From Wall Street Schemes to Debtors' Prisons--Cities Confront Regressive Debt Collection

After years of watching cities finance their budgets and beat up on the poor by throwing people in jail for unpaid fines, tickets, and other public debts, the U.S. Department of Justice is finally taking action. 

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Statement on Intolerance

In recent months, the Public Banking Institute has had to clarify to some of our supporters and followers who post messages on our social media and other public forums, that we strongly reject without exception any derogatory statements or hints of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Islamic rhetoric in connection with financial, monetary and banking reform movements worldwide.

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Russell Simmons, Now a Predatory Banking Shark, Endorses Hillary Clinton

What does it say when a former hip hop innovator, who now makes money off the backs of poor people with his predatory financial products, declares himself "to the left of Bernie Sanders," and then endorses Hillary Clinton? 

We don't endorse or attack candidates at PBI. We want everyone thinking about public banks--including public consumer banks like postal banks--and we think that unchecked privatization of financial services and a huge shareholder profit motive hurt governments, communities, small businesses, and people. We feel the same way about predatory payday lenders as we do about the Wall Street firms robbing billions of dollars from our cities and states. In both instances we ask: Why do we allow these private entities to run so many things? 

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Postal Banking & Payday Lending Back in the News

“The basic idea of modern postal banking,” Mehrsa Baradaran writes in How the Other Half Banks, “is a public bank offering a wide range of transaction services, including financial transactions, remittance, savings accounts, and small lending. These institutions would remain affordable because of economies of scale and because of the existing postal infrastructure in the U.S. Plus, in the absence of shareholders, they would not be driven to seek profits and could sell services at cost.”

Baradaran is right--particularly about postal economies of scale and the potential of postal banking to improve the quality of life for poor people. And the idea periodically rises to the surface of American news headlines because, as Bernie Sanders's campaign demonstrates (whatever its outcome), the economic insecurity of half of America is a big deal. 

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Could Low Cost Index Funds Have Saved Our Cities?

No, but that doesn't mean they aren't safe ways for people, and maybe even collective entities, to invest a tiny bit of money for a tiny return. But no, as virtuous as they are, they are not a full solvency package for municipal finance.

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Arizona Public Banking Bill Advances

Last week, Arizona became the latest state to advance a public banking bill out of committee in its state legislature. Like most initial public banking bills, this legislation mandates a task force with the aim of recommendations and feasibility pronouncements. It won't get us a North Dakota-style public bank tomorrow, but it's a strong start, particularly given the strength of the 6-1 committee vote. 

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Maryland House of Delegates to Hold Public Banking Hearings February 24

This week, the Maryland House of Delegates' Economic Matters Committee will hold hearings on HB0794, which amends section 1-212 of Maryland's Code to authorize political entities in the state to establish public banks, and calls for the study and evaluation of a Maryland State Bank.

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Grand Forks to get $15 Mil in Development at 2% Interest, Thanks to Bank of North Dakota

While cities around the country are going broke--a result of their reliance on big private Wall Street banks, high-interest and risky financing schemes, and overreliance on unpopular (and often regressive) taxation, Grand Forks, North Dakota, is smiling today.

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Leveraging Monetary Policy for Climate Change Mitigation--The Role of Public Banks

In 2013, at a Climate workshop in Istanbul sponsored by Al Gore, a civil engineer named Delton Chen conceived of a new global currency that would drive greenhouse gas mitigation. The idea would become the foundation of the group Global4C, which wants to use public banks as an agent for this monetary conduit to climate justice.

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While World Protests Signing, Top TPP Negotiator Charged with Bribery

While activists and citizens in several countries prepare to protest Saturday's signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of its chief negotiators, the economic minister from Japan, has been forced to resign from the ruling cabinet because of bribery allegations. 

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