Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Florida P&FP Embraces UFAA’s Emergency Economic Program

Peace and Freedom Party of Florida
By Darcy Richardson
July 15, 2013

Nationalize the Federal Reserve
Recognizing that a genuine economic recovery will only become a reality through a mass movement outside the twin, austerity-peddling parties of Wall Street, the state executive committee of the Peace & Freedom Party of Florida has voted unanimously to endorse the United Front Against Austerity’s full economic program, including the group’s emergency measures calling for a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax, a freeze on foreclosures of primary residences and farms, and a moratorium on student loan payments for a period of five years or the duration of the current economic crisis.

A national Wall Street sales tax of one percent on derivatives, futures, stocks, bonds, options and other securities on U.S. exchanges, which would be shared equally between the federal government and individual states, would immediately alleviate the need for any draconian austerity measures in Washington or elsewhere while strongly discouraging the kind of reckless derivative speculation that caused the financial crisis in 2008.

A centerpiece of the UFAA’s bold and imaginative economic program calls for the nationalization of the Federal Reserve, which essentially operates as a private banking cartel. Much to the UFAA’s credit, this is the first time since the Great Depression in 1938, when the United States experienced a depression within the depression — largely the result of a deliberate “capital strike” on the part of big business — that anybody has seriously proposed nationalizing the mighty and mysterious Federal Reserve.

That year, U.S. Rep. Maury Maverick of Texas drafted legislation to do precisely that. The colorful Texan even found 33 co-sponsors for his innovative proposal, all young and idealistic progressive lawmakers hoping to expand the New Deal, but his bill — vehemently opposed by Wall Street — was eventually killed in committee.

Gov. Philip La Follette of Wisconsin, the son of “Fighting Bob” La Follette, advocated exactly the same thing a few months later in launching the National Progressives of America, but the idea of nationalizing the Fed died along with his short-lived attempt to organize a national third-party movement that year.

Things could be different this time. After all, the secrets of the temple have long been exposed.

If the Federal Reserve, through its alphabet soup of lending facilities (the PCDF, TAF, TALF, TSLF, etc.) can shovel $29.6 trillion into the global financial markets between late 2007 and September of 2011 — propping up the “too big to fail” banks that caused the 2008 financial meltdown in the first place while essentially enabling the affluent in the U.S. and elsewhere to not only quickly recoup all of their losses, but to subsequently prosper beyond their wildest dreams — then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be put to work for the benefit of ordinary working people.

If the Fed is willing to provide steeply discounted credit to the large “zombie banks” that caused the country’s economic mess, then it ought to be willing to provide the same sort of cheap federal credit to the struggling victims of this seemingly never-ending economic crisis of Wall Street’s making.

Federal credit policy must be geared toward achieving full employment.


As such, the UFAA has proposed the issuance of interest-free Fed “Century Bonds” with a coupon rate of zero percent and 100-year maturities to help state and local governments finance the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure while putting millions of Americans back to work at decent, union-scale wages.

Florida, which currently has 262 structurally-deficient bridges and another 1,764 that are considered “functionally obsolete,” will need more than $32.4 billion in wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvements over the next two decades, according to a report issued earlier this year by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The UFAA’s economic program also calls for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, separating traditional commercial banking from investment banking and insurance, and demands federal anti-usury legislation capping interest rates at a maximum of 10%, including credit cards and payday loans.

In addition to advocating agricultural parity and a 10% protective tariff on foreign goods, the UFAA also calls for strengthening Social Security and the nation’s social safety net, including the adoption of a “Medicare for All” health care program, funded through a modest and progressive payroll tax and supplemented by revenue raised from a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax.

While supporting the idea of full and free public education at all levels as a desirable long-term goal, the Peace & Freedom Party of Florida also endorsed Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “Bank On Students Loan Fairness Act,” another idea championed by the nascent UFAA. Warren’s radically refreshing legislation, amounting to a partial nationalization of the Federal Reserve, mandates the Fed to finance student loans at 0.75% — the same discount rate enjoyed by the nation’s financial institutions responsible for the current economic crisis.

Founded in New York City last October, the UFAA is hoping other left-wing and center-left parties across the country will join its united front against the Wall Street wizards who nearly destroyed the American economy five years ago and their mean-spirited austerity agents in Goldman Sachs-occupied Washington.