I have 142 fans: Become a Fan. You'll get emails whenever I post articles on OpEdNews
Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of 12 books, including WEB OF DEBT and its newly-released sequel, THE PUBLIC BANK SOLUTION. Her websites are http://WebofDebt.com, http://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.
Sunday, December 8, 2013 Amend the Fed: We Need a Central Bank that Serves Main Street (2 comments)
The Federal Reserve Act was drafted by bankers to create a banker's bank that would serve their interests. It is their own private club, and its legal structure keeps all non-members out. A century after the Fed's creation, a sober look at its history leads to the conclusion that it is a privately controlled institution whose corporate owners use it to direct our entire economy for their own ends.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance (15 comments)
Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 Public Banking in Costa Rica: A Remarkable Little-known Model (3 comments)
In Costa Rica, publicly-owned banks have been available for so long and work so well that people take for granted that any country that knows how to run an economy has a public banking option. Costa Ricans are amazed to hear there is only one public depository bank in the United States (the Bank of North Dakota), and few people have private access to it.
Monday, November 4, 2013 Ireland: Ground Zero for the Austerity-driven Asset Grab (10 comments)
The Irish have a long history of being tyrannized, exploited, and oppressed. Today, Ireland is under a different sort of tyranny, one imposed by the banks and the troika--the EU, ECB and IMF. The oppressors have demanded austerity and more austerity, forcing the public to pick up the tab for bills incurred by profligate private bankers.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 What We Could Do with a Postal Savings Bank: Infrastructure that Doesn't Cost Taxpayers a Dime (13 comments)
The Postal Service Modernization Bills brought by Peter DeFazio and Bernie Sanders would allow the post office to recapitalize itself by diversifying its range of services to meet unmet public needs. Needs that the post office might diversify into include (1) funding the rebuilding of our crumbling national infrastructure; (2) servicing the massive market of the "unbanked" and "underbanked" who lack access
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 The Armageddon Looting Machine: The Looming Mass Destruction from Derivatives (10 comments)
Increased regulation and low interest rates are driving lending from the regulated commercial banking system into the unregulated shadow banking system. The shadow banks are propped up by a hidden government guarantee in the form of safe harbor status under the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act. The result is to create perverse incentives for the financial system to self-destruct.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 The Leveraged Buyout of America (10 comments)
Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Not Too Big to Jail: Why Eliot Spitzer Is Wall Street's Worst Nightmare (28 comments)
If we the people are to take back our power from Wall Street and the corporatocracy. We need a mass movement, coordinated action, and leaders who can organize it. Eliot Spitzer is one of the few people in a position to play that role who have the experience, vision and courage to carry it through.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 Green Light for City-owned San Francisco Bank (2 comments)
The question today is whether cities and counties can afford not to set up their own municipal banks, both to protect their money from confiscation and to take advantage of the very low interest rates and other perks available exclusively to the banking club.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Collateral Damage: QE3 and the Shadow Banking System (3 comments)
Rather than expanding the money supply, quantitative easing (QE) has actually caused it to shrink by sucking up the collateral needed by the shadow banking system to create credit. The "failure" of QE has prompted the Bank for International Settlements to urge the Fed to shirk its mandate to pursue full employment, but the sort of QE that could fulfill that mandate has not yet been tried.
Saturday, July 6, 2013 Think Your Money is Safe in an Insured Bank Account? Think Again. (10 comments)
The EU can mandate that governments arrange for deposit insurance, but if funding is inadequate to cover a systemic collapse, taxpayers will again be on the hook; and if they are unwilling or unable to cover the losses (as occurred in Cyprus and Iceland), we're back to the unprotected deposits and routine bank failures and bank runs of the 19th century.
Saturday, June 29, 2013 The Crime of Alleviating Poverty -- A Local Community Currency Battles the Central Bank of Kenya (2 comments)
Former Peace Corps volunteer Will Ruddick and several residents of Bangladesh, Kenya, face a potential seven years in prison after developing a cost-effective way to alleviate poverty in Africa's poorest slums. Their solution: a complementary currency issued and backed by the local community. The Central Bank of Kenya has now initiated charges of forgery.
Saturday, June 15, 2013 Elizabeth Warren's QE for Students: Populist Demagoguery or Economic Breakthrough? (29 comments)
On July 1, interest rates will double for millions of students -- from 3.4% to 6.8% -- unless Congress acts; and the legislative fixes on the table are largely just compromises. Only one proposal promises real relief -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren's "Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act." This bill has been dismissed out of hand as "shameless populist demagoguery" and "a cheap political gimmick," but is it?
