There are as many different sorts of thieves as there are kinds of thievery. There are highwaymen, holdup artists, pirates, rustlers and hijackers, shoplifters, pickpockets, housebreakers, pursesnatchers and those who practice embezzlment, blackmail, fraud, swindling and extortion. And that by no means exhausts the list.
Now, there is one particular thief whom we have been denouncing for a long time. But he is still at large and the law is making no attempt to lay hands on him; in fact, he is held in high respect by the authorities. This particular robber excels in the arts of swindling and extortion.
Our regular readers have probably guessed who he is; yes, it's that old thief, the existing financial system, whose agents operate boldly among us in the broad light of day. The fact that its technique has been developed to perfection and that this technique is considered a sacred mystery by the layman plus the fact that its activities have even been sanctioned by the law, permits it to carry out its depredations on an unheard of scale without its victims ever guessing who it is that is depriving them of the overflowing bounty which nature and man's ingenuity has to offer. Oh, they know very well that they are being robbed right and left, but this crafty old thief is skilled in turning his victims one against the other, making each believe that the other is responsible for his losses.
Even those who are only mediumly well informed know that nine tenths of the money that is put into circulation is born in the banker's ledger taking its form and substance from the banker's pen and a few drops of ink; and the other one tenth, the paper and silver money, can only come into existence through the fiat of the banks." No one can deny, with reason, that all this money, once brought into existence, is considered by the banks as there property which they may lend out at a profit to themselves. But how many people have ever stopped to consider the scope and extent of this vast swindle? For there is no gainsaying that this contract entered into between the lender of this new money and the individual, or corporation who may borrow it, is nothing less than barefaced swindle.
The man who wishes to borrow money to build a factory has to give the banker collateral or security for the loan; this collateral is real wealth, his own goods. A municipality borrowing money has to give as its security its right to tax the citizens, its power to mortgage the property of those under its jurisdiction. And what has the banker to offer. Well, he wants us to believe that he is lending the bank's money. In fact, all he is giving is a number of figures issuing forth from his pen and ink; and these figures, in reality, have no worth except what is given them by the work and products which come from the borrower himself. The one borrowing brings the fruit of labor — real concrete wealth, goods which can be used by all. The lender brings nothing more than a few figures scrabbled in a ledger. And what happens? The one who has no real wealth to offer sees to it that he is reimbursed not only with the amount of money, represented by his figures in a ledger, but with another amount over and above the new money issued which is called interest; which interest the poor borrower has to get from the money that is already in circulation, thus making it impossible for someone else to meet his financial obligations. For the lender did not put into circulation the amount necessary to cover the interest charges.
So it happens that the people as a whole are put into debt for the wealth which they, as a whole have produced. That is where the swindle occurs. To have to pay for the goods one's self has produced, and more than the value, at that would be something unthinkable among individuals. If you built a table for yourself worth twenty five dollars, it would be considered absolutely ridiculous by everyone that you should have to pay some department of the government or some private individual thirty dollars for having built yourself this table. Yet just such a ridiculous thing is happening where the people of the country as a whole are considered in relation to those individuals who are concerned with making modern money.
Those who have obtained the exclusive right of making money, oblige those who have no right to make even a cent of new money, to bring back to them more money than has actually been put into circulation. Such a system can have only one end — the plunging into debt of the entire world right to the end of time.
Unless, of course, it is decided to put an end to this universal swindle.
But the robbery doesn't end there. This swindle is compounded with extortion. What do we mean by extortion?
Extortion has been defined as the offence of obtaining by threat of force money or valuables not due. Gangs of organized criminals will obtain from business men, periodic payments of money under threat of wreaking damage upon their businesses. This is a story everyone is familiar with from the movies and from the crime reports in our daily newspapers.
Well, believe it or not, our existing financial system is practicing just such a crime, though it has been legalized by our governments. Production today cannot be organized, unless there is first had money with which to pay for operations before the first products have been sold. Any expansion of the productive system requires an expansion of credit by the financial system. The financial system imposes its conditions, and if you do not agree to these conditions you simply do not produce or expand. The financial system paralyzes you by withholding credit.
The financial system commits extortion by saying, in effect: Either you sign this document committing yourself to bringing me such and such an amount periodically or else I will tie your hands by refusing you money, for without money you can do nothing.
The various organizations of government and society are treated in exactly the same fashion: You want a new aqueduct? Fine! The labor and the material is ready and at hand. However, before starting you will sign a paper committing yourselves, after you have already paid once for the material and labor, to pay me an additional sum the equivalent of and perhaps even greater than the sum paid for labor and material. And if you won't sign, then you'll simply have to do without your aqueduct. Because even if there is an abundance of labor and material begging to be used, you can't take a single step towards the completion of the work without money which I alone can grant.
The financial system holds the people in its grip just as a group of criminal extortionists holds an entire business district in its grip.
