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What If We Adopted A System Where The Banks Did Not Create Our Money?

What if there was a financial system that would eliminate the need for the federal government to go into debt, that would eliminate the need for the Federal Reserve, that would end the practice of fractional reserve banking and that would dethrone the big banks?  Would you be in favor of such a system?  A surprising new IMF research paper entitled "The Chicago Plan Revisited" by Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof is making waves in economic circles all over the globe.  The paper suggests that the world would be much better off if we adopted a system where the banks did not create our money.  So instead of a system where more money is only created when more debt is created, we would have a system of debt-free money that is created directly by national governments.  There have been others that have suggested such a system before, but to have an IMF research paper actually recommend that such a system be adopted is a very big deal.  At the moment, the world is experiencing the biggest debt crisis in human history, and this proposal is being described as a "radical solution" that could potentially remedy some of our largest financial problems.  Unfortunately, apologists for the current system are already viciously attacking this new IMF paper, and of course the big banks would throw a major fit if such a system was ever to be seriously contemplated.  That is why it is imperative that we educate people about how money really works.  Our current system is in the process of collapsing and we desperately need to transition to a new one.

One of the fundamental problems with our current financial system is that it is based on debt.  Just take a look at the United States.  The way our system works today, the vast majority of all money is "created" either when we borrow money or the government borrows money.  Therefore, the creation of more money creates more debt.  Under such a system, it should not be surprising that the total amount of debt in the United States is more than 30 times larger than it was just 40 years ago.

We don't have to do things this way.  There is a better alternative.  National governments can directly issue debt-free currency into circulation.  The following is a brief excerpt from the IMF report...

At the height of the Great Depression a number of leading U.S. economists advanced a proposal for monetary reform that became known as the Chicago Plan. It envisaged the separation of the monetary and credit functions of the banking system, by requiring 100% reserve backing for deposits. Irving Fisher (1936) claimed the following advantages for this plan: (1) Much better control of a major source of business cycle fluctuations, sudden increases and contractions of bank credit and of the supply of bank-created money. (2) Complete elimination of bank runs. (3) Dramatic reduction of the (net) public debt. (4) Dramatic reduction of private debt, as money creation no longer requires simultaneous debt creation. We study these claims by embedding a comprehensive and carefully calibrated model of the banking system in a DSGE model of the U.S. economy. We find support for all four of Fisher's claims.

Why should banks be allowed to create money?

That is a very good question.

Why should sovereign governments ever have to borrow money from anyone?

That is another very good question.

Our current system is designed to enrich the bankers and get everyone else into debt.

And is that not exactly what has happened?

Taking the creation of money away from the bankers would have some tremendous advantages.  A recent article by renowned financial journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard described some of these benefits...

One could slash private debt by 100pc of GDP, boost growth, stabilize prices, and dethrone bankers all at the same time. It could be done cleanly and painlessly, by legislative command, far more quickly than anybody imagined.

The conjuring trick is to replace our system of private bank-created money -- roughly 97pc of the money supply -- with state-created money. We return to the historical norm, before Charles II placed control of the money supply in private hands with the English Free Coinage Act of 1666.

Specifically, it means an assault on "fractional reserve banking". If lenders are forced to put up 100pc reserve backing for deposits, they lose the exorbitant privilege of creating money out of thin air.

The nation regains sovereign control over the money supply. There are no more banks runs, and fewer boom-bust credit cycles.

So why don't we go to such a system immediately?

Well, the transition to such a system would undoubtedly be a major shock to the global financial system, and most people try to avoid significant short-term pain even if there are tremendous long-term benefits.

More importantly, however, is that the bankers have a tremendous amount of power in our society today, and they would move heaven and earth to keep a debt-free monetary system from ever being implemented.

You see, the influence of the bankers is not just limited to the big banks.  Our largest financial institutions (and the people who own them) also have large ownership stakes in the vast majority of the big Fortune 500 corporations.  In essence, the big banks are at the very pinnacle of "the establishment" in the United States and in almost every other major country in the western world.

And the vast majority of all political campaigns are funded by "the establishment".  It takes an enormous amount of money to win campaigns these days, and most politicians are extremely hesitant to bite the hands of those that feed them.

So don't expect any changes to happen overnight.

