Funding Public Health Care With a Publicly Owned Bank: How Canada Did It
Saturday 23 January 2010
by: Ellen Hodgson Brown J.D., t r u t h o u t | Feature
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Jill Granberg, Alistair Howard)
The story goes that Churchill offered a woman 5 million pounds to sleep with him. She hedged and said they would have to discuss terms. Then he offered her 5 pounds. "Sir!" she said. "What sort of woman do you think I am?" "Madam," he replied, "we've already established that. Now we're just haggling over the price."
The same might be said of President Obama's health care bill, which was sold out to corporate interests early on. The insurance lobby had its way with the bill; after that they were just haggling over the price. The "public option" was so watered down in Congressional deal-making that it finally disappeared altogether.
However, the bill passed both Houses by razor-thin margins, and the stunning loss on January 19 of the late Ted Kennedy's Democratic seat to a Republican may force Obama to start over with his agenda. The good news is that this means there is still a chance of getting legislation that includes what Obama's supporters thought they were getting when they elected him - a universal health care plan on the model of Medicare.
That still leaves the question of price, but all industrialized countries except the United States have managed to foot the bill for universal health care. How is it that they can afford it when we can't? Do they have some secret funding source that we don't have?
In the case of our nearest neighbor, Canada, the answer is actually that they do. At least, they did for the first two decades of their national health service - long enough to get it up and running. Now the Canadian government, too, is struggling with a mounting debt to private banks at compound interest and its national health service, Health Canada, is suffering along with other public programs. But when Canada first launched its national health service, the funding came from money created by its own central bank. Canada's innovative funding model is one that could still be followed by a president committed to delivering on his promises.
The Canadian National Health Service Today
Despite what you may have read in the corporate-controlled press, studies show that Canadians are generally happy with the care they receive; and they live an average of 2.5 years longer than Americans. They receive free health service for all diagnostic procedures, hospital and home care deemed medically necessary. People can choose the general practitioners they want; there are no deductibles on basic care; and co-pays are low or zero. Care continues despite changing jobs, and no one is excluded for having a pre-existing condition. Drug prices are negotiated by the government and are paid with public money for the elderly and homeless. For the rest of the population, cost-sharing schemes are arranged between private insurers and provincial governments, with most provinces requiring families to pay small monthly premiums (generally around $100 for a family of four).
According to a 2007 study, the government pays for more than two-thirds of all Canadian health care costs. The US government, by contrast, pays for less than half of these costs. In 2007, the US spent a staggering 16 percent of GDP on health care compared to 10 percent in Canada. Health costs paid for out-of-pocket by Canadians amount to less than $300 per capita annually.
But while that arrangement may look good to people in the US, it is only a shadow of Canada's former system. Between 1990 and 2007, the portion of health care costs covered by the Canadian government fell a dramatic 74.5 percent, chiefly due to a change in how the program was financed. In its early years, Canada's public health system was funded under a provision of the Bank of Canada Act allowing the Bank to create the money to finance federal, provincial and municipal projects on a nearly interest-free basis.
Money Created the Old-Fashioned Way - by the Government, Rather Than the Banks
What was extraordinary about the Bank of Canada, however, was not so much that it created money on its books as that it managed to wrest that power away from the private banking monopoly. All banks actually create the money they lend simply with accounting entries. This fact was confirmed by Graham Towers, the first governor of the Bank of Canada, in hearings in 1935. Asked whether banks create "the medium of exchange," he replied:
That is right. That is what they are there for.... That is the banking business, just in the way that a steel plant makes steel. The manufacturing process consists of making a pen-and-ink or typewriter entry on a card in a book. That is all.
The decision to fund government programs through a publicly owned central bank was driven by a crisis much like that in the US today. The country was in the throes of the Great Depression, and the money supply had radically contracted, causing businesses to close and unemployment to soar. Many Canadians blamed the private banks for making conditions worse by failing to extend loans.
Prior to the 1935 Bank of Canada Act, private banks in Canada issued their own banknotes, which were regulated less by the government than by the Canadian Bankers Association. The country's largest private bank, the Bank of Montreal, served as the government's de facto banker. By the eve of the Great Depression, interest on Canada's public debt had reached one-third of government expenditures, and many officials believed that the government needed a central bank to come up with the money to pay its foreign debts. A Royal Commission was put together in 1933 which supported creating a bank. A major debate then ensued over whether the central bank should be public or private.
