Wells Fargo, Diversity, and Economic Justice

Religious conservatives are up in arms about a recent Wells Fargo commercial featuring a same-sex female couple meeting their new adopted daughter. Wells Fargo has admirably refused to pull the ad in the face of intimidation and threats of boycott and divestment by the evangelical conservative community.

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In North Dakota, Local News Shows Subtle Power of Public Bank

At PBI, we tend to cover a lot of global and national stories about the problems of private banking and its public alternatives. But some of the most important stories about the power of public banks are local. Two recent stories in the North Dakota media demonstrate what the Bank of North Dakota, the nation's only public bank, does for that state. 

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800 Years after Magna Carta, We’re Still Struggling with the King

Some things never change, and in a broad-brushed historical review one could reasonably say we’re still serfs -- slaves to debt acquired from the oligarchs of finance. This week’s 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta serves to remind us that creating new publicly-owned banks is a defining step toward breaking free from living in total subservience to privileged private parties.  Here are two birthday essays on the pivotal relevance of the Magna Carta to today’s struggles for justice and democracy:

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Banking: A Tale of Two States

by Jim Hannley

Arizonans for a New Economy (AzfNE) met with the board of directors of the Arizona Bankers Association (ABA) on April 15th in Tucson at the invitation of the ABA. Pamela Powers Hannley, Co-director of AzfNE presented slides to the board members showing banking trends in Arizona over the last 15 years. You can see all the data for that presentation, some of which I refer to in this post, here

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Do the People Have the Power?

Literally thousands of citizens groups assaulted members of Congress with phone calls and messages late last week to not grant Fast Track authority to the president that would allow the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership pact to move forward.  Could this be a sign that the people are waking up to strategic power grabs over local government control by global corporations?  Might this demonstrate a democratic uprising of sorts, enough to affect public policy?  We’ll see in coming days whether this push will hold as more voting on the pact is scheduled that might move approval closer.

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Social Mobility and Public Banking

Last week, Richard V. Reeves and Allegra Pocinki of the Social Mobility Memos Blog at Brookings published "Space, place, race: Six policies to improve social mobility," a distillation of research by Harvard economics professor Raj Chetty. But the recommendations contained no analysis of financing--and that's always the fly in the ointment.

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Their Fiscal Conservatism and Ours

A few weeks ago, in "Financial Insecurity Ruins Our Lives: Let's Change the Game," I discussed poverty's association with failed relationships, poor health, and mental illness. Poverty exacerbates those. Fiscally "liberal" policies that reduce poverty are good, as are charitable institutions. But they don't strike too deeply at the roots of the problem, they are inevitably fleeting, and they don't challenge or change our assumptions about capitalism or homo economicus. This makes both fiscal liberalism and philanthropy somewhat Sisyphean, condemned to an never-ending uphill struggle with fiscal conservatism against a backdrop of assumptions that this is the way it's supposed to be: a pendulum swinging back and forth between austerity and generosity.

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Public Banking Institute Adds Three to Board of Directors

The Public Banking Institute continues to press forward in educating, assisting, and providing resources for local movements around the country to press for public banks in their cities, counties, and states. Recently, PBI added three new members to its Board of Directors

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Wall Street's Trojan Horse: Shelby Bill Deregulates Big Banks in the Guise of Saving Small Banks

On Friday, May 22, the Senate Banking Committee approved Senator Richard Shelby's regulatory reform bill for financial institutions. Although the process between committee approval and actual floor debate and passage will take some time, proponents of tougher regulations on big banks are already voicing fierce opposition to the bill, which purports to free smaller banks (those with less than $500 billion in assets) of the more stringent requirements of Dodd-Frank. However, all is not what it seems. 

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The LIBOR Scandal and the Limits of Prosecuting Big Banks

Last week I wrote an article on the impact of wildly illegal currency manipulation by the world's major banks, and the impact it had on the City of Baltimore, culminating in scenario after scenario of poverty, brutality, and unrest. Now it looks like some of those banks are pleading guilty to felonies over these ruinous crimes. 

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