One proposal that has actually been put forward in Congress is to cancel all of the government debt that the Federal Reserve is currently holding.  Right now, the Fed is holding more than 1.6 trillion dollars of U.S. government debt...

That would seem to make a lot of sense.  That would immediately wipe more than 1.6 trillion dollars from the U.S. national debt without any real harm being done.

But "the establishment" would be horrified if such a thing happened, so I wouldn't anticipate it happening any time soon.

Hopefully we can get the American people (along with people all over the globe) educated about these things so that we can start to get millions of people pushing for change.

A debt-free monetary system is superior to a debt-based monetary system in so many ways.

For example, if the U.S. government directly spent debt-free money into circulation, it could conceivably never need to borrow a single dollar ever again.  If the government wanted to spend more money than it brought in, it would simply print it up and spend it.

Of course the big danger with that would be inflation.  That is why it would be imperative for there to be a hard cap on what the government could spend.  For example, you could set the cap on spending by the federal government at 20 percent of GDP.  That way we would never end up looking like the Weimar Republic.

And the current federal debt could be paid down a little at a time using newly created debt-free dollars.  This would have to be done slowly to keep inflation under control, but it could be done.

That way we would not hand a 16 trillion dollar debt to our children and our grandchildren.  We created this mess so we should clean it up.

Theoretically you could also do away with the federal income tax if you wanted to.  Personally, I would like to see the federal government be funded to a large degree by tariffs on foreign goods.  That would also have the side benefit of bringing millions of jobs back into the United States.

Our system of income tax collection is just so incredibly inefficient.  It costs us mind boggling amounts of time and money.  Just consider the following stats from one of my previous articles...

1 - The U.S. tax code is now 3.8 million words long.  If you took all of William Shakespeare's works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.

2 - According to the National Taxpayers Union, U.S. taxpayers spend more than 7.6 billion hours complying with federal tax requirements.  Imagine what our society would look like if all that time was spent on more economically profitable activities.

3 - 75 years ago, the instructions for Form 1040 were two pages long.  Today, they are 189 pages long.

4 - There have been 4,428 changes to the tax code over the last decade.  It is incredibly costly to change tax software, tax manuals and tax instruction booklets for all of those changes.

5 - According to the National Taxpayers Union, the IRS currently has 1,999 different publications, forms, and instruction sheets that you can download from the IRS website.

6 - Our tax system has become so complicated that it is almost impossible to file your taxes correctly.  For example, back in 1998 Money Magazine had 46 different tax professionals complete a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All 46 of them came up with a different result.

7 - In 2009, PC World had five of the most popular tax preparation software websites prepare a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All five of them came up with a different result.

8 - The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes.

For long stretches of our history the United States did not have any income tax, and during those times we thrived.  It is entirely conceivable that we could return to such a system.

At this point, the wealthy have become absolute masters at hiding their wealth from taxation.  According to the IMF, a total of 18 trillion dollars is currently being hidden in offshore banks.  What we are doing right now produces very inequitable results and it is not working.

In many ways, inflation would be a much fairer "tax" than the income tax because inflation taxes each dollar equally.  Nobody would be able to cheat the system.

But if people really love the IRS and the federal income tax, we could keep them under a debt-free money system.  I just happen to think that the IRS and the federal income tax are both really bad ideas that have never served the interests of the American people.

In any event, hopefully you can see that there is a much broader range of solutions to our problems than the two major political parties have been presenting to us.

We do not have to allow the banks to create our money.

The federal government does not have to go into more debt.

We don't actually need the Federal Reserve.

There are alternatives to the federal income tax and the IRS.

Yes, it is very true that no system would be perfect.  But clearly the path that we are on is only going to lead to disaster.  U.S. government finances are a complete and total nightmare, and this mountain of debt that we have accumulated is going to absolutely destroy us if we allow it to.

So somebody out there should be proposing a fundamental change in direction for our financial system.

Unfortunately, our politicians are just proposing more of the same, and we all know where that is going to lead.

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  • BladeMcCool

    I will use Bitcoin+Gold+Silver instead of shitty central bank money.

