The latest episode of the podcast series It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown examines what amounts to the soul of an economy. While the Declaration of Independence codes into our country’s fabric the unalienable right to the “pursuit of happiness,” any measure of happiness is far removed from our current measures of capitalism’s success.
The very notion that an economy could deserve an emotional response seems to unreasonably mix metaphors; how could economic activities elicit heart-warming affection? Yet economies can either be devised to deprive or enrich their participants, which suggests that we can craft ones that secure, enable and nurture work and life relationships. Are we living in an age on the verge of creating such new economies?
Ellen and Walt’s guests this week, Dr. Edward Quevedo and economist Mark Anielski suggest that new economic metrics and values must be employed to keep humanity viable.
CA Treasurer John Chiang, a candidate for governor, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Tuesday they will move forward with plans to create a state bank for the cannabis industry and conduct a feasibility study they aim to complete by end of the year.
Chiang said this month’s move by US Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to revoke Obama administration guidelines limiting enforcement of marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal has added urgency and incentive to create a Public Bank. Chiang continued:
"California and other states will need to lead when it comes to bringing the cannabis industry out of the shadows.”
The NJ state Public Bank idea had its first legislative discussion on Monday at the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee hearing.
The bill got predictable push-back from vested banking interests, but advocates spoke out passionately, delineating the real benefits to the state's citizens that a Public Bank would provide.Read more
A group of Vermonters met at the Hartland Library on January 12 to hear how a Vermont State Bank would benefit the state.
Gwendolyn Hallsmith and Henry Jacqz of Vermonters for a New Economy, explained that a state-owned bank could easily hold and manage $350 million — the average uncommitted balance in the state’s bank accounts — so Vermonters could reap the benefits of leveraging capital and extending credit, instead of giving those benefits to shareholders of a private bank.Read more
In a year when American financial behemoths rake in a record $171.3 billion in profit, the big three — Wells, JPMorgan, and BofA— chose to shake down poor people for a whopping $5.4 billion in overdraft fees.
In 2017, that works out to about 183 million charges of $35 a pop. That's a 270 percent increase from the $1.97 billion reported in a 2006 FDIC study. A study in the UK last year showed that bank overdrafts were 8 times more costly than payday loans.
Scandal-ridden big banks likewise charge exorbitant fees from our state and local governments. Big banks have been caught red handed in bid rigging, bribery, and myriad other scams to take money from states and municipalities.Read more
Michigan leaps forward into the running for the first state in a hundred years to create a state Public Bank, thanks to Republicans and Democrats working together for their state's best interests.
Last Thursday, MI House Bills 5431-5434 were formally introduced — a bipartisan package of bills that would create and maintain a state bank. According to a statement by State Rep. Martin Howrylak (R), the Michigan state-run bank would effectively be a co-operative, holding state and local government funds. The bank could then use those funds to provide loans to the state and its subdivisions (schools, cities, townships, villages, etc.).
“This is a fiscally responsible solution for taxpayers. As states are looking for ways to reduce spending, many are exploring the idea of a state-owned bank, similar to the Bank of North Dakota. In North Dakota, public revenue runs through the state-owned bank (Bank of North Dakota, BND). The BND provides loans significantly below market interest rates to local governments, smaller banks and businesses. Local governments and schools use these savings to pump more money into classrooms, expand access to infrastructure funding and keep tax rates low.”
Trailblazer New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wastes no time. Directly following his swearing in last week, State Senators Nia Gill and Richard Codey introduced the State Bank of New Jersey Act at the beginning of the legislative session.
According to Politico:
"Under the Codey-Gill proposal, all public entities in New Jersey would be able to use the state-run bank. It would provide transportation project loans, student loans, small business loans and be able to purchase mortgages from commercial banks. The bank would also be able to purchase, lease and construct buildings, and would even have the power of eminent domain. And it would be able to buy and sell federal funds."
PBI Chair Ellen Brown and former Chair Walt McRee present on Public Banks at national conference on sustainable infrastructure
Ellen Brown and Walt McRee head to Washington DC this week for the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) conference on Sustainable Infrastructure.
The conference features experts from around the globe and will host thousands of participants. Ellen and Walt are conducting a workshop "The Backbone of Sustainable Infrastructure: Cooperative Ownership & Public Banks.” The workshop will explain how co-ops and Public Banks provide the structural mechanics for creation of a “new regenerative economy” (NRE) that goes beyond mere sustainability to embrace a commitment to public service that generates human-focused community outcomes rather than mere paper profits.Read more
An eloquent op-ed in Santa Cruz IMC penned by Steve Pleich describes why California and Santa Cruz are uniquely suited to stand up to the pressure brought by the crisis-rocked private banking industry and create their own Public Banks. He writes, "[Public Banks] are a way, at long last, to manage money in the public interest."
"In point of fact, the reason that there aren’t more public banks around the country has nothing to do with any legal problems. ... Indeed, the lack of public banks in America has everything to do with political will and the resolve to stand up to the pressure brought to bear by the private banking industry. California, and so Santa Cruz, is uniquely suited to stand up to such pressure. The people of the state are increasingly determined to chart their own course independent of Wall Street and, where necessary, independent of the federal government. There has never been a better time for a city council and active citizens to push back against Wall Street lobbyists and implement a model of sound and ethical financial policy."
International News: Ireland's Cabinet is set to discuss introducing a "game changer" Sparkassen type of Public Bank
The Irish publication The Journal reports that a proposal to introduce a Sparkassen type of Public Bank in the country will soon be discussed in the Cabinet. Government officials have completed their report.
Labour TD Willie Penrose says, “The development of a network of regionally based public banks could be a game changer for small and medium enterprises, agribusiness and the regions.”Read more