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What Should the Next President Do to Face the Crisis?

Politics / US Politics Oct 26, 2008 - 02:29 PM GMT

By: Richard_C_Cook

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleSenior White House correspondent Helen Thomas said of Bush, “He is the worst president in all of American history.” The public shares Thomas's view. By mid-October 2008, ninety percent of those polled said the nation was headed in the wrong direction.

Former President Jimmy Carter said something similar in the area of foreign policy: “I think, as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.”


One thing is certain: the legacy left by President George W. Bush is indeed a kind of Armageddon. The challenges that will face the next U.S. president are almost beyond comprehension. They include war vs. peace and the ability of the world economy to function.

But with so many changes in the world, shouldn't we have not just an economic “summit,” but a general framework for peace that would end hostilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Eastern Mediterranean?

With respect to Russia, China, India and even the EU, the new president will doubtless be expected to embrace the politics of multilateralism in order to maintain a balance of power among the nations of the world. But shouldn't a strong voice also be given to the nations of the Islamic region, as well as Africa, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand?

By now it is abundantly clear that global finance capitalism cannot replace the nation-state. It should be just as clear that only a world of functional and prosperous nations can create an effective international federation as contemplated by the U.N. charter.

The Europeans seem to have an inkling of this, but will the world arrive at stability if Western bank-run finance is seen as the only viable economic system? How about a broader approach to prosperity that would help the people of every nation on earth, not just those who live off lending and interest? Is our planet condemned to the misrule of various forms of “trickle-down” economics forever?

The organization that should be the most concerned is the U.N., but where is the U.N. today? Obviously it is nearly dead as a positive and active force in the world. In a farewell address preceding his 2006 retirement as secretary-general, Kofi Annan discussed three major problems of “an unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law,” which “have not been resolved, but have sharpened” during his service.

This disintegration has taken place during the George W. Bush presidency. In a December 11 speech, Annan asked for the U.S. to return to President Harry Truman's multilateralist foreign policy and to follow Truman's belief that “the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world.”

Anther matter the new president should deal with is to get control of the U.S. military-intelligence network. He must reverse the Neocon takeover of the State Department engineered by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and halt the militarization of U.S. embassies resulting from escalation of the number of military staff assigned from the Department of Defense.

Another major question is whether the danger of U.S. government bankruptcy will result in reduced military expenditures. But will the war-mongers surrender the enormous portion of the U.S. government budget they are accustomed to consuming?

While the furor over the financial meltdown was raging in October, Congress quietly passed a staggering $611 billion defense authorization on top of $189.3 billion in “supplemental” funding for the Iraqi and Afghan wars. The Pentagon says its budget will increase by $450 billion over the next five years.

Both Obama and McCain voted to approve the defense authorization bill. Among the projects they funded was a truck-mounted microwave crowd-control weapon being developed by Raytheon for 2010 deployment.

To be used to control civilian demonstrators, each weapon will cost $5 million. Wouldn't it be reasonable to ask the next president to explain why he thinks this weapon is needed?

Under another program the Defense Department will pay contractors a staggering $300 million “to produce news stories, entertainment programs, and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to ‘engage and inspire' the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government,” according to a letter from Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to defense secretary Robert Gates. This is enough money to pay 6,000 employees $50,000 per year. Maybe Obama and McCain should explain why they voted to approve this outrageous expenditure.

Neither is NATO expecting a benign outcome to the world crisis. Author Michael Collon reported in an article on “What Will the U.S. Foreign Policy be Tomorrow?”:

“In January 2008, five former NATO generals presented a preparatory document for the NATO summit meeting at Bucharest. Their proposals reflect a terrifying possibility. And what gives weight to their document is that, up until recently, all of them held very high positions. General John Shalikashvili was U.S. Chief of Staff and Commander in Chief of NATO in Europe, General Klaus Naumann ran the German army and was president of the military committee of NATO in Europe, General Henk van den Breemen was Dutch Chief of Staff and Admiral Jacques Lanxade held the same post in France, while Lord Inge ran the General Staff and was also Chief of the Defence Staff of Great Britain.” ( Information Clearing House , October 12, 2008)

Collon described the document in a section entitled, “Five NATO Generals Prepare a World Government.” The document stated, “What the Western allies expect is the pro-active defense of their societies and their way of life maintained over the long term.” It continued, “The objectives of our strategy are to preserve the peace, our values, economic liberalism, and stability.”

