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August 8, 2019 | Neoliberalism Has Met Its Match in China

When the Federal Reserve cut interest rates last week, commentators were asking why. According to official data, the economy was rebounding, unemployment was below 4% and gross domestic product growth was above 3%. If anything, by the Fed’s own reasoning, it should have been raising rates. Market pundits explained that we’re in a trade war […]

July 24, 2019 | The Cheapest Way to Save the Planet Grows Like a Weed

Philip Steffan / CC BY 2.0 Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the cheapest and most efficient way to tackle the climate crisis. So states a Guardian article, citing a new analysis published in the journal Science. The author explains: As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions […]

July 10, 2019 | How to Pay for It All: An Option the Candidates Missed

The Democratic Party has clearly swung to the progressive left, with candidates in the first round of presidential debates coming up with one program after another to help the poor, the disadvantaged and the struggling middle class. Proposals ranged from a Universal Basic Income to Medicare for All to a Green New Deal to student […]

June 26, 2019 | Facebook May Pose a Greater Danger Than Wall Street

Payments can happen cheaply and easily without banks or credit card companies, as has already been demonstrated—not in the United States but in China. Unlike in the U.S., where numerous firms feast on fees from handling and processing payments, in China most money flows through mobile phones nearly for free. In 2018 these cashless payments […]

June 13, 2019 | The American Dream Is Alive and Well—in China

Michael Levine-Clark / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Home ownership has been called “the quintessential American dream.” Yet today less than 65% of American homes are owner occupied, and more than 50% of the equity in those homes is owned by the banks. Compare China, where, despite facing one of the most expensive real estate markets in […]

May 31, 2019 | The Bankers’ “Power Revolution”: How the Government Got Shackled by Debt

This article is excerpted from my new book Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age, available in paperback June 1. The U.S. federal debt has more than doubled since the 2008 financial crisis, shooting up from $9.4 trillion in mid-2008 to over $22 trillion in April 2019. The debt is never paid off. The […]

April 17, 2019 | The Public Banking Revolution Is Upon Us

As public banking gains momentum across the country, policymakers in California and Washington state are vying to form the nation’s second state-owned bank, following in the footsteps of the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, founded in 1919. The race is extremely close, with state bank bills now passing their first round of committee hearings […]

April 1, 2019 | Why Is the Fed Paying So Much Interest to Banks?

“If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank, safe and sound, Soon that tuppence safely invested in the bank will compound, And you’ll achieve that sense of conquest as your affluence expands In the hands of the directors who invest as propriety demands.” — “Mary Poppins,” 1964 When “Mary Poppins” was made into a […]

March 19, 2019 | The Secret to Funding a Green New Deal

As alarm bells sound over the advancing destruction of the environment, a variety of Green New Deal proposals have appeared in the U.S. and Europe, along with some interesting academic debates about how to fund them. Monetary policy, normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic meetings behind closed doors, has suddenly taken center stage. […]

February 21, 2019 | The Fed’s Dramatic About-Face

“Quantitative easing” was supposed to be an emergency measure, but the Federal Reserve is now taking a surprising new approach toward the policy. The Fed “eased” shrinkage in the money supply due to the 2008-09 credit crisis by pumping out trillions of dollars in new bank reserves. After the crisis, the presumption was the Fed […]

January 24, 2019 | The Financial Secret Behind Germany’s Green Energy Revolution

The “Green New Deal” endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y., and more than 40 other House members has been criticized as imposing a too-heavy burden on the rich and upper-middle-class taxpayers who will have to pay for it. However, taxing the rich is not what the Green New Deal resolution proposes. It says funding would come […]

January 1, 2019 | Universal Basic Income Is Easier Than It Looks

Calls for a Universal Basic Income have been increasing, most recently as part of the Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and supported in the last month by at least 40 members of Congress. A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a monthly payment to all adults with no strings attached, similar to Social Security. Critics […]

December 16, 2018 | This Radical Plan to Fund the ‘Green New Deal’ Just Might Work

With what author and activist Naomi Klein calls “galloping momentum,” the “Green New Deal” promoted by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appears to be forging a political pathway for solving all of the ills of society and the planet in one fell swoop. Her plan would give a House select committee “a mandate that connects the […]

November 10, 2018 | Update on the L.A. Measure for a City-owned Bank — A Valiant Effort!