Producers find themselves unable to sell their goods, unemployment results, and there are financial obligations which are literally impossible to meet. The consumer suffers from the high prices and the lack of purchasing power. Everyone suffers from the multitude of taxes which have been grafted on to this system. But regardless of the times, peace or war, boom or recession, the financial system works profitably — for the financiers.
The budget of every public body has one sacred item which is called "the servicing of the public debt" In other words, the interest and capital which must be paid to the financiers! Any other expense can be cut down and pared off, but this particular item must never be touched. For this is tribute which must be paid to the masters who are over the representatives of the people just as they are over the people themselves. It is the ransom which must be paid for the right to live.
Before the last war Canadians paid out to this section of the federal budget the sum of 125 million dollars. Today, after a war which they themselves fought, for which they themselves supplied all the necessary materials, they must pay 600 million dollars annually to this item of the budget. They won the war — yes. But for whom? For that extortionist, for that thief who is not arrested but rather is respected; before whom we humbly present ourselves, hats in hand, to beg for the right to live and breath.
On the front page of the May issue of the Union of Electors, we wrote about that ubiquitous and voracious rodent which is present everywhere the financial system. Here is another example of how this animal gnaws away the sum and substance of our wealth until there are but a few crumbs left to scatter among the people.
The town of Rimouski in Quebec is at present negotiating a loan in order to enlarge the water system because of the growing population. This is, of course, a vital need. Now there is no difficulty whatsoever in finding the labor and material with which to realize the project — both are to be had in abundance. But before a single move can be made, permission must first be had from the financiers; they must first set down in their ledgers those little figures which serve as modern money. Now, the municipal council really needs $800,000 to do the job.
The council will borrow the money, the first bite of which will go to our friend the rodent: to pay cost of the negotiations. Then the new aqueduct will be built. The work will probably take several months. But since payment always lags very far behind actual production the city is asking 20 years in which to pay off the debt. At the end of 20 years the city will not only have paid its debt but will also have turned over to friend rodent the sum of $1,358,697.50!
The aqueduct cost $800,000. But this hungry rodent exacts an additional amount of $538,697.50.
Cost of the aqueduct: $800,000. Cost of the permission given by this rodent: $538,697.50. Our friend is costing us almost three-quarters of what the aqueduct costs. During the congress at Dolbeau, the mayor of Kenogami told us that the taxpayers of his town would have to pay for their aqueduct three and a half times over; once for the actual cost of the job and two and half times to the extortionist we call the rodent.
To get back to Rimouski, the city this year will have a deficit of $120,000. It is presently negotiating a second loan for $120,000 to cover the deficit. It will have to repay, however, not $120,000 but $200,000. This town is to poor to find $120,000; how in the name of cold logic can it ever hope to find $200,000 to pay back! Will its budgetary problems be made any lighter by the fact of adding to the budget each year another $67,934.87 with which to pay off the aqueduct and the hungry rodent? The already overburdened taxpayers can probably guess what will happen.
In the loan contract, in fact, the borrower engages to guarantee repayment by "a special tax which he will levy each year according to the present evaluation". That is to say, the loan mortgages the houses, land and other forms of real estate owned by the taxpayers. These are indeed very curious property owners who allow their representatives to mortgage the "owners" property in order to pay out to this rodent a ransom which is the equivalent of three quarters of the cost of their aqueduct!
It is always property which is the first guarantee of the taxes which are to be levied for the system. In the town of Matane, the property tax brings in to the municipality the total amount of $ 103,658.94. But servicing Matane's debt requires $94,825.44. Most of the property tax goes to servicing the public debt. At the present time the closing of the Price Mills in Matane has thrown 1,200 workers out of jobs. This is practically a disaster in a town of nearly 2,400 families. And yet, is the population of Matane as well aware of that other scourge, the extortion that is practised on it year round, unemployment or no — the extortion of the major part of its property tax to feed the voracious rodent of the finance system?
This scourge is everywhere. It afflicts, private as well as public corporations; it hits the individual as well as the body politic. It is, the prime cause of the high cost of living. This devouring rat is everywhere, in the bricks which go into your house, in the prescription you bring from the drugstore, in the theatre ticket, in the food in your plate; for the taxes which are levied in one way or another on everything we use have for one of their principle ends the satisfaction of the insatiable hunger of the financial system under which we live.
This system of finance is a devouring rat, a thief, a swindler, an extortionist — it is all these things and it leaves a trail of victims suffering from want and privation and insecurity. It humbles proud nations and brings peoples' governments before it on bended knees to ask for that without which no nation can live. It will not hesitate to foment nation-destroying wars in order to keep the world subject to it and paying tribute to it.
And yet nothing is done to halt the depredation of this great thief. It has as its protector the very elected representatives of the people. It has as its defenders those very men who should enlighten the way, castigate injustice and defend the oppressed.