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."
Across the country, community activists, mayors, city council members, and more are waking up to the power and the promise of public banks. Such banks are established and controlled by cities or states, rather than private interests. They collect deposits from government entities—from school districts, from city tax receipts, from state infrastructure funds—and use that money to issue loans and support public priorities. They are led by independent professionals who are accountable to elected officials. Public banks are a way to build local wealth and resist the market’s predatory predilections. They are a way to end municipal reliance on Wall Street institutions, with their high fees, their scandal-ridden track records, and their toxic investments in private prisons and pipelines. They are a way, at long last, to manage money in the public interest.
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