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Posts Tagged ‘public banking’

You Know A Politician or Talking Head is Clueless When…

July 19, 2014 1 comment

Often you watch TV and some politician or talking head starts spouting on some subject as if they are an expert in that field. It is easy to be taken in unless you are knowledgeable in that subject. This video is on a subject that affects everyone and after watching it, you will be able to spot a clueless politician or talking head.

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Prosperity for Main Street, not Wall Street

January 30, 2014 1 comment

The key reason that communities are struggling is the huge burden of interest payments that are flowing to the big banks. Think about this, if you buy a home for say $100,000 dollars, typically you will have paid $250,000 once the loan is paid off. This means the typical loan will incur $150,000 in interest charges.

The same concept applies when a community builds an infrastructure project such as school, road, bridge, sewer or other project. That $1 million dollar school could end up costing taxpayers in the community $2.5 million after interest charges.

So taxpayers are paying more to the financiers of the project than to those who supplied the materials and actually did the labor to build it. Are you OK with them acting as a middleman sucking prosperity from our communities? Any good business model dictates the efficiency of eliminating middlemen.

If we look at cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments and fees are leaving the city and flowing into the coffers of Wall St. This lost money impoverishes your community while Wall St gets bigger and richer than ever. The video below describes a solution to this problem.

Money Is Not Safe In The Big Banks

August 23, 2013 1 comment

People think that money is safe in the big banks because the FDIC will protect the deposits. This assumption is not based on the facts. This video will show official government documents that describe the plans for confiscating deposits when, (not if) a big bank fails. Individual, as well as public funds from municipal, university, county deposits are at serious risk. YOUR taxpayer money will disappear in the next crisis! Public officials in charge of taxpayer funds need to be aware of the dangers here. The loss of taxpayer funds  and the inability to meet payrolls and obligations will certainly prompt a response that will both immediate and forceful.

This video will show how Cyprus was not a one-time event and how the Cyprus confiscation was planned well in advance and how M.F. Global was the blueprint for future confiscations and how a legal precedent was created when these losses were upheld by the legal system.

Ask your public official in charge of finance where they keep YOUR taxpayer money!

Ask them if they have researched the public banking option! Do not accept no for an answer, ask them why. If they say that you do not understand these things, tell them to explain it to you.

After all, this is your money that you worked so hard for, so don’t let the big gamblers from Wall Street use YOUR personal or taxpayer money to cover THEIR losses. These big bankers are money addicts, they have no appreciation of how much work went into making that money. They do not care about you or your money, all they care about is their addiction. Don’t let public officials continue to put your taxpayer money at risk with these gamblers, just because this is how it has been done in the past.

How Many Warnings Do You Need?

How Many Warnings Do You Need?

If you knew someone with a gambling problem, you probably would not give them your money to hold. If you knew that they had placed bets that were 30 to 70 times more than the amount of money they had, you would certainly consider them totally reckless. If you knew that the money they were holding and betting with was with borrowed money, other peoples’ money not their own, you would probably conclude that they are hopelessly addicted to money. Remember these thoughts as you continue to read this article.

Picture these scenarios:
1. You go to buy groceries and when you use your credit or debit card the transaction is denied despite the fact you have money in your account.

2. You are a public official, such as a school business administrator, county treasurer, municipal finance manager, pension fund administrator, or anyone who has responsibility for protecting public money. You try to access the money and the transaction is denied.

Under either scenario, you investigate why you cannot access money you know is in your account and you find out that the bank has failed and has been closed until further notice by the authorities. You also discover that the government will be confiscating part of your savings in order to “stabilize” the bank.

So you think that “cannot happen here”? You think you are safe because the FDIC “protects” your money?  You placed your money into one of the big banks and believe it is safe because it has large vaults and is insured by the government. Perhaps you placed the public monies you are charged with into a large bank because they are properly “collateralized” and therefore you believe these funds are safe. If you truly believe any these previous statements, you really need to read the rest of this article because your money is at serious risk.

