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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Snapshots of Old and New Economies

Michael Gerson's column on the poverty and disorder Baltimore is a snapshot of the limits of our analysis when we don't take financial oligarchy into account. 

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Material Responsibility: What the Banks Did to Baltimore

There’s no shortage of pundits condemning the riots in Baltimore. There are also plenty of well-meaning people focusing solely on the disenfranchisement of particular pockets of that city as if the human beings suffering there were characters in some morality play. But it’s time to talk economics, because the events in Baltimore didn’t happen in a vacuum. “In fact,” writes Harlan Green of PopularEconomics.com, “the Baltimore riots are the result of an economic system that can only be described as broken, where the bullies win, everyone else loses.”

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Wall Street’s City Finance Schemes are Really Scams: How You Can Help Now

Do you know a Mayor? If so, you may be able to help PBI's friends at Commonomics USA with their campaign to put public finance on the agenda at the 2015 United States Conference of Mayors. Read the information here, and email them at info@commonomicsusa if you can help--as soon as possible!  

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Public Banking Institute a Partner to a New Project on Economic Alternatives

The Public Banking Institute is proud to be a founding co-sponsor of the Next System Project, a collaborative project initiated by the Democracy Collaborative and longtime public banking supporter Gar Alperovitz. 

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Risky Private Financing is Killing Chicago Public Schools

Chicago is in trouble. According to Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog, there is a $1.1 billion "budget hole" in the Chicago public school system. A "derivative time bomb" of as much as $263 million, just triggered on the Chicago Board of Education, means that Chicago Public Schools may be out of money in 30 days. "On March 9, Moody's dropped Chicago School bonds two notches to Baa3, that last rank above junk," according to the site's blogger, Mike "Mish" Shedlock, who adds: "On March 20, Fitch downgraded Chicago Board of Education Rating to BBB-, also one step above junk." If the district cannot renegotiate the swap, or pass further bonds for the funds (and both events seem difficult to implement), a "termination event" would trigger, forcing the Board to pay the negative valuation on the swap, which it simply cannot afford to do. The District supposedly has just enough to pay the termination fees, but would be left "virtually broke."

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