MVP

 

Mickey Z. — World News Trust

October 12, 2021

 

Once upon a time, I had a pediatrician who made house calls — complete with a little black bag. Dr. Harris practically became part of the family after my older sister was born. This was an age when doctors really got to know their patients. They also weren’t in a hurry to prescribe meds or suggest surgeries. Sometimes, they’d even go out on a limb and make moves that would be unimaginable today. Here’s a story about one of those moments.

 

After being told she’d never have a second child, my mother was bedridden for much of her pregnancy with me. But there I was, nine months later: a happy and healthy baby, already proving that the medical establishment was full of shit. However, what no one but Dr. Harris knew was that I was born with what they used to call a “heart murmur.” Today, it’s Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) — typically not a condition that warrants much attention.

Back in the day, however, a murmur could’ve caused my parents to baby me even more than they already did. Dr. Harris sagely recognized this likelihood and did something incredible. He didn’t tell anyone. He worried that if he reported the condition, my parents would be over-protective and prevent me from being an active boy. He secretly monitored my heart during every visit to be on the safe side. Translation: If not for Dr. Harris, I never would’ve become an athlete which helped me become popular and confident (as described here). I also wouldn’t have gotten into martial arts and fitness and all the other activities that enriched my life and kept me youthful. Who knows what I’d look and feel like today if not for him? I owe that man, big time.

 

MVP2

 

To cover his tracks, Dr. Harris had a plan. When my parents eventually decided to stop bringing me to a pediatrician, he’d contact my new doctor to explain the situation. At that point, the new guy could just keep monitoring the MVP. However, my parents brought me to their doctor without telling Dr. Harris beforehand. During my first check-up, the new guy heard the tell-tale click. Confused, he explained what it meant to my parents — saying that most people are born with a heart murmur. He couldn’t understand how Dr. Harris could’ve possibly missed it. This caused my mother to panic. She called Dr. Harris and he promptly confessed. What happened next may also be impossible today. 

My parents were okay with it. My mother admitted that Dr. Harris saved me from being forbidden to play sports and hang out with my hooligan buddies. The new doctor ran me through a battery of tests to “play it safe.” I remember him having the gall to ask me if I could do a push-up. With my parents in the room, a very insulted 12-year-old me hopped off the doctor’s plinth and onto the floor. He stopped me at 20 but I did another 10 to make sure Mr. Expert got the message. 

 

MVP3

 

As the years passed, I literally forgot I had MVP until a new primary care physician of mine heard the click and tried to lay down a restriction. When I went for dental work, he declared, I needed to be medicated before and after the procedure. It’s called antibiotic prophylaxis and here’s the “logic”: If my gums bleed and I swallow some of the blood, there’s a slight chance it could cause an infection in my heart (endocarditis) because of the MVP. 

By that point, my mother had also been diagnosed with MVP (I likely inherited it from her) and was doing antibiotic prophylaxis for her dental visits. She begged me to comply, too. Being a good Catholic son, I did… once. They had you take about eight antibiotic pills before treatment and then another four pills a few hours later. I don’t know if any of you has ever taken that many antibiotics in a 6-hour time period, but it makes you feel high, and then it makes you feel like shit. Not to mention, there’s all the damage the drugs can do to your intestinal flora. Still, the fear of endocarditis was being imposed upon me. Just look around right now if you wanna confirm what medical fear-programming looks and feels like.

 

MVP4

 

I asked my dentist why I needed to take these meds when I was fully healthy and never displayed any heart-related symptoms. He just chalked it up to “protocol.” Then I asked him why it was okay for my gums to bleed each night when I flossed. He did not have an answer. He just made a joke about me being the only patient to ever question this protocol. These being the pre-internet days, I found some books at the library. In no time, I learned it was just a legal thing. Dentists and doctors were covering their asses when, in reality, there was NO need for antibiotic prophylaxis. If anything, as I surmised, the potential negative impacts far outweighed any benefits. 

