Thomas Hanna, Nomi Prins

Journalist Laura Flanders interviews Nomi Prins, author and former Goldman Sachs director, and Thomas Hanna, author and public ownership researcher, to ask, “If you were going to storm a central symbol of power and corruption today, where would you go and what would you do once you got there? Would it be the Fed?”

In their responses, excerpted in Truthout, Prins and Hanna describe how nationalizing the Fed as a public bank would enable our financial system to work for the real economy of Main Street.

Prins: The thing with the public bank.… It actually has been shown to adhere to the public good, the public demand to actual, real economic growth at the foundational level of our economy that allows people to have jobs, to move about, to be involved in research and development projects, and to build a stronger country. … If you look at something like North Dakota, which is the only state that has a public bank, … [t]hey’re able to effectively work their economy in a very positive manner.… The Federal Reserve, of course, doesn’t have that necessity. They talk about bailing out the private banks as somehow being good for the public, but they’re not giving the money or requiring that money go in any sort of extra meaningful way to the public. It’s not even true.

Hanna: Well, I think the Bank of North Dakota shows that it plays a role in the banking ecosystem in that state. The Bank of North Dakota essentially works with local banks, with credit unions, community banks. It backstops them. … I think we need to make structures, and integrated structures of public banks at different levels, integrated with local banks. Maybe if we, in the next crisis, took over one of the large Wall Street banks, that could support a network of regional public banks at the state level.

Hanna: The things that they put in place after the financial crisis haven’t really changed the structure of the system in any significant way. The banks are bigger than they were before. We’re bound to have another financial crisis at some point. We don’t know when, we don’t know where, we don’t know how bad, but there will be another financial crisis because what’s been put in place just isn’t sufficient, and I think everyone knows that. We need to be starting to think differently. What are the structural interventions that we can do?”

[Read the full article]
[Watch the interview]