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Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling WEB OF DEBT. In THE PUBLIC BANK SOLUTION, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her websites are http://EllenBrown.com, http://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.
How to Wipe Out Puerto Rico's Debt Without Hurting Bondholders
During his visit to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump shocked the bond market when he told Geraldo Rivera of Fox News that he was going to wipe out the island's bond debt. How did he plan to pull this off? Here's one possibility.
Thursday, October 5, 2017(33 comments)
How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation
The policy of guaranteeing every citizen a universal basic income is gaining support around the world, as automation increasingly makes jobs obsolete. But can it be funded without raising taxes or triggering hyperinflation? In a panel I was on at the NexusEarth cryptocurrency conference in Aspen September 21-23rd, most participants said no. This is my rebuttal.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017(10 comments)
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State's Bucks
Illinois is teetering on bankruptcy and other states are not far behind, largely due to unfunded pension liabilities; but there are solutions. The Federal Reserve could do a round of "QE for Munis." Or the state could turn its sizable pension fund into a self-sustaining public bank.
If China Can Fund Infrastructure with Its Own Credit, So Can We
This week has been designated "National Infrastructure Week" The message: "It's time to rebuild." Ever since ASCE began issuing its "National Infrastructure Report Card" in 1998, the nation has gotten a dismal grade of D or D+. In the meantime, the estimated cost of fixing its infrastructure has gone up from $1.3 trillion to $4.6 trillion.
Thursday, April 13, 2017(5 comments)
What a State-Owned Bank Can Do for New Jersey
Having a cheap and ready credit line with its own state-owned bank can do for New Jersey and other states what it does for North Dakota: reduce the need for wasteful rainy-day funds invested at minimal interest in out-of-state banks; allow the state to leverage its funds, expanding its current credit facilities without adding to the state's debt; cut infrastructure costs in half; and jumpstart the economy.
Thursday, March 16, 2017(12 comments)
"Ryancare" Dead on Arrival: Time to Look Again at Single Payer
The new American Health Care Act has been unveiled, and critics are calling it more flawed even than the Obamacare it was meant to replace. The problem for both administrations is that they have been trying to fund a bloated, inefficient, and overpriced medical system with scarce taxpayer funds, without capping its costs. Single Payer has proven itself globally to be the most efficient solution.
Friday, January 27, 2017(26 comments)
How to Cut Infrastructure Costs in Half
Americans could save $1 trillion over 10 years by financing infrastructure through publicly-owned banks like the one that has long been operating in North Dakota.
Friday, December 23, 2016(6 comments)
The Italian Banking Crisis: No Free Lunch -- Or Is There?
It has been called "a bigger risk than Brexit"-- the Italian banking crisis that could take down the eurozone. Handwringing officials say "there is no free lunch" and "no magic bullet." But UK Prof. Richard Werner says the magic bullet is just being ignored.
Trump's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan: Lincoln Had a Bolder Solution
Donald Trump was an outsider who boldly stormed the citadel of Washington DC and won. He has promised real change, but his infrastructure plan appears to be just more of the same -- privatizing public assets and delivering unearned profits to investors at the expense of the people. He needs to try something new; and for this he could look to Abraham Lincoln: just print the money.
Thursday, October 20, 2016(6 comments)
Funding California Schools: Proposition 51 Versus a State-owned Bank
School districts are notoriously short of funding -- so short that some California districts have succumbed to Capital Appreciation Bonds that will cost taxpayers as much is 10 to 15 times principal. By comparison, California's Prop. 51 looks like a good deal.However, there is a much cheaper way to fund this $9 billion school debt. By borrowing from its own state-chartered, state-owned bank, the state could save over $10
Monday, September 19, 2016(5 comments)
Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Revolution in Banking?
Several central banks, including the Bank of England, the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve, are exploring the concept of issuing their own digital currencies, using the blockchain technology developed for Bitcoin.Central Bank Digital Currencies could supplant the money now created by private banks through "fractional reserve" lending.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016(66 comments)
Can Jill Carry Bernie's Baton? A Look at the Green Candidate's Radical Funding Solution
Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016(34 comments)
Japan's "Helicopter Money" Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Fifteen years after embarking on its largely ineffective quantitative easing program, Japan appears poised to try the form recommended by Ben Bernanke in his notorious "helicopter money" speech in 2002. The Japanese test case could finally resolve a longstanding dispute between monetarists and money reformers over the economic effects of government-issued money.
Saturday, July 9, 2016(18 comments)
Monsanto, Bayer, and the Push for Corporate Cannabis
California's "Adult Use of Marijuana Act" (AUMA) is a voter initiative characterized as legalizing marijuana use. But critics warn that it will actually make access more difficult and expensive, squeeze home growers and small farmers out of the market, heighten criminal sanctions for violations, and open the door to patented, genetically modified (GMO) versions that must be purchased year after year.