Credit for the Canadian public banking model goes largely to a Canadian mayor named Gerald Gratton McGeer. He has largely been lost to history, and his book, "The Conquest of Poverty," has been long out of print; but according to local historian Will Abrams, it was McGeer's lengthy presentations to the Ottawa Common Banking Committee that clarified for bankers, economists and legislators how well a publicly owned bank could work. McGeer's model was based on the public banking system of Guernsey, an island state between Britain and France. The Guernsey government began issuing currency to pay for public works as far back as 1816. To this day, its system of publicly issued money has allowed its inhabitants to maintain full employment and enjoy quality infrastructure, while paying modest taxes and without suffering from price inflation.
The Bank of Canada became publicly owned in 1938 under Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, a staunch supporter of McGeer's vision for a public central bank. King maintained:
Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile. Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes that nation's laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation.
What Can Be Done by a Government Issuing Its Own Currency
Along with New Zealand, Australia and other progressive countries, Canada proceeded to fund infrastructure and social programs using national credit issued by its own central bank. The potential of this new credit tool for the Canadian economy was first demonstrated in World War II, in which Canada ranked fourth among the Allies for production of war goods. Under the Returning Veterans Rehabilitation Act of 1945, some 54,000 returning vets were given financial aid to attend university. The Department of Veterans Affairs provided another 80,000 vets with vocational training, and the Veterans' Land Act helped 33,000 vets buy farmland.
After the war, the Industrial Development Bank, a subsidiary of the Bank of Canada, was formed to boost Canadian businesses by offering loans at low interest rates. The Bank of Canada also funded many infrastructure projects and social programs directly. Under the 1950 Trans Canada Highway Act, Canada built the world's longest road and the world's longest inland waterway (a joint venture with the United States), as well as the 28-mile Welland Canal. People over 70, regardless of income or assets, received $40 a month from the government under the Old Age Security Act; and children under 15 got a tax-free allowance of $5-$8 a month.
Canadians first began talking about a government-run health system during the Great Depression, but at that time the government felt it could not afford the service. Various provincial programs were launched in the 1940's, often to care for returning veterans. But it was not until 1957 that the Canadian federal health care system was actually initiated, with funding from the Bank of Canada. A Hospital Act was passed under which the federal government agreed to pay half of the bills of its citizens at most hospitals; a Diagnostic Services Act gave all Canadians free acute hospital care, as well as lab and radiology work. In 1966, the Hospital Act was expanded to cover physician services. In 1984, the Canada Health Act ensured that no medically necessary care would include private fees or a charge to citizens.
A Misguided Economic Policy Kills the Golden Goose
For three decades, Canada paid for these projects through its own government-owned central bank, without sparking price inflation. Then in the late 1960's, a period of "stagflation" set in - rising prices accompanied by high unemployment. According to former Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer, these elevated prices were the result of "cost-push" inflation, which could be traced to a combination of causes. Big labor unions, big government and big corporations all negotiated top dollar for their contracts. In 1971, President Richard Nixon took the US dollar off the gold standard, putting a strain on currencies in international markets. In 1974, the price of oil quadrupled, following a secret deal between Henry Kissinger and the OPEC countries in which the latter agreed to sell their oil only in US dollars and to deposit the dollars in US banks. Countries without sufficient dollar reserves had to borrow from these banks to buy the oil they needed, setting a debt trap that sprang shut when US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker raised interest rates to 20 percent in 1980.
These increased costs drove up prices worldwide; but in Canada, price inflation was blamed on the government drawing money from its own central bank. Under the sway of classical monetarist theory as promoted by US economist Milton Friedman, the Canadian government abandoned its successful experiment in self-funding and began borrowing from private international lenders. These private banks created "credit" on their books just as the Bank of Canada had done; but they lent it to the government at compound interest, creating a soaring national debt. Today, interest on the debt is the Canadian government's single largest budget expenditure - larger than health care, senior entitlements or national defense.
Canada's health care system is now suffering along with the rest of the economy, necessitating the cutbacks and long waits for elective procedures described by critics. But the achievements of an earlier debt-free era attest to the sustainability of a system of public health care funded with money issued through the government's own central bank.
Goosing the Economy Again
The Bank of Canada was created to end the hardships of the Depression and give the government full responsibility for the health of the economy. As it turned out, the Bank also funded the health of the Canadian people.
The US government could fund universal health coverage in the same way. Ideally, it would nationalize the Federal Reserve or set up its own government-owned bank; but the same result could be achieved simply by borrowing from the existing Federal Reserve. The Fed always rebates the interest to the government after deducting its costs, and the federal debt is never paid off but is just rolled over from year to year. Interest-free loans rolled over from year to year are the equivalent of debt-free government-issued money.
