Web of Debt
January 3rd, 2010
The recent proposal to vote with our feet by shifting our deposits from Wall Street to community banks is a great start. However, community banks are not suffering from a lack of deposits so much as from a lack of the capital they need to make new loans, and investment capital today is scarce. There is a way out of this dilemma, demonstrated for over 90 years by the innovative state of North Dakota — a partnership in which community banks are backed by the deep pockets of a state-owned bank.
October 31st, 2009
Pouring money into the private banking system has only fixed the economy for bankers and the wealthy; it has not done much to address either the fundamental problem of unemployment or the debt trap so many Americans find themselves in.
October 11th, 2009
The credit crunch is getting worse on Main Street, despite a Wall Street bailout now in the trillions of dollars. The Fed may have played all its cards, but state and local governments still hold a few aces. Some local politicians are looking into the feasibility of opening their own publicly-owned banks, providing them with their own credit machines.
August 17th, 2009
While the U.S. spends trillions of dollars to bail out its banking system, leaving its economy to languish, China is being called a “miracle economy” that has decoupled from the rest of the world. As the rest of the world sinks into the worst recession since the 1930s, China has maintained a phenomenal 8% annual growth rate. Those are the reports, but commentators are dubious. They ask how that growth is possible, when other countries relying heavily on exports have suffered major downturns and remain in the doldrums.
July 22nd, 2009
California has over $17 billion on deposit in banks that have refused to honor its IOUs, forcing legislators to accept crippling budget cuts. These austerity measures are unnecessary. If the state were to deposit its money in its own state-owned bank, it could have enough credit to solve its budget crisis with funds to spare.
July 13th, 2009
Since Wall Street has failed to provide a functioning credit system, California would be totally justified in providing its own. The other choice is to accept debt peonage.
July 8th, 2009
“As goes California,” says the adage, “so goes the nation.” All eyes are therefore on the Golden State as it attempts to solve its $26 billion budget deficit. The world’s eighth largest economy is not going quietly into that pit of debt and devastation that has devoured Third World countries whole. The State’s voters have drawn a line in the sand against further tax hikes, while Democratic leaders have drawn a line at further cuts in services or selloff of public assets. State legislators are deadlocked, caught between the rock of tax ceilings and the hard place of debt limits.
June 30th, 2009
On June 25, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a plan that would save the state $3 billion by cutting school spending, saying he would rather see the state issue IOUs than delay the funding problem with a piecemeal approach. The state’s total budget deficit is $24.3 billion. Meanwhile, other funding doors are slamming closed. The Obama administration has said it will not use federal stimulus money to prop up California; and Fitch Ratings, a bond rating agency, announced that it was downgrading the credit rating of the state, which already has the lowest in the nation. What to do? Perhaps California could take a lesson from the island state of Guernsey . . . .
May 26th, 2009
Christmas comes early, Governor. You CAN print your own money. Fiscally solvent North Dakota is doing it . . . and so can California. Now!!! Here’s how . . . .
March 11th, 2009
Forty-six of fifty states are now reported to be so insolvent that they could be filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings within the next two years.1 Of the four that are not in that category, one is the isolated farming state of North Dakota. What does it have that other states don’t? The answer seems to be: its own bank. In fact, North Dakota has the only state-owned bank in the nation. It has avoided the credit freeze caused by the derivative schemes of the Wall Street bankers by creating its own credit, leading the nation in establishing state economic sovereignty. . . .
[Shortened version of March 2nd article on the same subject.]
March 2nd, 2009
On February 19, 2009, California narrowly escaped bankruptcy, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger put on his Terminator hat and held the state senate in lockdown mode until they signed a very controversial budget. If the vote had failed, the state was going to be reduced to paying its employees in I.O.U.s. California avoided bankruptcy for the time being, but 46 of 50 states are insolvent and could be filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings in the next two years. . . .
February 22nd, 2009
Funding the government’s budget shortfall has usually been left to private lenders; but those loans are drying up, and servicing them is proving expensive. Both this interest burden and the need to continually attract new lenders could be avoided by tapping into the government’s credit line at its own central bank . . . .
January 11th, 2009
Last fall, Congress committed an unprecedented $700 billion in taxpayer money to reversing the credit crisis, and the Federal Reserve has already fanned that into $8.5 trillion in loans and commitments. But the bank bailout has proven to be no more than a boondoggle for a handful of lucky Wall Street banks, without getting credit flowing again. What went wrong and what WILL get credit flowing again? . . .
December 29th, 2008
Bernie Madoff showed us how it was done, but his Ponzi scheme was small compared to one that has been perpetrated for hundreds of years by the banking system itself. What distinguishes the legal scheme known as “fractional reserve” lending from the illegal schemes of Madoff and his ilk is that the bankers’ scheme is protected by government charter and backstopped with government funds. The sheer size of the bailout efforts today, however, indicates that the banking scheme has reached its mathematical limits and needs to be superseded by something more sustainable.
November 25th, 2008
The $700 billion that was arm-twisted from Congress in October was just the camel’s nose under the tent. The Paulson/Bernanke team is now prepared to pay $7.76 trillion to rescue the financial system. Prepared to pay how? Congress has not raised its debt ceiling to that level, and the Fed doesn’t have the funds on its books . . .
June 21st, 2007
The U.S. federal debt has reached crisis proportions, approaching $9 trillion in 2007. U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker has warned that just the interest on the debt will soon be more than the taxpayers can afford to pay…