Sunday, July 3, 2016(24 comments)
Brexit and the Derivatives Time Bomb
Brexit could trigger a $500 trillion derivatives meltdown, by forcing the EU to allow insolvent member governments and banks to write down debt. Italy is in financial crisis and is already petitioning for that concession. How to avoid collapse of the massive derivatives house of cards? Alternatives are considered.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
As the War on Weed Winds Down, Will Monsanto Be the Big Winner?
The war on cannabis that began in the 1930s seems to be coming to an end. Research shows that this natural plant, rather than posing a deadly danger to health, has a wide range of therapeutic benefits. But skeptics question the sudden push for legalization, which is largely funded by wealthy investors linked to Big Ag and Big Pharma.
Exposing the Libyan Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary's Emails
Critics have long questioned why violent intervention was necessary in Libya. Hillary Clinton's recently published emails confirm that it was less about protecting the people from a dictator than about money, banking, and preventing African economic sovereignty.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016(24 comments)
The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond
Contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals. Sanders has picked up the baton where Occupy Wall
Street left off, forcing his opponent Hillary Clinton to respond . . .
Monday, January 18, 2016(31 comments)
The Citadel Is Breached: Congress Taps the Fed for Infrastructure Funding
In a landmark infrastructure bill passed in December, Congress finally penetrated the Fed's "independence" by tapping its reserves and bank dividends for infrastructure funding.
The bill was a start. But some experts, including Congressional candidate Tim Canova, say Congress should go further and authorize funds to be issued for infrastructure directly.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015(28 comments)
A Crisis Worse than ISIS? Bail-Ins Begin
While the mainstream media focus on ISIS extremists, a threat that has gone virtually unreported is that your life savings could be wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse. Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the infrastructure is in place in the US.
Saturday, December 12, 2015(20 comments)
Reinventing Banking: From Russia to Iceland to Ecuador
Global developments in finance and geopolitics are prompting a rethinking of the structure of banking and of the nature of money itself. Among other interesting developments are those in Russia, Iceland, Ireland, the UK and Ecuador.
How Obama Could Beat the Debt Ceiling and Go Out a Hero
One good gimmick deserves another. The debt ceiling could be eliminated for good, by restoring to the government its constitutional authority to create money. Article 1, Section 8, provides: "The Congress shall have the power to coin money [and] regulate the value thereof . . . ." The president could pay the government's bills by issuing some large denomination coins by executive order.
Time for the Nuclear Option: Raining Money on Main Street
Predictions are that we will soon be seeing the "nuclear option" -- central bank-created money injected directly into the real economy. All other options having failed, governments will be reduced to issuing money outright to cover budget deficits.
Trumping the Federal Debt Without Playing the Default Card
The government can reduce the debt by buying it -- and ripping it up. The debt can be bought either with debt-free U.S. Notes of the sort issued during the Civil War, or with U.S. dollars issued by the Federal Reserve--a kind of "quantitative easing" for the people.
Friday, July 31, 2015(15 comments)
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
In the modern global banking system, all banks need a credit line with the central bank in order to be part of the payments system. Choking off that credit line was a form of blackmail the Greek government couldn't refuse.
"Guerrilla Warfare Against a Hegemonic Power": The Challenge and Promise of Greece
Banks create money when they make loans. Greece could restore the liquidity desperately needed by its banks and its economy by nationalizing the banks and issuing digital loans backed by government guarantees to its ailing businesses. Greece could provide an inspiring model of sustainable prosperity for the world. But it is being strangled by a hegemonic power in a financial war that is being waged against us all.
Fast-tracking TiSA: Stealth Block to Monetary Reform
The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could help explain the desperate rush to "fast track" not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015(21 comments)
Derailing Amtrak: Tracking the Latest Disaster in the Infrastructure Crisis
The dangerous underfunding of US infrastructure was underscored by a fatal train derailment on May 12th. The tragedy did not deter the House Appropriations Committee from voting to slash Amtrak funding the very next day. There are ways Congress could fund its massive infrastructure bill without raising taxes. But the conservative-controlled Congress seems to have other plans for the nation's profitable public assets.
Saturday, April 25, 2015(14 comments)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic
The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers. The TPP would elevate the rights of investors -- also called the rights of "capital" -- above the rights of the citizens, which is unconstitutional.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015(17 comments)
How America Became an Oligarchy
According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Rich, well-connected individuals now steer the direction of the country, regardless of -- or even against -- the will of the majority of voters. America's political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites. How did this happen, and how can we take back our power?
The ECB's Noose Around Greece: How Central Banks Harness Governments
Remember when the infamous Goldman Sachs delivered a thinly-veiled threat to the Greek Parliament in December, warning them to elect a pro-austerity prime minister or risk having central bank liquidity cut off to their banks? It seems the European Central Bank (headed by Mario Draghi, former managing director of Goldman Sachs International) has now made good on the threat.