“Economic liberalism” means market-oriented global finance capitalism under the control of the Western banking system.

The document also identified enemies, the chief one being China:

“China is in a situation to wreak great harm on the US and the world economies, based on its enormous reserves in dollars….China is in a position to use finance to impose itself on Africa and acquire the capacity to utilize it on a much greater scale—if it so decides.”

This statement by the general is mind-boggling. Hasn't it been U.S. government policies that resulted in these dollars being paid to China? And isn't the West talking out of both sides of its mouth in planning a world economic summit that includes China, while contemplating war against that nation?

Indeed, the rise and fall of the U.S. bubble economy cannot be understood unless the role of China is taken into account. This role is increasingly problematic in light of statements such as one made recently by Shi Jianxun, a professor at Shanghai's Tongji University:

“The grim reality has led people, amidst the panic, to realize that the United States has used the U.S. dollar's hegemony to plunder the world's wealth.” (“U.S. Has Plundered World Wealth With Dollar,” Reuters, October 24, 2008)

Whatever agreements U.S. bankers and politicians may once have made with China for them to take over our manufacturing while we lived off financial profits have grievously backfired. Solving this conflict with China peacefully may be the next president's greatest challenge. But decisions to the contrary may already have been made, with the president's job being merely to carry them out.

FACING THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

Assuming that peace may yet prevail, we may hope that in facing the economic crisis, the next president will go beyond working with other nations in attempting to fix the financial system. No financial fixes will change the fact that a severe economic repression has arrived and that the producing economy of the U.S. and other nations have begun to spiral downward.

The possibility exists of enormous human suffering. In fact the suffering has already started, with bankers filing court actions that have led to uniformed policemen or even SWAT teams evicting large numbers of innocent people, often elderly, from their homes around the country. With the stock market crash, tens off millions of people are losing their hard-earned savings and retirement nest eggs.

The downward path to further human suffering is being prepared by mass media propagandists like the Washington Post 's Robert Samuelson, who argues that the hard times mean we must slash programs for the elderly and poor like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In an October 22 article Samuelson wrote:

“I wish everyone a pleasurable retirement. But we need to overhaul our government retirement programs for the common good and not just the good of the elderly. We have already waited so long that there's no way to do this without being unfair to someone -- overburdening the young or withdrawing promised benefits from older Americans. The present financial crisis, by reducing retirement savings, has made a hard job even harder. Still, these federal programs began as safety nets for the needy; now they've become subsidies for living long, regardless of need.”

“Subsidies for living long”? With columnists for prestigious newspapers advocating policies that border on genocide, it's time to talk about real solutions.

The first thing to realize is that the money raised through taxes and borrowing from the future, which the politicians have thrown at their wars and financial bailouts, exists as real economic purchasing power. This means that it can be used for other purposes—for purposes that directly benefit the people of the nation who work for a living, send their children to school, and want to save for their old age.

The key to having money available for beneficial social purposes, rather than war and profits from lending, is that it should be issued directly by the government, not lent through the banking system which uses public debt as collateral.

The Democrats mention investment in U.S. infrastructure, though they do not provide details about how to pay for it except through more government deficit spending funneled through the Federal Reserve System. But what if we left the banks out of it for a change?

What would really help repair the damage to the collapsing U.S. domestic economy would be an uncompromising program of interest-free lending and grants for infrastructure development and an effort at restoring the nation's manufacturing base, along with decent, well-paying jobs. Such a program would constitute a “New Deal for the 21 st Century,” as spoken of by 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Kucinich has introduced legislation for zero-interest infrastructure lending in the last two sessions of Congress.

The economic recovery program proposed by Barack Obama may be a step in the right direction, but the $25 billion infrastructure provision is pathetically small. Obama should be listening to Congressman Kucinich as much as to his own advisers and Wall Street campaign contributors.

Recently Kucinich released a sixteen-point plan that included infrastructure development, as well as implementation of the American Monetary Institute's American Monetary Act, the most progressive piece of monetary reform legislation in U.S. history. ( www.monetary.org ) It's in the area of monetary reform that Obama could have the greatest impact, though there's no indication it has crossed his mind.

