Public Banks Now

The California Senate has voted to enact AB 857, the Public Banking Act, which sets the standards and opens the door for municipal public banks throughout the state. – A second vote on the amended bill in the Assembly, which advanced it by a narrow margin last month, should follow tomorrow. If Governor Gavin Newsom signs the bill into law, California will be the first state since North Dakota in 1919 to enact a statewide public banking statute, and the first in history to define and regulate the formation of […]

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We Already Print Money Like Crazy

– We printed trillions of dollars In 2009 – 2014 and gave it to the banks, so they could lend cheap money to the rich. – Of course it wasn’t “we the people” that printed it, it was “we the banks” at the Federal Reserve who printed this new money. It probably helped buoy employment and didn’t much inflate the prices of regular goods, and it definitely didn’t increase wages. So what was it spent on? – This new money was lent to creditworthy borrowers at a time when no […]

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Response to the LA Times Editorial Board on Charter Amendment B

From the author: I wrote the following in a letter-to-the-editor to the Times the day after they published their horrendously dishonest endorsement of a ‘No’ vote on Measure B. I’ve waited a couple weeks in case they decided to print it, but they haven’t, so I’m posting it here so others can reference it. It’s a couple weeks old now, but I think it’s worth showing that we asked them to air some fraction of our point of view, to no avail. LA Times has printed their ballot recommendations and […]

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Rebuttal to the LA Watchdog

  – – The folks against a measure that would allow Los Angeles to explore a public bank that would cut out the Wall Street middleman are making some unfounded but nonetheless scary-sounding claims. – Jack Humphreville, a dogged local advocate and reporter who covers the DWP and city finances beat for the website CityWatch put out a brazen polemic against Charter Amendment B which contained some falsehoods and misrepresentations.  I thought I’d retort some of the worst, for the record, and to engage in this important dialogue about the […]

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The Case for Nationalization

– Citigroup was nearly a public bank. – During the 2007-2008 Great Financial Crisis, the Bush and Obama Treasury Departments, the Federal Reserve, and the leaders of the largest banks and insurance companies in the nation conspired to find a way out of the mountain of worthless debt that was about to fall on the planet. The pages of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal bore headlines foretelling the end of American capitalism. The people entrusted to manage risk across our entire economy, the people running our large banks, […]

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Public Banking is on the Ballot. Vote Yes on B.

– Los Angeles manages more than eight billion dollars in annual revenue collected from tax, fee and fine payers, more than the country of Iceland.   The city maintains bank accounts with between $4B and $12B in cash, and manages up to $45B in investments for pensions and other funds.  That money is currently held in accounts at commercial banks, where it earns next to zero interest. The city paid over $109 million in transactional and originations fees to these commercial banks in 2016. Some of these banks have been downgraded […]

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The Era of Big Finance Might Be Over

– Most people still shrug when you ask them their opinion on public banking. – That used to be true about lawmakers, but recently, the concept of public ownership of a depository bank is on the lips of elected officials and policy analysts. There seems to be news about the movement for publicly-owned banks every single day. We may have arrived at the moment when city, state and national officials are ready to look at options outside the mainstream financial paradigm that serve the needs of the public directly.  It could […]

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