As Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a seat on the House Financial Services Committee, her tweet saying she wants to get to work on public banking was heard round the world. “I’m looking forward to digging into the student loan crisis, examining for-profit prisons/ICE detention, and exploring the development of public & postal banking,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. The French press agency AFP immediately caught on, writing “‘Public banking’ are two words that send shivers down the spine of Wall Street.”
The French know this because Europe actually has public banks and and recognizes the efficiency of that model.
The House Financial Services Committee has long been a major source of campaign contributions from Wall Street for both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, so the response of the financial services industry and Party leadership to this development may be swift.
Meanwhile, the resulting media attention from AOC’s current limelight presents a great opportunity to substantially advance the public’s understanding of public banking and to gain the support of advocates, allied organizations, and elected officials.
A related article in Bloomberg Businessweek discusses the similarly changing discussion on tax rates that AOC raised via an appearance on 60 Minutes. Stephanie Kelton, MMT theorist and economic advisor to Bernie Sanders during his 2016 campaign, says one way or another, “the conversation is shifting. The space is opening up.”
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