Megabanks Begone, Public Banking Is Coming to NM

NM public bank plans advancing. Killed in Sen. Finance last year, it will be re-introduced in 2020. Truthout describes how a public bank works & why NM needs it. Also, almost $1B surplus to NM budget & Trump to eliminate methane regs.

In brief:

State announces a $900 million surplus for NM in 2020, increasing the 2020 budget by 12.8 percent. To put this in perspective, what will be drilled in 2020 will represent five times the average amount of oil drilled in NM from 1980 until 2010. Almost all of the budget surplus is due to increases in drilling in the Permian Basin. Click here to read the full SF New Mexican report that captures our political leadership’s euphoria at what may be a nice boost in revenue, but at tremendous cost to our environment and future. Maybe they could devote $1 million of that to do a thoughtful study of how to transition from gas and oil. Soon.

Trump announces the the Environmental Protection Agency, in a proposed rule, will aim to eliminate federal government requirements that the oil and gas industry put in place technology to inspect for and repair methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. We’ve got one extremist in Brazil torching the rain forest, another one here in the US encouraging methane release. Click here to read the full report.

Critical Retake Our Democracy Presentation and Panel

On Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe, a presentation, panel discussion and audience dialogue: Retaking the NM State Senate.

If you don’t think this is important, consider this small sampling of good bills that passed the House and then were killed in the NM state Senate.

  • Permanent fund funding for early childhood
  • Decriminalization of abortion
  • Legalization of recreational marijuana
  • Community Solar and Local Choice Energy
  • Two bills to advance planning for an economic and energy transition
  • Any and all efforts to regulate, tax or penalize the gas and oil industry

Tuesday’s meeting will begin with an incredibly eye-opening 45 minute presentation by Eric Shimamoto, an ABQ activist who has done some remarkable research about the way the NM state Senate and indeed, the entire legislative process is controlled by eight DINO Senators who routinely vote with the GOP. He then draws parallels between NM’s situation and how NY had been held hostage by the same exact dynamic with another eight NY DINOs controlling that state’s legislative process. It is a mind blowing presentation and it includes a description of how NY addressed their problem. NY Working Families Party led primary challenges in 2019 in the eight NY state Senate districts with DINOs. With wins in six, NY WFP completely changed the legislative environment in NY and a flood of great bills, some stalled for 20 years, were passed in the 2019 legislative session.

We will follow Eric’s presentation with a panel discussion of the implications of what was done in NY and how NM can learn from it. The panel includes Eric Griego, Director of NM Working Families Party; Jeremy Sment, as ABQ activist with powerful data on the eight NM Senate districts represented by DINOs. Sharla Parsons, chair of the NM Democratic Party Platform Committee and of the Adelante Caucus and Javier Benavidez, an ABQ Interfaith activist may also join the panel. The Panel discussion will be interactive with the audience, as together we seek to better understand how to target resources in pressuring NM DINO Senators in the 2020 legislative session and challenging them in the June primary to follow. Please plan to join us.

We expect a big turnout for this discussion, so please arrive a few minutes early and please do RSVP by writing to RetakeResponse@gmail.com.

Please note that we have obtained technology designed to live stream this meeting. We just received it and are working to align it with the AV-internet set up at our meeting site. The technology has a steep learning curve, so while we are making every effort to make it work for Tuesday, it just may take another couple weeks to work out the kinks. We will update you Saturday.

Public Banking Is Coming Whether Wall St. Likes It Or Not

The premise is simple and not unlike the argument for Medicare for All or for Bernie’s proposal to make public our Nation’s energy system. Healthcare, financing, and energy are three systems that are charged with ensuring that individuals and communities have access to healthcare, financial tools for commercial lending, and energy to fuel our homes and businesses. All three are controlled, managed and manipulated by for profit corporations that by their very charter are solely driven by profit. These systems work very well if you are a millionaire, not so well if you are middle class, and not at all if you are among the working poor.

  • In energy, there are the monopoly utilities like El Paso Electric, PNM, and ExCel who have retarded the transition to renewables because extractive-based energy is more profitable for them, even as it destroys our environment and costs ratepayers more. But profit guides their decisions, to our detriment.
  • In healthcare, the insurance plans and pharma control the cost of healthcare and pharmaceuticals. They are the gatekeepers to adjudicate the access to care and the cost of care. Their concerns are not about our health, but about emptying our wallets and filling theirs. Profit guides their decisions, to our detriment.
  • In banking, there are a handful of megabanks, those who are “too big to fail.” In 2008 their inveterate greed and hubris fueled the industry’s “investment” in scam ventures that led to the industry’s collapse. Those banks were bailed out by Obama while low-income families were abandoned, suffering horrendous levels of foreclosure. On a daily basis, mega banks take the deposits of cities, counties and states and continue their wanton investment practices, none of which benefit Main St, none of which benefit working families, none of which builds local, sustainable economies, none of which builds critically needed infrastructure. But it sure lines the pockets of the mega rich Profit guides their decisions, to our detriment.

In all three examples, government has the capacity to strip these predatory industries of their roles in delivering healthcare, energy and financing to individuals, cities, and states. We already rely on public management of a slew of systems, much to the benefit of our communities: parks, libraries, schools, postal services, police, fire, airports, roadways, and the courts are all managed in the public sector.