Contrary to popular belief, adding to the money supply in this way would not be inflationary. Inflation results when "demand" (money) exceeds "supply" (goods and services). In this case, the new money would be used to create new goods and services, keeping supply in balance with demand. That the result would not be inflationary is particularly true today, when we are suffering from a deflationary crisis. As in the Great Depression, money is not available to buy products and fund programs because the money supply itself has collapsed. The solution is not to slash programs, but to put more money into the economy, and that can be done by authorizing the government to create the money it needs for infrastructure and social services through its own bank.
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Thanks for this article. ItSat, 01/23/2010 - 16:15 L.D. Freitas (not verified)
Thanks for this article. It sets the record straight, and offers an idea as to how We the People can have what other people in civilized nations have around the world: health care at an affordable cost for every citizen.
You notice that the housingSat, 01/23/2010 - 18:03 Anonymous (not verified)
You notice that the housing bubble didn't affect Canada the way the US was. It was a conspiratorial effort, regulators like John C Dugan essentially worked for Bank profits. He should be fired, and sent to jail. The analysis is good, but the press keeps pushing "white tower" analysis in 2010.
What's needed is how people's lives are being destroyed by Casino gambling, where we the taxpayers insure any losses. Only then will we realized how parasitical Wall Street has become, how their very value to society is questionable.
Fascinating analysis. TheSat, 01/23/2010 - 19:59 Jade Queen (not verified)
Fascinating analysis. The challenge is how to localize operations and maintenance in small enough areas to fend off high-CEO expenditures and the top-down nature of our present system. We need to stop forcing conventional care for lifestyle ailments rather than enabling care that people can choose to help them change risk profiles. Simply funding a top-down, broken system does not deal with dysfunction, especially our iatrogenic disasters, which can occur for naive rich and poor. Perhaps taking responsibility to county levels and allowing reciprocity between counties would allow enough accountability. For major issues, cities attract more specialists. If shuttles could take routine-care patients out and bring specialty patients in... Just brainstorming here--the issues are so tough. If government payments were lease payments to facilities based on outcome statistics, outcome statistics might become more similar, from institution to institution. Accountability has to be in the equation somewhere.
This piece makes me imagineSat, 01/23/2010 - 20:12 Anonymous (not verified)
This piece makes me imagine all the things we could pay for if the government would once again print debt free money! Health care, roads, new energies, transportation systems, prison reform -- vision and know-how are the only limits. Job creation, tax reduction, the end of drastic boom-bust economic cycles lie in reach...
Yet it seems the grip of the status quo is so vast that people don't don't see its hands at all -- we come to expect that some people must go without, that scarcity is inevitable, that worsening social trends are part of human nature. Wasn't there a time not long ago when we expected things to continually improve, not continually degenerate?
Perhaps the scope of the political problem is so fundamental, so large, it escapes notice. To most people, money seems like a non-issue, like a simple physical process akin to gravity or agriculture. But if we grasped how crucial it is, we might regain our faith that the system should and could be used to lift us up to our full potential.
It's nice to see that everySat, 01/23/2010 - 20:18 anon (not verified)
It's nice to see that every once in a while, someone gets it.
Thanks Ellen, for anotherSat, 01/23/2010 - 20:25 Anonymous (not verified)
Thanks Ellen, for another cogent article educating us about what's wrong in this country and what we can do to fix it. Hopefully enough people will wake up soon and demand that we reassert our sovereign right and responsibility to create and properly manage the nations money and credit.
Everyone else: Read Ellen's book The Web OF Debt. Its very enlightening.
It's still money backed bySat, 01/23/2010 - 21:05 Mike in NYC (not verified)
It's still money backed by debt, not by anything tangible, such as labor value. And why assume that demand would balance out the new supply? As for these supposedly deflationary times we live in -- once you exclude housing costs, inflation is most certainly back. So sayeth my last supermarket receipt.
As always, kudos to EllenSat, 01/23/2010 - 21:17 Curt (not verified)
As always, kudos to Ellen for another fine article, and as another says, read "Web of Debt", which is easily as important as "Shock Doctrine" and the work of Chalmers Johnson in understanding what is going on. Where Ellen's work really stands out is in the fact that she also shows us the path to fixing what's wrong.