So you think your money is safe? Let’s examine why that assumption could cost you all or part of your savings. Would you be surprised to learn that money sitting in everyday peoples’ savings accounts in Cyprus was confiscated in order to “stabilize” the banks? If you are surprised by this news, hopefully this article will provide you with an incentive to do some research. This article is filled with links to more information, and I encourage you to follow them. If you are aware of this bank confiscation, do not make the mistake of believing that it is an isolated event that “cannot happen here”.

In a nutshell, what actually happened in Cyprus was that the banks were overleveraged and the size of the liabilities of the banks exceeded the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the entire country of Cyprus. Given the fact that the “bail outs” of the large banks in 2008 were so politically unpopular, the European “troika” imposed a “bail in”, where customers with savings accounts were to have some of their savings seized (read: stolen) in order to stabilize the banks. The losses to some accounts were as high as 60%. The banks were closed for 12 days, so people had no access to their money and once the banks reopened, they had only limited access to their money in order to protect the banks.

Was this plan by the “troika”, just a one-time event or was this something more? It turns out that this eventuality had actually been planned in advance in 2012 at the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel Switzerland where the US FDIC and the Bank of England created a joint paper outlining a confiscation scheme. Under the FDIC/BOE joint paper, accounts of $250,000 or less could be seized by the failing bank and converted to stock equity as part of a “bail in” scheme. The stock would of course be essentially worthless because the bank has already failed.

There is also a plan to confiscate savings in New Zealand if necessary to save the banks. Canada also has a confiscation plan in the wings should their banks falter. The European Union has just reached an agreement where shareholders and depositors will be tapped to “bail in” any bank in trouble.

So you still think that this “cannot happen here” because the FDIC will protect your money? Consider that our largest banks have derivative contracts with a notional value of more than $700 trillion (think $700,000 BILLION!). The entire world GDP is only $70 trillion, therefore the liabilities of the big banks could not be covered by the entire GDP of the United States. Does this sound similar to what happened in Cyprus? Does this sound similar to the gambler at the beginning of this article? What is very important to keep in mind is that Cyprus is a small country and that much larger outside forces came in to “stabilize” the banks. If one (or more) of the large U.S. banks experiences a derivative failure, there is not enough money on the planet to “stabilize” them.

These derivatives are really nothing more than “bets” placed by the banks, and when (not if) these “bets” start going bad, the banks will be on the hook for their value. You need to know that these derivative “bets” have been given super-priority status in case of a bank bankruptcy. What this means is that the holders of these derivative contracts will have first priority for payment and that you either as an individual or government entity will be placed at the back of line – as a bank creditor should a large bank fail. This means that you will probably get little or nothing back.  Most people do not understand that once you give a bank your money, the money legally is no longer yours. Under the law, you are an unsecured creditor to the bank and are treated as such in any bankruptcy proceeding. As an individual or as a public official, if you have money in one of the big banks, you have essentially given your money to that gambler and now you are a creditor to the gambler.

This sort of loss has already happened with the MF Global collapse. While this was a futures trading company and not a bank, the blueprint for confiscations was tested here and with the Sentinel case the legal system upheld the customer losses. These trading accounts were supposed to be “segregated” accounts that belonged to the account holders, not MF Global. As an analogy, think of a “segregated” account as a safe deposit box at a bank, the contents belong to you, not the bank. Yet in the MF Global collapse, in this analogy it essentially gambled with the assets in the customers’ safe deposit boxes, and the legal system placed the creditors of the bank above the safe deposit box holders.

