The first couple of weeks were slow, involving mainly reach-outs to 23 mostly mainstream financial media outlets, and 13 professional reviewers, befitting the nature of my book. Sarah also followed up on some local media contacts I had made earlier in the summer. Like me, she received no response from them.
A bit about the book is in order here: The full title of the book is "America is Not Broke! Four Multi-Trillion Dollar Paths to a Thriving America." In the book, I discuss 4 unrelated but possibly synergistic approaches to dealing with the $18.5 trillion national debt and ensuring a sustainable growth path for the country:
1. Sovereign Money, aka debt-free money
2. Land Value Taxation, aka the Georgist single Tax on Land/Location.
3. Public Banking, based mostly on the highly successful model of the Bank of North Dakota
4. Ending Government Financial Asset Hoarding, basically uncovering and possibly reallocating the trillions of dollars invested in over 200,000 government enterprise, agency, proprietary, and fiduciary accounts (e.g. by allocating a portion of the pension funds to a public bank).
The book is an updated anthology of articles I have written for Opednews and elsewhere from about 2010-2014, plus new introductions and extensive endnotes (456 of them). The title and main ideas came from a flier I and some of the activists in my Common Ground-NYC group had handed out in Zuccotti Park in the Fall of 2011, when Occupy Wall Street occupied it. When the publisher contacted me and asked me to create an anthology, I considered it for a few weeks and then threw myself into the project for several months. The book was published in March, 2015.One of the first successes was a separate and new article I wrote for the Cleveland Daily Banner, a Tennessee newspaper with about a 20,000 circulation. During our weekly conference calls, Sarah and I would brainstorm ways to connect the broad themes in my book with current events. In this case, I wrote an editorial rebutting Rep. Vern Buchanan (fxn.ws/1jbAOE8) (R-FL16) who wrote in a Fox News opinion column dated June 27, 2015 (fxn.ws/1YkUB3H) that America needed a balanced budget. My article was entitled "America Urgently Needs an Unbalanced Budget" and although we couldn't get Fox to publish it, and it was never published online by the Cleveland Banner, I did receive a printed copy and then republished it in Opednews, with a related cartoon (bit.ly/1Ojp5i1). Lesson learned: You can't expect to be able to rebut establishment figures in the same media if you are less well known then them, even if you have a book. One of my earliest scheduled radio interviews never called me (all radio interviews were conducted remotely on my landline phone), and when we couldn't get a reliable commitment from him we dropped him from consideration. Lesson learned: you can't trust even professional people to do what they say. I also turned down an opportunity to do a 57-minute solo program on Alternative Radio. Although this would have provided me with a long format open forum, I thought both my lack of professional experience and the lack of a professional radio host to guide the conversation would produce a bad result. Sarah told me Ellen Brown of the Public Banking Institute had been approached previously and had turned it down as well (Brown now co-hosts the radio show "It's Our Money" with new PBI Chair Walt McRee). Now that I have 15 radio shows to my credit, I may reconsider this. On with the shows One of the earliest programs was from September 16th on WJIM 1240-AM LANSINGS' BIG TALKER, aka the Steve Gruber Show, from Michigan (bit.ly/1MsA4Fd). I should say that I wasn't trying to talk over Gruber, as it sounds like in the recording, I simply couldn't hear him given the audio quality early on, plus the editing may make it sound like I was just talking without listening. Still, there is no denying my interview with Gruber, mainly about Public Banking, was combative at times, since he is distrustful of government and I believe, perhaps naively, that properly reformed, government can work for the People as it is supposed to. Although Gruber asked me to come back, he never extended an invitation and Sarah and I wondered if that was intentional. You can listen here, running from about 11:35 minutes -- 16:09 minutes.
One has to keep one's cool on shows like this, even if the host disagrees with you. It is still an opportunity to get your point of view out there and possibly change some minds in the audience. If I had had more time, I would have explained how Sovereign Money would allow for us to have money without the debt he was so worried about.
Two days earlier, I had had another half hour interview on a progressive station, KBOO Community Radio with Chris Andrae, but this was never archived. This was much more comfortable, but without an archive, it probably reached fewer people.
I had a chance to explain how a Georgist Land Value Tax could help pay for New York City infrastructure by taxing those who stand to gain the most, the city's landowners, on New York City's WBAI radio show, Citywatch, on Saturday, 10:00AM, September 19th, with hosts Larry Schimmel, and Mark Dunlea. We also talked about Public Banks. This show was very locally focused on the Metropolitan Transit Authority and its ability to fund improvements. I had known this would be the topic ahead of time thanks to my discussions with Sarah, so I studied up on this topical issue.
However, I made a big gaff at the 55:50 mark when talking about the Land Value Tax we had under Gov. Al Smith from 1920-1932; I got it exactly reversed and said the tax was lifted on the land instead of the buildings! Everything else was right to the best of my knowledge, but"ouch that was a pretty basic gaff. Lesson learned: Think before you talk.