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Ellen Brown article on state banks features Green candidates Rich Whitney, Laura Wells

Ellen Brown, author of “Web of Debt”, has an article on Truthout entitled “More candidates favoring state-owned banks”. In the article, Brown features Rich Whitney of Illinois and Laura Wells of California as gubernatorial candidates who are proposing state banks in their platforms. She also mentions the proposal of 2008 Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney to nationalize the Federal Reserve. Read on for excerpts from the article:

A publicly-owned bank has also been proposed on the federal level. Nationalizing the Federal Reserve (which is not actually federal but is owned by a consortium of private banks) was advocated by 2008 presidential candidates Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, and Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate. In 2009, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said the government would have been better off funding a federally-owned bank than doling out trillions of dollars to private investment banks and CEOs who speculated their way into bankruptcy.

In Illinois, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney has other ideas for a state-owned bank. Illinois is listed by the Pew Center for the States as one of nine states confronting historic budget problems. In a recent response to the governor’s State of the State Address, Whitney said:

“I am the only candidate in this race who proposes to fund public improvements, and promote economic health, without any further tax increases, through the establishment of a state bank, a progressive idea that North Dakota adopted years ago, and that has helped keep that state debt-free even in these troubled economic times. Instead of going into more and more debt, to further enrich private banks, we should be using our tax revenue to further invest in our own State and its people, for the enrichment of our own economy.”

The bank would use tax revenues and pension contributions as the financial base to expand credit where it is most needed. Illinois’ bank would borrow from the Federal Reserve at the same 1 percent rate as commercial banks. Once the budget was balanced, Whitney’s top priorities would be to use the new money to modernize energy infrastructure and promote solar and wind power. To achieve this, property owners of land where wind and solar generators could be located would be lent money through the state bank at a minimal 1 percent interest rate. To secure repayment, Whitney would require utilities to buy power from the solar and wind-based producers at a premium rate. One option would then be to require part of this premium to be paid to the state bank until the loan is returned. This arrangement, says Whitney, would create a win-win situation:

“The bank is paid back. The homeowner, farmer or business investing in solar or wind generation realizes immediate savings on energy costs and in many cases will go from being a net consumer to a net producer of energy. Their greater income will further stimulate the economy. The utilities will have to pay the cost of the premium rate but in the long run will realize the benefits of having a greater, stable, more diversified and decentralized energy grid, ultimately cheaper in the face of rising fossil fuel prices. As economies of scale are realized in wind and solar power generation, the costs will fall, as will the necessary premium rate. And we all benefit from the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

California leads the nation in the sheer size of its budget gap. It too now has a gubernatorial candidate proposing to alleviate the state’s credit woes with a state-owned bank. Running on the Green Party ticket, Laura Wells is a former financial analyst who received 420,000 votes in her 2002 bid for state controller, more than any other Green Party candidate has earned in a partisan statewide race. According to her Web site:

“Rather than drowning in debt and begging Wall Street for loans, California can institute a State Bank that invests in California’s infrastructure, and future generations.”

She stated in a comment, “A state bank for California is part of my platform as a candidate for the Green Party nomination for Governor. I ran for State Controller to ‘Follow the Money.’ Now, we need to Fix the Money. A state bank would keep California’s wealth in the state. Rather than invest in Wall Street (we’ve hit the wall on that one) we can invest in our infrastructure and our future generations.”

You can read the full article at Truthout.org.

Dave Schwab

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