The monopolistic banks inSat, 01/23/2010 - 22:26 Bearzerker (not verified)
The monopolistic banks in Canada are all powerful, just like Wall Street is now in the States.
In Canada when you declare Bankruptcy, ALL ASSETS you own is liquidated and to the Banks go the spoils [no protections like chapter 11 etc]
The Banks couldn't finance health care reformation in Canada because of the Bank Act so the Feds wisely did it themselves...
The money collected for EI, CPP, Health-care etc though payroll deductions and budget allowances, it comes in and goes out through the Bank of Canada. Nothing is on deposit there.
The Bank of Canada isn't really a bank [they don't take in or disburse deposits] the only thing they do is inter-departmental settlement advice or ISA's between governmental departments which are transfers only, I know this because I use to be a Receiver General Transfer Agent [RGTA] in Ottawa and used to visit the Bank of Canada several times a week.
IMHO, the people of the US use to have better financial protections to safeguard them in times of dire need then we do/did in Canada.
Thankfully serious bank reform was initiated in Canada in 1933 which changed a lot of the Charted banks previous political limitations & interferences on national scene [The Depression was the straw that broke the camels back]
Chartered banks were regional monopolies for years in Canada and included Toronto Dominion, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia & Royal Bank of Canada, and as such were part and parcel of the BNA, meaning that opening a bank in Canada could only be done/chartered with the approval of Parliament through the Bank Act.
I agree with this articles premise that its long past due to initiate a public central banking plan to deal with costs incurred by the public for public works and services and as such, you could theoretically own and pay-down the National debt through a social credit initiative.
Wall street is very much out of control and safeguards need to be re-initiated because since Nixon, Wall street has controlled the regulation process through their financial lobby groups and have written all the recent changes to Bankruptcy, Patent & Copyright law ever since.
Also, a change in federal fiscal policy needs to happen because until we get it we will go from bubble to bubble and then [sooner or later] crash to crash, without any prospects for our children.
The proof is everywhere [economic bubbles] and with gold over 1000$ an ounce it is the next most serious financial bubble that needs to be dealt with, because its seriously crippling financial recovery efforts.
Credit Unions in Canada are now a major force in peoples lives here and the people of US need to embrace this little known reality.
Have we really squandered all we've learned that the depression taught us?
For years,AmericanSat, 01/23/2010 - 22:31 pink elephant (not verified)
For years,American imperialists dreamed of conquering Canada. Maybe we should consider surrender to Ottawa instead.
Now, imagine that theseSun, 01/24/2010 - 00:00 Anonymous (not verified)
Now, imagine that these suggestions and history lessons were to be publicly discussed by a few of our powerful legislators and other elected officials for several weeks in mass media sources. I guess we'd first have to imagine that our mass media sources were not controlled by the financial industry and other corporations.
Well, in the meantime, at least we have Truthout and Ellen as good sources of ideas for public debate.
A LINE IN THE SAND - FromSun, 01/24/2010 - 03:21 jacksmith (not verified)
A LINE IN THE SAND - From jacksmith - WorkingClass
My Fellow Americans and People Of The World
A strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option is STILL! CRITICAL!
We have had a long hard struggle to find out what would be the BEST! that this congress and the Whitehouse could do to fix our highly dangerous, poor quality, most costly, and MOST! disgraceful healthcare delivery system in the world. It is clear that congress can do much more for the American people than what is proposed so far.
It is clear that congress can pass a strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one. Expand Medicare and not levy any new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. LET THIS BE YOUR LINE IN THE SAND!
Lastly, there can be NO! INDIVIDUAL MANDATES without a strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Or the American people WILL! and SHOULD! revolt with an all out CIVIL WAR against congress and this Government.
House and Senate progressives and the tri-caucuses should aggressively push for the inclusion of a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. If the obstructionist kill meaningful healthcare reform, then you should kill this bill. Because it will be far worse than the healthcare disaster we have now. It's failure will be on the obstructionist heads. And they will be punished and replaced.
WITHOUT A PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE, THIS BILL WILL KILL FAR MORE AMERICANS THAN IT WILL SAVE.
What is proposed in the Senate bill is the worst case scenario for health-care reform. It would shift trillions of taxpayer, public and private dollars into the hands of the private insurance industry (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America). And it would compel by law millions of Americans to financially support this oxymoronic criminal enterprise. You cant have a individual MANDATE WITHOUT A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE!
You will have NO! realistic way of controlling cost and quality. Cost will continue soaring through the roof bleeding the American people dry, and KILLing our economy. And our quality of healthcare will continue to decline below our current ranking of "WORST! quality of healthcare delivery in the developed World".
From the very start, the American people have been crystal clear about what they wanted. They wanted a humane single payer system like the rest of the developed world has (HR676). Or at least a humane strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE!! This is what the American people gave the democrats control of the house, control of the senate, and control of the Whitehouse to do.
Those of you that can, should prepare now to remove every member of congress that fails to support YOUR healthcare reform with a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. Run against them in teams if you have to. But take them out. And replace them with a strong single payer or PRO PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE candidate.
Now! is the time to bring maximum pressure on your members of congress. Contact your representatives and spread the word.
The Public Option https://tinyurl.com/yfftf76
H1N1 IS A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION!
I have to tell you now that the H1N1 virus is a man-made WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION! and TERROR! It is a WEAPONIZED version of a flu virus. It has swept the planet infecting millions. And causing a global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands, and injured millions.
The H1N1 virus is the product of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! It was released in the U.S. in Texas in early January of last year, but not recognized until around April 2009 in California. The reason I know this is because when it came to America, it came to see me FIRST! How sweet...
This was around the time the MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! assaulted the Whitehouse with all their devils deals to cripple and weaken YOUR! healthcare reform. Especially your right to have a single payer system like HR676 (Medicare For All) which most of you wanted.
They don't even want you to have your HUGE!!! compromise position of a strong government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. To compete with their DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, MURDEROUS, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PRODUCT (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America).
They also wanted to take away your rights to have your government meet it's responsibility to use it's full power to regulate, negotiate, and control drug cost, healthcare cost and quality. Something every other civilized country in the developed World has done for it's people. Their Greed! moral degeneracy and lack of patriotism knows no bounds.
Many of you will remember that before we knew about H1N1. I posted a open message to the President and Congress warning them to be vigilant about their health, and cautious about any medical advice they received. As I said then "they will not hesitate to try and hurt you".
The U.S. and the World have been under a BIOLOGICAL TERROR ATTACK! for over a year now. It is CRITICAL that We The People Of The United States take away control of our healthcare system from the GREED DRIVEN MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!
For our own National security, and the security of the world.
A Strong, government-run, MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one, with the full unfettered power of the federal government to regulate, negotiate, and control cost and quality. Would be the most workable way to deal with this global crisis at this time. Including patent suspensions as needed for national security or the greater good.
As an American I invite the peoples of the World to help us fix our healthcare crisis. And bring pressure on our government to meet it's responsibility to protect global security by controlling, and removing the corrupting influence of GREED and the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT motivations from healthcare in the U.S. and around the World.
I call on the governments of the World and the global intelligence community to track down these MASS MURDERERS, and bring them to justice. CONNECT THE DOTS! And be vigilant that they don't slip in another viral strain on you under the cloak of H1N1 sequestration.
Further, the proposed patent protection on biologic's must be stripped from the US bill. And greatly shorten/restricted, or abolished completely. This is a grave danger to humanity and global security.
I think President Obama is doing the best he can at playing the disastrous deck of cards he inherited from the previous administration. And I think he is doing an excellent job. But the wolves and devils of the medical industrial complex! are trying to exploit, and take advantage of his good heart, and desperate desire to help suffering Americans. But we must be strong and insist that healthcare reform be done right for the American people. Or everyone loose's.
This is all I can say in a message post. I'll try to find a way to tell you more later.
God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings
jacksmith - Working Class
p.s. The so-called nominal H1N1 virus is designed in such a way as to make it more lethal to children and young adults. The medical community must be more vigilant of secondary bacterial infections in the young caused by H1N1. And remember, a viral infection is also a transfer of genetic code to you. Think about it, and be vigilant. :-(
Good health creates moreSun, 01/24/2010 - 03:57 Garrett Connelly (not verified)
Good health creates more than it costs. A healthy population is a high yield population. The change in output due to excellent health is greater than the cost of both health insurance and medical expense, dental included. Besides all this free money blossoming from a healthy work force, there's a ton of money available in the bloated perversion of twisting happy humans to the yoke of endless war. Face it folks, the BS coming out of DC is BS, nothing more, nothing less. Medicare for all!