Truthout lays out clearly the rationale for a public bank system in its Op-Ed entitled: Move Over Wall St. the People’s Banks Are Coming to Replace You. It also provides a snapshot of the national movement and the cities and states, like NM, who are working to advance public banking. Truthout acknowledges that public banking in and of itself is no panacea. It points to out the massive problems with the Bank of India and also to the inconvenient truth of the much vaunted Bank of North Dakota’s habit of investing in extraction of the land and expropriation from indigenous communities. But then after acknowledging these problems, it presents the extraordinary opportunity public banking offers to do it right. From Truthout:

Advocates of public banking have an opportunity to avert these problems before they begin by starting from a blank slate and seeking to craft the ideal banking system. To do so, we must formulate a type of bank that most reflects the general will of the commons, competently. It is not enough to replace what we have with something slightly better or simply “good enough.” In a moment when the greatest power of our financial system is ripe for replacement, why waste this historic opportunity?

Truthout Aug. 26, 2019: Move Over Wall St. the People’s Banks Are Coming to Replace You.

What is wrong with the private banking system? Well, as Truthout points out, quite a bit.

* Private profiteers own the levers of money and loan creation, which affect our entire economy and shape it in their interest; this is financial exploitation.
* Banks are giant behemoths that are “too big to fail.”
* Banks have no loyalty to the public good, and as such, invest in socially destructive ways and engage in predatory practices.
* Banks have no sense of ecology and sustainability, and will invest in environmentally destructive practices if short-term profit can be attained.
* Banks are giant casinos that interact with the real economy but are outside of it. Bankers are often glorified gamblers and take excessive speculative risks which provide no real value yet funnel huge sums in bonuses into their pockets for mere bet placing, often using complex financial instruments like those that crashed the world economy in 2008.
* Banks are opaque, with vast conspiracies of secret dealings, hidden money and collusion. The people can’t get a peek in.
Banks are incompetent at creating a healthy economy for all. They tell us that their expertise is needed, yet it is their so-called “expertise” that crashed the economy.
* Bankers are unaccountable to the people; their loyalty is to quarterly shareholder profits alone as they are practically immune to public oversight, yet their actions affect everyone, amounting to a conflict of interest. Banks are the heart of the circulatory system of the entire economy, yet they do not act in the interest of the very economy dependent on them.

Truthout Aug. 26, 2019: Move Over Wall St. the People’s Banks Are Coming to Replace You.

Truthout then ticks off an equally long list of public banking attributes that could address each of the private banking deficiencies listed above. They describe the dissembling and slick marketing that the banking industry uses to make all of us feel cozy with them. We see the ads: the worried family sitting across the desk from some smiling banker who shows them a chart and a smile. The desperate husband and wife beam, they shake hands and look oh so saved. Except this never happens. Ever.

Truthout lays out clearly that we are at a crossroad, that momentum for public banking is building and that while there will be a fierce battle, the prize is well worth it. In a bit of irony, they close with a 1982 quote from the father of neo-liberalism, Milton Friedman.

Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.

Milton Friedman, quoted in Truthout Aug. 26, 2019: Move Over Wall St. the People’s Banks Are Coming to Replace You.

Click here to read the full Truthout article. It is excellent. Of particular note are the list of qualities of a public bank that are a counterpoint to the bullets listing the deficiencies in the private banking system cited above.

In 2008, we were euphoric about Obama’s election and were not nimble enough to be certain that a more progressive solution to the banking crisis was “lying around,” and so we got the bank bailout instead of Obama creating a national public bank and letting the damned big banks fail. Thanks to the public banking movement, we now are ensuring that a more equitable solution to our banking needs is readily at hand.

Here in NM, The Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (ALEP) has been leading the charge in advocating for a NM State public bank. They have an excellent website with more information on the NM effort and how you can support it. There is even a handy yellow “donate” button where you can make a contribution. And they need your generosity as they are fighting a misinformation campaign led by the megabanks. And those megabanks will be will invest in TV ads, campaign donations to conservative Democratic NM State Senators and otherwise work the halls of the Roundhouse to squash any and all efforts to pass legislation just to explore a public bank in NM.

But a public bank in NM could help us address so many pressing challenges. We badly need to build internet connectivity to rural NM; we need to invest in wind and solar energy and the transmission systems that can enable us to sell that energy to other states; we need to invest in new industries to replace gas and oil; we need to invest in our roads. Wall St. will not do this without extracting their profit. With public banking the cost of these investments would be reduced by an estimated 40-50 percent.

So click here to get to the ALEP site where you will find videos and other resources on public banking…. and please make a contribution. Retake will be advocating hard to pass legislation to enable a NM public bank to get started. Lets do this!

In solidarity,

Paul and Roxanne

One thought on “Megabanks Begone, Public Banking Is Coming to NM

  1. Sounds good! I do not see anyone identifying the links between, state government, local media, and these giant corporate entities. No one discusses the deregulation either. Regulations that were undermined in the Reagan Era, and Laws that are not enforced, should really be discussed. This is what is undermining real progressive action.

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