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Bail-out Is Out, Bail-in Is In: Time for Some Publicly-owned Banks (9 comments)
The crossing of the Rubicon into the confiscation of depositor funds was not a one-off emergency measure limited to Cyprus. Similar "bail-in" policies are now appearing in multiple countries. What triggered the new rules may have been a series of game-changing events including the refusal of Iceland to bail out its banks and their depositors
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Winner Takes All: The Super-priority Status of Derivatives (7 comments)
Cyprus-style confiscation of depositor funds has been called the "new normal." Bail-in policies are appearing in multiple countries directing failing TBTF banks to convert the funds of "unsecured creditors" into capital, including depositors. Even state and local governments deposits may be at risk. Derivatives have "super-priority" status in bankruptcy,and Dodd Frank precludes further taxpayer bailouts.
Friday, March 29, 2013 It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned for US and UK Depositors (18 comments)
The government's debt is at least arguably the people's debt, since the government is there to provide services for the people. But when the banks get into trouble with their derivative schemes, they are not serving depositors, who are not getting a cut of the profits. Taking depositor funds is simply theft.
Saturday, March 23, 2013 The Battle of Cyprus: The Long-planned Deposit Confiscation Scheme (30 comments)
On Tuesday, March 19, the national legislature of Cyprus overwhelmingly rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout. Reuters called it "a stunning setback for the 17-nation currency bloc," but it was a stunning victory for democracy. As Reuters quoted one 65-year-old pensioner, "The voice of the people was heard."
Monday, February 25, 2013 How the Fed Could Fix the Economy--and Why It Hasn't (20 comments)
Quantitative easing (QE) is supposed to stimulate the economy by adding money to the money supply, increasing demand. But so far, it hasn't been working. Why not? Because as practiced for the last two decades, QE does not actually increase the circulating money supply. It merely cleans up the toxic balance sheets of banks.
Thursday, February 14, 2013 How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes Permanently (12 comments)
As Congress struggles through one budget crisis after another, it is becoming increasingly evident that austerity doesn't work. We cannot possibly pay off a $16 trillion debt by tightening our belts, slashing public services, and raising taxes
Saturday, January 19, 2013 The Trillion Dollar Coin: Joke or Game Changer? (40 comments)
Most commentators have missed the real significance of the trillion dollar coin. It is not just about political gamesmanship. For centuries, a secret battle has raged over who should create the nation's money supply. Today, all that is left of the US Treasury's money-creating power is the ability to mint coins.
Thursday, December 20, 2012 Fiscal Cliff: Time to Call Their Bluff (32 comments)
The self-induced austerity crisis is a diversion from the real crises, including unemployment, the housing crisis, a bloated military, and unrepayable debt. Slashing services, selling off public assets, and raising taxes won't cure these ills. To maintain a sustainable and productive economy requires a visionary leap into the new. A new economy needs new methods of public financing.
Saturday, December 8, 2012 Exploring the Public Bank Option for Scotland (13 comments)
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the Bank of Scotland have been pillars of Scotland's economy and culture for over three centuries. So when the RBS was nationalized by the London-based UK government following the 2008 banking crisis, and the Bank of Scotland was acquired by the London-based Lloyds Bank, it came as a shock to the Scots. They no longer owned their oldest and most venerable banks.
Friday, November 9, 2012 It's the Interest, Stupid! Why Bankers Rule the World (40 comments)
In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street.
Thursday, October 4, 2012 QE Infinity: What's It All About, Mr. Bernanke? (12 comments)
QE3, the Federal Reserve's third round of quantitative easing, is so open-ended that it is being called QE Infinity. Doubts about its effectiveness are surfacing even on Wall Street.
Saturday, September 22, 2012 Why QE3 Won't Jumpstart the Economy -- and What Would (10 comments)
The economy could use a good dose of "aggregate demand"--new spending money in the pockets of consumers--but QE3 won't do it. Neither will it trigger the dreaded hyperinflation. In fact, it won't do much at all. There are better alternatives.
Thursday, September 6, 2012 The Myth That Japan Is Broke: The World's Largest "Debtor" Is Now the World's Largest Creditor (5 comments)
Japan's debt-to-GDP ratio is nearly 230%, the worst of any major country in the world. Yet it remains the world's largest creditor, with net foreign assets of $3.19 trillion. In 2010, its GDP per capita was more than that of France, Germany, the U.K. and Italy. While China's economy is now larger than Japan's because of its population (1.3 billion vs 128 million), China's $5,414 GDP per capita is only 12% of Japan's $45,920.
