February 7, 2009
Due to a death threat against monetary reform advocate Richard C. Cook, a Town Hall meeting scheduled to be held on February 27, 2009, as part of President Barack Obama’s “Organizing for Change” initiative, has been canceled. Cook had been asked to speak at the meeting and present his program called “Bailout for the People” that he has been advocating as a solution to the economic crisis.
The meeting had been organized by New York City activists to provide Cook a forum at a time when the Obama/Biden administration is soliciting ideas to address the deepening recession where over 1,500,000 people have lost their jobs in the last three months. Over the next several weeks, hundreds of Economic Recovery Meetings will be held around the country leading up to public hearings by Vice President Joe Biden’s economic recovery task force.
Cook has written prolifically on economic and monetary reform since retiring from the federal government as a Treasury Department analyst in 2007. During his 32-year government career he also worked for NASA and the Carter White House. Upon retirement he published a book on the space shuttle Challenger disaster entitled Challenger Revealed. More recently, Tendril Press has published his book, We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform.
Cook’s proposals are based on what he calls “Dividend Economics.” He cites as an example the annual citizens’ stipend under the Alaska Permanent Fund. Through what he is calling the “Cook Plan,” he is advocating a tax-free per capita payment of $1,000 per month through vouchers to be used for the necessities of life such as housing, food, and transportation. The vouchers, once redeemed, would be used to capitalize a new national network of community savings banks that would lend at low interest rates to revitalize local and regional economies.
Despite the threat, Cook spoke at another Organizing for Change meeting in Takoma Park, Maryland, on Saturday February 7. On February 27th, when the Town Hall meeting in New York had been scheduled, he plans to keep his appointment that afternoon to speak at the 8thCongress of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network/Annual Conference of the Eastern Economic Association. At this conference he will present a paper entitled: “Bailout for the People: Dividend Economics and the Basic Income Guarantee.” Further details, along with a downloadable version of the paper, are available at his new website at www.richardccook.com.
Regarding the cancellation of the Town Hall meeting, a decision made jointly with the organizers, Cook said: “I have worked in the public eye my whole life for the government, as a whistleblower after the Challenger disaster, and as a writer. These things don’t frighten me. But in this instance, I cannot in good conscience expose my supporters and members of the public to the slight chance of harm in a relatively non-secure venue.” Cook also pointed out that the perpetrator of the threat has been identified and reported. He said the person used "vicious language" and called him a "traitor."