I went over to the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier on Wednesday night (never been there before- who knew there was such a thing?).  The occasion was a talk being given by one Joe Bongiovanni and presented by the Kettle Pond Institute for Monetary Reform.  The subject was the downfall of the Federal Reserve banking system and its pitfalls versus Mr Bongiovanni’s preference, a Treasury-based monetary system.  The talk was quite good, I thought, and generally presented extremely complicated issues (economics, where money comes from, what function is serves, etc) in a mostly accesable and clear way- no easy task.

For the most part, I like Bongiovanni’s analysis and vision, though I do have my disagreements with some of his conclusions and suggestions.  I’m in the workings of setting-up an interview with Mr Bongiovanni before he leaves town in a few days, so hopefully that’ll all work out and you’ll see it here soon enough.

Quickly though, an overview of the topic essentially entails the fact that we have this incredibly odd monetary system here in the U.S. where a quasi public-private entity- the Federal Reserve Bank- produces our money.  While the Fed chair is appointed by the President, for the most part it operates as a private entity.  Most ridiculous and confounding of all, the Fed prints the money and then charges interest to the government on it.  This, of course, is the main source of our national debt and some incredibly bad government (especially fiscal) policies.  One of Mr Bongiovanni’s main points- the government (the Treasury Department specifically) should make its own money, interest free- thereby freeing us to fully fund all the infrastructure (which I really appreciate he included things like education and health care in his definition of “infrastructure”) while simultaneously making a “balanced budget” fairly achievable.  At the same time, since we wouldn’t rely on countries like China to finance our own system our foreign policy would gain a degree of freedom too.

There’s a lot more to it all than just this.  Go to the link if you’d like to check it out.  And look for that interview to be up here (hopefully) sometime within the next week, which I’m thinking will give me a good opportunity to not only get more in-depth with these issues, but to cover some of my doubts and concerns (well as well my agreements).