Restoring Economic Sovereignty: The Push for State-Owned BanksSubmitted by bobbyw24 on Thu, 02/17/2011 - 08:11
RESTORING ECONOMIC SOVEREIGNTY: THE PUSH FOR STATE-OWNED BANKS
Posted on February 16, 2011 by Ellen Brown
“It is time to declare economic sovereignty from the multinational banks that are responsible for much of our current economic crisis. Every year we ship over a billion dollars in Oregon taxpayer dollars to out-of-state and multinational banks in the form of deposits, only to see that money invested elsewhere. It’s time to put our money to work for Oregonians.”
—Bill Bradbury, former Oregon Senate President and Secretary of State, quoted in The Nation
Responding to an unfilled need for credit for local government, local businesses and consumers, three states in the last month have introduced bills for state-owned banks — Oregon, Washington and Maryland – joining Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts and Hawaii to bring the total number to seven.
While Wall Street is reporting record profits, local banks are floundering, credit for small businesses and consumers remains tight, and local governments are teetering on bankruptcy. There is even talk of allowing state governments to file for bankruptcy, something current legislation forbids. The federal government and Federal Reserve have managed to find trillions of dollars to prop up the Wall Street banks that precipitated the credit crisis, but they have not extended this largesse to the taxpayers and local governments that have been forced to pick up the tab.
In January, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Fed had ruled out a central bank bailout for state and local governments. The collective state budget deficit for 2011 is projected at $140 billion, a mere 1% of the $12.3 trillion the Fed managed to come up with in liquidity, short-term loans, and other financial arrangements to bail out Wall Street. But Chairman Bernanke said the Fed is limited by statute to buying municipal government debt with maturities of six months or less that is directly backed by tax or other assured revenue, a form of debt that makes up less than 2% of the overall muni market. State and municipal governments, it seems, are on their own.