    • Micky

      Wow very nice call. Those are the three forms of money that I am recommending at the moment as well. I believe you will protect yourself nicely from inflation.

      http://ericsprott.blogspot.ca/

  • heshey

    John Kennedy tried exactly that and was dead within six months. Google Presidential Directive 11110.

    • http://militantjeffersonian.com Republicae

      Actually, JFK didn’t try the same thing, read what he really did which was to empower the Federal Reserve to issue small denominated bills, taking silver certificates out of circulation. Instead of protecting the last vestiges of sound money, JFK actually promoted just the opposite. The whole myth is promoted by the idea that EO 11110 gave the Treasury the authority to issue bills directly, which by the way it was already doing side-by-side with the Federal Reserve since 1913. If you read JFK’s Economic Report to Congress in 1963 you will see exactly what JFK was doing, and it had absolutely nothing to do with what is commonly propagated by the myth you are speaking about.

  • Dennis Ward

    Hey folks, I hate to dash all your preconceived notions about money; but here goes . . . I am a private researcher in California that has researched tax laws, monetary systems and banking for 20 years. The biggest fraud ever perpetrated in modern history, is the illusion that when you by a home or anything else on “credit”, and sign the alleged “Note” or “application” for a credit card that the bank is actually loaning you money or something of value. The Note/application is the money, the escrow company is in cahoots with the banksters and the Note is indorsed and deposited into a transaction account and then the bank issues an EFT back to the account of the escrow company for the amount of the Note to close the escrow. $100,000 in, a $100,000 out, account balance zero = account closed. The bank loaned nothing, just check the “Moneynet Daily transaction Log report” for the close of escrow and you will find a statement showing the complete transaction including the amount owed as $0.00! They convinced you they were loaning you money when in fact it is all an illusion! It is the biggest fraud in the history of mankind.

    Then they get you to send them money every month for 30 years thinking you are paying off “your loan” when in fact you are paying their tax they owe to the IRS on the transaction and the salary of all of those over paid Executives who are laughing all the way to their private banks in the Caribbean on their private jet or 120 foot yacht. If you would like a much more detailed account backed up with documents, laws and court cases please feel free to contact me. All of this so called debt is literally an illusion! No one in this entire universe has ever loaned you, me or anyone else a dime of anyone’s money or credit from any bank on this planet. EVER!! THEY CAN’T, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO DO SO. WE ARE THE CREDIT, WE CREATE THE MONEY AND THE SUBSTANCE USED WITH OUR SIGNATURE TO FUND THIS ENTIRE SO CALLED “CABAL”. WE ARE THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION. WE JUST HAVE TO WAKE UP! THIS MONETARY SYSTEM (FED) MUST BE COMPLETELY ABOLISHED, AND RETURN TO A ASSET BASED MONETARY SYSTEM.

    Dennis Ward

    • Jace

      Mr. Dennis Ward,

      You are right. Please tell me what I can do, I’ll do whatever it takes. How can we get in contact?

      Jace

      • Kheseph

        Educate yourself and
        Take all money out of bank and get all friends and family to do same
        Default on all unsecured debt and get all friends and family to do same
        Buy silver and get all friends and family to do same
        10% do this and it’s over

    • RobertB

      Well, the simplest analysis of this situation is that the person who sold the house (let’s say he owns the house clear) has had the funds from the sale of the house deposited to his account by the bank. You are the mortgagor so you pay back the bank, plus interest of course, for the use of the money. The person who sold the house spends the money in his account, or maybe just collects interest. The funds are his to use as he pleases.
      Eliminate the bank, and if you can pay ‘cash’, your payment is just deposited to the home owner’s account.
      It’s all about the debit and credit thing.

    • Lorraine

      Dennis thanks for this information I would like to have a more detailed account with documents, laws and court cases. I will probably be fighting my mortgage company on this same issue in the near future

  • Mad Max

    This is a good idea but It doesn’t go far enough and it certainly won’t fix all our other problems. We have to think much bigger or we’ve had it. At best this is just a band-aid.

    FIGHT THE CAUSE – NOT THE SYMPTOM

    OsiXs (Revolution 2.0)

  • therooster of Christ

    Real-time (floating) bullion based payment systems already exist as private and competitive payment processors that send your fully backed digital title (the currency backed by weight) from A to B as simply and as easily as PayPal send dollars from A to B. We already have a grass roots and decentralized market solution to debt currency. What we don’t have is an abundance of marketing and we cannot rely on the financial apex of power to endorse that particular cause. The support for bullion based payment system must be grass roots and bottom-up. We must be as wise as serpants.

