Thursday, August 11, 2011

America needs another economic Andrew Jackson

Most American politicians are not like President Andrew Jackson in all his political views relating to the economy which included abolishing the central bank at the time. In recent times, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) has come under attack by people across the political spectrum. You can't find many who criticize the rich across political lines. But the private banking group, the Fed, is always open to verbal attack if not people-power anger by some that even wants to abolish the Fed.[i] Some have even proposed to eliminate the national debt, like President Jackson. From articles I found online and other sources, I have found those that are like Mr. Jackson in U.S. politics. Before that, you have to look back at exactly what Mr. Jackson said about the precursor to the Federal Reserve, the Second Bank of the United States.

Two years after the founding of modern America in 1789, Congress passed a law that approved a charter for the Bank of the United States for 20 years. Thereafter, an economic plan was in place until 1841 with a five year gap (1811-1816) because of a Pennsylvania legislature that reauthorized the Second Bank of the United States’s charter in 1836 (even though it wasn’t a federal charter after it was vetoed two times by Mr. Jackson). The economic plan started with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton who called for central bank. According to Digital History’s website: "Hamilton's...objective was to create a Bank of the United States…A national bank [that]would collect taxes, hold government funds, and make loans to the government and borrowers. One criticism directed against the bank was…it would encourage speculation and corruption…Thomas Jefferson and James Madison charged that a national bank was unconstitutional since the Constitution did not specifically give Congress the power to create a bank. Hamilton…argued that Congress had the power to create a bank because the Constitution granted the federal government authority to do anything "necessary and proper" to carry out its constitutional functions."[ii] Going back to that, Mr. Hamilton mentions the necessary and proper clause: "Congress shall have the power...To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."[iii] I believe that the bank was unconstitutional, not being necessary and proper in any way and could be easily corrupted since it only benefited the rich, for the most part.[iv] For the next 31 years, until President Andrew Jackson vetoed the charter of Bank of the United States, there wasn't enough opposition to stop the bank.

As part of his plan to eliminate the national debt, Andrew Jackson wanted to eliminate something that he believed gave too much power to the wealthy. That something was the Second Bank of the United States. When the bill that reauthorized its charter passed both houses of Congress, Mr. Jackson vetoed it. In a speech about the bill he stated:
"It is maintained by some that the bank is a means of executing the constitutional power "to coin money and regulate the value thereof." Congress have established a mint to coin money and passed laws to regulate the value thereof...But if they have other power to regulate the currency, it was conferred to be exercised by themselves, and not to be transferred to a corporation. If the bank be established for that purpose...Congress [has] parted with their power for a term of years, during which the Constitution is a dead letter. It is neither necessary nor proper to transfer its legislative power to such a bank, and therefore unconstitutional...It is not their public agency or the deposits of the Government which the States claim a right to tax, but...private emolument--those powers and privileges for which the [banks] pay a bonus...We may not pass an act prohibiting the States to tax the banking business carried on within their limits...The bank is professedly established as an agent of the executive branch of the Government, and its constitutionality is maintained on that ground...There is nothing in its legitimate functions which makes it necessary or proper. Whatever interest or influence, whether public or can not be found either in the wishes or necessities of the executive department, by which present action is deemed premature, and the powers [given to the bank are] not only unnecessary, but dangerous to the Government and country...It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes...when the laws undertake to add to...grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government...If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy." [v]

From the veto speech of the charter of the Second Bank of the United States (which he refers to as “the Bank”) in 1832, I have made some connections in the modern political landscape of America where many are speaking out against a Federal Reserve. As you have read in the above speech, Mr. Jackson called the centralized bank at the time, a private corporation; politicians today are using the same language against the Fed. Before that, to summarize, Mr. Jackson stated:
1. It is unconstitutional for Congress to transfer its ability to coin money to a private corporation, chartered by the government
2. The Constitution is being ignored by those that support the bank
3. The bank itself is unconstitutional and must be abolished
4. States should be allowed to tax private emoluments such as bonuses or gifts of members of the bank
5. States can tax the banking business
6. The Bank is not necessary or proper in carrying out governmental powers
7. Unnecessary Powers given to the bank are dangerous to the country
8. The wealthy and powerful often selfishly try to get themselves more money
9. Farmers, mechanics and laborers have a right to complain to the government of the injustice of their condition
10. The government must stand against new monopolies and executive privileges (such as executive compensation)
11. The government must stay a government for the people, not for the advancement of a few powerful people
12. Compromise and gradual reform in laws and political economy

