Sunday, March 23, 2014



The Great Depression Could Have Been Avoided if the Fed Had Not So Badly Botched Its Monetary Policy

The standard explanation of the Great Depression, found in most American high-school history texts, is that it was created by the wild and irrational stock-market speculation that ultimately led to the Great Crash of October 1929. Investor speculations were so excessive—so the story goes—that once the bubble popped, it triggered the most severe decline in economic activity in U.S. history. The key point of this story is that the crash and the subsequent depression were due to factors that are innate to the capitalist system, unchecked under the supposedly laissez-faire policies of Herbert Hoover. It was only once Franklin Delano Roosevelt came into office that the government jump-started the recovery. It is thus claimed that FDR’s policies were responsible not only for the recovery, but in fact for “saving capitalism from itself” when many Americans were willing to consider adopting full-blown socialism in the 1930s as a way to deal with the downturn.
Most people do not realize how much of this explanation had been shaped by Keynesian economics, the dominant economic paradigm from the 1940s to the 1970s. Keynesian economics got its start with the publication of John Maynard Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in 1936. There Keynes proposed a view of the Great Depression that was at odds with the rest of the economics profession at the time. Most economists of the era tended to agree that market economies are “self-adjusting” and that they cannot get stuck in a recession for very long. However, this view seemed to be at odds with the ugly reality of the time: persistent unemployment rates of 20 percent and more, even as high as 25 percent in 1933—with no end in sight.

Dangers of Centralized Power
There is an important lesson to be learned from this episode: When we centralize great responsibility and power in one institution, its failure will have far-reaching and terrible consequences. The Fed was instituted to act decisively in the exact circumstances that occurred in 1930–33. Friedman and Schwartz pointed out that the Fed’s failure was all the more serious and difficult to understand given how easily it could have been avoided:


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In August of 1929, the Fed began to tighten the money supply continually by buying more government bonds. At the same time, all the Wall Street giants of the era, including John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan divested from the stockmarket and put all their assets into cash and gold.
Soon thereafter, on October 24, 1929, the large brokerages all simultaneously called in their 24 hour “call-loans.” Brokers and investors were now forced to sell their stocks at any price they could get to cover these loans. The resulting market crash on “Black Thursday” was the beginning of the Great Depression.
The Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Representative Louis T. Mc Fadden, accused the Fed and international bankers of premeditating the crash.
“It was not accidental,” he declared, “it was a carefully contrived occurrence (created by international bankers) to bring about a condition of despair…so that they might emerge as rulers of us all.”
He went on to accuse European “statesmen and financiers” of creating the situation to facilitate the reacquisition of the massive amounts of gold which Europe had lost to the U.S. during WWI. In a 1999 interview, Nobel Prize winning economist and Stanford University Professor Milton Friedman stated: “The Federal Reserve definitely caused the Great Depression.” 

Under orders of the creditor (the Federal Reserve System and its private owners) on April 5, 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Presidential order 6102, which required all Americans to deliver all gold coins, gold bullion, and gold certificates to their local Federal Reserve Bank on or before April 28, 1933.
Any violators would be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned up to ten years, or both for knowingly violating this order. This gold was then offered by the Fed owners to any foreign, non-U.S. citizen, at $35.00 per ounce. Over the entire previous 100 years, gold had remained at a stable value, increasing only from $18.93 per ounce to $20.69 per ounce.

Since then, every U.S. citizen (by virtue of their birth certificate) has become an asset of the government, pledged at a specific dollar amount to pay this debt through future taxation. Thus, every American citizen is in debt from birth (via future taxation), and is, for all practical purposes, property of the creditors, the privately owned Federal Reserve System.
Presently, the United States Government (which again, is completely owned and controlled by the international bankers) continues to forfeit its sovereignty by entering into international monetary and trade agreements which abolish almost all forms of trade tariffs that previously protected not only the value of American commercial productivity and workforce labor, but which were also a substantial source of revenue for the government.

We are, therefore, obligated to continue this cycle of borrowing indefinitely, causing complete money slavery for life. The amount owed will expand endlessly, until our monthly payments exceed our income, we are bankrupt, and all we have acquired in this lifetime is pillaged from us. Or, until the privately owned Federal Reserve System is ended and all debts are terminated.