EU Showdown: Greece Takes on the Vampire Squid
Greece and the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and the European Central Bank) are in a dangerous game of chicken. The Greeks have been threatened with a "Cyprus-Style prolonged bank holiday" if they "vote wrong." But they have been bullied for too long and are saying "no more."
Saturday, December 20, 2014(18 comments)
Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives
The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and the FDIC could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act last weekend. Whatever happened behind closed doors, we the people could again be stuck with the tab.
Saturday, December 13, 2014(7 comments)
The Global Bankers' Coup: Bail-In and the Shadowy Financial Stability Board
On December 11,the US House passed a bill repealing the Dodd-Frank requirement that risky derivatives be pushed into big-bank subsidiaries, leaving our deposits and pensions exposed to massive derivatives losses. The recent drop in the price of oil could trigger a derivatives payout that could bankrupt the biggest banks. And if the G20's new "bail-in" rules are formalized, depositors and pensioners could be on the hook.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014(27 comments)
New G20 Rules: Cyprus-style Bail-ins to Hit Depositors AND Pensioners
On the weekend of November 16th, the G20 leaders whisked into Brisbane and whisked out again. It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board's latest dictat, which completely changes the rules of banking. Not only public and private depositors' funds, but also pension funds--via "bail-inable bonds"--are now targeted for confiscation.
Thursday, November 20, 2014(13 comments)
WSJ Reports: Bank of North Dakota Outperforms Wall Street
While 49 state treasuries were submerged in red ink after the 2008 financial crash, one state's bank outperformed all others and actually launched an economy-shifting new industry. So reports the Wall Street Journal this week, discussing the Bank of North Dakota (BND) and its striking success in the midst of a national financial collapse led by the major banks.
Monday, October 27, 2014(13 comments)
Why Do Banks Want Our Deposits? Hint: It's Not to Make Loans.
Many authorities have said it: banks do not lend their deposits. They create the money they lend on their books. Which leaves us to wonder: If banks do not lend their depositors' money, why are they always scrambling to get it? Banks advertise to attract depositors, and they pay interest on the funds. What good are our deposits to the bank?
Monday, October 13, 2014(9 comments)
Building an Ark: How to Protect Public Revenues from the Next Meltdown
Concerns are growing that we are heading for another banking crisis, one that could be far worse than in 2008. But this time, there will be no government bailouts. Instead, per the Dodd-Frank Act, bankrupt banks will be confiscating (or "bailing in") their customers' deposits.
That includes local government deposits. The fact that public funds are secured with collateral may not protect them, as explained earlier here.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014(3 comments)
A Public Bank Option for Scotland
Scottish voters will go to the polls on September 18th to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country. A publicly-owned bank could help Scotland take control of its own economic destiny, by avoiding unnecessary debt to a private banking system that has become a burden to the economy rather than a pillar in its support.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014(29 comments)
Preparing To Asset-strip Local Government? The Fed's Bizarre New Rules
In an inscrutable move that has alarmed state treasurers, the Federal Reserve just changed the liquidity requirements for the nation's largest banks. Municipal bonds have been eliminated from the list of high-quality liquid collateral. That means banks that are the largest holders of munis are liable to start dumping them in favor of the Treasuries and corporate bonds that do satisfy the requirement.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014(6 comments)
Even the Council on Foreign Relations Is Saying It: Time to Rain Money on Main Street
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else. --Winston Churchill
When an article appears in Foreign Affairs, the mouthpiece of the policy-setting Council on Foreign Relations, recommending that the Federal Reserve do a money drop directly on the 99%, you know the central bank must be down to its last bullet.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014(8 comments)
Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-stakes Chess Match for Argentina
Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction . . .
Thursday, August 14, 2014(10 comments)
Cry for Argentina: Fiscal Mismanagement, Odious Debt or Pillage?
Argentina has now taken the US to The Hague for blocking the country's 2005 settlement with the bulk of its creditors. The issue underscores the need for an international mechanism for nations to go bankrupt. Better yet would be a sustainable global monetary scheme that avoids the need for sovereign bankruptcy.
Sunday, July 27, 2014(36 comments)
You Can't Taper a Ponzi Scheme: Time to Reboot
As Max Keiser observes, "You can't taper a Ponzi scheme." You can only turn off the tap and let it collapse, or watch the parasite consume its food source and perish of its own accord.
The question being hotly debated in the blogosphere is, "What then?" Will economies collapse globally? Will life as we know it be a thing of the past?
Thursday, July 17, 2014(15 comments)
Did the Other Shoe Just Drop? Big Banks Hit with Monster $250 Billion Lawsuit in Housing Crisis
For years, homeowners have been battling Wall Street in an attempt to recover some portion of their massive losses from the housing Ponzi scheme. But progress has been slow. Now the banks may have met their match. Investors led by BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world's largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world's largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty.