In two distinct periods in our history has a sitting President tried to empower the public while reigning in the Nations debt. One during a time of the greatest internal struggle for national preservation namely the Civil War and another were we were headed into one of the greatest challenges that perplexed a nation primarily the Vietnam conflict. In 1861 President Lincoln needed money to continue to fund the Civil War. Bankers at the time were charging over 28% interest. Rather than pay up that high interest Lincoln pressed congress to authorize the Treasury Department to print full legal tender treasury notes [this is what the Constitution originally implied with no interest attached] to pay for the costs incurred form the war. When congress passed this legislation Lincoln stated ” We gave the people of this republic the greatest blessing they ever had. Their own paper money to pay their won debts.” Thus Greenbacks became the name this currency was called. To Lincoln’s credit the passage of the Merrill Tariff Revenue Act in 1861 along with establishment of the first ever income tax, a flat 3% on incomes above $800 [today equates to $19,000] all increased financial revenue to fund the Civil War.
Lincoln’s troubles began almost from the time he took office. By 1862 congress repealed the flat tax and instead established what was to become the basis of the complex tax system that we have today. A more progressive tax structure putting more of a burden on the less wealthy. Another set back was the National Bank Act of 1862. This act let banks become national in that they are charted by the Federal Government and authorized to issue interest bearing notes secured by Government bonds similar to what Alexander Hamilton did after the Revolutionary War in the creation of the First Bank of America. Passage of this bill ensured a market for the Federal Debt since the new National Banks would now be required to buy those bonds.
Had the National Bank Act failed to pass Congress Lincoln stressed that “Money is a creature of Law and the original issue should be maintained by the exclusive monopoly of national government. the Government should stand behind it’s currency, credit, and bank deposits of this nation. No individual should suffer a loss of money through depreciation or inflated currency or bank bankruptcy;” would have benefited the American public in a time of great uncertainty. Look what happened in 2008 with the Federal Reserve Bank running the show. Millions of our citizens suffered great financial loss. All the Federal Reserve does is loan money to the government at interest. What drives up our national debt higher are privately owned banks, the Federal Reserve, and a nation that continues to be engaged in armed conflicts anywhere in the world.
The London Times in 1863 who favored the Bank of England’s monetary policies wrote ” If that mischievous financial policy, which had it’s origin the North American Republic, should become indurate down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish it’s own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without a debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on it’s commerce. It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of the civilized government of the world. The brains and the wealth of all the countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.” The wealth of the United States is in the hands of the private bankers not the American public. It is no wonder that the English were trying to help the Confederacy. When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 the British populace who were opposed to slavery quietly withdrew their support of the Confederacy while Russia grew more supportive of the Union cause which helped the North and Lincoln preserve the Union.
In repealing the greenback law congress passed the National Bank Act in it’s place. All national banks were to be privately owned and the national bank notes they issued were to be interest bearing. The National Bank Act also provided that the greenbacks be returned as soon as possible as they came back in the payment of taxes. A hundred years later the United States Treasury Department computed the amount of interest that would have been paid if 400 million dollars would have been borrowed at interest instead of being issued by the Treasury Department as Abraham Lincoln initially did. Because of the greenback resolution the United States Government saved 4 billion dollars in interest. President Lincoln followed the exact interpretation of the United States Constitution by the government creating it’s own money interest free.
More recent President Kennedy in 1963 almost one hundred years after Lincoln undertook the gauntlet of reducing our national debt again following the Constitution issued Executive order 11110. This order circumvents the Federal Reserve Bank an makes possible the Federal Government not the banks print interest free money. In 1963 the Treasury Department under President Kennedy issued $4,292,893,825 interest free money. What is so startling is that not long after Kennedy’s death all the United States notes, which Kennedy had issued, were called out of circulation.