floodgates Ray Explores

Photo by Ray Explores.

The California Public Banking Act has shown that legislative tides have turned and it is possible to shift power away from profit-motivated board members of privately-owned Wall Street banks into the hands of the people. Aaron Fernando writes in The Progressive that the size of California’s economy and history of setting precedents means that the rest of the country will likely follow suit.

The question at the heart of public banking may seem technical but is actually about political power. Should small groups of wealthy corporate board members get to decide how to leverage public money so that they may further enrich themselves? Or should public funds be used in a way that is accountable to the public itself, for initiatives that will secure the long-term health of society at large?

Fernando continues:

“These [public] banks could follow in the footsteps of the German KfW Group, a collection of state-owned infrastructure banks that directed more than one-third of its funds to climate and environmental protection in 2018—not just in Germany, but in thirty countries. So instead of propping up oil pipelines, public money could catalyze a rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy. Public banks can also drastically reduce the cost of financing infrastructure projects, because if the lender is a public bank, interest payments can be re-used for public benefit, rather than to enrich investors.”

[Read the full article]

One Thought on “Opening the public bank floodgates”

  • I wager that RG&E and other privately held utilities are delinquent in property taxes that could be used to help take them over. PG&E’s mission is to make as much profit as possible and pay their execs as much as possible. Publicly held utilities’ mission is to provide service. Banks are utilities and like other utilities provide an essential service. SMUD, a publicly held utility has not had wildfires attributed to its powerlines and no planned power outages have happened in its area. A public bank could help counties and municipalities to buy out PG&E and be a recipient for its retirement funds and profits so that money could be used for the public good and not the good of Banksters. Part of that public good would be to properly maintain the power infrastructure and the water shed and forests. Before Deregulation in 1996 PG&E msintsinrf thodr things well because they made a set profit on valid expenditures. After deregulation maintenance and employees became expenses instead of profit sources so all those expenses not necessary to the benefit of the execs were eliminated. Ask the people in San Bruno and Paradise the dangers of that model.

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