Still think the FDIC will protect the derivative and account holders?  JP Morgan Chase has $1.1 trillion ($1,100 Billion!) in deposits and Bank of America also has over $1 trillion ($1000 Billion!). Again, remember that gambler, JP Morgan Chase has about $70 TRILLION in bets out there, but is holding only about $1 Trillion in deposits and another Trillion in assets. It has made bets with a value approximately 35 times all the money it has access to. Again, this is YOUR money they are betting with, not their money.  Bank of America also has about 30 times its assets in derivative bets. Citigroup and Wells Fargo each have over $900 billion each in deposits and also have many times their assets in derivative bets. Once these bets start going bad, there is no way the banks can cover them. The FDIC has only $33 billion available to insure deposits. That means that once any one of these banks fails, the FDIC has less than 3% of the money needed to cover the depositors. If any one of these big banks fails, these banks are so interconnected that it is also likely to bring down the other large banks. In fact both Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase have moved their riskiest derivatives from their uninsured trading houses to the FDIC insured subsidiaries, which are their retail banks, putting the funds in those accounts at a significantly increased risk.  Once even one of these biggest banks experiences a derivative meltdown, there is not enough money in the FDIC or probably even the U.S. Treasury to cover the losses. Still think Cyprus cannot happen to you?

If you are a public official who has responsibility for protecting public money, you probably have that money deposited into an account with one of the largest banks. Do you still believe that money is safe? Are you doing your fiduciary duty to protect that money in the public interest? So as a government official in charge of finances, what are your options?

One option is to start a public bank such as the Bank of North Dakota. First public banks do not gamble with derivatives and the Bank of North Dakota thrived during the crisis of 2008. Not only will you get the safety of the money for which you have responsibility for, but other advantages to this approach include: the ability to provide interest free or low interest loans for public infrastructure projects, the ability to create jobs, generate revenue, and build up the local community. This article clearly explains some of the huge advantages of financing your projects using a public bank.

Consider this – if you buy a home for $100,000, by the time you have paid the mortgage in full, the total cost will have been close to $300,000. Consider the absurdity of paying those who build the home and provide the raw materials $100,000, and paying the financiers $200,000 for money that was not even theirs. This makes little sense. The same principle applies if a state, county, or municipality wants to build a road, school, bridge, or other infrastructure. They need to go to Wall Street for financing at high interest rates. However they could form their own bank and finance the project at zero or near zero interest.  The projects would cost less than half and the finance costs would not be siphoned out of the community, impoverishing it, and ending up on Wall Street or in Cayman Island tax shelters. The finance costs would stay in the community.

Think of the things that could be accomplished if you could eliminate debt service as a line item in your budget! The money deposited in the public bank would be safe and would serve the local community. You could use the public bank to refinance existing debt at zero or near zero percent interest. You could lower tax rates! This idea has such appeal that currently there are initiatives in 20 states to start public banks.
Money controls governmentIf you are a public official with a fiduciary responsibility to protect public funds and one of these large banks fails and you lose the public money, think of the consequences that will arise once the public becomes aware that you did not heed the warnings that Cyprus provided. Think of the consequences that will arise when the public becomes aware that you did not consider alternatives to the big vulnerable banks. It is time to bring home the money from Wall Street where it is at risk. If there is a derivative crash, try meeting your payroll with stock equity (in a failed bank).  The impact of not meeting a payroll will be both immediate and forceful. It is vital to get that money out of Wall Street BEFORE the next meltdown.

To those public officials who are truly interested in serving their communities, this is your moment. This is your time to step up to the plate. Be bold, be innovative, and empower your communities. You owe this to your fellow citizens, your children and your future. Visit this website to learn more about the possibilities that public banking offers, to learn how to get started, and where to find help in implementation. You are not alone of you wish to make this happen.

If you are an individual saver who wants to protect your money, you need to move your money out of the big banks because that is where it is most vulnerable. Move your money into local community banks or Credit Unions. This will help your local banks as well as your community by keeping the money local. It is also important to MOVE YOUR DEBT to these local banks as well. The way bank accounting works, a deposit is actually considered a liability to the bank, while a loan is an asset on its accounting ledger. (I know this sounds convoluted, but this is the way it is). By moving your debt to the local banks, you create assets for them as well as helping your local community. While there are no guarantees that a smaller bank could survive the crash of one or more of the bigger banks, very few of the small banks have gambled with the super-priority derivatives. This is huge advantage that at provides insulation from the large banks.

So, consider yourself warned, money is not safe in the big banks. The MF Global losses, the Cyprus confiscations, the Sentinel case, the FDIC/BOE Joint Paper, the plans in the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain to raid private accounts, and finally the information in this article should be raising all sorts of red flags. HOW MANY WARNINGS DO YOU NEED? Personal accounts, as well as any school, municipal, county, and state funds that are deposited in any of the big banks are not safe. The plans for confiscation have already been developed, they have been approved, they are awaiting the next crisis.

Ask your public official in charge of finance where they keep YOUR taxpayer money!

Ask them if they have researched the public banking option! Do not accept no for an answer, ask them why. If they say that you do not understand these things, tell them to explain it to you.

After all, this is your money that you worked so hard for, so don’t let the big gamblers from Wall Street use YOUR personal or taxpayer money to cover THEIR losses. These big bankers are money addicts, they have no appreciation of how much work went into making that money. They do not care about you or your money, all they care about is their addiction. Don’t let public officials continue to put your taxpayer money at risk with these gamblers, just because this is how it has been done in the past.

A Better Way To Finance Public Projects

In a local newspaper I recently read an article regarding how a school district was looking to “refinance” their outstanding bonds in an effort to reduce the interest burden on their debt. In the same issue I read how another school district expends nearly $2,000,000 yearly just to pay the interest burden on their debt.

Clearly our school systems face a considerable interest burden on their debts. It is already a matter of public record that US municipalities, school districts, and pension funds were victims of fraud due to the rigging of the commission bids as laid out in an article called “The Scam Wall St Learned from the Mafia” by Matt Taibbi. Many of these municipalities, schools, or other entities were also the victims of a type of derivative called Interest Rate Swaps where the big banks induced them to gamble with public money on the direction of the market, but the end result was often that the “bet” went bad. A great example of this was Jefferson County in Alabama where the original cost for a sewer project was estimated at $250 million and ended up indebting the county $5 BILLION. Since we do not know all the details, it is difficult at this time to determine specifically how many states, counties, municipalities, and school districts may have been victims of financial fraud which resulted in an increased debt burden paid by the taxpayers as a result of the LIBOR rate rigging scandal that is still unfolding.

Consider this…, when a municipality or school district wishes to do a repair, a capital improvement or infrastructure project, the amount of money paid in interest costs to the financiers exceeds the amount of money paid to those who supply the materials and do the labor on the project. Most people should feel angered by this. Why should those who simply move money around, make more money than those who produce the materials and do the actual labor on the project? Most readers can probably relate to this personally because the interest burden of financing the purchase of their homes causes the final total cost of the purchase to far exceed the original cost of home itself. There needs to be a better system of financing public projects.

Perhaps engaging in creative thinking would result in cheaper financing of public projects. Proposed solutions still center on using conventional or Wall Street financing instead of looking to alternative sources. Well, there is a better way and it can provide any sized government or community entity with financing at zero or near zero interest. One needs only to look at the Bank of North Dakota (BND) for a solution, which is currently the only state-owned bank in the country. This bank has been in existence for 92 years and has a history of safe, secure, and highly profitable banking. In fact North Dakota has a budget surplus, much of which can be attributed to the reduced borrowing costs of public projects. The BND’s purpose is to provide loans to build economic capacity within the state. Examples include loans to state entities in the form of low cost loans to municipalities, schools, small businesses, agriculture, infrastructure projects, and students. The BND does not imperil state funds or tax money but is self-funding and self-sustaining. The BND enjoys broad political support from both major parties inside of North Dakota.