Yes, the Canadian healthcareSun, 01/24/2010 - 13:37 Hank Van den Berg (not verified)
Yes, the Canadian healthcare system is a good model for us to look at. But I do take issue with the statement that funding healthcare by creating money is not inflationary. Government-funded healthcare is not "new" production that rises in balance with new demand. If government funds healthcare, people would use their freed up income to buy other things, and total demand would increase, thus raising prices. Therefore, government healthcare requires an increase in taxes to take the place of what people now contorbute to healthcare costs. Such a tax increase is not a bad thing at all, especially if government healthcare costs less than the inefficient publicly-subsidized but privately-provided healthcare we now have in the U.S. I personally would prefer paying 10 percent of GDP in taxes to paying 16 percent in the form of insurance premiums, employer contributions, copayments, deductibles, excessive drug prices, etc. But just printing money will not work. Life is not so simple.
I think it will work withoutSun, 01/24/2010 - 15:31 Ellen Brown (not verified)
I think it will work without creating inflation. Canadian prices did not rise for the first 30 years that they funded a large range of programs and infrastructure with money created by the Bank of Canada. When prices did rise beginning in the 1970s, it was due to cost-push inflation, not an increase in the money supply. The main push came from the manipulated four-fold increase in the price of oil. We can see by looking at other countries that a national health service drives down the overall cost of health care and cuts out unnecessary middlemen profits, and health care is a chief cost these days; so it would drive down costs collectively. Prices do not go up because there is more money out there; this is a myth, which I've debunked at length in my book Web of Debt. Money has been flooding into China for centuries, and prices have not gone up; rather, productivity has gone up and prices have remained stable.
Ellen: The story of the BankSun, 01/24/2010 - 18:01 Peter J. of Minneapolis (not verified)
The story of the Bank of Canada explains so much. Please inform us of the role of the 1962 experiment with universal health care in Saskatchewan in the history of Health Canada.
Dig deep enough you'll findSun, 01/24/2010 - 18:30 Anonymous (not verified)
Dig deep enough you'll find the BOC is 2/3's owned by the New York Fed (Rothschilds) and 1/3 by the Bronfmans and some other Montreal families. That's why we have the highest tax burden in the world, pay world price to foreigners for our own resources and have no rights not granted by the owners.
Yes it was a brilliantSun, 01/24/2010 - 18:33 Ellen Brown (not verified)
Yes it was a brilliant Populist experiment that got usurped by the Money Power as usual. That's the challenge, setting up popularly-owned banks that STAY popularly-owned.
Not to stray too far fromSun, 01/24/2010 - 20:42 Mike in NYC (not verified)
Not to stray too far from the thread topic, but China's currency was silver-backed until 1935, when they created a central bank. Inflation soon set in, and the purchasing power of the yuan has declined almost continuously since then. Nowadays, the only way China has managed to avoid severe inflation is by massive sterilization of foreign currency inflows, and it's still been a struggle.
We were just discussing howSun, 01/24/2010 - 21:41 zrants (not verified)
We were just discussing how the U.S. missed out on the public health care systems that swept through Europe after the devastation of WWII. There were so many sick and injured that the government and everyone took care of each other. That habit of social medicine stuck and the Europeans have social medicine.
Somehow, since the U.S. missed out on the mass bombings and civil unrest that resulted from WWII, we missed out on the social medicine as well.
It looks like the federal government may not put together a very robust national health care plan, so it may be up to the states to pull something together. Any examples of systems that works are most welcome. Thanks for all your work and support.
The US would have no problemSun, 01/24/2010 - 23:54 Anonymous (not verified)
The US would have no problem providing universal health care to it's citizens if it didn't waste a trillion a year on military BS and phony wars.
Thanks for an honest look atMon, 01/25/2010 - 13:34 Phishy (not verified)
Thanks for an honest look at the Canadian system, it is suffering through hardships directly related to my government illegally giving up it's power to create money. the US, if they could ever wrestle control of the FED away from the private banks, could easily offer their citizens a similar, and workable solution.
do not believe what you hear about the Canadian system from the US media, they are bought and owned and are NOT telling the truth about the Canadian system or the feasibility of an American public option. This article points that out clearly.
As a tax paying american, do you not deserve the best coverage your country can provide? Should third world countries really beat you out in Healthcare?