So from this list, I found a number of politicians that have similar ideas and to find out which ones were like Mr. Jackson except substituting the Federal Reserve instead of the bank. A thirteenth idea of Mr. Jackson not mentioned in his speech is the elimination of the national debt by pulling all government money out of the centralized bank. As president, he was the only one who ever has eliminated the national debt and no one has even come close to that goal since then. I noted which numbers in the above list applied to each quote by putting them in bolded in parentheses, so one can find which person is the modern Andrew Jackson.

The list is expansive and goes across the traditional political spectrum including
- Al Gore in 2000 election (12 possibly in some way and 13)
"Paying down debt reduces government intrusion...Pay off the national debt by 2013."[vi]
- Willie Felix Carter, 2012 Democratic Presidential Candidate (12 and 13)
"[He wants America] moving forward to reduce our national debt...create a business friendly community, with incentives to encourage hiring, and working to ensure affordable housing...“work[ing] with Congress with the interest of co[r]perate America [in mind] and [insuring] small businesses that we not drive them out of competition in the process [of creating affordable healthcare]...reduce give taxpayers more buying power...[and to solve the national debt]."[vii]

- Mike Maloney, 2012 Democratic Presidential Candidate I support (1 except Congress is not mentioned, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11 is implied and 12)
"[the] government cannot plan and direct the economy and cannot be seen as the “creator” of jobs...government must constrain businesses to some extent for the General Welfare, government officials [cannot] intervention to prop up failing businesses [is inefficient and [destroys]...productive segments of the economy...Government Must Protect Free People from the Power of Great Combinations [in business such as monopolies and trusts]...Big Oil...banks [and] media dismantled antitrust laws... [the] Super Rich hide their wealth offshore to escape taxation...[A supporter said from what he's heard, Mr. Maloney would]restore the Eisenhower tax brackets that [America] prospered with...and replace the private Federal Reserve that charges...government interest for imaginary money.”[viii]
- Dee Neveu, another 2012 Presidential candidate (8, 9, 11 and 12)
"[She says she is a] real vote for the people...American jobs need saving...I do believe that a President should be for helping everyone, both rich and poor [by having fair tax laws and through other means]...How can we continue to help everywhere else...when we need to help ourselves again right here in America?” [ix]
- Ron Paul, 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate and current U.S. Representative (3, 12 and sort of 13)
"[A writer talks about Ron Paul, saying he would] lay off Ben Bernanke...and abolish the Federal Reserve...Ron Paul…represents the United States’ last hope of preserving its position as a pre-eminent economic superpower and avoiding a Soviet-style collapse into an abyss of debt, depression and decay.”[x]

- Gary Johnson, 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate (7, 11 and 12)
"The Federal Reserve Bank needs to be reviewed and managed effectively...Congress should take a close look at how the Federal Reserve Bank is operated and regulated. If changes need to be made within the Federal Reserve Bank, they should be made...Government spends too much because it does too much. Unchecked deficits are the single greatest threat to our national security...THE FEDERAL RESERVE SHOULD BE TRANSPARENT and its actions held to the same level of scrutiny as any other federal department."[xi]
- Rand Paul, a current U.S. Republican Senator (7, 11 and 12)
"With so much blame going around for the current financial crisis it is surprising that so few in the mainstream press have discussed the role of the Federal Reserve System. For too long the Federal Reserve has operated behind a shroud of mystery—as Senator I would make sure that all Americans understand the dangers of unsound monetary policy and shed light on this secretive organization...As Senator I would make sure that the Federal Reserve is held accountable and restore transparency to our monetary system." [xii]

- Anonymous's video as talked about in RawStory article (1 possibly, 3 is very likely, but not said, 9 and 11)
"Democrats have failed us, Republicans have failed us... It is time for us to stand up for ourselves... We must fight back against the organized criminal class... We must launch "operation Empire State rebellion. The operation will commence on June 14th...Operation Empire State Rebellion Engaged."...The group's latest Youtube video[xiii] has this description: In this new video release, "as a first step," Anonymous has called for public protests beginning on June 14th, continuing "until Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke steps down." To make their case, they have presented a list of recent scandalous Federal Reserve actions [detailed on]."[xiv]

