To Own (Capital) or be Owned.

Think about this: We all need money.

Our central bank — the Federal Reserve — controls money. Money shapes the world. Whoever controls money determines who will own capital (income-producing wealth) in the future. And whoever owns capital will have power over the economy and the political system.

Did you know ….

  • in the U.S. the top 0.1% percent own more than the bottom 90% of Americans combined?
  • the richest 67 people in the world, according to Forbes Magazine, own and control more income-producing property than the bottom 3.5 billion citizens of the world combined?
  • the top 1% in the world, according to an Oxfam study published in January 2016, own more than everyone else in the world put together?

Meanwhile ….

  • the bottom 99% of Americans – if we are lucky enough to be among the “shrinking middle class” — are daily beset by economic insecurity, fear of losing our jobs, rising consumer and student debt, and disappearing retirement incomes.
  • over 44 million Americans live in poverty, suffering from unemployment, homelessness, hunger, poor quality education and healthcare, and no clear way out of their poverty.
  • personal and household debt in the U.S. is over $8 trillion, roughly $52,000 per citizen.
  • U.S. federal, state and local government debt has grown to $21.3 trillion — and that’s not counting a projected $95.7 trillion in unfunded liabilities we the taxpayers will owe for “entitlements” such as Social Security and Medicare. (Added together that liability comes to over $364,000 for you, me and every other citizen.)

Think about what all that debt means for each of us as taxpayers, and for our children and grandchildren who will shoulder that ever-increasing debt. Think about what will happen if we don’t, or can’t, pay what we owe as a nation.

Simply demanding more jobs, raising the minimum wage, cranking the Central Bank’s printing presses to bail out the government or “too large to fail” banks, or redistributing property incomes of the 1%, won’t solve the problem.

It’s time ….

  • to lift all our people and our nation out of unsustainable debt.
  • to start financing sustainable growth, new jobs and green technology.
  • to stop pouring money into Wall Street and their Big Government cronies.
  • to start delivering economic justice through capital ownership for every citizen.


Change the system. Restructure our money system, our credit system, and our tax system by applying free market-based principles of economic justice.

We can start by delivering monetary justice — democratizing access to money power by spreading it to every citizen and every family.

Section 13, paragraph 2 of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 provides the critical monetary key to opening the door to economic justice for all. This overlooked (or misused) piece of existing law could help finance healthy private sector growth and more equal capital ownership opportunities for every member of society. It could do this without using taxpayer money, or violating property rights of current owners of existing productive capital assets.


The proposed Capital Homestead Act is a comprehensive economic reform agenda that would make our monetary and tax systems more simple and just, and would systematically spread real economic power and profits through capital ownership to every person and family.

This Act would eliminate monetary and tax barriers to equal economic opportunity and full economic participation. Whether under “Wall Street” capitalism, all forms of State and collective ownership, or Keynesian “mixed economy” and “Welfare State” models, these exclusionary and monopolistic barriers exist in every country in the world.

These barriers have brought about bankruptcy of citizens and nations, stagnant or shrinking economies, regional conflicts over resources, and social conditions breeding terrorism and war.

Under proposed Capital Homesteading reforms, every American citizen would gain as a fundamental right of citizenship, equal access to the economic equivalent of the political ballot.

Democratizing ownership rights requires equal access to “social tools” such as money and credit within a just, properly managed, and free market-based system. Every citizen and family would then be empowered with the means to purchase shares in feasible private sector projects for non-inflationary growth of the agricultural, industrial, and commercial sectors of the productive economy.

Full rights and powers of ownership and the full stream of income from their productive capital assets would then flow directly to each citizen and family. Think how that would change our economic and political system!


Each of the twelve Federal Reserve regional banks already has the power under existing law to supply new, insured, interest-free credit and asset-backed money, issued by local commercial banks, in order to finance non-inflationary, private-sector growth of agriculture, industry and commerce.

Instead of being used to pay for the government’s deficits and debt, or to bail out irresponsible, “too-big-to-fail” banks, the Federal Reserve’s money-creation powers would be used strictly for financing sustainable, non-inflationary private-sector growth.

And instead of simply channeling this new money and credit to the top 1%, the twelve regional Feds would irrigate the whole economy by providing an equal allotment of ownership-expanding capital loans to every child, woman and man in the region, each and every year.

The money for these citizen ownership loans would be asset-backed — not backed by government debt or by bad mortgage securities. The loans, which would be insured against the risk of default, would be used strictly for purchasing new shares of profitable companies seeking to grow.

The loans would be repaid with the full, untaxed stream of future profits (“future savings”) of the enterprises issuing the shares. Thereafter, those company profits would flow to the citizen-shareholders as their independent source of income, over and above their wages or welfare.

Democratizing future ownership opportunities would reduce corruption and grow the American market system by making it more just, more free and more competitive in global trade.

By enabling all private, public, and non-profit sector workers, as well as welfare recipients, to gain ever-increasing earned incomes from the bottom-line profits of productive enterprises, the costs of production and prices for American-produced goods and services could remain stable or even decrease.

This strategy would also enable the U.S. economy to grow faster. It would create millions of new productive jobs and growing dividend incomes for every citizen and family, so they can meet their consumption needs, thus providing businesses with more “customers with money.”


Under the Capital Homestead Act, the tax system (which reinforces the money and credit system) would also be replaced with a more just and simplified system designed to:

  • remove artificial tax barriers and “tax expenditures” (tax subsidies) that perpetuate concentrated ownership of productive capital and fuel ever-increasing government deficits;
  • exempt from taxation all personal incomes to cover basic living costs;
  • tax incomes from all sources (labor, capital, gambling, etc.) that are above a uniform personal exemption to cover basic living costs, at a single rate calculated to eliminate all budget deficits and begin to pay off old government debt;
  • defer from personal taxation any income being used to pay off citizen- or worker-ownership loans;
  • encourage enterprises to pay out fully tax-deductible dividends, and finance all future capital with the issuance of new, full-dividend-payout, voting shares; and
  • encourage the spreading out of now-concentrated economic power as widely as possible from one generation to the next, by shifting from estate and gift taxes on the accumulated wealth of super-rich persons to taxing their recipients at a single personal tax on all gifts and inheritances they receive that exceed the recipient’s holdings over $1 million dollars.


Then — no matter whether it’s a private elite, the State, or a powerful alliance of the two — those who own will control those who don’t own. They will have power over the stomachs, the freedoms, and the futures of those who own no productive wealth.

The choice comes down to this: “Own or be owned.”

If you would rather own than be owned, let’s join together to deliver a new and unifying message to the American people and the people of the world:



* * *

(From essay by Norman G. Kurland and Dawn K. Brohawn, Center for Economic and Social Justice,