A “yes’ vote on the Charter Amendment Bill in November will allow Los Angeles to create a city-owned bank that can partner with local banks to provide low-cost credit for the community. It would be a public bank based on the model of the century-old state-owned Bank of North Dakota. By cutting out Wall Street middlemen, the latter is able to make below-market credit available to local businesses, farmers, and students.
Wall Street owns the country. That was the opening line of a fiery speech by populist leader Mary Ellen Lease in 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 created – are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill,” Durbin said in an interview. “And they frankly own the place.”
Wall Street banks triggered a credit crisis in 2008-09 that wiped out over $19 trillion in household wealth, turned some 10 million families out of their homes, and cost almost 9 million jobs in the US alone; yet the banks were bailed out without penalty, while defrauded homebuyers were left without recourse or compensation. The banks made a killing on interest rate swaps…
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