Fr. Coughlin explains the Federal Reserve, 1940: This privately owned corporation ‘thrives on misery’ and is ‘leading this country into chaos’

Liberty Fight – by Martin Hill

“Who makes the profits from the operation of the Federal Reserve bank?” asks Catholic priest.

On April 7, 1940, Father Charles E. Coughlin of Royal Oak Michigan gave a detailed explanation and condemnation of the the Federal Reserve Banking System in his weekly radio address. Many people are familiar with the fiery youtube video clip in which an angry Fr. Coughlin rails against the Federal Reserve and shouts “They’re not even Americans, these Democrats and Republicans!” However, the clip featured here today is an hour long explanation of the system by Fr. Coughlin, in which he presents documentation from U.S. Senate testimony and other official sources. He also offered this information in printed copy to his listeners for no charge. The good priest was trying to explain to his millions of listeners that the Federal Reserve system had to go, that it took advantage of Americans, harmed honest hard-working people, and would inevitably lead to chaos and destruction for the nation. All four 15-minute youtube clips of this speech are embedded below.

It is precisely this type broadcast, in addition to Fr. Coughlin’s principled anti-war, anti interventionist , anti-Communist, and pro-liberty stances, which prompted FDR’s eventual threats to put Coughlin into prison and shut down his broadcast. This is the 5th installment in the Fr. Coughlin Series and we will feature more profiles of interest in the future. But for this month, with the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve approaching, this lecture from Fr. Coughlin on the ‘Federal Reserve’ and bonds is most appropriate.

Fr. Coughlin begins “On December 23, 1913- 27 years ago- a Federal Reserve Act was approved by the Congress of the United States. This Act permitted bankers to establish a bankers’ bank- or, to be more precise, 12 bankers’ banks situated one in each regional division of the United States of America… In other words, the Federal Reserve Banking System is a privately owned corporation. It is not a Government owned corporation as some persons believe. …It is both amusing and alarming to learn that not only some factory workers but also some professional and business men labor under the impression that the Federal Reserve banking system is a Government owned corporation.”

Coughlin then goes on to make three points: who owns the banks, the fact that they are tax exempt, and explains the so-called ‘Federal Reserve Board’, the supposed ‘watchdog’ of the banks.

“Who makes the profits from the operations of the Federal Reserve Banks?”…In other words, this privately owned corporation, gigantic in size and in operations is tax-exempt except for real estate purposes… The Federal Reserve Board has been in existence since the Federal Reserve Banks were established, that is in 1913. It was in extistence during the panic of 1920, and failed to avert it although every person knew it was a financial panic. It was in existence in 1929, and failed to avert the depression which was notorious, among other causes, for its unreasonable debt inflation. Still withal there are many honest men who adopt the viewpoint that our present financial system is sound as long as the Federal Reserve Board, vested with definite powers, is the watch-dog of the Federal Reserve Banks- 12 privately owned corporations- which, as I will show in the course of these lectures, create the vast bulk of the money we use at a profit for themselves…”

Fr. Coughlin then explains bonds and says “In other words, my friends, every time the Government borrows from the banks- and do not think I am misspeaking when I say this- every time the Government borrows from the banks, money is added to the deposits of the banks… ..Now, for the important question: Where did the banks get the money to buy bonds from the Government? If you or I- private citizens- buy a Government $1,000 bond, we pay $1,000 in money that we earned by our labor or enterprise. Not so with the banks. Only simple, uninformed persons think that the banks pay dollar for dollar for the bonds they receive from the Government…”

Fr. Coughlin then reads from a transcript of testimony in the U.S. Senate, an exchange between the Governor of the Federal Reserve Board Marriner Stoddard Eccles, Senator James J. Couzens of Michigan, and Senator John G. Townsend. (Eccles incidentally was showboated on the cover of Time Magazine on Feb. 10, 1936.)