One feature of the American Monetary Act is nationalization of the Federal Reserve, as was done with the Bank of England in 1946. The act would also provide for direct government expenditures for public purposes as took place in the 19 th century with the Civil War Greenbacks. The Greenbacks helped fuel the U.S. economy until the early 20 th century. Contrary to bankers' propaganda, they were non-inflationary. By comparison, under the Federal Reserve System, the dollar has lost ninety-five percent of its value, most of this loss taking place since 1965.

An area of economic recovery that has been ignored is the disappearance in the U.S. of family farming. During the Great Depression, a majority of Americans still lived on farms, so at least could grow food in times of trouble.

Today, the dominance of agribusiness, inflated land prices, the high cost of credit, “free trade,” and NAFTA have taken away that ability. A nation that cannot feed itself locally is playing with fire. Who can say that famine could not arise even in developed nations during a general economic collapse?

DIVIDEND ECONOMICS

The one economic measure that has made a positive difference in 2008 was the federal government's issuance to taxpayers of a tax rebate averaging $600 per recipient. The stimulus measure demonstrates how easy it is to spend money directly into the economy if the politicians want to do so.

Along these lines, the new president could institute ongoing cash stipends to citizens similar to the Alaska Permanent Fund. This year the Alaska state government made a payment to each resident of $3,269 from resource revenues. The American Monetary Act also contains a dividend provision, as does the platform for the Green Party.

But $3,269 is not enough. An annual citizens' dividend of $1,000 per month has been proposed by Washington, D.C., analyst Stephen Shafarman, in his new book, Peaceful, Positive Revolution (Tendril Press, 2008).

A similar program leading to an annual basic income guarantee has been enacted by Brazil and was used in modified form by Argentina to recover from its economic collapse of 1999-2002. Shafarman is part of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, which has ties to its European counterpart, the Basic Income European Network (BIEN). F or the author's own description of a dividend-based economic model, see “An Emergency Program of Monetary Reform for the United States,” published at www.GlobalResearch.ca .

A citizens' dividend could work wonders in rebuilding the economy from the bottom up, including small business and local agriculture. To assure that dividends are spent for necessities, they could be issued as tax-free food, fuel, and housing vouchers from a government recovery account not dependent on taxation or borrowing. Rather the backing for the vouchers would be the productive potential of the economy.

This way, new economic production could be generated without bank loans. The vouchers, when spent, could be funneled into a network of community savings banks that would re-lend the money locally. (Richard C. Cook, “How to Save the U.S. Economy: The Cook Plan,” Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/ ind )

By taking such steps to restore economic vitality, the U.S. might eventually overcome the delusion spawned by the New World Order and clung to by all the leaders of the Western nations that financial wealth has meaning apart from a nation's producing economy. In continuing to maintain the fictitious belief in finance-based wealth without a robust producing economy to support it, the nations of the West have wandered down a cul-de-sac.

In 1896, William Jennings Bryan spoke at the Democratic National Convention, saying to the bankers and their tyrannical gold standard, “You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold.” Today mankind is being crucified on a banker's promissory note.

Real wealth is created by human labor and ingenuity applied to the resources of the earth using energy that derives from nature. It is not created by bank loans. Credit has a role, but it should be treated as a public utility, like water, electricity, and clean air. (Richard C. Cook, “Credit as a Public Utility: The Key to Monetary Reform,” Global Research , http://www.globalresearch.ca/ index.php?context=va&aid=5772 )

Today a new economic science is needed. Such a science would build on such historical movements as Distributism and Social Credit, both developed by British thinkers in the early 20 th century and current as viable economic schools of thought in Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia, and elsewhere.

Distributism posits an alternative to both capitalism and socialism by arguing that the best economic system is one that provides ownership and autonomy to the maximum number of people. When the Social Credit concept of regular dividend payments as a means of monetizing future production potential is introduced as well, an entirely new monetary basis for economic democracy emerges.