I photocopied some pages from a book and brought them to my dentist. He took one glance and sighed. “I know, but I have to follow the rules. It’s required that I prescribe you the pills and ask you if you took them.” We stared at each other for about 10 seconds and I think we both knew exactly what would happen next. From then on, every time I’d come in for a cleaning, he’d ask: “Did you medicate?” I would nod yes and everything moved forward. Meanwhile, I told my Mom I was still taking the pills. I didn’t like lying to her but I did so for her own protection. It’s a little trick I learned from Dr. Harris. 

 

Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, Mickey Z. can be found here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and donate right now. And please spread the word!

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of World News Trust.)

By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Duncan.Hull" title="User:Duncan.Hull">Duncan.Hull</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0" title="Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>, <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76353307">Link</a>By Duncan.Hull - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0His tweets serve as a pretty clear indication of the failures of the American system, and the sort of person he is

 

July 25, 2020 (Dialogue & Discourse) -- I’m a big believer in the idea that every billionaire is a policy failure, and it’s certainly safe to say that after his recent spiral on Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has certainly not proven himself to be an exception.

 

He has has had a considerable amount to say about the events of the past few months, and in doing so managed to indicate a lot about himself, his worldview, and undoubtedly his politics in the process.

 

As ridiculous as his antics have been, whether it be threatening to move his Tesla plant after unwanted new Covid regulations or endorsing Kanye West’s bid for the Presidency, one comment in particular that Mr. Musk made stood out considerably as arguably the most revolting, transparent, and enraging statement from someone with his position that I have ever come across.

 

After unsurprisingly making it known that he does not support the idea of another stimulus package and that he feels it’s not in the best interest of the people, twitter user Armani responded with:

 

“You know what wasnt in the best interest of people? the U.S. government organizing a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia so you could obtain the lithium there.”

 

Elon’s nine word reply remarkably managed to embody everything I and countless others find so fundamentally enraging about the end-stage capitalist American empire, with a simple:

 

“We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”

 

After reading those words, immediately what struck me was the absolute nerve. I began imaging what it must be like to have the audacity to feel not only so entitled, but arrogant, uncaring, and inarguably sociopathic in his position of privilege that he feels comfortable bragging about the ousting of a democratically elected official in another country by their military for his own enrichment as though he had done nothing more than take the last candy bar.

 

Even for a man like him, the boldness of those words shocked me, especially considering this wasn’t the first time Elon Musk had been attributed to the coup in Bolivia.

 

(more)

 

READ MORE: Medium

Posted on  by Ellen Brown

As public banking gains momentum across the country, policymakers in California and Washington state are vying to form the nation’s second state-owned bank, following in the footsteps of the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, founded in 1919. The race is close, with state bank bills now passing their first round of hearings in both states’ senates.

In California, the story begins in 2011, when then-Assemblyman Ben Hueso filed his first bill to explore the creation of a state bank. The bill, which was for a blue-ribbon committee to do a feasibility study, sailed through both legislative houses and seemed to be a go. That is, until Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it, not on grounds that he disapproved of the concept, but because he said we did not need another blue-ribbon committee. The state had a banking committee that could review the matter in-house. Needless to say, nothing was heard of the proposal after that.

So when now-Sen. Hueso filed SB 528 earlier this year, he went straight for setting up a state bank. The details could be worked out during the two to three years it would take to get a master account from the Federal Reserve, by a commission drawn from in-house staff that had access to the data and understood the issues.

Sen. Hueso also went for the low hanging fruit—a proposal to turn an existing state institution, the California Infrastructure and Development Bank (or “IBank”), into a depository bank that could leverage its capital into multiple loans. By turning the $400 million IBank currently has for loans into bank capital, it could lend $4 billion, backed by demand deposits from the local governments that are its clients. The IBank has a 15-year record of success; experienced staff and detailed procedures already in place; low-risk customers, consisting solely of government entities; and low-interest loans for infrastructure and development that are in such high demand that requests are 30 times current capacity.

The time is also right for bringing the bill, as a growing public banking movement is picking up momentum across the U.S. Over 25 public bank bills are currently active, and dozens of groups are promoting the idea. Advocates include a highly motivated generation of young millennials, who are only too aware that the old system is not working for them and a new direction is needed.

