New Public Banking Articles from Ellen Brown and Nomi Prins

One thing public banking activists can say: we have the best writers and thinkers supporting us

Here’s Ellen Brown, one of the key foremothers of the public banking movement, saying “The Public Banking Revolution Is Upon Us.” Most of her article is about SB 528, a bill to transform California’s state “infrastructure bank” into a depository bank for public funds. She also talks about our efforts.

Advocates in eight Golden State cities have formed the California Public Banking Alliance, which co-sponsored another public banking bill filed just last month. Introduced by Assembly Members David Chiu and Miguel Santiago, Assembly Bill 857 would enable the chartering of public banks by local California governments. The bill, which has broad grassroots support, would “authorize the lending of public credit to public banks and authorize public ownership of stock in public banks for the purpose of achieving cost savings, strengthening local economies, supporting community economic development, and addressing infrastructure and housing needs for localities.”

She goes on to detail efforts in the state of Washington, and concludes:

Whichever state wins the race for the next state bank, the implications are huge. A century after the very successful Bank of North Dakota proved the model, the time has finally come to apply it across the country.

Nomi Prins comes in from a different angle, with “I’ve Seen Goldman Sachs from the Inside: We Need Public Banks.”

This isn’t just about protecting individuals’ personal nest eggs. State and city governments deposit their funds in these banks, too. This means that our own tax dollars are underwriting Wall Street’s most reckless investments — from the oil companies warming our climate to the private prisons jailing our kids to the gun manufacturers who have turned our schools into free-fire zones.

This is why it is more important than ever to create public banks tasked with using state and local funds for public good, not private profit. And my home state of California is leading the way. A new bill, AB 857, backed by the California Public Banking Alliance would give cities the freedom to start public banks accountable to the communities they serve. …

These socially responsible investments draw a sharp contrast with Wall Street’s anything-goes ethos. These mega-firms are not legally required to invest in local infrastructure, provide reasonable loans, or look out for the environment – so they don’t. Despite having received billions in federal aid, the biggest banks have focused more on paying out CEO bonuses than supporting the customers and taxpayers who keep them in business. More often than not, they invest in projects that put us squarely in harm’s way, like the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. The Wall Street model privatizes profit while socializing harm, from oil spills to mass shootings.

Read both articles all the way through. Then call your state representatives — wherever you live — and tell them: This is coming, and they have a chance to be on the right side of history. And watch this space as we report on the progress of both AB 857 and the Public Bank of the East Bay

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