The Los Angeles charter amendment to approve a city-owned bank did not pass, but it did get 42 percent of the vote, a remarkable feat considering that the dynamic young Public Bank LA advocacy group effectively only had a month to educate 4 million voters on what a public bank is and why passing the […]

November 3, 2018 | Trump’s War on the Fed

October was a brutal month for the stock market. After the Federal Reserve’s eighth interest rate hike, on Sept. 26, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 2,000 points, and the NASDAQ had its worst month in nearly 10 years. After the Dow lost more than 800 points on Oct. 10 and the S&P 500 suffered its first […]

October 2, 2018 | How America Can Free Itself From Wall Street

Wall Street owns the country. That was the opening line of a fiery speech that populist leader Mary Ellen Lease delivered around 1890. Franklin Roosevelt said it again in a letter to Colonel House in 1933, and Sen. Dick Durbin was still saying it in 2009. “The banks—hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks […]

September 13, 2018 | Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk

Excluding institutions such as Blackrock and Vanguard, which are composed of multiple investors, the largest single players in global equity markets are now thought to be central banks themselves. An estimated 30 to 40 central banks are invested in the stock market, either directly or through their investment vehicles (sovereign wealth funds). According to David […]

August 25, 2018 | How China’s Mobile Ecosystems Are Making Banks Obsolete

Giant Chinese tech companies have bypassed credit cards and banks to create their own low-cost digital payment systems. The US credit card system siphons off excessive amounts of money from merchants, who must raise their prices to cover this charge. In a typical $100 credit card purchase, only $97.25 goes to the seller. The rest […]

July 31, 2018 | Trump Takes on the Fed

The president has criticized Federal Reserve policy for undermining his attempts to build the economy. The best way to make the central bank serve the needs of the economy is to make it a public utility. For nearly half a century, presidents have refrained from criticizing the “independent” Federal Reserve; but that was before Donald […]

July 7, 2018 | A Public Bank for Los Angeles? City Council Puts It to the Voters

California legislators exploring the public bank option may be breaking not just from Wall Street but from the Federal Reserve. Voters in Los Angeles will be the first in the country to weigh in on a public banking mandate, after the City Council agreed on June 29th to put a measure on the November ballot that […]

May 26, 2018 | Blackstone, BlackRock or a Public Bank? Putting California’s Funds to Work

California has over $700 billion parked in private banks earning minimal interest, private equity funds that contributed to the affordable housing crisis, or shadow banks of the sort that caused the banking collapse of 2008. These funds, or some of them, could be transferred to an infrastructure bank that generated credit for the state – […]

April 26, 2018 | Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising

The Fed is aggressively raising interest rates, although inflation is contained, private debt is already at 150% of GDP, and rising variable rates could push borrowers into insolvency. So what is driving the Fed’s push to “tighten”? On March 31st the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the sixth time in 3 years and […]

April 7, 2018 | The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet

Bayer and Monsanto have a long history of collusion to poison the ecosystem for profit. The Trump administration should veto their merger not just to protect competitors but to ensure human and planetary survival. Two new studies from Europe have found that the number of farm birds in France has crashed by a third in just […]

March 19, 2018 | The War on the Post Office

The US Postal Service, under attack from a manufactured crisis designed to force its privatization, needs a new source of funding to survive. Postal banking could fill that need. The US banking establishment has been at war with the post office since at least 1910, when the Postal Savings Bank Act established a public savings […]

March 3, 2018 | Funding Infrastructure: Why China Is Running Circles Around America

“One Belt, One Road,” China’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative, is a massive undertaking of highways, pipelines, transmission lines, ports, power stations, fiber optics, and railroads connecting China to Central Asia, Europe and Africa. According to Dan Slane, a former advisor in President Trump’s transition team, “It is the largest infrastructure project initiated by one nation […]

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