Banks now create most of our money supply and need to be made public utilities, following the stellar precedent of the Bank of North Dakota, which makes below-market loans for local communities and businesses while turning a profit for the state. The Bank of North Dakota was founded in 1919 in response to a farmers’ revolt against out-of-state banks that were foreclosing unfairly on their farms. Since then it has evolved into a $7.4 billion bank that is reported to be even more profitable than JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, although its mandate is not actually to make a profit but simply to serve the interests of local North Dakota communities. Along with hundreds of public banks worldwide, it has demonstrated what can be done by cutting out private shareholders and middlemen and mobilizing public revenues to serve the public interest.

The time is right politically to adopt that model. The newly elected California governor, Gavin Newsom, has expressed strong interest both in a state-owned bank and in the IBank approach. In Los Angeles, the City Council brought a measure for a city-owned bank that won 44% of the vote in November, and City Council President Herb Wesson has stated that the measure will be brought again. Where there is the political will, policymakers generally find a way.

Advocates in eight Golden State cities have formed the California Public Banking Alliance, which co-sponsored another public banking bill filed just last month. Introduced by Assembly Members David Chiu and Miguel Santiago, Assembly Bill 857 would enable the chartering of public banks by local California governments. The bill, which has broad grassroots support, would “authorize the lending of public credit to public banks and authorize public ownership of stock in public banks for the purpose of achieving cost savings, strengthening local economies, supporting community economic development, and addressing infrastructure and housing needs for localities.”

The first hearing on Hueso’s Senate Bill 528 was held in Sacramento last week before the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, where it passed. The bill goes next to the Senate Banking Committee. With momentum growing, California could be the first state in the 21st century to form its own bank; but it is getting heavy competition in that race from Washington State.

Washington’s Public Bank Movement: The Virtues of Persistence

Like Sen. Hueso, Washington State Sen. Bob Hasegawa filed his first bill for a state-owned bank nearly a decade ago. The measure is now in its fifth iteration. Along the way, his Senate State Banking Caucus has acquired 23 members, just three votes short of a senate majority.

As Sen. Patty Kuderer explained at an informational forum held by the Caucus in October, their bills kept getting stalled with the same questions and concerns, and they saw that a different approach was needed; so in 2017, they advised the state to hire professional banking consultants to address the concerns and to draft a business plan that would “move the concept forward from the theoretical to the concrete, so that legislators would have a solid idea of what they would eventually be voting on.” They could bypass the studies and go straight to a business plan that laid out the nuts and bolts.

The maneuver worked. Senate Bill 6375 was the first public banking bill to be advanced out of the Policy Committee with bipartisan support. It got stalled in the Ways and Means Committee, but another bill, SB 5959, was filed this year. In yet another bill, SB 6032-Supplemental Budget, the fiscal Ways and Means committee committed $480,000 to assessing risk and developing a business plan for the effort.

The form of the proposed bank was also modified: a bank that simply would have received the state’s tax funds as deposits evolved into a “co-op” that would be open to membership not just by the state but by all “political subdivisions that have a tax base.” Opening the co-op bank’s membership would allow it to generate substantially more credit than could be made from the state’s revenues alone, since it would have the ability to hold as deposits the combined revenues of cities, counties, ports and utility districts, as well as of the state itself. Those entities would also be able to borrow at below-market rates from the co-op bank and to leverage the tax dollars they collected. The concept was similar to that being advanced in California’s SB 528, which would allow the IBank to expand its lending capacity to local governments by taking the demand deposits of those same governments and affiliated public entities.

The Washington State business plan is due no later than June 30, 2019, and legislators expect to vote on the bill no later than 2020.

Whenever it happens, says Sen. Hasegawa, “I see a public bank as almost inevitable because of the current financial structures we’re required to live under.” State infrastructure needs are huge, and the existing funding options—raising taxes, cutting services and increasing debt levels—have been exhausted. Newly-created credit directed into local communities by publicly-owned banks can provide the additional funding that local governments critically need.

Whichever state wins the race for the next state bank, the implications are huge. A century after the very successful Bank of North Dakota proved the model, the time has finally come to apply it across the country.

____________________

This article was first published on Truthdig.com. Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including Web of Debt and The Public Bank Solution. A 13th book titled Banking on the People: Democratizing Finance in the Digital Age is due out soon. She also co-hosts a radio program on PRN.FM called “It’s Our Money.” Her 300+ blog articles are posted at EllenBrown.com.