The Perfect Storm

In the decades following Friedman and Schwartz’s work [as to how the Great Depression happened], economists started examining other government-policy failures in the aftermath of the crash. They have found an abundant supply of them. Here are several key examples of these bad policies: 1) In response to a sharp decrease in tax revenues in 1930 and 1931 (caused by a slowdown of economic activities), the federal government passed the largest peacetime tax increase in the history of the United States, which clearly applied the brakes on any recovery that could have taken place; 2) the federal government also passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930, substantially increasing tariffs and leading to retaliatory restrictions by trading partners, which resulted in a considerable decrease in demand for U.S. exports and a further slowdown in production (not to mention a loss of mutually advantageous division of labor); 3) the federal government also instituted all sorts of “public works” programs, beginning under Herbert Hoover and increasing dramatically under FDR; the programs removed hundreds of thousands of people from the labor market and engaged them in economically wasteful activities, such as carving faces of dead presidents into the sides of a mountain, preventing or delaying necessary labor-market adjustments; 4) another federal policy that prevented (labor and other) market adjustments was the price and wage controls enacted under the National Recovery Administration and in effect from 1933 until 1935 (when ruled unconstitutional); this policy massively distorted relative market prices, impairing their ability to function as guides to entrepreneurs; 5) the Fed was not blameless after 1933 either. It increased bank-reserve requirements in three steps in 1936 and 1937, leading to another significant decrease in the money supply. The result was the 1937–38 recession within the Depression, adding insult to injury.

Ironically, as a result of the banking crisis of 1930–33, the Fed was granted more responsibilities and more control over banking. As is often the case in politics, failure was used to justify an expansion of power. That expansion of the Fed’s power resulted in a great amount of economic destruction through the subsequent decades. In 1980 Milton and Rose Friedman wrote of the Fed’s record over the 45 years after the banking crisis of 1930–33:

The illegal activity of money laundering is now recognized as routinely practiced by individuals, small or large businesses, corrupt officials, and members of organized crime (such as drug dealers, criminal organizations and possibly, the banking cartel).
Since receipt of your first "statement" from each of your creditors, they have perpetuated the notion of your indebtedness to them. These assertions did not disclose a remaining balance owed to you, as would your checking account. Mail fraud refers to any scheme which attempts to unlawfully obtain money or valuables in which the postal system is used at any point in the commission of a criminal offence.
When they claim you owe a delinquent payment, you are typically contacted via telephone, by their representative, requesting a payment. In some cases this constitutes wire fraud, which is the Federal crime of utilizing interstate wire communications to facilitate a fraudulent scheme.
Throughout the process of receiving monthly payment demands, you may have been threatened with late fees, increased interest rates, derogatory information being applied to your credit reports, telephone harassment and the threat of being "wrongfully" sued.

New money was brought into existence by the deposit of your agreement/promissory note. If you were to pay off the alleged loan, you would never receive your original deposit/asset back (the value of the promissory note). In essence, you have now paid the loan twice. Simultaneously, the banks are able to indefinitely hold and multiply the value of your note (by a factor of 10 to 33) and exponentially generate additional profits.
For an agreement or a contract to be valid, there must be valuable consideration given by all parties. Valuable consideration infers a negotiated exchange and legally reciprocal obligation. If no consideration is present, the contract is generally void and unenforceable.
The bank never explained to you what you have now learned. They did not divulge that they were not loaning anything. You were not informed that you were exchanging a promissory note (which has a real cash value) that was appropriated to fund the implicit loan.
You were led to assume that they were loaning you their own, or other people's money, which we have established as false. They blatantly concealed this fact. If you were misinformed, according to contract law, the agreement is null and void due to "non-disclosure."
Contract law states that when an agreement is made between two parties, each must be given full disclosure of what is transpiring. An agreement is not valid if either party conceals pertinent information.

It was 248 years ago, in 1760 that Mayer Amschel Rothschild created the House of Rothschild that was to pave the way for international banking and control of the world's resources on a scale unparalleled and somewhat mysterious to this date. He disbursed his five sons to set up banking operations throughout Europe and the various European empires.
"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild
In time the House of Rothschild was able to take control of the Bank of France and Bank of England and relentlessly pursued an effort over two centuries to control a national bank in the USA. By 1850 it was said the Rothschild family was worth over $6 billion and owned one half of the world's wealth.
From oil (Shell) to diamonds (DeBeers) to gold (from 1919 until 2004 a Rothschild was permanent Chairman of the London Gold Fixing committee which met twice a day in the Rothschild offices in London) the Rothschild's quietly accumulated a foothold in critical industries and commodities throughout the world.

