The Savings And Stability Of Public Banking
By Ralph Nader
Posted April 24, 2017
There needs to be much more education of state legislators and the public at large.
As a society obsessed by money, we pay a gigantic price for not educating high school and college students about money and banking. The ways of the giant global banks – both commercial and investment operations – are as mysterious as they are damaging to the people. Big banks use the Federal Reserve to maximize their influence and profits.
The federal Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption for matters that are “contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.” This exemption allows financial institutions to wallow in secrecy. Financial institutions are so influential in Congress that Senator Durbin (D, IL) says “[The banks] frankly own this place.” More…
How Western Civilization Could Collapse
By Rachel Nuwer
Posted April 23, 2017
The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.
Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilization, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. More…
U.S. Propaganda is Embarrassingly Bad (and Why it Matters)
by Michael Krieger
Posted April 23, 2017
The U.S. deep state is increasingly losing the very people it depends on to sustain even the slightest degree of public credibility. I’m one example. Born in the belly of the financial beast of New York City, I was raised privileged, went to the right schools, graduated from a top university and launched my Wall Street career at the age of 22. Ten years later, I was earning a stupid amount of money for adding absolutely nothing to society, but the response from the powers that be to the financial crisis was so grotesque and unethical I could no longer in good faith continue my career. This isn’t the sort of thing that’s supposed to happen.
People like me are supposed to stay loyal to the system for life due to the rewards the system bestows upon us. The fact that someone like me became opposed to a system that was so personally lucrative should be seen as a red flag for those in power. If it happened to me, it’s happened to countless others. More…
Is America’s Alliance with Turkey Doomed?
by Sukru Hanioglu
Posted April 22, 2017
The historic breakdown in Anglo-Ottoman relations is a useful model for evaluating today’s troubled alliance between the United States and Turkey
Shortly before his death in 1869, the pro-Western former Ottoman grand vizier and foreign minister Keçecizâde Mehmed Fuad Pasha commented, “It appeared preferable that . . . we should relinquish several of our provinces rather than see England abandon us.” In response to this commitment, the British made the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire against Russian aggression a key pillar of their foreign policy. More…
Morbid Inequality: Now Just SIX Men Have as Much Wealth as Half the World’s Population
By Paul Buchheit
Posted April 21, 2017
While the United States is ranked 37th in the world in education spending, the 14 richest Americans earned enough money from their investments in 2015 to hire two million preschool teachers.
Yes, inequality is getting worse every year. In early 2016, Oxfam reported that just 62 individuals held the same wealth as the bottom half of humanity. About a year later Oxfam reported that just 8 men had the same wealth as the world’s bottom half. Now, based on the same methodology and data sources used by Oxfam, that number is down to 6. More…
A Bank Even a Socialist Could Love
By David Dayen
Posted April 21, 2017
Wall Street banks have used shady financial instruments to extract billions from unsuspecting localities, helping devastate places like Jefferson County, Ala. Making the wrong bet with debt, like the Kentucky county that built a jail but couldn’t fill it with prisoners, can cripple communities.
Even under the best conditions, municipal bonds—an enormous, $3.8 trillion market—can cost taxpayers. According to Ellen Brown, the intellectual godmother of the public banking movement, debt-based financing often accounts for around half the total cost of an infrastructure project. For example, the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge cost $6.3 billion to build, but paying off the bonds will bring the price tag closer to $13 billion, according to a 2014 report from the California legislature.
Public banks reduce costs in two ways. First, they can offer lower interest rates and fees because they’re not for-profit businesses trying to maximize returns. Second, because the banks are publicly owned, any profit flows back to the city or state, virtually eliminating financing costs and providing governments with extra revenue at no cost to taxpayers. More…
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