Philip A. Farruggio -- World News Trust

June 13, 2019

You live in the burbs, or what they call so many small cities nowadays. Strip malls, shopping centers and it seems a Wal-Mart is everywhere. We don't live on streets, we live in subdivisions now. You want a bottle of pop... oh sorry, now they're in cans or those plastic environmental killers. Or if you want a loaf of bread or quart of milk or whatever, you get in your car and you drive to the supermarket or convenience store.. usually where you pump your gas. There are no such things as avenues with lines of retail shops. In '69 in my Brooklyn neighborhood you walked up to Avenue U and sat at the luncheonette and had your soda... a real fountain one if you desired. You walked along to the bread store and got your loaf or fish as the shoppers in the Italian bakery called it. The corner grocery store had the milk you needed. The butcher shop is where you bought your meat. The produce store your veggies. The fruit store, all the bananas you needed or fresh in season peaches , apricots or watermelon if it happened to be June or July. That was then and this sadly is NOW.

On any evening from early Spring right up until late Autumn the stoops and front yards were filled with your neighbors... some you liked and some you didn't. But , they were out there each and every non rainy evening after dinnertime. Some folks had their beach chairs (as we called them) set up with cigarettes (and some cigars) dangling from their lips, or perhaps a beer was chugged as the sun slowly exited the day. The boys were in the street playing ball as the young girls played jump rope or other games that young girls played. People would walk up and down the street and mingle with neighbors, or maybe argue with them, especially on the subject of Vietnam, but there was this energy and vitality of the neighborhood. Then, when it got dark only the teenagers would be out there, with transistor radios humming rock and roll and guys coming on to the girls with lots of BS being slung back and forth. Around the corner at the nearest luncheonette or ' Candy Store ' as many were still called, the adult men would hang out, comparing notes on the local sports teams interspersed with more debate on Vietnam. Plenty of Egg Creams and Lime Ricky sodas were being consumed, along with the usual cups of coffee or maybe a malted milk or two. When it got real late and the morning editions of tomorrow's daily papers were delivered, most of the gambling types  would wait to see what the daily number was. In those days it was obtained by the last three digits of the racetrack's pari-mutuel handle.

In the spring of ' 69, with Nixon being elected and an anti war movement taking hold, the neighborhoods really became as polarized as the nation. The draft was in full swing and more and more college students became radicalized. Some of the guys serving in the military from our neighborhood starting coming home, either on leave, or in pine boxes. Vietnam was each evening's number one news story, and we all could watch the war right on the six and eleven o'clock news. ' Kill counts' became the new numbers game being played. Vietnam may have been thousands of miles away, but to many of us it was right next door... literally! If one of our neighbors got drafted, he sure as hell would wind up there real quick. By the summer of ' 69, despite the Apollo moon landing, the friction of this war was becoming really flammable. One neighbor , a student at NYU Dental School, came home one evening and joined us on our regular street  corner. Amongst we college students was another neighbor, Don, a 32 year old Fire Marshall. Don bragged about how he had ' served' in the late 50s in the Army. His claim to fame was being so close, in his words, to being sent to the Middle East for some conflict that Uncle Sam initiated. " We were marching through the sands of the local New Jersey beach to get practiced at desert warfare. We were THAT close to being shipped over."  Don began parroting his love for both Nixon and country ( in that order) and how those ' beatniks ' were undermining our democracy. Gus, the dental student, jumped all over him. " I was at the dental clinic today, and you probably heard about the construction workers who broke up an anti war march and beat the shit out of the protestors. A whole bunch of us ran down to give medical aid to the victims... blood was all over the streets!" Don called Gus a Commie lover and the rest of us had to separate them before we had more blood on our street. From that day on I avoided Don as much as I could... Another chicken hawk ! Marching on the sands of a New Jersey beach... give me a **** break!