Thursday, August 23, 2012 Fixing the Mortgage Mess: The Game-changing Implications of Bain v. MERS (7 comments)
San Bernardino and other counties are drowning in debt from a crisis created when Wall Street's real estate securitization bubble burst. By using eminent domain, they can clean up the destruction of their land title records and 400 years of real property law. And by setting up their own banks, counties and other municipalities can use their own capital and revenues to generate credit for local purposes.
Saturday, July 21, 2012 Titanic Banks Hit LIBOR Iceberg: Will Lawsuits Sink the Ship? (19 comments)
At one time, calling the large multinational banks a "cartel" branded you as a conspiracy theorist. Today the banking giants are being called that and worse, not just in the major media but in court documents intended to prove the allegations as facts.
Monday, July 2, 2012 Government by the Banks, for the Banks: The ESM Coup D'Etat in Europe (4 comments)
On Friday, June 29th, German Chancellor Angela Merkel acquiesced to changes to a permanent Eurozone bailout fund--"before the ink was dry," as critics complained. Besides easing the conditions under which bailouts would be given, the concessions included an agreement that
funds intended for indebted governments could be funneled directly to stressed banks.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 Why Congress Won't Touch Jamie Dimon: JPM Derivatives Prop Up US Debt (8 comments)
The national debt is growing at $1.5 trillion per year. Ultra-low interest rates MUST be maintained to prevent the debt from overwhelming the government budget. Near-zero rates also need to be maintained because even a moderate rise would cause multi-trillion dollar derivative losses for the banks, and would remove the banks' chief income stream, the arbitrage afforded by borrowing at 0% and investing at higher rates.
Thursday, June 7, 2012 Greece and the Euro: Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover (8 comments)
The treaties binding the 17 member nations are just a set of rules, entered into by mutual agreement; and rules can be bent or broken, especially in crises. The ECB (European Central Bank) broke a litany of rules to save the banks, and so did the Federal Reserve to save Wall Street in 2008.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 Out of the Mouths of Babes: Video of Twelve-Year-Old Money Reformer Tops a Million Views (5 comments)
The youtube video of 12 year old Victoria Grant speaking at the Public Banking in America conference last month has gone viral, topping a million views on various websites. Monetary reform--the contention that governments, not banks, should create and lend a nation's money--has rarely even made the news, so this is a first.
Saturday, May 26, 2012 Cooperative Banking, the Exciting Wave of the Future (2 comments)
Funding with low-interest loans from cooperatively owned banks leaves greater control of the company in the hands of employees who either own it or have much more say in its operation. Globally, the burgeoning movement for local, cooperatively owned and community-oriented banks is blazing the trail toward a new, sustainable form of banking.
Thursday, May 24, 2012 Cooperative Banking in the Aquarian Age (1 comments)
Banking in an age of greed is fraught with usury, fraud, and gaming the system for private ends. But there is another way to do banking, the neighborly approach of George Bailey in the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life." Rather than feeding off the community, banking can feed the community and local economy.
Saturday, May 19, 2012 The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Quiet Drama in Philadelphia (15 comments)
Last week, the city of Philadelphia's school system announced that it expects to close 40 public schools next year, and 64 schools by 2017. The school district expects to lose 40% of its current enrollment, and thousands of experienced, qualified teachers.
But corporate media in other cities made no mention of these massive school closings -- nor of those in Chicago, Atlanta, or New York City.
Friday, May 11, 2012 Social Security Checks Garnisheed for Student Debt (15 comments)
Congress cannot agree on $6 billion to save the students, yet they managed to agree in a matter of days in September 2008 to come up with $700 billion to save the banks; and the Federal Reserve found many trillions more. Estimates are that tuition could be provided free to students for a mere $30 billion annually.
Monday, April 2, 2012 Oh Canada! Imposing Austerity on the World's Most Resource-rich Country (7 comments)
Even the world's most resource-rich country has now been caught in the debt trap. Its once-proud government programs are being subjected to radical budget cuts--cuts that could have been avoided if the government had not quit borrowing from its own central bank in the 1970s.