- Bernie Sanders, Independent Senator from Vermont (4 except not of the Federal Reserve, 5 is said often in other speeches, 8, 9, 10 may not be in speech but is in his policy, 11 and 12)
"Has the Federal Reserve of the United States become the central bank of the world? The Fed said that this bailout was necessary to prevent the world economy from going over a cliff. But three years after the start of the recession, millions of Americans remain unemployed and have lost their homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college. Meanwhile, big banks and corporations have returned to making huge profits and paying their executives record-breaking compensation packages as if the financial crisis they started never happened. What this disclosure tells us, among many other things, is that despite this huge taxpayer bailout, the Fed did not make the appropriate demands on these institutions necessary to rebuild our economy and protect the needs of ordinary Americans...We have begun to lift the veil of secrecy at one of most important agencies in our government. What we are seeing is the incredible power of a small number of people who have incredible conflicts of interest getting incredible help from the taxpayers of this country while ignoring the needs of the people."[xv]
- Jim DeMint , current Republican U.S. Senator (9 and 12)
"Ben Bernanke is an intelligent and well-intended public servant, but the fact is the Fed has failed the American people during his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and I cannot support his nomination for a second term. Americans want a new Fed chairman who is willing to provide transparency into the Fed's actions, who is willing to accept responsibility for the Fed's mistakes, and who is willing to support true monetary reform that guarantees the soundness of our money."[xvi]
- Byron Dorgan, a Democratic U.S. Senator (9, 10, 11 and 12)
“The American people are entitled to know where these dollars have gone. The Fed refuses to disclose this…to the American people, so we are taking congressional action to determine how the Fed has used these trillions of dollars.” [xvii]
- Alan Grayson, Democratic U.S. Representative (9, 10, 11 and 12)
"Many of the people who opposed [the audit of the Fed] have bought into one of the big fictions of our era. That fiction is the fiction of Fed 'independence.' The Fed may be independent from our elected political leadership, but the Fed is anything but independent from Wall Street. On the contrary, the Fed is government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. Wall Street mobilized against this amendment to perpetuate its monopoly control of the money supply, and its ability to conduct secret bailouts with Fed blank checks. For once, Wall Street lost, and the people won. This is important because it represents new hope that we can stop the wholesale transfer of wealth from us to them."[xviii]
- Charles Grassley, a Republican U.S. Senator (7 to extent except the Fed’s powers are not deemed completely unnecessary, 9 is implied and 12)

“The Fed has gone beyond what was viewed as its historical authority in the last two and a half years without any transparency or accountability. Our amendment [the financial reform legislation] changes that by making the Fed’s emergency loan authority subject to the light of day.”[xix]
- Chris Dodd, a Democratic U.S. Senator (7 to extent of needed reform and 12)
"'We saw over the last number of years, when they [the Federal Reserve] took on consumer protection responsibilities and the regulation of bank holding companies, it was an abysmal failure."[xx]
- Newt Gingrich, 2012 Republican Presidential candidate (6 except not all powers given to the federal reserve are abolished and 9)
"As a part of a thorough reappraisal of the role of the Federal Reserve System, Congress should immediately narrow the focus of the Fed to the sole goal of stable prices [and] with so much activity going on behind the closed doors of the Federal Reserve in Washington and New York, we must undertake a full-scale and comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve."[xxi]

From the above list, I have concluded that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and 2012 Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Maloney are most like President Andrew Jackson's economic policy. In fact they have a tie between the numbers of ideas that each has that reflect Mr. Jackson's policies. I like Mr. Maloney, but I would favor Mr. Sanders in a Presidential race because he has proven he is a fighter for the middle class as shown by his 8 hr long "Bernie Buster" or a modern version of a filibuster on the Senate Floor on December 10th, 2010 (I am reading through the speech at this time). Unfortunately Mr. Sanders has announced he isn't running in the Presidential race, but Mr. Maloney is running. So, I support Mr. Maloney.

However, there is no politician I have found who endorses Mr. Jackson's views on the economy totally. I will still wait for that politician that does that. I want a politician like Willie Stark in All the Kings Men that understands the people, but is not power-hungry and has some sort of charisma which is balanced by intelligence of the issues facing this country. That politician will come one day and change America in a way that's needed desperately because the United States of America is on the brink of a new Revolution which I believe has already begun.




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