In August of ' 69 the horrific Sharon Tate and friends  murder story made national headlines when the ' Helter Skelter' Charles Manson case replaced the Vietnam War as item number one. Those of us who understood how bad vibes can spread knew that things like this were part of the whole evil empire. Like attracts like and wanton killings come in streaks. Yet, the neighborhood kept chugging along. People got up each morning that summer and went to work . In the evenings they still sat outside and hung out with each other. The beaches were still filled with bathers and sun worshippers each weekend.  The movies were packed on Friday and Saturday nights, as were all the bars and discos. Life went on, for better or for worse. Maybe it was the whole Woodstock concert event later that month which really offered a ray of hope. Hundreds of thousands of young people, from literally all over the country, came together without violence, and just enjoyed each other and the music...and of course a few drugs of choice. Mellow was the color of the day, and yes, it did open up many eyes. Not enough to end the madness of the Nam, but perhaps ....

PA Farruggio

June 2019

Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘ It’s the Empire… Stupid ‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted on  by Ellen Brown

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 with cities and states across the country, after a compliant and accommodating Federal Reserve dropped interest rates nearly to zero. Attempts to renegotiate these deals have failed.

In Los Angeles, the City Council was forced to reduce the city’s budget by 19 percent following the banking crisis, slashing essential services, while Wall Street has not budged on the $4.9 million it claims annually from the city on its swaps. Wall Street banks are now collecting more from Los Angeles just in fees than it has available to fix its ailing roads.

Local governments have been in bondage to Wall Street ever since the 19th century, despite multiple efforts to rein them in. Regulation has not worked. To break free, we need to divest our public funds from these banks and move them into our own publicly-owned banks.

L.A. Asks the Voters

Some cities and states have already moved forward with feasibility studies and business plans for forming their own banks. But the city of Los Angeles faces a barrier to entry that other cities don’t have. In 1913, the same year the Federal Reserve was formed to backstop the private banking industry, the city amended its charter to state that it had all the powers of a municipal corporation, “with the provision added that the city shall not engage in any purely commercial or industrial enterprise not now engaged in, except on the approval of the majority of electors voting thereon at an election.”

Under this provision, voter approval would apparently not be necessary for a city-owned bank that limited itself to taking the city’s deposits and refinancing municipal bonds as they came due, since that sort of bank would not be a “purely commercial or industrial enterprise” but would simply be a public utility that made more efficient use of public funds. But voter approval would evidently be required to allow the city to explore how public banks can benefit local economic development, rather than just finance public projects.

The L.A. City Council could have relied on this 1913 charter amendment to say “no” to the dynamic local movement led by millennial activists to divest from Wall Street and create a city-owned bank. But the City Council chose instead to jump that hurdle by putting the matter to the voters. In July 2018, it put Charter Amendment B on the November ballot. A “yes” vote will allow the creation of a city-owned bank that can partner with local banks to provide low-cost credit for the community, following the steller precedent of the century-old Bank of North Dakota, currently the nation’s only state-owned bank. By cutting out Wall Street middlemen, the Bank of North Dakota has been able to make below-market credit available to local businesses, farmers, and students while still being more profitable than some of Wall Street’s largest banks. Following that model would have substantial upside for both the small business and the local banking communities in Los Angeles.

Rebutting the Opposition

On September 20th, the Los Angeles Times editorial board threw cold water on this effort, calling the amendment “half-baked” and “ill-conceived” and recommending a “no” vote. It is contended here that not only was the measure well conceived but that L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson has shown visionary leadership in recognizing its revolutionary potential. He sees the need to declare our independence from Wall Street. He has said that the country looks to California to lead, and that Los Angeles needs to lead California. The people deserve it, and the millennials whose future is in the balance have demanded it. The City Council recognizes that it’s going to be an uphill battle. Charter Amendment B just asks the voters, “Do you want us to proceed?” It is just an invitation to begin a dialogue, one on creating a new kind of bank geared to serving the people rather than Wall Street.

Amendment B does not give the City Council a blank check to create whatever bank it likes. It just jumps the first of many legal hurdles to obtaining a bank charter. The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) will have the last word, and it grants bank charters only to applicants that are properly capitalized, collateralized, and protected against risk. Public banking experts have talked to the DBO at length and understand these requirements; and a detailed summary of a model business plan has been prepared, to be posted shortly.