Friday, March 23, 2012 Wall Street Confidence Trick: The Interest Rate Swaps that Are Bankrupting Local Governments (7 comments)
For more than a decade, banks and insurance companies convinced local governments, hospitals, universities and other non-profits that interest rate swaps would lower interest rates on bonds sold for public projects such as roads, bridges and schools. Interest rates fell to historically low levels. It was a deliberate, manipulated move by the Fed to save the banks from their own folly in precipitating the credit crisis of 2008.
Friday, March 9, 2012 Public Sector Banks: From Black Sheep to Global Leaders (2 comments)
Public sector banking is a concept that is relatively unknown in the United States. Only one state--North Dakota--owns its own bank. North Dakota is also the only state to escape the credit crisis of 2008, sporting a budget surplus every year since; but skeptics write this off to coincidence or other factors. To determine whether government-owned banks are assets or liabilities, then, we need to look farther afield.
Monday, February 27, 2012 Move Our Money: New State Bank Bills Address Credit and Housing Crises (3 comments)
Seventeen states have now introduced bills for state-owned banks, and others are in the works. Hawaii's innovative state bank bill addresses the foreclosure mess. County-owned banks are being proposed that would tackle the housing crisis by exercising the right of eminent domain on abandoned and foreclosed properties.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street (10 comments)
The Houses of Morgan, Goldman and the other Big Five are justifiably worried right now, because an "event of default" declared on European sovereign debt could jeopardize their $32 trillion derivatives scheme.
Thursday, January 26, 2012 America's Shadow Banking System, A Web of Financial Fraud (8 comments)
The Wall Street Journal reported on January 19th that the Obama Administration was pushing heavily to get the 50 state attorneys general to agree to a settlement with five major banks in the "robo-signing" scandal. The scandal involves employees signing names not their own, under titles they did not really have, attesting to the veracity of documents they had not really reviewed. Investigation reveals that it did not just ha
Sunday, January 15, 2012 Occupy the Neighborhood: How Counties Can Use Land Banks and Eminent Domain (5 comments)
Counties have been cheated out of millions of dollars in recording fees, and their title records are in hopeless disarray. Meanwhile, foreclosed and abandoned homes are blighting neighborhoods. Straightening out the records and restoring the homes to occupancy is clearly in the public interest, and the burden is on local government to do it. But how? New legal developments are presenting some innovative alternatives.
Friday, December 16, 2011 The Way to Occupy a Bank is to Own One (6 comments)
The campaign to "move your money" has gotten a groundswell of support. Having greater impact would be to "move our money" -- move our local government revenues out of Wall Street banks into our own publicly-owned banks.
Friday, December 9, 2011 Pulling Back the Curtain on the Wall Street Money Machine (18 comments)
On November 27, Bloomberg News reported the results of its successful case to force the Federal Reserve to reveal the lending details of its 2008-09 bank bailout. Bloomberg reported that by March 2009, the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion in below-market loans and guarantees to rescuing the financial system; and that these nearly interest-free loans came without strings attached.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 The European Central Bank Fiddles While Rome Burns (6 comments)
"To some people, the European Central Bank seems like a fire department that is letting the house burn down to teach the children not to play with matches." So wrote Jack Ewing in the New York Times last week . . . .
Saturday, November 19, 2011 Super Committee Deadlock: Heads They Win, Tails We Lose (9 comments)
Whether the super committee reaches agreement or not, the deficit hawks win. If they agree, either $1.2 trillion gets cut from the budget or taxes go up by that amount; and the committee co-chair has categorically stated taxes are not going up, so that means the budget will be cut.
Saturday, November 12, 2011 Time for an Economic Bill of Rights (40 comments)
Henry Ford said, "It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." We are beginning to understand, and Occupy Wall Street looks like the beginning of the revolution.
Saturday, October 22, 2011 Qe4: Forgive Student Debt (35 comments)
Among the demands of the Wall Street protesters is student debt forgiveness--a debt "jubilee." Occupy Philly has a "Student Loan Jubilee Working Group," and other groups are studying the issue. Commentators say debt forgiveness is impossible. Who would foot the bill? But there is one deep pocket that could pull it off--the Federal Reserve. . . . I
Friday, October 14, 2011 THE PUBLIC OPTION IN BANKING: ANOTHER LOOK AT THE GERMAN MODEL (18 comments)
Publicly-owned banks were instrumental in funding Germany's "economic miracle" after the devastation of World War II. Although the German public banks have been targeted in the last decade for takedown by their private competitors, the model remains a viable alternative to the private profiteering being protested on Wall Street today.