A revolution in economics is needed. The future of the world is now at stake, particularly because it is obvious that the U.S.'s status as the world's superpower is coming to an end. People know something is drastically wrong with a nation that relies more than any other on “market economics,” yet has the world's largest prison population, a declining standard of living, decreasing life expectancy, an epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction, overwhelming debt, and so much domestic violence.

This is what turning over the nation to the financial elite has done. Will the next stage be an economic depression where millions more become homeless and people actually starve? If so, it all started when, in 1913, the financiers took over through the Federal Reserve System and created a monetary system based on usury, debt-based currency, and bank leveraging of speculation, combined with crony capitalism and criminal disregard of all legal and commonsense standards.

The politicians profited from this system which has now failed. The financiers and their enablers in the White House and Congress have driven a once-great nation off a cliff. Will the European solution of collective action to shore up the world's debt-based monetary system make a difference? Or will it just lead to a new era of international financial looting, forced population reduction, and a more sophisticated police state than anything we have seen yet?

ECONOMICS OF THE SPIRIT

Maybe a New World Order really is needed. If so, shouldn't it be one with a genuine spiritual basis leading to economic justice, not just a modification of the system we have today? Such a system based on economic justice was affirmed in a message to the author by an Australian author, Omna Last, who wrote:

“But what if there was a truly representative world government… I do not mean a coercive world government imposing itself on the peoples of the world, but one that operated exactly as you suggest an American government should operate in helping to fulfill the potential in the lives of Americans? A government that provided free no-interest economic dividends to every nation of the world community? If the money was embezzled, used for corrupt purposes, or helped to destroy the world's eco-system further, then that country would receive no free dividends for a period in the future.”

In an article posted on his website on October 26, Omna Last wrote:

“Earth is a temple. The money-changers have taken over the temple….It is time to remove the money-changers from their positions as priests of the new religion of money…. Governments all over the world should be run by people in tune with their divine selves – their conscience, in tune with God, not in love with money and its power, but in love with the moral laws of the Universe.” ( www.omnadeLight.com )

Those with eyes to see knew the present crisis was coming long ago. That vision now has spread to more people. What is increasingly clear is that positive change, as opposed to the change that is just a drift to disaster, will only happen when people who love freedom demand it, work for it, and sacrifice for it. Will the next president of the United States facilitate such change or stand in its way?

By Richard C. Cook
http:// www.richardccook.com

Copyright 2008 by Richard C. Cook

Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. His book on monetary reform entitled We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform will be published soon by Tendril Press. He is also the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider's Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age , called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years . ” His Challenger website is at www.richardccook.com . A new economics website at www.RealSustainableLiving.com is upcoming with partner/author Susan Boskey. To get on his mailing list, for questions and comments, or to pre-purchase copies of his new book, please write EconomicSanity@gmail.com .

Richard C. Cook Archive

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Comments

Morrison Bonpasse
01 Nov 08, 09:01
Need for a Single Global Currency

There are international implications, too. We are at another "Bretton Woods" moment and the U.N. Economics panel headed by Joseph Stiglitz and the G20 meeting on 15 November should initiate research and planning for a Single Global Currency, managed by

a Global Central Bank within a Global Monetary Union.

The current global financial turmoil did not begin with a currency crisis, but currency risk is part of the resulting instability and the Iceland krona may not be the only currency to fail.

The most important goal of the 1944 Bretton Woods conference was global monetary and currency stability. Monetary and currency stability is the primary goal of the International Monetary Fund. The world need not move from one country's or one region's currency to another as THE #1 currency, but should transition to a Single Global Currency. The success of the euro shows that monetary union is the best way to ensure monetary stability. If 16 countries can use the same currency, why not 192? The only problem with the euro's stability is that it exists in a multicurrency world.

The world should begin planning now for a Single Global Currency. In addition to eliminating currency risk, the use of a Single Global Currency would eliminate the current foreign exchange trading expense of $400 billion annually.

The Single Global Currency Assn. promotes the implementation of a Single Global Currency by 2024, the 80th anniversary of the 1944 conference. That's only 16 years away. The Assn's website is www.singleglobalcurrency.org. See, also, my book, "The Single Global Currency - Common Cents for the World."

Morrison Bonpasse

President

Single Global Currency Assn.

Newcastle, Maine, USA

001-207-586-6078


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