The Times editorial board erroneously compares the failed Los Angeles Community Development Bank, which was founded in 1992 and was insolvent a decade later. That institution was not a true bank and did not have to meet the DBO’s stringent requirements for a bank charter. It was an unregulated, non-depository, nonprofit loan and equity fund, capitalized with funds that were basically a handout from the federal government to pacify the restless inner city after riots broke out in 1992; and its creation was actually supported by the L.A. Times.

The Times also erroneously cites a 2011 report by the Boston Federal Reserve, contending that a Massachusetts state-owned bank would require $3.6 billion in capitalization. That prohibitive sum is regularly cited by critics bent on shutting down the debate, without looking at the very questionable way in which it was derived. The Boston authors began with the $2 million used in 1919 to capitalize the Bank of North Dakota; multiplied that number up for inflation; multiplied it up again for the increase in GDP over a century; and multiplied it up again for the larger population of Massachusetts. This dubious triple-counting is cited as serious research, although economic growth and population size have nothing to do with how capital requirements are determined.

Bank capital is simply the money that is invested in a bank to leverage loans. The capital needed is based on the size of the loan portfolio. At a 10 percent capital requirement, $100 million is sufficient to capitalize $1 billion in loans, which would be plenty for a startup bank designed to prove the model. That sum is already more than three times the loan portfolio of the California Infrastructure and Development Bank, which makes below-market loans on behalf of the State. As profits increase the bank’s capital, more loans can be added. Bank capitalization is not an expenditure but an investment, which can come from existing pools of unused funds or from a bond issue to be repaid from the bank’s own profits.

Deposits will be needed to balance a $1 billion loan portfolio, but Los Angeles easily has them – now sitting in Wall Street banks having no fiduciary obligation to reinvest them in Los Angeles. The city’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report shows a Government Net Position of over $8 billion in Cash and Investments (liquid assets), plus proprietary, fiduciary and other liquid funds. According to a 2014 study published by the Fix LA Coalition:

Together, the City of Los Angeles, its airport, seaport, utilities and pension funds control $106 billion that flows through financial institutions in the form of assets, payments and debt issuance. Wall Street profits from each of these flows of money not only through the multiple fees it charges, but also by lending or leveraging the city’s deposited funds and by structuring deals in unnecessarily complex ways that generate significant commissions.

Despite having slashed spending in the wake of revenue losses from the Wall Street-engineered financial crisis, Los Angeles is still being crushed by Wall Street financial fees, to the tune of nearly $300 million just in 2014. The savings in fees alone from cutting out Wall Street middlemen could thus be considerable, and substantially more could be saved in interest payments. These savings could then be applied to other city needs, including for affordable housing, transportation, schools, and other infrastructure.

In 2017, Los Angeles paid $1.1 billion in interest to bondholders, constituting the wealthiest 5% of the population. Refinancing that debt at just 1% below its current rate could save up to 25% on the cost of infrastructure, half the cost of which is typically financing. Consider, for example, Proposition 68, a water bond passed by California voters last summer. Although it was billed as a $4 billion bond, the total outlay over 40 years at 4 percent will actually be $8 billion. Refinancing the bond at 3 percent (the below-market rate charged by the California Infrastructure and Development Bank) would save taxpayers nearly $2 billion on the overall cost of the bond.

Finding the Political Will

The numbers are there to support the case for a city-owned bank, but a critical ingredient in effecting revolutionary change is finding the political will. Being first in any innovation is always the hardest. Reasons can easily be found for saying “no.” What is visionary and revolutionary is to say, “Yes, we can do this.”

As California goes, so goes the nation, and legislators around the country are watching to see how it goes in Los Angeles. Rather than criticism, Council President Wesson deserves high praise, for stepping forth in the face of predictable pushback and daunting legal hurdles to lead the country in breaking free from our centuries-old subjugation to Wall Street exploitation.

______________

First posted on Truthdig.com. Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including Web of Debt and The Public Bank Solution. A 13th book titled Banking on the People: Democratizing Finance in the Digital Age is due out at the end of the year. She also co-hosts a radio program on PRN.FM called “It’s Our Money.” Her 300+ blog articles are posted at EllenBrown.com.

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