A public bank can be state wide or can be started or acquired by any sized government or community. It could extend county wide, allowing municipalities and other public entities access to its credit. It could be a consortium of school districts that form their own bank to save financing costs for large projects or purchases such as Haddonfield is considering. It could also be a consortium of colleges and universities seeking to reduce their interest costs which is currently driving the huge debt burden of higher education for students. Some might criticize this as “socialism”, but the system we currently have is “socialism”, where the big bank profits are kept by the banks, and the losses are subsidized by the taxpayers. The biggest advantage of a public bank is that public entities could access the resources of the bank to obtain zero or near zero interest loans. The bank would have access to the Federal Reserve discount window which makes loans available to banks currently at approximately .25% interest. This significant savings could be passed on to the loan seekers. Any profits generated by the bank are recycled back into its operation allowing it to charge the lowest rates possible. By keeping the profits inside of public coffers instead of sending them to Wall Street, the taxpayers are saved most of the costs of public projects by eliminating the financiers.

The costs associated with running a public bank are significantly lower than those for the large Wall Street banks because the employees are public workers and are not paid exorbitant salaries and multi-million dollar bonuses. A public bank is also counter-cyclical, meaning that is can extend credit precisely when private banks are reducing their credit availability and credit is most needed. A public bank is economically sustainable because they are run by professional bankers, operating transparently according to applicable banking principles. By returning credit income to the community in the form of near zero interest rates, the pressure for tax increases is reduced.

So why has this not been done outside of North Dakota? Inertia is a major force. Most commissioners, business administrators, treasurers, and others who handle local finance are not familiar with the concept of public banking. There are also the vested money interests on Wall Street who do not want to see their cash cow removed and they vigorously oppose any moves to initiate public banks or to advertise their advantages. Despite this, the momentum for public banking has been increasing with fourteen states now having either introduced bills to form state-owned banks or to do feasibility studies. The bills were introduced in Oregon, Washington State, Massachusetts, Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, Maine, California, Montana, and New York. They join Illinois, Virginia, Hawaii, and Louisiana which introduced bills in 2010. Washington and Oregon commissioned the Center for State Innovation based in Madison Wisconsin to do a detailed analysis and it concluded that “state-owned banks would have a positive impact on employment, new lending, and state and local government revenue.” This is a viable solution.

As a former teacher for 15 years and a school administrator for 16 years, I have seen the devastating effect that budget cuts have had on our educational programs. During my time as an administrator, due to budget pressures I witnessed the elimination of the following programs and personnel in the school district where I was employed: Wood Shop, Home Economics, Metal Shop, Child Care Program, Cooperative Industrial Experience (work-study), Print Shop, Philosophy, Auto Shop, elementary librarians, the entire Business Department, Technology Lab, and Carpentry. There were also reductions in the following programs: Art, Music, Performing Arts, and Foreign Language. The loss of these enrichment programs degrades our educational offerings and leaves our society at a distinct disadvantage to other countries where the curriculum is more robust. Don’t we want more for our children and our country’s future?

Isn’t it time to redirect interest payments back into our schools? Isn’t it time to lower debt costs for local governments? Isn’t it time to cut the costs of infrastructure projects in half? Isn’t it time to invest local dollars into the local economy? Isn’t it time for interest payments for public projects to be returned back to be used for tax reduction instead of going into the pockets of the Wall Street bankers or to tax havens in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands?

So how can we make this happen? Taxpayers need to go to their town councils, their school boards, their county commissioners and ask them if public banking is being considered. If the answer is no, then ask why not? Ask these questions, do not accept “no” as an answer. If you are told that you do not understand these things, tell them to make you understand.

To those public officials who are truly interested in serving their communities better: be bold, be innovative, and empower your communities. We owe this to our fellow citizens, our children and our future. To learn more about the possibilities that that public banking offers, to learn how to get started, and where to find help in implementation, visit the following site:
http://publicbankinginstitute.org/advantages.htm

Rudy Avizius
http://www.endtheillusion.org

Rudy Avizius has been researching and writing articles on economic and social issues for over 10 years. He is concerned that our current path is not sustainable economically, socially and environmentally and that the time for real change is rapidly running out. He has also been a guest speaker on several radio talk shows in the US and internationally.

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