Coughlin continues: “The statements which I have made are almost unbelieveable; It is unbelievable that privately owned banks who own the Federal Reserve banks create money through the process of bonds and loans. It is unbelevable that at least 90 per cent of our business is conducted through the money which these banks create. It is unbelievable that, at 3 per cent interest on loans, we pay these privately owned banks $900,000,000 a year on $30,000,000,000 of bonds which they hold. It is unbelievable that the local banks- the members of the Federal Reserve banks- are engaged not so much in lending money to small business, to home owners, to farmers on any large scale, as they are engaged in buying the debt of the nation…It is unbelievable that the more debt the Government creates and the more bonds the local banks obtain, the greater is the profit for the bankers under this present system. Oh, it’s a system to my mind, that thrives on misery” [Note the underlined section, Fr. Coughlin’s spoken commentary, was not scripted and is not included at end of page 10 of the pdf transcript.]

“…This means, in my opinion, that if the financial policies now in vogue will be continued for another six years… the tax burdens which the citizens are bearing will be double what they are today. [transcript page 11, minute 28 of the speech.]

[29:40] “…I see several weaknesses in our present financial structure. (I warn you, these are my own opinions based on the facts I have just read.) Opinions which I readily admit are not shared my many economists, not sociologists. First, it is a structure predicated upon debt, not upon wealth. Second, it is a structure owned not by the government and the people, but by private corporations…”

Fr. Coughlin continues “…Possibly the best yardstick to use in measuring the efficiency of the present financial system is the one which is related to the statement “By their fruits they shall be known.”

“What are the fruits of the present financial system?”

“In the last seven years our government has spent in cash over $26,000,000, 000 to create jobs and raise the purchasing power of the people… Still withal we are told that approximately 10 million persons who are seeking jobs can not find them. We are told that two-thirds of our families are living on an average income of $69.00 per month. We are told that more than 40,000 farms have been confiscated by the Government- not by banks so much, but by Government- as well as hundreds of thousands of homes and properties. We are told that taxation has risen abnormally… Debt money has failed to filter down adequately and efficiently to the farmer, the laborer and the unemployed…

“…Why have not two-thirds of our population the food, the clothing and the shelter they require? It is all here in America in the raw; it is all here in our wonderful factories and our skilled men. It is not distributed because the financial system, which is the medium of distribution, has broken down. Instead of being a help to the majority of our citizens, has it not been a detriment?

“…By their fruits shall they be known” is not a bad yardstick to employ in judging the efficacy of the present financial system which is notorious for pyramiding debts and for failing to contribute efficiently towards solving our unemployment problem, towards guaranteeing production-at-a-profit for the farmer, towards multiplying the ownership of private homes, towards eradicating discontent, towards decentralizing wealth now concentrated in the hands of a few. The concentration of wealth in the hands of a few is part and parcel of the Federal Reserve System… [41:39]

“Now I am not impugning the men who own or who are engaged in the local banks or in the Federal Reserve banking system. I am simply calling to your attention the unworkability of the present financial system, which to my mind, is predicated upon debt- the more debt the more prosperous it is. And which to my mind, is leading this country into chaos.

“…I leave this thought with you, namely; is it not possible to issue money against the wealth of a nation? Is it not possible for Congress, through its own agency, to issue tax-exempt money? …Is it not possible for Americans, living in this land of plenty, to enjoy the products thereof, instead of being barred from enjoying them because, to my mind, we are wedded to an obsolete system of finance?”

The full PDF transcript of Fr. Coughlin’s speech can be found here.

Fr. Charles E. Coughlin Exposes the Federal Reserve, 1940- Part 2/4

Fr. Charles E. Coughlin Exposes the Federal Reserve, 1940- Part 3/4

Fr. Charles E. Coughlin Exposes the Federal Reserve, 1940- Part 4/4

I encourage everyone to download Fr. Coughlin’s absolutely invaluable books and listen to his recordings. More posts of interest will come in the following weeks and months as time permits. The story of how I came across this great historical figure is here.

Here are some more pictures of Fr. Coughlin throughout his life. [The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030-1032 teaches us to pray for the dead. In that vein, please pray for Father Charles Coughlin.]

One thought on “Fr. Coughlin explains the Federal Reserve, 1940: This privately owned corporation ‘thrives on misery’ and is ‘leading this country into chaos’

  1. This Father Coughlin guy also spoke of the Jewish conspiracy, but I don’t see that mentioned here. (you may want to dig up other videos)

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