  • http://www.westcoastladybugs.com RUSS SMITH

    Hi!, Patrons Of The Economic Collapse:

    As the human race moves from one conceptionalization of the Universe to another, through pain, wars, chaos & finally sacrifice, we are learning something whether we like to look @ it that way or not & that is that we were created for heaven on Earth. Nothing else was ever meant to suffice and satisfy all OUR human conditions but we’ll get there sooner or later regardless. Are the Bankers’ economic policies regarding fractional reserve banking facilitating OUR human needs and helping US live heaven right here on Earth….NO!! Then to live heaven here on Earth that system will fade away sooner or later will it not?
    Jesus, while Rome was filling the hearts/minds of men & women in every kingdom everywhere with fears which was their daily experiences, came preaching “fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you His kingdom.” Then, once He had eliminated fear, He was found preching: “Ask and you shall receive my JOY; that your JOY may be full.” He preached that, once you eliminate your fears from your nervous system/consciousness and replace your nervous system with His kind of JOY, you are entering into His and OUR Father’s kingdom or the abode where God wants US to live OUR lives and so the common people gladly accepted Him; while He remained a threat to those who rulled over the socialized consciousness of the masses. The religious leaders didn’t like Him overulling their postion not to heal on the Sabbath Day etc. but He did it anyway. It sure ruined His reputation with them didn’t it and so they sought to kill Him but it sure kept Him at ONE with the wishes of His/OUR Heavenly Father. The Banksters have no more of a chance to keep US locked out from OUR heavenly Father’s wishes for US to live Heaven on Earth regards OUR finances than did those religious leaders who tried to keep OUR Lord & Savior from healing on their Sabbath Day or the Romans who instituted daily fear among the masses over whom they rulled. Nobody and I mean nobody can fool OUR nervous systems can they, because OUR nervous systems register OUR experiences moment by moment don’t they? If we brig JOY into people’s lives we can be sure we are doing the will of OUR heavenly Father; but not when we deliver fear into their lives right? We are to be the light of this world meaning JOY and NEVER bring hell on earth to others as measured by fear. When Bankers and/or Politicians can arrange otherwise, then they will have taken over the Universe which is highly doubtful isn’t it? He tried to deliver JOY across the board to all educational classes, ages, colors and/or beliefs. JOY, the common denominator registering as heaven on EARTH for all peoples of all times forver here on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN. OUR human nervous systems will NEVER stop demanding the reliefs that only JOY can administer!! Go for it America!! Surely, excessive debts, unemployment, underemployment, war and other myraids of chaos are not designed to bring US JOY are they?

    RUSS SMITH, CALIF. (1 BROKE State)
    resmith@wcisp.com

  • Bill

    “The Freedom News Hour” with Walt Theissen on the Progressive Radio network explores this topic in detail.

    http://prn.fm/2012/10/25/freedom-news-hour-102512/#axzz2AOzvdWZ9

  • Steven

    Gold and Silver coin and bullion is money.
    Bitcoin, electronic and paper currencies are not money and should be destroyed and expunged for the moral and material good of humanity.

