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The Pandemic Has Shown That We Need a Public Option for Banking Services

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/17/pandemic-has-shown-we-need-public-option-banking-services

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For years I have been trying to get anyone who would listen that one major reason for the right’s assault on the USPS is its ability to renew its banking services, which would crush the usurious payday lenders almost instantaneously. I was very disheartened when this did not happen during the first two years of Hope and Change when Obama had the numbers. It should have been a priority. Obama showed who had the reins on him quite clearly now didn’t he with the bank bailout and all.

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There was no payday lending industry when Congress dismantled Postal Banking a half century ago. After Congress changed the US Post Office to US Postal Service in 1971, cutting off funding and prohibiting expansion of services, the payday lending industry was launched and has been providing lots of bribes to Congress ever since.

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Tweaking neoliberal capitalism by adding a public banking option is far, far short of the structural socio-economic and political change needed to ensure a chance at a quality life for the most of the present and future generations.

It’s time to push for people to come together to promote human and environmental well-being focused structures. We need to put a wooden stake through the heart of capitalism till it’s dead, dead, dead.

We already have NPR schooling the public that neoliberal capitalism will continue as it has been by featuring ‘experts’ who portray anyone who suggests otherwise as a moron: ttps://www.npr.org/2020/05/17/857149873/a-lot-to-be-hopeful-for-crisis-seen-as-historic-not-another-great-depression

After this crisis, conceding to the continued perpetuity of neoliberalism will ensure that plutocrats come back even more resolved to quash even the slightly attempts at reform , such as public banking.

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Forget the “option”. This is like offering a Public “option” for health care. It will not work as respective Governments will make sure that option fails. See the USPS as an example. It is an option to delivering the mail but the Government works to destroy it as being viable.

Banks should be nationalized. They should have no role in “creating money”. There should be no private entity that receives money from the Government for free and or prints up money at will and then loans it out at interest. That is just how they rob you.

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One of the prime solutions for this is Postal Banking (which the USPS did until 1968), as it is one of the biggest players in the banking sector in the rest of the First World. Unsurprisingly, one of the career mucky-mucks from the USPS that resigned recently in the wake of Orange Anus placing one of his lackeys in the top post is the guy who mostly recently suggested it officially.

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There was a “pay day lending institution” way back. They were called “loan sharks” and could be found in pretty much every city and town… They lent money at outrageous interest and took out your knees if you didn’t pay back on time.

“The pay day lending institutions way back” were called organized crime.

By the end of the 20th century most illegal organized crime in the US was out of business, thereby giving the GOP a monopoly on organized crime while being disguised as a political party. The payday lending industry is simply a government sanctioned racket.

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" Some of them are seizing our stimulus payments to pay themselves."

So if I owed back taxes to the federal government or child support they would not garnish any of the funds going into one of these FedAccounts?

In fact, that ought to have been a condition, if not substitute, for bank bailouts.

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I think there are enough differences that I don’t automatically agree. I do agree that the Health Care Public Option is a failed idea because it will quickly become the insurer of last resort and the only proposals I’ve seen have it funded by fees as opposed to a progressive tax (if it were, why would a rich person ever choose a public option?). It will thus collapse. But public banking is different. Sure someone with less money ‘costs’ more to a degree (they use a certain amount of human interaction labor cost, but don’t put in that much money), but the degree of difference to the health care issue is immense. I can easily see a public banking system working reasonably well in the US even while it competes with private banks (and the Bank of North Dakota is an example of this).

When you have a Public option for banks co-existing with Private Banks who sets the Interest rates? if the Public Bank sets rates higher on deposits and lower on loans and Credit Cards what do you think the Private Banks would do? Remember that Public Banks were on the table in that last Free trade agreement with the Private banks claiming no country should allow them as it would create unfair competition. Added to that why should Private banks be involved in creating new Currency? Why should they get monies at preferential rates from your Fed down there and then be allowed to jack up the interest rates they charge to loan out that same money? Why should the Government Guarantee depositors their money via FDIC in the Private banks and so on and so forth.

To the Bank of North Dakota. Had that last trade agreement been signed it would have been deemed illegal under that agreement. It is a small player so as this moment the big bankers are not all that concerned about it , but rest assured if there was a Public option to bank at post offices they would pull out all stops to ensure it can not succeed.

For more on this see the article by Ellen brown. The Private banks are being bailed out yet again. Get rid of the things.

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I am all for nationalizing the banks, but I’d say the USPS has worked for a pretty fair time, and may still.

Ideally, I would prefer to see the banking services relegated to state and county governments, which could use the funds that would accrue, rather than the Federal government, which works so closely with the Fed and the military, and so mishandles them very badly, mostly for reasons related to that.

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