The US is almost last on all of those lists, yet instead of finding the problem and fixing it, they concentrate on making up phoney complaints about a system in which they have no stake.
government funded universal health care can't work? Tell that to the US government, as that's EXACTLY what they are getting, paid for by your tax dollars
This country flourished onMon, 01/25/2010 - 23:10 Ellen Brown (not verified)
This country flourished on money created by provincial governments for a century before the American Revolution. That was, in fact, a principal cause of the revolution -- the King forbade the colonists to issue their own money, forcing them to borrow instead from the British bankers, creating a massive depression. I've written extensively on this in "Web of Debt" and on my blog at webfodebt.com. The idea that gold was the original currency of civilization is a myth. Coins were issued by governments, they got their value from the stamp of the king on them, and their market value was the sum stamped on them, not their metal value. We went off the gold standard in 1933 domestically and 1971 internationally for a reason: there is not enough gold in the world to serve as the currency for an expanding and productive global economy.
Wikipedia on Mises.org: TheMon, 01/25/2010 - 23:35 Curt (not verified)
Wikipedia on Mises.org: The Institute is generally critical of statism and democracy, with the latter being described in Institute publications as "coercive", "incompatible with wealth creation" "replete with inner contradictions" and a system " of legalized graft." According to the Wikipedia entry the institute is also dead set against any form of market regulation. Mr. Aaron Brown, the implosion of the real estate and banking industry is, I think, more than enough demonstration of what unregulated markets have to offer us. In addition, history is full of examples of successful societies without poverty founded on government creation of money, and our present times are full of examples of a failed society founded on having banks create our money, as is history. In fact history is pretty clear on this. Most of us have seen the effects of the "wealth creation" that you endorse, with "your" 5% having 95% of the wealth in this country. Sorry, but to me it is the principles you support that are ridiculous, I'm not at all against being a libertarian but what you're endorsing goes far beyond that. There is no such thing as a "free market", the market is controlled by the governing for the good of the governed or the market is controlled by the greedy for the enrichment of the already rich, and it is clear which side of the issue you are on.
"There is no such thing as aTue, 01/26/2010 - 01:53 Ellen Brown (not verified)
"There is no such thing as a "free market", the market is controlled by the governing for the good of the governed or the market is controlled by the greedy for the enrichment of the already rich, and it is clear which side of the issue you are on."
Right on, Curt!
After reading some of yourTue, 01/26/2010 - 04:07 Aaron Brown (not verified)
After reading some of your work Ms. Brown, I am so sorry I disagreed with you so harshly. I was remiss and didn't realize you were such a staunch and vocal opponent of the Fed. I am ashamed that I attacked you without investigating thoroughly your work. I think we are more of the same ideology than I previously thought upon further reading your materials, and again I apologize.
There are some things however, I disagree with, and it is very important that people, and you, understand.
But to continue the discussion; you're right, there hasn't been any such thing as a free market since 1913 when the Fed gained monopoly over our money supply, but the fallacy occurs when you and Curt attempt to say that the free market has failed; Curt in particular regurgitated the fallacy of "unregulated markets" having brought down this economy.
My point in opposition of government control of money is completely compatible with the principles set forth on the Mises website. And Curt, it might be prudent to read info from the actual website instead of looking on Wikipedia to try and discover my entire point of view.
My point is that government is the PROBLEM ITSELF. Government monopoly and intervention over our money supply by the Fed has produced the distortions that have brought our economy to its knees. Again, this is NOT any inherent flaw in the free market. That idea was brought about by Marx, and is completely erroneous.
It is also worth noting Curt, that America is not a democracy- never was it intended to be that way at least. America is a REPUBLIC.
Also, Ms. Brown you used another fallacy to defend your position, namely that "there is not enough gold in the world to serve as the currency for an expanding and productive global economy." That is absolutely not true; those who quibble about the correct supply of money are ignorant to the fact that any amount of a money will do. As more goods and services are produced, the monetary unit will simply appreciate- imagine that!
And to that point, this is the reason gold and silver emerged out of the free market as moneys; they were divisible, portable, sturdy, and SCARCE enough to serve as a medium of exchange.
Read this article about the cause of the current depression at https://mises.org/daily/3165.
Also, if you type in at Mises.org "not enough gold", the website is replete with literature explaining in detail why any amount of gold or silver will serve as a money.
Again, I'm so sorry I jumped the gun in criticizing your article (from an economic standpoint). I appreciate all your work on webofdebt.org and with all your alternative medicine research.
But I do think you should look a little closer as to the virtues of 100% banking and gold as money. It is the only monetary system compatible with freedom, and isn't that what we all want.
Aaron, on many of yourTue, 01/26/2010 - 14:57 Curt (not verified)
Aaron, on many of your points I agree, forgive me if I must resort to Wikipedia but I generally do a massive amount of reading and I've studied what Milton Friedman called 'science' (it was not) and his free market theory and I generally won't spend any more time on a particular author or philosophy when I reach the point where I understand it is devoid of honesty or is a tool to maintain the status quo, and as I said above, "free markets" are a lie told by those that have something to gain by being unregulated. The depression after the 1st 1/3 of the 20th century and at its very end, the one we are in now, were caused by your "free markets", markets unregulated by government that were manipulated by the rich to their advantage and to the demise of the economy, and Friedman was a "pretend" scientist trying to create a justification for greed. Only the rich will prosper when they control the terms of exchange. As for democracy I know full well what it is, I know that it ceased to exist in this country about 1789 when the Articles of Confederation were retired to favor the new Constitution, written by rich men to protect their status. As I said I don't at all oppose libertarianism as it applies to individuals but it has it's limitations when applied to societies, to marketing, and to other mechanisms of social exchange, and the logic you expound parallels the logic that says a corporation is a person, an abominable, unconscionable usurpation of the rights of human beings. Government in and of itself is not a problem if it is a collective effort of the people to serve the common good, as anarchy doesn't work very well as a tool upon which to build societies, our government is an evil because it is a tool used by the elite to maintain control and it consistently opposes both the common good and the individual good. Yes, democracy can impact the creation of wealth, but I don't see that as a bad thing because the term "creation of wealth" is generally taken to mean the wealth of one at the cost of others, and this kind of creation of wealth is generally through activities that are not productive but rather manipulative. Lastly, the medium of exchange (money) is irrelevant to the prosperity of a people, if you read Ellen's book you'll find historical discussion of societies that prospered using only pieces of wood issued by the king as the medium of exchange. The only requirement for a medium of exchange is that those using it agree on its value, and that it is difficult to counterfeit. Google "Ithica Hours" to read about another medium of exchange that is working VERY well for those involved in the experiment. Using gold as you recommend, with a value that appreciates, allows those with the wealth to obtain it to hoard it thereby forcing the value upward and allowing them to profit at the expense of others and without performing any productive work, and my philosophy is that everyone in a society should produce within their abilities to do so, from the most mentally or physically limited to the most intelligent or physically capable, those that refuse to do productive work should be ostracized, and productive work should be available for everyone. That is the definition of a productive society.
In addition, I did go toTue, 01/26/2010 - 18:28 Curt (not verified)
In addition, I did go to mises.org to the link provided and briefly read through it, please allow me to point out a couple of flaws in the logic. The overarching flaw is counting the Fed as part of government, it is not. It is made up of rich bankers, the President is allowed to appoint the chairman but the chairman is not answerable to the President. The Fed is a privately held concern that manipulates the money supply to the advantage of the rich. Secondly, Hoover did not implement "free market" principles in an attempt to stave off depression, he jumped in bed with the rich for his own personal gain and was a traitor to the people of the United States. Another shortcoming, although perhaps not an outright flaw, is the suggestion to keep the DOD without a suggestion to radically restructure it (that I saw, it's a long article and I don't have a lot of time) and the DOD on the surface uses up almost 1 trillion dollars a year of our tax money (and perhaps another trillion in related activities and expense), most of which ends up in the hands of the "free market", if there's any secondary cause of the current depression one would have to suspect that this trillion dollars a year going to rich businessmen would be it. I agree that the Fed is the biggest player and the biggest cause of our current economic problems, but beyond that I'm afraid I have to disagree.
Thanks Curt and hi Aaron,Tue, 01/26/2010 - 18:31 Ellen Brown (not verified)
Thanks Curt and hi Aaron, perhaps we're relatives after all! Actually I have some seriously Libertarian cousins with whom I engage in heavy debates frequently. That's where I get a lot of my material! I can't say what my own political stance is. I'm basically apolitical, just a writer trying to figure things out. I agree with Curt though, gold won't work as a national medium of exchange. It's not true that the value of the medium of exchange expands to meet the supply. Look at the Great Depression: there was a serious collapse in the money supply, and prices did not drop to match. Rather, there was no money to buy products so workers got laid off, and there was no money to pay workers so demand fell off, in a vicious spiral. Employers have fixed costs; they can't just drop their prices because there are fewer bills or coins competing for their products.
Influence can be defined asSat, 01/30/2010 - 10:14 coetsee (not verified)
Influence can be defined as the power exerted over the minds and behavior of others. A power that can affect, persuade and cause changes to someone or something. In order to influence people, you first need to discover what is already influencing them. What makes them tick? What do they care about? We need some leverage to work with when were trying to change how people think and behave.