  • RobertB

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is not the best person to quote on matters like this – all he ever wants to do is print money no matter what happens that may upset the status quo, and anyone, any government, who does not wish to prop up the currently unsustainable situation is cruel and selfish because they do not want to turn their citizens into slaves to serve some foreign nations that spend to much and work too little. If we look to the principle of self-interest for guidance it is clear that he, and people like him, are only interested in protecting their own bank account and pension at the expense of the tax-paying public by bailing out banks and ultimately, countries, so they can continue their vote-buying expenditures ad infinitum.
    As to the solution of having elected politicians decide how much money to print and decide how much it’s worth (because someone has to decide how much it’s worth), this is possibly the most ludicrous idea one could conceive. The ideas presented here are consistently centralist, surely the best recipe for failure, and the only solution for the predictable result is invariably tyranny, in the form of single-party rule, price and wage controls, currency controls and all the things that we usually see in a closed economy. Now imagine a whole world of closed economies.
    The problem is that most people have no idea what money is or what gives it value. Local banks used to create their own money, and the success or failure of the local bank determined what your money was worth: failures took place depending on the integrity of the local bank (and a lack of integrity was usually exposed by the (un)willingness of people to accept their money in exchange) but the whole system was not jeopardized by the failure of local banks. Only the creation of a central bank and political interference could ensure the collapse of a whole system of banking. The only possible purpose of a central bank could be for the clearance of cheques – but then, private firms could do that just as well.
    So: elimination of central banks, taxes at 10% of gross income (just move the decimal place one to the left, no calculator and no administration or tax codes required), no deductions for anything, businesses same thing – 10% of net profit, and the government spends what it gets, no borrowing. If there’s not enough tax revenue, the government shrinks accordingly and the displaced workers become productive workers. The tabula rasa for such a system to arise will be enabled by the final collapse of the whole rotten mess that has been created by central banking in the last hundred years, for nothing can save what has been created. From chaos comes order, but only through the actions of individuals.

  • St Udio

    all the federal & state lands and resources are the underlying value for a gov’t currency…
    normal inflation would address the issue of creating more currency…

    the unexpected need for more currency by the Federal gov’t would require taking either some public land or resource and converting it into private taxable asset… this would be done by a gov’t facilitator not a debt driven ‘bank’

    thus the current system of money creation and financial loop-de-loops would be ceased

    • RobertB

      This (confiscation of land and improvements) was tried during the French Revolution and resulted in hyperinflation, caused by the issue of ever increasing numbers of assignats, the final result being a collapse of the value of the assignat to zero.
      Also, there is no such thing as ‘normal inflation’, actually there is no such thing as inflation without fiat currency. There may be price fluctuations, but this is not inflation. Occasional brief anomalous price distortions have occurred in history whereby too much gold due to a sudden influx has caused general price increases, but this is equally the result of an insufficient supply of goods to match the increased availability of gold. It is soon remedied by an increased supply of goods, eagerly supplied by those wishing to obtain gold.

  • Gary Lee

    Why involve a government at all? People should work, trade, and create what ever they can find a market for and accept whatever they want to as fair compensation without a government taking a cut. Like Larken Rose writes in his book “The Most Dangerous Superstition” the most dangerous superstition is that government will do anyone any good other than their own drive for power, control and enslavement of the population.

  • http://militantjeffersonian.com Republicae

    Today, this country is currently subjected to what can be considered a dual-tiered fiat monetary system, as opposed to a single-tier system. Of course, the purpose of a dual-tier system, as initiated by the Lincoln Administration, was to create a market for government bonds by organizing debt into a currency system. A dual-tier system, while definitely unstable, is however, far more stable than a single-tier system of direct issue by either a government or banking authority. While there are many Quasi-Greenbackers who promote the single-tier system today, the fact of the matter is that if such a system were to be implemented it would begin a rapid decent into economic chaos. First, there would be nothing to support the system, such as the current debt market, while that sounds like a good thing and it is in many ways, it is not a good thing when you are dealing with a fiat currency that is based upon the Full Faith and Credit of a government which is rapidly loosing all credibility and the first thing that all fiat currencies need to be successful is faith in the future value of such currency.

    If we are suggesting that the government is any better equipped to issue and manage such a currency than their current Banking partners then we are surely dreaming. The problems we are now facing is not due to banks, it is due to a devious partnership between government and banking that has created a government organized, government sponsored patronage system where the hideous ideology of Mercantilism can and does flourish. The government should not be in the money issuing business anymore than the banks should be in it, the role of government within the Constitutionally limited authority is very specific and provides us with the proper workable solution if we would only take heed. As long as government can issue money, whether directly or through its patronage system of central banking then money is no longer the titled property of the holder, but of the government itself.

