Taxing Inflation, Part 3 | Romney vs. Nothing

“We are in the midst of yet another great American discussion about taxation. Perhaps no policy area has become more sensitive or controversial. At stake are two vital concerns for the American future: How will we generate sufficient revenue to balance our budget without discouraging economic activity, and will the burden of taxation fall equitably on all Americans?” ~ Mitt Romney

Faith vs. Hopelessness | Independence vs. Dependence

– By Larry Walker, Jr. –

Under Mitt Romney’s tax proposal, no one making less than $200,000 a year is taxed on interest income, dividends or capital gains. For more on why this is just, see Parts One and Two, but to be brief, when investments are losing purchasing power at a faster pace than current returns, a tax on investment income merely acts as a second tax on top of inflation. In addition, under Romney’s plan, income tax rates are cut by 20% across the board, with the bottom tax bracket reduced from 10% to 8%, and the top bracket from 35% to 28%. The last President to lower top tax rates to 28% was Ronald Reagan, and we all know what happened back in the 1980’s. Romney’s game plan also eliminates the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which deserves to die, since Congress has failed to peg its exemptions to inflation.

Aside from the above, Romney eliminates the death tax and caps corporate tax rates at 25%. Altogether Romney’s strategy is pro-growth, one fully capable of giving our stagnant economy the boost it needs to reach a full recovery, and place us back on the right track. Although Romney’s proposal isn’t perfect, it’s far better than the alternative, which can be pretty much summed up as nothing to less than nothing. That’s right! Barack Obama’s scheme omits economic growth as a viable possibility, instead settling on sanctimonious indignation against high achievers, especially business owners who would be hit by his proposed tax hikes.

Obama’s blueprint offers nothing for 98% of Americans, those making less than $157,197 in 1993 dollars (the equivalent of $250,000 today). In other words, you won’t see your taxes rise or fall by one dime, except of course for those new health care taxes. And for the remaining 2%, those making more than $157,197 in 1993 dollars (the equivalent of $250,000 today), Obama offers to hike tax rates to 36% and 39.6%, and to raise the capital gains tax from 15% to 30% or more. In short, under Obama’s outline, 100% of the 51% of Americans who pay income taxes will either receive nothing, or less than nothing. But the most glaring flaw in Obama’s program is that it omits incentives capable of stimulating private sector investment, and thus growth. And without private sector growth, there will be even fewer jobs to go around, and only more of the same — temporary, deficit-financed, government boondoggles.

A Dearth of Gross Private Domestic Investment

Gross Private Domestic Investment is one of the four components of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the United States, real gross private domestic investment currently represents just 14.1% of real GDP, or $1.9 trillion. But after the Republican-led Congress passed a tax-relief and deficit-reduction bill in 1997, real gross private domestic investment subsequently peaked at 17.5% of GDP in the year 2000. The 1997 bill lowered the capital gains tax from 28% to 20%, which induced greater levels of private domestic investment, leading to a higher rate of GDP growth, and increases in economic activity, employment and tax collections. Contrary to popular opinion, it was actually the 1997 tax cuts, not the 1993 Clinton tax hike, which produced the boom of the 1990’s (see chart below).

In the year 2000, the Dot-Com Bubble burst, wiping out a great deal of private capital and reducing gross private domestic investment back to 15.6% of GDP by 2002. So Republicans passed the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. The 2003 Act slashed capital gains rates once again, this time to 5% and 15%. This attracted capital investment back into the economy, boosting gross private domestic investment to 17.2% of GDP in the years 2005 through 2006. Then in 2007, global credit markets went haywire, the housing bubble burst, and the Great Recession commenced. Lasting until June of 2009, the most recent downturn dragged gross private domestic investment to a 20-year low of 11.4% of GDP. Although there has since been a mild rebound to 14.1% of GDP, gross private domestic investment remains hopelessly mired in the same doldrums faced in the mid-1990s. Private investors, perhaps with good reason, are still reluctant to place new capital at risk domestically.

The Perils of Government Investment

There is a strong correlation between gross private domestic investment and real GDP growth (see table). Which came first, the investment or the growth? Well, without investment, there is no growth. And investment can only come from two sectors, private or government. Federal government consumption has remained constant, representing 7.7% of GDP in 1995 and 7.6% currently, while state and local government consumption has declined from 13% of GDP in 1995 to 10.6% currently (see table). The federal goverment’s contribution to GDP is already deficit financed, and state and local governments have bankrupted themselves through commitments to union induced pension schemes and Medicaid. So which is likely to succeed, more deficit-financed government investment, or higher levels of private sector investment?

The reason gross private domestic investment remains retarded is due to the policies of Barack Obama. Under Obama’s program, government spending has spiraled completely out of control, resulting in a glut of low interest U.S. Treasury securities, which are siphoning off capital from the private sector, via the lure of a government guarantee. This is doing a great deal of harm to the American economy, since government is incapable of building anything on its own. As a matter of fact, the only accoutrement the federal government has built by its lonesome is a $15.8 trillion mountain of debt, which now amounts to $139,500 for each U.S. taxpayer (subject to increase every millisecond). What’s ironic is that a taxpayer investing in U.S. government securities is also responsible for making interest payments on the same, through income taxes. After all, it’s not like the government has its own private stash with which to pay. Thus, the notion of government investment is but a farce.

The Obama administration’s latest presumption involves purchasing aviation biofuel through the U.S. Air Force at $59 per gallon, while straight avgas is selling for $3.60 a gallon. This they surmise is somehow a good use of taxpayer monies. The Obama administration, in its wisdom, fully expects the price of biofuels to fall by 2015, even if solely through the demand of a single customer – the U.S. taxpayer. Apparently, no private sector airline is dumb enough to join the gala. The major flaw in this design is that the recipient of this generous subsidy, Gevo, Inc., relies heavily on corn in the manufacture of its patented isobutanol fuel. And since day corn prices have jumped by more than 52% in the last month, due to the severe drought, this puppy is liable to go bankrupt by the end of the year, along with the rest of the Obama administration’s not-so-green, government financed, ventures. But at least we can say, “We didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.” Is converting the food supply into fuel ever a good idea? Hello!

By the way, Gevo’s stock peaked on the NASDAQ exchange at $25.55 per share in April of 2011, but since the end of June has been trading below $5.00 per share. The fact that the stock had already lost over 80% of its value before the drought tells us all we need to know about the current administration’s due diligence. Relying on government investment to make up for a shortfall in private investment is kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Barack Obama’s parting shot, proposing to raise income taxes in the middle of an economic quandary, is about twice as dopey. By now it should be clear that Obama’s big-government dream isn’t the solution to our problems, it is the problem. Government doesn’t know best. In fact, but for the $2.4 trillion a year it collects in taxes from the private sector, the federal government wouldn’t exist.

The Verdict

Raising real gross private domestic investment back to 17.5% of GDP would add as much as 3.4% to real GDP, or the equivalent of $455.6 billion. And since according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, per capita personal income is currently $37,500, that means rebalancing the economy in favor of gross private domestic investment could translate into as many as 12.2 million new jobs.

Mitt Romney’s proposal, to eliminate the tax on interest, dividends, and capital gains for those making less than $200,000, is the only serious plan on the table capable of boosting gross private domestic investment back to 2000 levels, and beyond. And the creation of 12.2 million new jobs through Romney’s strategy is just the tip of the iceberg. Additional jobs are created through increases in personal consumption as the result of cutting income tax rates by 20% across the board, eliminating the AMT, eliminating the death tax, and capping corporate taxes at 25%.

In contrast, Barack Obama’s inflation tax raises taxes on the most productive Americans, those making more than $157,197 in 1993 dollars (the equivalent of $250,000 today), and does nothing for the other 98% of Americans, the combination of which will result in the loss of as many as 12.7 million jobs. So Obama’s notion offers nothing to less than nothing in terms of economic growth.

Mitt Romney’s proposal, on the other hand, leads to higher levels of gross private domestic investment, GDP, economic activity, employment, and tax collections. It’s the best hope for improving America’s economic condition. It’s economic independence versus dependence. It’s faith versus hopelessness. It’s pro-growth versus nothing. Thus, you may place me in the decided column. Was there ever a doubt?

Taxing Inflation, Part 2 | Simple Pro-Growth Policies

Are we interested in treating the symptoms of poverty and economic stagnation through income redistribution and class warfare, or do we want to go at the root causes of poverty and economic stagnation by promoting pro-growth policies that promote prosperity? ~ Paul Ryan

… Promoting Prosperity

– By: Larry Walker, Jr. –

In the United States, real gross private domestic investment currently represents 14.1% of real GDP, or $1.9 trillion. But it only represented 12.6% in 1993, after the Clinton tax hikes. Then in 1997, the Republican-led Congress passed a tax-relief and deficit-reduction bill that was at first resisted but ultimately signed by President Clinton. The 1997 bill lowered the top capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20%. The reduction in capital gains rates encouraged greater private domestic investment, leading to GDP growth, and increases in both economic activity and tax collections. After the bill passed, real gross private domestic investment grew to 15.6% in 1997, and reached a peak of 17.5% by the year 2000. It was actually the 1997 tax cuts, not the 1993 Clinton tax hike, which produced the boom of the 1990’s.

But then the Dot Com Recession began, lasting from March through November 2001, wiping out capital and reducing gross private domestic investment to a low of 15.6% of GDP. Then Republicans passed the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. The 2003 Act slashed capital gains rates to 5% and 15%, which boosted gross private domestic investment back to 17.2% of GDP in 2005 and 2006. But then the housing bubble burst and the Great Recession began, lasting from December 2007 through June 2009, eviscerating trillions of dollars in capital. Recessions typically destroy capital, and the Great Recession was no exception. Afraid of losing again, investors have been reluctant to place new capital at risk. Government spending has since spiraled out of control, absorbing capital from the private sector with the lure of low return guaranteed government securities.

Boosting gross private domestic investment back to 2000, 2005 and 2006 levels, or to between 17.2% and 17.5%, would add as much as 3.4% to GDP growth. But Barack Obama, through a series of temporary measures, coupled with threats of higher taxes, has done little to allay investors fears. So the question today is what can the U.S. government do to encourage more private investment in the domestic economy? Following are three simple policies which can and should be implemented right away.

Pro-Growth Tax Policies

Long-term capital gains are currently taxed at a top rate of 15%, while short-term gains are taxed as ordinary income (at rates ranging from 10% to 35%). At the same time, capital losses are limited to the lesser of $3,000 per year, or up to the amount of concurrent capital gains. Interest income and ordinary dividends are currently taxed as ordinary income, while qualified dividends (paid on stocks held for 60 days or longer) are treated as long-term capital gains and taxed at a maximum rate of 15%.

But this is all subject to change next year – with the rate on long-term capital gains increasing to a maximum of 20%, and the tax on interest, ordinary dividends and qualified dividends all increasing to ordinary rates of between 15% and 39.6%. Until Congress either changes or extends the current rates, uncertainty and flagging private domestic investment will prevail. But a more exigent question is whether taxing any form of return on capital investment is fair. What’s a fair tax for the return on investment?

1. Indexing Capital Gains

As discussed in Part I, in India, capital gains are computed differently than in the U.S. Under India’s tax law an investor is allowed to increase the cost of the original investment by the annual inflation index, before computing a capital gain or loss. Capital gains in Israel are also inflation adjusted. And as stated previously, the following countries don’t tax capital gains at all: Belize, Barbados, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, Egypt, Hong Kong, Islamic Republic of Iran, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and Turkey. Other countries like Canada, Portugal, Australia, and South Africa do levy a tax on capital gains, but the tax only applies to 50% of the gain.

However, in the United States, capital gains are figured without the benefit of an inflation adjustment. What’s wrong with this? What’s wrong is that the U.S. dollar has lost 96% of its value since the Federal Reserve was established and the Tax Code imposed in 1913. Therefore, much of what is thought of as a capital gain in the U.S. isn’t a gain at all, it is rather the recovery of an amount equivalent to (or in some cases less than) the purchasing power of the original investment.

For example, if you had invested $100,000 in 1981, your investment would have the same purchasing power as $261,497 today. That’s because annual inflation has averaged 3.15% in the U.S. over the last 31 years (calculate it here). So an investment of $100,000, 31 years ago, which happened to appreciate by $161,497, hasn’t really made a dime. Yet the federal government will levy a tax of $24,225 (@ 15%) on the investor as a reward for believing in America. But had the same investment been made in India, Israel, or in any of the other 17 above mentioned countries which don’t tax capital gains, the return on capital would have been tax-free. So what’s a fair share?

Does the USA’s current capital gains policy encourage American citizens and corporations to invest more at home, or to move abroad? The answer should be clear. But making matters worse, the tax rate on capital gains is scheduled to increase from 15% to 20% in 2013. And even worse, Barack Obama is proposing to raise the rate to at least 30% on the “wealthy”, while doing nothing for the other 98% of Americans. But on a brighter note, Mitt Romney would eliminate the capital gains tax entirely on taxpayers with incomes below $200,000, while lowering ordinary income tax rates to between 8% and 28%. Romney is on the right track, but he could go a bit farther.

Why not simply index capital gains to inflation, tax real capital gains at ordinary tax rates, and allow an unlimited amount of real capital losses to be claimed within the year recognized? That way it’s not necessary to play the class warfare game. Making capital gains taxes fairer for everyone is a way to increase private domestic investment and GDP, while at the same time attracting capital back to the U.S. and away from what are currently more just investment havens.

2. No Tax on Interest Income

In the U.S., interest income earned on deposits at banks and credit unions, on money market funds, on bonds, and on loans, such as seller-financed mortgages is taxed as ordinary income, subject to ordinary income tax rates. Interest on U.S. Treasury bonds and savings bonds is taxable for federal purposes, but tax-free at the state level. Interest on municipal bonds is tax-free at the federal level and tax-free at the state level if invested within one’s state of residence. Interest on municipal private activity bonds is tax-free for the regular tax, but is taxable for the alternative minimum tax.

Focusing on taxable interest, when the interest rate earned is less than the inflation rate, why is it considered taxable? If an investor isn’t earning at least the inflation rate, there are no real earnings, since the investor suffers a loss in purchasing power. For example, according to, the national average interest rate paid on bank savings accounts is currently 0.09%, and the average rate on 60-month certificates of deposit, whether over or under $100,000, is 1.06%. Meanwhile, inflation has averaged 1.81% over the last five years (lower than normal due to the recession). So at today’s interest rates, an investor with $100,000 in a savings account is losing something on the order of 1.71% in purchasing power each year. This adds up over time. At current averages it would amount to loss in capital of 8.55% over five years. And that doesn’t include service charges some banks impose for the privilege of having an account.

Interest rates banks pay today aren’t a reward, but rather a punishment. But as if interest rates aren’t pathetic enough, after losing purchasing power while trying to save a dollar or two, the federal government then levies a tax on the decline in value, ensuring that no American will ever get ahead. The return on U.S. Treasury securities isn’t any better. On July 16th, the U.S. Treasury was somehow able to sell 3-year Treasury Notes offering an interest rate of 0.25%, and a yield of 0.366%. That’s laughable especially considering that the interest earned is taxable as ordinary income. Meanwhile, the inflation rate for urban consumers was 2.93% last year, and is expected to reach 3.00% in 2013. Are we paying our fair share yet?

The federal government currently taxes interest income at rates ranging between 10% and 35%, yet those rates are scheduled to increase to between 15% and 39.6% in 2013. Barack Obama’s solution is to do nothing for anyone making less than $250,000, and to raise rates to 36% and 39.6% on those making more. Mitt Romney’s solution is to eliminate the tax on interest for taxpayers with incomes below $200,000, while lowering ordinary income tax rates to between 8% and 28%. But Romney shouldn’t even have to play the class warfare game.

Either taxing interest is fair, or it’s not. And if it’s not fair, then it’s not fair for any American. If the U.S. government is serious about encouraging savings within its borders, then at the very least it will eliminate the tax on interest. It’s that simple. In no case should any investor earning less than the rate of inflation be insulted with an income tax bill. And to be truly fair, a capital loss deduction should be allowed when a long-term saver loses purchasing power by getting trapped at rates below the rate of inflation.

3. No Tax on Dividends

In 2003, President George W. Bush proposed to eliminate the U.S. dividend tax stating that “double taxation is bad for our economy and falls especially hard on retired people.” He also argued that while “it’s fair to tax a company’s profits; it’s not fair to double-tax by taxing the shareholder on the same profits.” Perhaps he was right.

In Brazil, dividends are tax free, since the issuer company has already paid a tax. In Japan, since 2009, capital losses may be used to offset dividend income. But in the U.S. dividend income is first taxed to corporations at rates ranging from 15% to 35%, before being paid to shareholders. Investors then get hit with a second tax on the same income ranging from 10% to 35% on ordinary dividends, or limited to 15% on qualified dividends (on stock held for greater than 60 days). And income tax rates on dividends are scheduled to increase to between 15% and 39.6% in 2013, on both ordinary as well as qualified dividends.

Naturally, Barack Obama’s solution is to raise taxes on dividends. Obama plans to keep Bush’s lower 10% tax bracket in place, but to raise top tax rates to 36% and 39.6% on those most likely to invest in dividend paying ventures, those making more than $250,000. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, would eliminate the tax on dividends for taxpayers with incomes below $200.000, while lowering ordinary income tax rates to between 8% and 28%. I believe that Romney is on the right track; however, if double taxation is unfair, then it’s just not fair – no matter how much income is involved.

Dividends should either be taxable to the corporation or the individual, but not both. And lest we forget, a tax on dividends may also be punitive, in the sense that when an investor’s returns are lower than the rate of inflation, purchasing power is being lost, not gained. If the government insists on taxing both entities, then the tax should only apply to individuals on the amount of return in excess of the rate of inflation.


No American should have to pay a tax on capital gains or interest income, unless the return on investment exceeds the rate of inflation. No American should have to pay a tax on dividends when the tax has already been paid by a corporation. Whether it’s easier to just do away with investment taxes altogether is subjective, but I do believe that it’s in best interests of the United States to entirely eliminate them for every American. No American should ever be taxed after suffering a decline in the purchasing power of their capital. At the very least, the basis of capital investments should be adjusted for inflation, and capital losses should be deductible in full and concurrently. If the return on investment is less than the rate of inflation, then there is nothing to tax.

Barack Obama has proposed to do nothing for 98% of taxpayers, and to raise taxes on the investment income of those making more than $250,000. He’s so stuck on the class warfare tack that he has totally forgotten to put anything on the table which would encourage greater levels of savings and investment within the United States. If Obama is somehow successful, I would expect more capital and more jobs to be shipped overseas.

Mitt Romney has proposed policies which will encourage greater savings and investment. Although his plan isn’t perfect, it’s far better than the alternative. Romney would eliminate the tax on capital gains, interest and dividends for taxpayers making less than $200,000. He would also lower the bottom tax rate to 8% from 10%, and top rates to 28% from 35%. Romney’s policies are more likely to retain capital within the U.S. and to attract more from abroad, which will lead to increases in gross private domestic investment, GDP, economic activity, employment and wealth creation.

Data: Spreadsheet on Google Drive

Taxing Inflation: Why Americans Invest Overseas

Artificially Raising Taxes Reduces GDP

– By: Larry Walker, Jr. –

“Tax increases appear to have a very large, sustained and highly significant negative impact on the economy.” ~ Christina Romer, just prior to leaving the Obama Administration –

U.C. Berkley Professor and President Obama’s former Chair of his Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), Christina Romer, published a paper in 2010, concluding that a tax increase of 1 percent of GDP, about $160 billion today, reduces output over the next three years by nearly 3 percent, or $480 billion at current GDP figures. And according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, per capita personal income is currently running at around $37,500. Thus, Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the most productive American citizens would result in a loss of around 12.7 million jobs over the ensuing three-year period. But fortunately, U.S. policy makers aren’t naïve enough to place their trust in the hands of a novice. I wonder what India’s economists think.

In India, GDP is expected to grow by 6.5% this year, and by 7.1% in 2013, or more than 3 times the rate of the U.S. And according to the President of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Adi Godrej, “Artificially raising taxes will reduce GDP.” What he says in the following one minute video should be common sense. To paraphrase Mr. Godrej, ‘The tax to GDP ratio is best increased when GDP growth is good. When GDP growth is good, economic activity, tax collections, and the tax to GDP ratio increase. But it goes exactly the other way when GDP growth slows down. Thus, high rates of taxation are against the interests of the country. Reasonable tax rates with policies designed to increase GDP growth is the best way to increase the tax to GDP ratio.’

U.S. Capital Gains Taxes

In 1997, the Republican-led Congress passed a tax-relief and deficit-reduction bill that was resisted but ultimately signed by President Clinton. One of the things the 1997 bill did was lower the top capital gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent. It was actually the 1997 tax cuts, not the 1993 Clinton tax hike, which produced the boom of the 1990’s. The reduction of capital gains rates encouraged greater investment, which lead to GDP growth, and an increase in both economic activity and tax collections.

The same policy will work today. However, what Barack Obama is proposing is exactly the opposite. Obama’s notion of raising income taxes on some taxpayers, health care taxes on others, and capital gains rates on investors, to name a few, amounts to an artificial tax hike, which most economists agree will result in a reduction of GDP. Thus, Obama’s tax hikes are not in the best interests of the country. But he doesn’t appear to care about our common welfare.

Obama’s policies are admittedly not about economic growth, but rather about furthering his self contrived, yet erroneous, notion of fairness. Yet the truth is that the very concept of taxing capital gains is in itself unfair. The method in which capital gains are calculated in the United States is antiquated, illogical, and actually hinders our ability to reach a full recovery. In order to understand the dilemma, one must put himself in an investors place.

An Example: Let’s say an investor makes a five year commitment to invest $100,000 into a public or private company stock. And let’s say the rate of inflation is averaging 3.0% per year. By the time the investment is sold, what cost $100,000 five years ago, may cost as much as $115,000, due to inflation. So if no gain is realized on the investment, the investor automatically loses $15,000 in purchasing power.

Now let’s assume that five years later the investment has grown from $100,000 to $115,000. Under the current U.S. tax code, upon redemption of the stock, the investor is subject to a 15.0% tax on the gain. A capital gain of $15,000 is calculated by subtracting the amount of the original investment from the sales price ($115,000 – $100,000), and the amount of tax due is $2,250 ($15,000 * 0.15).

So to summarize, an investor made a 5-year investment of $100,000, recognized a long-term capital gain of $15,000, paid a capital gains tax of $2,250, and got to keep $12,750, or 85.0% of the gain. Most people think this is fair enough, but there are a few scoffers out there who think a 15% capital gains tax is too low. So let’s examine the question of fairness.

Most of us are aware that the dollar has lost roughly 96% of its value since 1913 (see chart at the top). With that in mind, if instead of investing the $100,000, as in the example, the investor chose to hide it under a mattress, what would happen? For one thing, no taxes would be due. But at the same time, when the money is spent, 5 years later, its purchasing power will have declined by $15,000, again due to inflation. In fact, the reason most people choose to invest their money is to simply maintain the purchasing power of their savings.

In the example, the investment barely appreciated enough to keep pace with inflation. Therefore, no gain was realized. Inflation ate up $15,000 of the investor’s purchasing power, which was merely recovered through appreciation in the stock. But now along comes the U.S. government to lend a helping hand. And because of its antiquated and illogical tax policies, the federal government levies a 15% tax on what, for all practical purposes, isn’t a gain at all. The government then collects what it deems to be its fair share of a gain, but the investor hasn’t actually gained a dime. In fact, once the tax is paid, the investor realizes a loss in purchasing power. Does that sound fair? Who knew that maintaining the value of the currency in ones possession was a taxable event?

Capital Gains in India and Elsewhere

In India, capital gains are computed differently than in the U.S. Under India’s tax law an investor is allowed to increase the cost of the original investment by the annual inflation index, before computing a gain or loss. Had this been done in the example above, the basis of the original investment would have been stepped up to $115,000 before computing a net capital gain of $0 ($115,000 – $115,000). In India, it is considered unfair to tax someone for merely recouping the inflation adjusted value of an investment. It’s unfair because the sales proceeds of an investment are derived from the current value of the currency, whereas its cost was based on a value that existed in the past (five years prior in the example above).

The following countries are even more progressive, they don’t tax capital gains at all: Belize, Barbados, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, Egypt, Hong Kong, Islamic Republic of Iran, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and Turkey. Other countries, like Canada and South Africa do levy a capital gains tax, but only on 50% of the gain. A few nations even allow their citizens to defer capital gains taxes entirely by allowing them to rollover their gains into a new investment within certain time frames.

One has to wonder why anyone in their right mind would be encouraged to invest in the United States. Considering that inflation doesn’t stop when an investment is sold, while the money is sitting around waiting for the tax to be paid, it continues to lose value. And once the tax is paid, the remainder continues to diminish in value until it is ultimately reinvested. In light of the colossal decline in the value of the U.S. dollar over the past 100 years, the question we should be asking ourselves is not what rate to levy on capital gains, but rather why the tax even exists?

Pro-Growth Tax Policies

No wonder many Americans choose to invest abroad, and in some cases to renounce their citizenship entirely. These days, if you want a fair shot, and if you want to pay your fair share, you might have to set your sights beyond the shores of the United States. The bottom line is that the U.S. Tax Code needs an overhaul. Our tax policies should be upgraded to something more along the lines of reason and common sense. Like India, we should at the very least index the basis of long-term capital investments to inflation, for purposes of determining taxable gains (and deductible losses). This concept should be applied to all forms of capital investment.

If the federal government refuses to implement policies which encourage GDP growth, then how does it expect the economy to grow? When our wealth is being slowly eroded by inflation, and then we’re taxed on the deteriorating value of our currency, it pretty much makes investing in the U.S. futile. If the federal government wants to encourage investment in the U.S., which is what it should do, in order to stimulate GDP growth and create jobs, then our elected officials should stop talking about raising tax rates on both ordinary income and capital gains, and start discussing ways to lower the tax burden and make our system fairer and comparable to more just investment havens.

Here’s some more food for thought. Why is interest income taxed? When a saver is earning less than 1.0% at a domestic bank, while inflation is running at more twice that rate, why is the federal government entitled to any part of what amounts to a decline in purchasing power? What you earn on a bank account these days isn’t interest income; it’s more like a taxable capital loss. What about dividends? Dividends are already taxed once at the corporate level, are not deductible by corporations for tax purposes, and then are taxed again after distribution to the investor (double taxation)? Taxing interest and dividends isn’t fair either, and the practice should therefore be repealed.

No American should ever have to pay a tax on capital, especially when upon its return the inflation adjusted value is the same or less than the original amount. Is the U.S. taxing the eroding value of the dollar because it makes sense, or perhaps because when the tax code was conceived no one anticipated that the dollar would lose 96% of its value over the ensuing 100 years? If you think our current method of taxing interest, dividends and capital gains is fair, then please explain your reasoning. If you think that taxing the deteriorating value of the dollar is a way to foster economic growth, then why has real GDP growth only averaged approximately 1.5% in the United States over the last 12 years?

“Action expresses priorities.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi


India Tax Laws and Tax System 2012

Tax Rates in India

India Mart – Computation of Capital Gains

Nine Million Dollars – Long Term Capital Gains Tax (LTCG) on Property Sale

Heritage Foundation – Tax Cuts, Not the Clinton Tax Hike, Produced the 1990s Boom

Wikipedia – Capital Gains Tax

Rising Interest on Federal Debt | Don’t Double My Rates

Hey, Don’t Double Obama’s Rates!

* By: Larry Walker, Jr. *

Mr. Obama asked students at the University of North Carolina yesterday afternoon to tell their members of Congress one thing: Don’t double my rates.

Once again, Mr. Obama doubled down on flimflam, this time misdirecting towards rising interest rates on student loan debt — instead of targeting the rising cost of interest on the federal debt. According to the White House, interest on the federal debt is projected to surpass $1.0 trillion per annum by the year 2020. Mr. Obama also failed to mention the $494 billion tax hike scheduled to hit American taxpayers on January 1, 2013.

According to Mr. Obama, “Five years ago, Congress cut the rates on federal student loans in half. That was a good thing to do. But on July 1st — that’s a little over two months from now — that rate cut expires.  And if Congress does nothing, the interest rates on those loans will double overnight…. And just to give you some sense of perspective — for each year that Congress doesn’t act, the average student with these loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt — an extra thousand dollars.  That’s basically a tax hike for more than 7 million students across America…”

If rising interest rates on student loan debt represents a tax hike, what are we to make of next year’s higher income tax rates?

Nine years ago, Congress cut income tax rates across the board. That too was a good thing to do. But on December 31st — that’s a little over eight months from now — those rates expire. And if the U.S. Senate does nothing, income tax rates will rise overnight… Tax policies in seven different categories will expire, including the Bush Tax Cuts, the payroll tax cut, and the AMT Patch. Plus five of the 18 new tax hikes from Obamacare will begin. And just to give you some sense of perspective — Taxmageddon is a $494 billion tax increase, so each year that the U.S. Senate doesn’t act, every man, woman, and child in America will rack up an additional $1,500 in income taxes — an extra fifteen hundred dollars. That’s an extra $6,900 for every U.S. taxpayer (the 50% of us who actually pay income taxes) – an extra six thousand nine hundred dollars.

So should my three children, who are all in college, be worried more about rising interest rates on student loans, dismal employment prospects, looming tax hikes, or rising interest on the federal debt?

Rising Interest on the Federal Debt

Based on Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget, per Table 27-13, Baseline Budget Authority and Outlays by Function, Category, and Program, Gross Annual Interest on Treasury Debt Securities is projected to grow from $453.9 billion in 2011 to over $1.0 trillion by 2020, and to surpass $1.2 trillion by the year 2022 (see Chart below). Since this represents about half of the government’s current revenue, that doesn’t leave much room for anything other than Social Security and Medicare.

Today’s college students need to give serious and careful thought to a lot more than interest rates on student loan debt. Within the next eleven years, on a cumulative basis, the U.S. Government will incur more than $9.3 trillion in interest on the federal debt (see Chart below). That equates to roughly $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America. And since only 50% of working Americans pay income taxes, for those fortunate enough to obtain gainful employment, it amounts to nearly $131,378 each. And that’s just over the next eleven years — an extra one hundred and thirty one thousand three hundred and seventy eight dollars.

Thanks, Mr. Obama, for sugarcoating the dire consequences of your lack of a cohesive economic plan, and for sacrificing my children and grandchildren’s futures in lieu of your own selfish ambitions.



Table 27-13. Current Services Budget Authority and Outlays by Function, Category, and Program

Solving the Debt Crisis | A Catch-22

~ Pass The Monetary Reform Act ~

By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

The Obama administration’s solution for the nation’s impending destruction, due to out-of-control deficit spending, is to increase the debt ceiling now, and worry about spending cuts later. The Obama administration is under the impression that more borrowing power will enable the nation to maintain its AAA Credit rating. The Catch-22 is that an instant increase in the debt ceiling will result in an instant downgrade to the nation’s credit rating. You see, the problem is not the level of the nation’s debt ceiling; the problem is America’s debt-to-GDP ratio. If raising the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion would result in an equal increase in gross domestic product, then the problem would be solved. However, there is no verifiable link between government spending and economic growth.