A master at building impenetrable walls around his family assets the current value of the Rothschild holdings are estimated to be between $100 and $300 trillion, yes that is trillion dollars! Now for a point of reference the current United States National Debt is $9.4 trillion.
J. P. Morgan began as the New York agent for his father's business in London in 1860 and by 1877 was floating $260 million in US Bonds to save the government from an economic collapse. In 1890 he inherited the business and in 1895 bought $200 million in US Bonds with gold to again save the US economy.
So what did they have in common these extraordinary capitalists? They all were dedicated to owning a national bank in America so they could determine the fiscal policies of the nation and earn interest on the debt of the nation.
Rothschild agents in 1791 formed the First Bank of the United States but intense opposition to foreign ownership by President Jefferson and others helped kill it by 1811. A Second Bank of the United States was formed in 1816 once again by Rothschild agents and this time they secured a 20-year charter. However, President Andrew Jackson was also opposed to foreign ownership and withdrew the federal deposits in 1832 as part of his plan to kill the bank charter in 1836.
An attempt to assassinate Jackson in 1834 left him wounded but more determined than ever to stop the central bank. Thirty years later President Lincoln refused to pay international bankers extremely high interest rates during the Civil War and ordered the printing of government bonds. With the help of Russian Czar Alexander II who also blocked a similar national bank from being set up in Russia by the international bankers they were able to survive the economic squeeze.
Lincoln said, "The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe. Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed."
Both Lincoln and Alexander II were assassinated. In 1881 James Garfield became president and he was dedicated to restoring the right of the federal government to issue money like Lincoln did in the Civil War and he was also assassinated.
One of the largest stockholders in the new Federal Reserve was the House of Rothschild through their direct and indirect holdings. A few years later it was disclosed that the Rothschilds also owned about 20% of J. P. Morgan. In time Morgan would merge with the Chase Manhattan Bank of the Rockefellers.
Years later John F. Kennedy opposed a private national bank and was assassinated in 1963 and Ronald Reagan opposed a private national bank and in 1981 an attempt was made to assassinate him. Coincidence or not the opposition to a privately owned national bank was a common characteristic.
Which brings us full circle to the present bailout of Bear Stearns by J.P. Morgan Chase & Company and we find the Rothschild, Morgan and Rockefeller families are all conveniently part of the same group benefiting from the bailout and the $30 billion guarantee by the Federal Reserve. This is the third time the J. P. Morgan Company has come to the rescue of the American banking system and economy.

Let’s see how many ways we can BLAME THE FED FOR THE GREAT DEPRESSION:
1.  The US was part of an international gold standard regime.  Between October 1929 and October 1930 the world’s central banks sharply raised the world gold reserve ratio.  The Fed was responsible for nearly 1/2 of that increase.  A higher gold ratio is an activist policy (which violates the “rules of the game”), and is highly contractionary.   After October 1930 the Fed lowered their gold ratio, but other central banks (in the gold bloc) kept raising them.  By this metric the world’s central banks played a huge role in the Great Contraction, but the Fed’s role was mostly limited to the first year.
2.  The Fed reduced the monetary base by about 7% between October 1929 and October 1930.  That contributed to the initial slump.  But after October 1930 the base rose sharply, as the Fed partly (but not fully) accommodated increased currency and reserve demand associated with the banking panics.  The decision to not fully accommodate the increased demand for base money is often viewed as an error of omission, and seems to be the major reason why people like DeLong and Krugman argue that Friedman was being disingenuous in arguing the Fed “caused” the Great Depression.  Indeed Krugman has doubts as to whether any base increase would have been sufficient.
3.  I seem to recall that Friedman also blamed the Fed for mishandling the failure of the Bank of the United States in December 1930.  He argued that support systems available in the pre-Fed era might have prevented the banking panic from spreading.  Thus the government took the function of banking stabilization away from the private sector and gave it to the Fed.  The Fed botched its job, and that fact supports the libertarian worldview.  On the other hand there were plenty of banking crises before 1913, so libertarians can’t really argue that the banking panics would not have occurred if the Fed hadn’t been created.
4.  I think the strongest argument against the government is based on the instability of policy.  Austrians point out that the Fed propped up the economy in the 1920s, with an activist monetary policy under the leadership of Governor Strong.  In fact, monetary policy wasn’t particularly expansionary during the 1920s, using any reasonable metric.  But they are right that Strong “fine-tuned” the economy.  He argued that the Fed should try to smooth out fluctuations in output in prices—in other words he was a proto-market monetarist.  The private sector made all sorts of decisions based on the expectation that Strong’s approach would continue on into the 1930s.  But fine-tuning was abandoned in 1929, as the Fed shifted its focus to the stock market bubble.  This sudden policy switch triggered the Great Contraction.
In the end, we don’t really know what a laissez-faire monetary regime would look like in a modern economy, so it’s fruitless to debate that counter-factual.  The Fed has been given the duty of managing monetary policy, and the question we should be examining is how much of the instability in RGDP is due to flawed Fed policy.  In my view the answer is “most of it.” 


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1 comment:

  1. BACK IN 2009 THE FED FLEXED ITS MUSCLES AGAINST A FEDERAL JUDGE, THREATENING "IRREPARABLE DAMAGE AND ECONOMIC DISASTER" IF THE JUDGE STOOD BY HER RULING THAT THE NAMES OF THE BANKS THAT TOOK PART IN ITS "EMERGENCY LENDING PROGRAM" OR REVEAL HOW MUCH (THE SUMS) EACH BANK HAD CONTRIBUTED. The central bank filed its request on Wednesday, two days after Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Bloomberg News, which had sought information under the federal Freedom of Information Act.The Clearing House Association LLC, which represents banks, in a separate filing supported the Fed’s call for a delay. It said speculation that banks’ liquidity is drying up could cause runs on deposits, and trading partners to demand collateral.