    At one time, your money was your property, it was, by reason of your possession of it, real titled property. Today, that is not the case, for instead of money we have government authorized, bank issued money substitutes which are the property of the government and are only payable in the same government authorized paper money substitutes…in other words, an official notification of a government debt obligation but nothing else. Thus, no matter if the central bank issues the paper substitute or the government issue it directly, the results will be the same, it will be nothing more than a money substitute easily controlled, managed and maintained by official authority…it will still be nothing more than an official notification of a debt obligation. By the way, it would also do nothing to solve the debt crisis, imagine putting both the power to spend and to issue the money in the hands of the government. That is one reason the government, and bankers for that matter, hated gold and silver money, they were so restricted by that money, for it required budgetary control and responsibility.

    • R. T.

      Right on! We cannot return to any kind of fiat money system. It has to be backed by hard currencies or things of value to avoid easy manipulation.

  • mogar

    I highly doubt that we would be fixing anything by giving the government the power to create money out of thin air. I don’t see how that is any improvement over the current system. We need to use something that the government cannot conjure out of thin air. Gold and silver seem like the rational answer to an asset based monetary system.
    It is not who prints the fiat currency that is the problem it is the fiat currency itself that is the problem. This is nothing but a fiat currency reset in a bid to buy another 40 years.

  • Bob Marshall

    UN International Momentary Fund? Is that because U.S. taxpayers are responsible for 305 of what is placed in this fund and without the U.S. participation, the U.N. would not existent.

  • http://ToddBMarshall.blog.com Todd B. Marshall

    My comments to this article can be found at:

    http://toddbmarshall.blog.com/2012/10/27/what-if-we-adopted-a-system-where-the-banks-did-not-create-our-money/

    Todd B. Marshall
    Plantersville, TX
    ToddBMarshall.blog.com

  • http://www.stmartinsystems.com Gary Kuhn

    Public money was used successfully at least 20 times in the US until 1862. Abe Lincoln issued 450M$ of public money to fund the Civil War. He invented “greenbacks”. This is not new. It’s an old fight between private money and public money. Every time public money was used the bankers went berserk. They bribed legislators to restrict its use, they demonitized all monies they did not control, like silver. They single-handedly shrank the money supply to force borrowers into giving up liened assets. Over and over. 225 years we’ve put up with this. There are no USD’s. There are only FRNs (federal reserve notes). Listen to Bill Still or read Ellen Brown. This is *not* new. And it’s a very good idea. Don’t be fooled by arguments about specie currency. Specie currency can never be expanded at the rate you want to grow your economy. In other words, specie currency is an invitation to the fraud
    called “fractional reserve” – since they can’t keep up with the growth of the economy, they pay for legislation which allows them to grant you credit and increase the money supply with new account balances that are *not* backed by specie. You then end up forced to pay “principal” which never existed, and “interest” on principal which never existed. Some public moneies have been mis-managed (Weimer) but many have not. Many N American colonies successfully managed public monies, like Franklin’s colonial script. It was the prohibition of public money which was a major cause of the revolution in the colonies. Again – this is a good idea, help us get it passed and make it work!

  • KD

    YOu are fundamentally wrong. Fiat currency is NO DIFFERENT FROM THE ARBITRARY VALUE “assumed” to anything that would back money.

    Fiat money IS the solution, because money is valueless, and used only to separate.

    the part you are having trouble wrapping your brain around is that it makes equality possible.

  • Paris

    What if we the people set up a debit card system backed by precious metals accounts?
    What if your dollars could be instantly converted to silver/gold and viceversa?
    The technology exists. Does the will to circumvent the banksters exist?

  • http://www.PublicCentralBank.com Kent Welton

    Hi,
    Thank you for this very important paper. Coming from the IMF, it illustrates that we are on the verge of ridding this world of the scourge of private central banking and debt-money slavery.

    Kent Welton,
    PublicCentralBank.com

  • Gord

    All this talk is great to think about , but how will these “new” ideas be implemented and transitioned too without all ending up as “alive ” as JFK to see it to fruition. Let’s face it there is no avoiding the train over the cliff syndrome. Most will die and the few left will have to first survive, bury the dead and finally erect a memorial and update the history books, all the while starting a new system that we live within our means.

  • bert

    What can you do? Join the Thrive Movement for soulutions.

  • roneel

    Hmmm… then the question comes… who’s gonna print it then? government? don’t you think the central bank is a part of the government! You better search for the problem lies at the bottom… all the best.

  • Markus Szunners

    If United States Notes were in circulation, can people still borrow money? Can Congress charge interest?

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