The following passage, from Joseph Heller’s book, “Catch-22”, about sums up the whole zero-sum debt dilemma: “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.” The solution to Orr’s problem would be to simply end the war. Similarly, the solution to the National Debt problem is to simply end the Fed.

Obama and his supporters are basically saying, “You have to buy more government bonds, otherwise the bonds you already own will go into default.” In other words, the only way the government can continue to pay the interest on its $14.5 trillion National Debt is through incurring more debt. Like Orr in Heller’s Catch-22, Obama must be thinking: I have bankrupted the federal government and need to borrow more to keep from going broke. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, the National Debt will be contained, but we will not be able to pay the interest on the current debt. If we raise the debt ceiling, we will increase our debt thus ensuring our demise, but if we don’t raise the debt ceiling then we must declare bankruptcy. If we raise the debt ceiling we will be bankrupt, and if we don’t raise the debt ceiling we will be bankrupt.

What AAA Rating? – While American politicians claim that their intention is to preserve the nation’s alleged AAA credit rating, Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd. (Dagong), China’s credit rating service, has already lowered its rating to A+/negative. Dagong initially assigned the United States a sovereign credit rating of AA in July 2010, but lowered this rating on November 3, 2010, when the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its QE2 monetary policy. In Dagong’s opinion, QE2 was “aimed at stimulating the U.S. economy through issuing an excessive amount of U.S. dollars”, which it saw as a sign of “the collapse of the U.S. government’s ability to repay its debt and a drastic decline of its intention to repay”. Dagong therefore downgraded the U.S.A.’s credit rating to A+/negative, and has since placed the sovereign credit rating of the United States on its Negative Watch List. But who cares about China’s credit rating service, right? After all, we only acknowledge Moody’s and S&P in the West, because we can always borrow from Europeans, right?

Unasked Questions – The questions that politicians have failed to consider in this entire futile debate are as follows:

Why is the government in debt? – The federal government is in debt because it has given its ability to create money over to the privately owned Federal Reserve, and to privately owned National Banks. Every time the government needs money, it must first borrow it from the Federal Reserve by exchanging bonds for cash. Why? If the government were to simply print its own currency, similar to Lincoln’s Greenbacks, then there would be no National Debt at all. So why not change this first? If the federal government were to pass the Monetary Reform Act, it would be able to payoff the entire National Debt within a year, and would simultaneously extinguish from its budget $400 billion per year in interest payments.

Where will the money come from? – When the Obama administration proposes to increase the National Debt by another $2.5 trillion, it’s most profound that no one is asking where the money will come from. So where will the money come from? The answer is out of thin air. That’s right. The money the government borrows is created out of thin air. But creating money out of thin air has consequences, namely inflation. When the Fed prints money and exchanges it for government bonds, the existing money supply is diluted, in other words, worth less. Who needs QE3, when you’ve got Obama-Year-3?

Dazed and Confused – Many, so called, conservatives seem to be confused on the matter of Monetary Reform. When we say, “Who cares about the banks, let them go broke”, they reply, “but banks are businesses and what you are proposing is anti-capitalism.” It’s funny that when it came to big bank bailouts, the same crowd who was chanting, “Let them go broke,” is now saying, “Don’t take away our precious banks.” I maintain that banks are not businesses. Banks produce no real goods or services; they merely buy, sell and hold debt. They also receive the largest government subsidy there is, the ability to create money out of thin air and to loan it out at interest.

Real businesses produce real products and services such as oil companies. Oil companies drill for oil and natural gas, and then refine it into tangible products sold to the public for profit. When politicians speak of taking away, so called, tax subsidies for oil companies, what they are really saying is that U.S. citizens should pay more in energy costs, not that oil companies should pay more in taxes. When we say, “End the Fed,” what we are really saying is, “End the National Debt”. When we say, “Raise bank reserve ratios from 0% to 10%, to 100%”, what we are saying is, “Take away the national banking system’s ability to create and loan out money that it doesn’t have.”

The Only Solution – Cutting taxes, reducing spending, raising taxes, and increasing spending are proposals which no matter how you structure them will not solve the real problem. Borrowing more to keep from going broke is not only absurd, it’s insane. So who’s kidding who? Passing the Monetary Reform Act will solve the National Debt problem and place America firmly on the road to recovery. In my opinion, there is no other solution.

Until there is reform, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto The United States the things that are the Federal Reserve Bank’s.”

Photo Credit: World Crisis by Petr Kratochvil

The Monetary Reform Act of 201X | Authentic

The Two Step Plan to National Economic Reform and Recovery

Step 1: Directs the Treasury Department to issue U.S. Notes (like Lincoln’s Greenbacks; can also be in electronic deposit format) to pay off the National debt.

Step 2: Increases the reserve ratio private banks are required to maintain from 10% to 100%, thereby terminating their ability to create money, while simultaneously absorbing the funds created to retire the national debt.

These two relatively simple steps, which Congress has the power to enact, would extinguish the national debt, without inflation or deflation, and end the unjust practice of private banks creating money as loans (i.e. fractional reserve banking). Paying off the national debt would wipe out the $400+ billion annual interest payments and thereby balance the budget. This Act would stabilize the economy and end the boom-bust economic cycles caused by fractional reserve banking.

Monetary Reform Act – Summary

This proposed law would require banks to increase their reserves on deposits from the current 10%, to 100%, over a one-year period. This would abolish fractional reserve banking (i.e., money creation by private banks) which depends upon fractional (i.e., partial) reserve lending. To provide the funds for this reserve increase, the US Treasury Department would be authorized to issue new United States Notes (and/or US Note accounts) sufficient in quantity to pay off the entire national debt (and replace all Federal Reserve Notes).

The funds required to pay off the national debt are always closely equivalent to the amount of money the banks have created by engaging in fractional lending because the Fed creates 10% of the money the government needs to finance deficit spending (and uses that newly created money to buy US bonds on the open market), then the banks create the other 90% as loans (as is explained on our FAQ page). Thus the national debt closely tracks the combined total of US Treasury debt held by the Fed (10%) and the amount of money created by private banks (90%).

Because this two-part action (increasing bank reserves to 100% and paying off the entire national debt) adds no net increase to the money supply (the two actions cancel each other in net effect on the money supply), it would cause neither inflation nor deflation, but would result in monetary stability and the end of the boom-bust pattern of US economic activity caused by our current, inherently unstable system.

Thus our entire national debt would be extinguished – thereby dramatically reducing or entirely eliminating the US budget deficit and the need for taxes to pay the $400+ billion interest per year on the national debt – and our economic system would be stabilized, while ending the terrible injustice of private banks being allowed to create over 90% of our money as loans on which they charge us interest. Wealth would cease to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands as a result of private bank money creation. Thereafter, apart from a regular 3% annual increase (roughly matching population growth), only Congress would have the power to authorize changes in the US money supply – for public use -not private banks increasing only private bankers’ wealth.

Support the Monetary Reform Act – write your Congressman today!

Read the full version of the Monetary Reform Act here.

If not now, when?

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Debt Mayhem | End Fractional-Reserve Banking

An Empire Built on Sand ~

~ By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

Those of us who lived through the financial crisis of 2008 are most familiar with the drawbacks of fractional-reserve banking. It’s core theory, that wealth is created through debt, is now so ridiculously out of control, that every newborn American citizen today enters this world more than $46,000 in debt. Those naive enough to think that America’s most pressing problem started in January of 2001, or some other arbitrary date, need to look back a bit further, to 1913 to be precise. In America, taxpayers have been the suckers, while the “middle class” have been lulled into serfdom. But since we the people are no longer willing to perpetuate this fraud, the federal government, on our behalf, and at our expense, has volunteered to further prop up a broken and obsolete monetary system, yet the days of fractional-reserve banking are numbered.

What is fractional-reserve banking? – Fractional-reserve banking is a type of banking whereby a bank does not retain all of a customer’s deposits within the bank. Funds received by the bank are generally loaned out to other customers. This means that the available funds, called bank reserves, are only a fraction (reserve ratio) of the quantity of deposits at the bank. As most bank deposits are treated as money in their own right, fractional reserve banking increases the money supply, and banks are said to create money, literally out of thin air.

Fractional-reserve banking is prone to bank runs, or other systemic crisis, as anyone who has studied the American economy since 1913 is well aware. In order to mitigate this risk, the governments of most countries, usually acting through a central bank, regulate and oversee commercial banks, provide deposit insurance and act as a lender of last resort. If the banking system could only find a big enough sucker, one dumb enough to borrow say $14.4 trillion or more indefinitely, its prospects would be unlimited.

How does it work? – As an example, let’s say you work hard and are able to deposit $100,000 into Bank A. What does the bank do with your money? I mean if you wanted to withdraw it all in the following week, would it still be there? The answer is yes, and no. You see once you deposit your money, the bank immediately loans it out to someone else, likely keeping none of it in reserve, or at the most 10%. Let’s assume that Bank A is one of the mega-banks subject to the maximum bank reserve requirement of 10%. What happens is that the bank will hold $10,000 of your money either in its vault, or in a regional federal reserve bank, and will loan the other $90,000 to someone else.

Let’s say that Joe, a borrower, walks in to Bank A and applies for a $90,000 home loan on the day after you make your deposit. Bank A gladly gives Joe the $90,000 loan, at 5% interest over 30 years. When Joe closes on the loan, the $90,000 is paid to Jenn, the seller of the home. Jenn then deposits the $90,000 into her account at Bank B. Bank B keeps $9,000 of her money in reserve while lending out the other $81,000. Now let’s say that Jack comes along and secures an $81,000 business loan from Bank B on the day after Jenn makes her deposit. Now Jack deposits the $81,000 into his account with Bank C, and the cycle continues.

Bank A counts the $100,000 in your account as a liability, because it owes this amount back to you, and at the same time counts the $90,000 loan made to Joe, and the $10,000 held in reserve as assets. In effect Bank A has created a $90,000 loan asset for itself out of thin air. Fractional-reserve banks count loans as assets, and then earn their money through charging interest on this fictitious money. They also make money through repackaging loans as investments and selling them on the open market, potentially creating an even bigger fraud.

Following the money, your bank statement shows a balance of $100,000 at Bank A, Jenn’s bank statement reveals a balance of $90,000 with Bank B, and Jack has a balance of $81,000 on deposit with Bank C. The money supply has amazingly increased by $171,000 (90,000 + 81,000), through very little effort. Amazing, considering that the only real money introduced into the system was your initial $100,000 deposit. Through the system of fractional-reserve banking your original $100,000 has been magically transformed into $271,000 of liquid cash, while at the same time creating $171,000 of debt.

So what happens if you come back the following week to withdraw all of your money? Well first of all, Bank A will likely tell you that you need to give them several days notice before making such a large withdrawal, because in reality, they don’t have your money anymore. Bank A is then forced to do one of three things: borrow the money overnight from the Federal Reserve, or another member bank; sell some of its loans on the secondary market; or wait until another customer makes a $100,000 deposit – using $90,000 of that plus the $10,000 it held in reserve for you. If this sounds like a Ponzi scheme, it just might be.

Creating Wealth through Debt – The table below displays how loans are funded and how the money supply is affected. It shows how a commercial bank creates money from an initial deposit of $100,000. In the example, the initial deposit is lent out 10 times with a fractional-reserve rate of 10% to ultimately create $686,189 of commercial bank money. Each successive bank involved in this process creates new commercial bank money (out of thin air) on a diminishing portion of the original deposit. This is because banks only lend out a portion of the initial money deposited, in order to fulfill reserve requirements and to allegedly ensure that they have enough reserves on hand to meet normal transaction demands.

The model begins when the initial $100,000 deposit of your money is made into Bank A. Bank A sets aside 10 percent of it, or $10,000, as reserves, and then loans out the remaining 90 percent, or $90,000. At this point, the money supply actually totals $190,000, not $100,000. This is because the bank has loaned out $90,000 of your money, kept $10,000 of it in reserve (which is not counted as part of the money supply), and has substituted a newly created $100,000 IOU for you that acts equivalently to and can be implicitly redeemed (i.e. you can transfer it to another account, write a check on it, demand your cash back, etc.). These claims by depositors on banks are termed demand deposits or commercial bank money and are simply recorded on a bank’s books as a liability (specifically, an IOU to the depositor). From your perspective, commercial bank money is equivalent to real money as it is impossible to tell the real money apart from the fake, until a bank run occurs (at which time everyone wants real money).

At this point in the model, Bank A now only has $10,000 of your money on its books. A loan recipient is holding $90,000 of your money, but soon spends the $90,000. The receiver of that $90,000 then deposits it into Bank B. Bank B is now in the same situation that Bank A started with, except it has a deposit of $90,000 instead of $100,000. Similar to Bank A, Bank B sets aside 10 percent of the $90,000, or $9,000, as reserves and lends out the remaining $81,000, increasing the money supply by another $81,000. As the process continues, more commercial bank money is created out of thin air. To simplify the table, different banks (A – K) are used for each deposit, but in the real world, the money a bank lends may end up in the same bank so that it then has more money to lend out.

Although no new money was physically created, through the process of fractional-reserve banking new commercial bank money is created through debt. The total amount of reserves plus the last deposit (or last loan, whichever is last) will always equal the original amount, which in this case is $100,000. As this process continues, more commercial bank money is created. The amounts in each step decrease towards a limit. This limit is the maximum amount of money that can be created with a given reserve ratio. When the reserve rate is 10%, as in the example above, the maximum amount of total deposits that can be created is $1,000,000 and the maximum increase in the money supply is $900,000 (explained below).

Fractional reserve banking allows the money supply to expand or contract. Generally the expansion or contraction is dictated by the balance between the rate of new loans being created and the rate of existing loans being repaid or defaulted on. The balance between these two rates can be influenced to some degree by actions of the Fed. The value of commercial bank money is based on the fact that it can be exchanged freely as legal tender. The actual increase in the money supply through this process may be lower, as at each step, banks may choose to hold reserves in excess of the statutory minimum, or borrowers may let some funds sit idle, or some people may choose to hold cash (such as the unbanked). There also may be delays or frictions in the lending process, or government regulations may also limit the amount of money creation by preventing banks from giving out loans even though the reserve requirements have been fulfilled.

What are the Fed’s current reserve requirements? – According to the Federal Reserve, banks with less than $10.7 million on deposit are not required to reserve any amount. When deposits reach $10.7 to $58.8 million the requirement is just 3%. It’s only when deposits exceed $58.8 million that a 10% reserve requirement applies. The table below was extracted from the Federal Reserve’s website.

How much money can our banking system create out of thin air? – The most common mechanism used to measure the increase in the money supply is typically called the money multiplier. It calculates the maximum amount of money that an initial deposit can be expanded to with a given reserve ratio.

FormulaThe money multiplier, m, is the inverse of the reserve requirement R:


A reserve ratio of 10 percent yields a money multiplier of 10. This means that an initial deposit of $100,000 will create $1,000,000 in bank deposits.

A reserve ratio of 3 percent yields a money multiplier of 33. This means that an initial deposit of $100,000 will create $3,300,000 in bank deposits.

A reserve ratio of 0 percent yields a money multiplier of ∞ (infinity). This means that an initial deposit of $100,000 will create an unlimited amount of bank deposits.

What’s the problem? – The system works fine as long as everyone plays along. The biggest problem is that it’s a system by which wealth is only created through debt. Through this system, the lender always wins; while debtors – nowadays referred to as the middle class – always lose. As long as there are willing borrowers, our economy grows. When consumers, businesses, and the federal government stop borrowing, the system shuts down. But one cannot very well borrow into infinity; after all, life itself is finite. “There is a time to borrow, and a time to repay; a time to live and a time to die.” One definitely cannot borrow while lacking the means of repayment, unless of course, it has a seeming unlimited ability to tax.

The next biggest problem is that of absurdly low bank reserve requirements. With bank reserve requirements set at 0% to 10%, what could possibly go wrong? I mean besides banks having the ability to create an infinite supply of make-believe money through debt. The modern mainstream view of reserve requirements is that they are intended to prevent banks from:

  1. Generating too much money by making too many loans against the narrow money deposit base;
  2. Having a shortage of cash when large deposits are withdrawn (although the reserve is thought to be a legal minimum, it is understood that in a crisis or bank run, reserves may be made available on a temporary basis).

Let’s face the facts. Our present monetary policy is a disaster. When too many players wish to withdraw their money to hold as cash, or too many purchases are made overseas, or an excessive amount of loan defaults occur, the house comes crashing down. When all three events occur at the same time, as actually happened in 2008, it should have spelled the end of fractional-reserve banking. But instead, our leaders are in denial. Now “wealthy” U.S. taxpayers are being called upon to bailout the federal government, while at the same time, the government seeks more borrowing power. But when all our wealth is gone, who will rescue us then? And if the entire global monetary system has likewise been built on the same sinking sand, who will rescue them?

Well, hopefully you now have a better understanding of why our present monetary system is dysfunctional, why the federal government wants you to borrow more, and why it wants to borrow more itself. We are a nation built on a Ponzi scheme; one which cannot grow without incurring further debt. But as I said before, growth through debt amounts to nothing more than spending next year’s income today. Man does not live by debt alone.

What’s the solution? – We have to put an end to fractional-reserve banking. It should be clear, to all those with understanding that we need to get off of this merry-go-round. The first step is for the Federal government to take the power of money creation away from the Federal Reserve and from commercial banks by both issuing and controlling the quantity of its own currency (rather than Federal Reserve Notes). The second step is to increase bank reserve requirements to 100%, as banks should never again be allowed to loan out more money than actually on deposit. If there was a way to end the debt-money system and to payoff the national debt within a year or two, wouldn’t you want to know? For the details on how to accomplish this, I implore you to watch Bill Still’s full video entitled, The Secret of Oz (preview).

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” ~ Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)


Fractional-Reserve Banking

Principles of Monetary Reform

Federal Reserve: Monetary Policy

Monetary Reform, Part II | Lending and Interest

– By: Larry Walker, Jr. –

The interest that U.S. taxpayers pay on behalf of the federal government, for the privilege of having money in our wallets, and to cover irresponsible deficit-spending, is only the beginning of our woes. When it comes to our personal credit needs, American citizens are once again shackled and sold down river. With regards to borrowing and lending, we may be able to take a few pointers from Islamic banking. I know what you’re thinking, but just bear with me. Let me make one thing clear, I am a Christian, and I do not agree with any of the principles of Sharia, except for those it shares in common with the Bible. Upon these, I think most humans can agree. For in this case, we are not talking about matters of heaven or hell; we’re talking about money.

“If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.” ~ Leviticus 25:35-37

Interest – Sharia prohibits the charging of interest (known as usury) for loans of money. The Bible is also very clear on the matter of usury. The Biblical term for usury, neshek, is strongly negative, coming from a root whose basic meaning is to strike as a serpent. Islamic banking has the same purpose as conventional banking: to make money for the banking institute through the lending of capital. But because Islam forbids simply lending out money at interest, Islamic rules on transactions have been created to avoid this problem. The basic technique to avoid the prohibition is the sharing of profit and loss, via terms such as profit sharing, safekeeping, joint venture, cost plus, and leasing.

Loans in pre-industrial societies were made to farmers in seed grains, animals and tools. Since one grain of seed could generate a plant with over 100 new grain seeds, after the harvest, farmers could easily repay the grain with “interest” in grain. When an animal was loaned, interest was paid by sharing in any new offspring. What was loaned had the power of generation, and interest was a sharing of the result. Interest on tool loans would be paid in the produce which the tools had helped to create.

Monetary problems didn’t surface until societies began using metals, like gold, as forms of currency. When interest was allowed to be charged on loans of metals, with the interest to be paid in more metal, life became more difficult, particularly with agricultural loans. The problem is that inorganic materials, not being living organisms, have no means of reproduction. Thus, any interest paid on them must originate from some other source or process. The same is true with paper money today.

For example, if you borrow money to start a farming business, the only way to pay it back is if you are able to sell your crops to others in exchange for sufficient paper money to cover your expenses, including principal and interest. If your crops happen to get wiped out one season, then most likely, so do you. Even if you borrow money to start any kind of business, and are successful, you must make enough profit to cover the principal and interest payments on the debt. And in case you don’t know it, principal repayments are never deductible for income tax purposes. So a business with $100,000 in profit, which uses it to repay its debt, must then come up with additional money to cover the income taxes thereon; leading to the incurrence of more debt. What we have in the United States is a system of winners and losers, where the big banks always win, while the citizens of the Republic mostly lose.

Mortgage Loans – Let’s say you decide to buy a home for $110,000 by paying $10,000 down, and taking out a $100,000, 30 year – 5% fixed rate mortgage. When the term is over, you will have paid the lender $193,256, plus your down payment, for a total of $203,256. What you get in exchange is the privilege of living in a home which may or may not be worth its original value of $110,000 in 30 years. If your home loses value midstream, as far as the lender is concerned, “too bad”. If you miss, or are late on a payment, the lender will charge you penalties and destroy your credit, preventing you from obtaining future loans. If you get too far behind, the lender will put you out on the street. It doesn’t matter how good your credit was before your troubles, or how long you made timely payments, you will be destroyed. The lender will then confiscate your home, and sell it to someone else, pocketing any profit in the process.

In an Islamic mortgage transaction, instead of loaning the buyer money to purchase a home, a bank might buy the home itself from the seller, and re-sell it to the buyer at a profit, while allowing the buyer to pay the bank in installments. However, the bank’s profit cannot be made explicit and therefore there are no additional penalties for late payment. In order to protect itself against default, the bank asks for strict collateral. The property is registered to the name of the buyer from the start of the transaction. This arrangement is called Murabahah.

An innovative approach applied by some banks for home loans, called Musharaka al-Mutanaqisa, allows for a floating rate in the form of rental. The bank and borrower form a partnership entity, both providing capital at an agreed percentage to purchase the property. The partnership entity then rents out the property to the borrower and charges rent. The bank and the borrower will then share the proceeds from this rent based on the current equity share of the partnership. At the same time, the borrower in the partnership entity also buys the bank’s share of the property at agreed installments until the full equity is transferred to the borrower and the partnership is ended. If default occurs, both the bank and the borrower receive a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of the property based on each party’s current equity.

Business Loans – U.S. banks lend money to companies by issuing fixed or variable interest rate loans. The rate of interest is based on prevailing market rates and is not pegged to a company’s profit margin in any way. U.S. banks currently borrow the money they lend to businesses at rates as low as 0.25%. When was the last time you saw an ad for small business loans charging 0.50%, which would give the lender a 100% return? The fact is that banks are still charging rates of between 4.0% and 30.0%, in spite of the cost of money. When prevailing interest rates are too high fewer businesses are able to borrow, thus inhibiting economic growth; and when rates are too low, profit-dependent banks are less willing to lend, also hindering the economy at large. If a business with a profit margin of just 5.0% could only borrow money at interest rates of 10.0% or more, why would it bother?

Islamic banks lend their money to companies by issuing floating rate loans. The floating rate is pegged to the company’s individual rate of return. Thus the bank’s profit on the loan is equal to a certain percentage of the company’s profits. Once the principal amount of the loan is repaid, the profit-sharing arrangement is concluded. This practice is called Musharaka.

Risk – Under our present system, if a company has a bad year and misses a few payments, it may be forced into bankruptcy. In the U.S. the risk of failure is placed squarely on the back of entrepreneurs. If a small business owner defaults on a loan, he is run out of business and his future ability to borrow is destroyed. In the case of government guaranteed loans, which are backed by the full faith and credit of you and I, the banks get their money back, while the failed entrepreneur, having been made a personal guarantor, is hunted down by his own government, like a fugitive, for the rest of his days.

Islamic banks also lend through Mudaraba, which is venture capital funding to an entrepreneur who provides labor while financing is provided by the bank so that both profit and risk are shared. Such participatory arrangements between capital and labor reflect the Islamic view that the borrower must not bear all the risk/cost of a failure, resulting in a balanced distribution of income and not allowing the lender to monopolize the economy.

End Usury, Now – Our monetary system needs a complete overhaul. But so far, the only reforms offered have been to further back big banks, at the expense of U.S. citizens. This is not acceptable. Until there is real reform, you and I, our children and grandchildren will remain enslaved. Backing our currency with gold is not the answer. The first step is for the government to begin printing its own fiat currency. The second step is to outlaw the practice of charging interest.


Islam in the Bible – Usury

Islamic banking

Leviticus, Chapter 25

Monetary Reform, Part I | End the Debt

~ By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

The rich rule over the poor. The borrower is servant to the lender. ~ Proverbs 22:7 ~

Free Our Money – So what’s the problem? You know, you think about it all the time. It’s debt, debt, debt! The way our economy is set up now, the only way it can grow is through incurring more debt, either through government, business or consumers. Our economy cannot grow without increasing its money supply, and the only way that new money can be introduced, under the present monetary system, is through debt. But growth through debt really amounts to nothing more than spending next year’s income today. It’s a vicious cycle, one which has reduced millions to poverty, and to lives of indentured servitude. It’s time to end the debt, now. I believe that most good ideas are simple, and that any lasting reform must, like our very Constitution, be rooted and grounded in Judeo-Christian Principles.

There are two ways to approach monetary reform. One involves making changes to our current system, and the other involves a complete overthrow, starting over from scratch. I believe that one method is practical while the other is not. I am from the school of thought that believes it impossible to make the necessary reforms within the present corrupt system. Our monetary system has failed. Revolution is the only solution.

Under the current debt regime, there are two primary ways that our money supply is increased.

  1. The first way is that the Federal Reserve (the Fed) prints new money and loans it to the federal government by purchasing Treasury Bonds through Open Market Operations. The cash then enters the economy by being deposited into regional Federal Reserve banks accounts. Thus, the federal government, as it is today, can only create money through borrowing.

  2. The other way that money is created is through fractional-reserve banking. Under this system, Federal Reserve member banks are allowed to loan out at least ten-times the amount deposited with them in checking and savings accounts. When fewer loans are demanded, the supply of money contracts. It’s only when loan demand is high that the money supply increases.

Let’s face the facts. Consumers are tapped out. Most Americans have lost the equity in their homes and are buried in consumer debt. It’s not that banks aren’t willing to lend, it’s that nobody is willing to pay 4.0% to 30.0% interest on money the banks borrow at 0.25%. The system is broken. So today, our economy is being propped up mainly through deficit-financed government spending, but this will not continue. We have already passed the point of no return. This mark was decisively breached in early 2010, when per capita national debt surpassed per capita personal income. At this point there is no longer enough income to support the federal debt. Every additional dollar the government borrows merely expands the base of government-dependent citizens. If the course is not altered today, the government will eventually run out of other people’s money, leaving its citizens vulnerable to enslavement by an alien entity. So the problem is the federal government’s inability to create new money without incurring debt. If we can fix this, the problem is solved.

What happens when population growth outpaces its money supply? As an example, let’s say we have a two person society comprised of you and me, with a total of $1,000 in our economy. Our per capita money supply is $500. Now let’s say two more people cross over the border and become members of our society. Without an increase in the money supply, our standard of living will decline to $250 per person. This is also known as a recession or even depression. Recessions occur coincident with declines in the supply of money, as there is no longer enough to go around. Economic activity declines without an ability to increase the money supply. In order to maintain our standard of living, our money supply will need to increase from $1,000 to $2,000.

As long as there is population growth, the supply of money must constantly increase. In fact, regardless of population changes, in order for there to be any meaningful economic growth at all, a society demands steady increases in its supply of money. That’s our dilemma today. With U.S. population increasing by approximately 1.0% per year, the money supply must keep pace. However, the only way that the money supply can increase, without reform, is through debt.

Who’s to blame? – We the people have knowingly or unknowingly subscribed to a monetary system in which the Federal Reserve is our master, and we are its slaves. In this respect, we are not truly free. Some blame the bankers; others blame politicians; while still others blame more affluent taxpayers such as small businessmen or corporate jet owners. (By the way, corporations and their assets, including jets, are owned by shareholders; so if you own stock either directly, or through a retirement plan, you might be a corporate jet owner yourself.) In reality, you and I are to blame. We are the ones who have elected ignorant and corrupt politicians, who have allowed our government to maintain a flawed monetary policy.

When our monetary system achieved total failure in 2008, we had an opportunity to institute real reform, but instead we were conned into bailing it out, again at our own expense. The present administration promised change, but instead has delivered more chains. Next time will be different. We know that if we want a different result, we have to try something different. Any political candidate who doesn’t have a monetary reform plan which promotes the creation of debt-free money (fiat money), and solid debt reduction, and balanced budget plans is dead in the water.

“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” ~ Matthew 3:10

Who’s Getting Hosed? – Under our present monetary system, the federal government, through the Treasury Department, prints Federal Reserve Notes and hands them over to the Fed. The Fed then lends the same money back to the federal government in exchange for U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds. The Fed then sells some of these Treasury obligations at a discount to its member banks, investors, and foreign governments. The interest paid on these bills, notes and bonds is paid from income tax revenue collected off of the backs of U.S. taxpayers.

If the federal government could ever pay off its debt and balance its budget, it wouldn’t need to borrow as much. With the national debt already in excess of $14.4 trillion, it has become a burden for our government to meet its real responsibilities. This is the main reason why the national debt matters. As politicians do battle over whether or not the debt ceiling should be raised, in this case, to cover its own irresponsible spending, a more critical issue, the creation of money has been left in the hands of the Fed. Under our current system, the money supply cannot increase without adding to the debt. But if there was a way that the federal government could simply issue its own debt-free currency (fiat money), rather than Federal Reserve Notes, it would never have to borrow money from anyone ever again.

The more the federal government borrows, the more it binds U.S. taxpayers to cover its interest payments. It makes you wonder why a U.S. citizen would ever invest in Treasury obligations at all. I mean, in a way, the same citizen who buys this debt is also responsible, through income taxes, for paying the very interest he or she receives. And to make matters worse, the same citizen is taxed again on the interest earned. It’s a spiral of negative returns in which those who actually pay income taxes and invest in government debt are the losers; while the Fed, its member banks, and foreign investors can’t fail.

The Fed also loans some of this borrowed money to its member banks and to other “too big to fail” entities at interest rates currently as low as 0.25%. The banks then provide you and I, and our businesses with loans, or allow us credit, for the privilege of paying them anywhere from 4.0% to 30.0% interest, plus other transaction fees, pocketing the difference as profit. Banks even allow us to open checking or savings accounts for the additional privileges of earning next to nothing, and paying them even more in transaction fees, for the use of our own money. So we pay interest on debt just so the government can issue currency, we pay interest on the national debt, and then we pay more interest for banking and loan privileges. These are hidden taxes of which certain politicians, those who are always harping about higher taxes, seem to be completely ignorant. But we know better.

End the Debt, Now – Why does the federal government print money, give it to the Federal Reserve, and then borrow its own money back at interest? Couldn’t the government simply print United States Notes, rather than Federal Reserve Notes, and spend it into the economy without a middle man? According to Bill Still, yes it can. In fact, Mr. Still says that if the government took this route, it could repay all of its existing debt within a year or two, by simply replacing the old notes with new ones. For more on this, I recommend that you watch his video entitled, The Secret of Oz.

“There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged!” ~ Patrick Henry

Other References:

Oz Economics