to satisfy the whims of those whose first whim it was to extort it from the people. It was generally reported that the late J. Pierpont Morgan, alone, gave to a single
museum $50,000,000 in the form of art treasures. How many of the people from whom that great sum was extorted will ever visit the museum or have an opportunity to see those art treasures ?
Many of them have already gone prematurely to their graves by reason of the overburdenseme system that permits the extortion that leaves such a trail of woe in nearly every community. Is it not time that we should understand by what rule a few hundred individuals have inaugurated and been privileged to keep in operation a system which forces the great majority of men to work for them ? Surely, our pride as well as our self-interest and sympathy with mankind, generally, ought to force us into more dignified and properly compensated operations.
The secret of the ease with which the millionaires force men generally to work overtime for them, while they accumulate the products of their energy, lies hidden from the most of us in the fact that there is a false measure of value the “rich man’s money,” which can be used exclusively by them, instead of a supply of producers’ and consumers’ money, which would facilitate the exchange of the various products and conveniences of life which could be used for the benefit of
The governments have delegated to the rich the privilege of making the money and charging the rest of us for its use. And the greatest burden of our entire social system is that placed upon us because men are privileged to speculate and gamble in our false money. Neither gold, silver, nor paper are worth anything as money if we take from them the support of the government. Why should we lend our governmental power in order that either gold or paper shall be dignified with a government fiat without consideration ? Why should we make it legal tender, and enable the special privileged persons to whom it is given to use the special government stamped gold, or engraved and printed paper as a means of making us pay for the extra value the Government adds by its guarantee?
It is even worse than that, for when acting in our governmental capacity if we wish to borrow the government stamped gold and the government fiat paper from those to whom the stamp was given, we are forced to pay usury. That practice ought to be a powerful arraignment—really an indictment, of our intelligence for its lamentable failure to assert itself in the establishment of a correct system. Have we the intelligence and perseverance to prosecute the indictment until the conviction is complete?
If we have, the conviction will free all mankind from its present state of bondage, because, contrary to the practice in criminal jurisprudence of paying the penalty or serving the sentence after the conviction, in this case we have already paid
What is it that makes money of a piece of gold, or of a slip of engraved and printed paper? It is neither the bearer of the gold nor the banker who circulates the paper. It is the Government guarantee of the people’s credit and support that gives it currency. Not a cent of the value that is in the gold coin, excepting its worth in the sciences and the arts, rightfully belongs to the owner of the bullion. Not a penny in a bank bill, whether it be a five, ten, or greater number of dollars,
rightfully belongs to the banker until he has paid for it the same as the rest of us are obliged to pay in order to get them. Whatever power of purchase there is in either, exclusive of the base metal value in the one and the trivial paper value in the other, is purely of governmental origin— and that is the people’s credit.
If we were to take from the gold coin the governmental legal tender stamp, it might not be worth 10 per cent of its present value, and if we were to do the same with the bank bills they would not sell for a cent a pound. But we who by the sweat of our toil support these, have given them to the special interests to juggle with and manipulate, thereby creating millionaires and idlers on the one side, and paupers and toilers on the other. It is this money that we support and give to the rich to juggle with that makes the products of our toil of comparatively small service
The high cost of living is traceable to the failure of the Government to exercise its functions “to regulate the value” of money. The Government stamps its fiat on gold and paper, but the stamping process favors the interests alone and results in their controlling the people’s products.
This fact has so complicated our industrial and commercial relations that we have financial gamblers, speculators, and unbearable complications as a result. It seems to have reversed the very purpose for which we live, and in the greedy struggle for individual wealth civilization trembles in the balance. All men compete for the possession of the money that by a single act could be demonetized, a true money created, and the world delivered from its bondage to Mammon.END OF PART III