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Rebuild Our Economy

rebuildThis page includes articles on progressive solutions for rebuilding our economy.  Clean renewable energy, high-speed rail, rebuilding infrastructure and public utilities--projects like these are truly shovel-ready and will produce good, living-wage, union jobs for millions of Americans.

[Submitted by J. Repp - 1/26/2017]

Except for some favorable publicity, we have reached an impasse with the Seattle City Council. An Open Letter was written to the Seattle City Council in November 2016 and published on November 30, 2016 in The Stand, a digital newsletter of the Washington State Labor Council. All responses to the Open Letter have not mentioned the issue of public banking. Instead council members want to strengthen the “responsible banking” ordinances which have proven to be powerless in preventing the illegal banking behavior of Wells Fargo, Seattle’s banker.

A shortened version of the Open Letter was published in Real Change.

In response to the Open Letter, The Seattle Times published an editorial against public banking on January 1, 2017.

On January 5, 2017, The Seattle Times published an Op-Ed correcting the false premises of the editorial against public banking.

We have decided to return to efforts to support public banking at the Washington State level.

Here is the original text of SB 5464, AN ACT Relating to establishing the Washington investment trust, with 17 sponsors.

Here is a link to the Public Banking Institute which is coordinating efforts around the country to charter public banks.

Here is a link to Ellen Brown’s blog which is full of current information from around the world about financial matters.

Below is one of the first articles Ellen Brown wrote on public banking and debt-free money issued by the Federal government. Written in December of 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, it has the broad historical vision that stands behind the movement for public banking.

Here is the latest article by Ellen Brown explaining how setting up a public infrastructure bank could save the American taxpayer half the cost of infrastructure, or we could build twice as much for roughly the same amount.

Until we as a society understand banking and money, we will be stuck with a crisis prone economic system that works against the 99%. Even Sweden in the 1990’s and Iceland in 2008 fell into the trap of “deregulation” of banks and paid the price of financial collapse, despite their strong social democratic traditions.

Here is a website dedicated to public banking at the state level.

Here is a website dedicated to public banking at the city level. Note: the basic structure of a public bank would be the same whether it is a city, county, state, or federal.

Update on the campaign for public banking January 4, 2017

On Nov 30, 2016 The Stand, the digital voice of the Washington State Labor Council, posted an open letter to the Seattle City Council advocating a municipal public bank as a means of financing twice as much affordable housing than could be done by the method proposed by Kshama Savant and other progressive Council members i.e. selling bonds which is borrowing money from private banks. The proposal to charter a city public bank was also prompted by the concern that the City of Seattle move its money out of Wells Fargo because of that banks activity of bilking its customers, firing thousands of low-level employees, and investing in the Dakota Access pipeline.

public bankingOn January 1, 2017 The Seattle Times printed an op-ed entitled “The Peril of Public Banking” written by Michael Waite, formerly a Republican candidate for State Treasurer of Washington State. The authors of the open letter were surprised by the Op-Ed because it had seemed that the open letter had been ignored. No member of the Seattle City Council bothered to reply although each was sent a copy.

Waite does not seem to understand exactly what the Seattle Public Banking Coalition is proposing, or for that matter what Senator Bob Hasegawa has been proposing in Olympia. It is simple: a banker’s bank modeled on the successful, popular, and honest Bank of North Dakota, which partners with the community banks and credit unions of North Dakota.

Dennis Ortblad, a member of the Seattle Public Banking Coalition, has written an op-ed in reply to Michael Waite’s piece. Here is a link to Dennis' article in the Seattle Times:

By Dave Johnson via Campaign for America's Future

Fast track trade authority passed last month. So many of us fought so hard but The Money won again – this time. What do we do now?

We take this awareness and energy into the fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And then, win or lose, we build a fair trade movement that will eventually rewrite all of our trade agreements and policies so that they work for We the People instead of just a few people.

fairtradeStrengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

On the one hand, Wall Street and the big corporations again pushed through a rigged process called “fast track” that keeps us and our Congress from “meddling” with corporate-written agreements setting down the “rules for trade in the 21st century.” And those rules are, of course, going to be very good for the plutocrats who write them and very bad for the rest of us. Fast track seriously greases the skids to get TPP and other trade deals through so it will be a very tough fight.

On the other hand, more and more people “get” that, and more and more people are fired up to do something about it. So we are strong. In spite of a virtual media blackout, millions of people signed petitions, tens and hundreds of thousands called or wrote Congress and thousands of organizations came out in opposition. And this is before most of the public is even aware that another “trade” deal is in the works.

Still to come is the public fight over the TPP itself. Even our corporate-controlled media won’t be able to keep that fight under wraps. This is clearly an opportunity to build a public movement to fix our bad trade policies.

By Paul Buchheit

publicprivateThe privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That's more than a joke, it's an insult, it's a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.

Various studies have identified the 'benefits' of privatization as profitability and productivity, efficiency, wider share ownership and good investment returns. These are business benefits. More balanced studies consider the effects on average people, who have paid into a long-established societal support system for their schools and emergency services, water and transportation systems, and eventually health care and retirement benefits. These studies have concluded that: