John Nichols speaking in Tucson in 2013 Author, historian, and humorist John Nichols of The Nation and MSNBC returns to Tucson on Saturday, March 15, 2014. This is the third year in
Dolores Huerta and Medea Benjamin at the DNC Women's Caucus meeting, 2012. On route to a women's conference in Gaza, Code Pink founder and peace activist Medea Benjamin
Following the Wall Street crash and the housing market collapse a few years ago, the Move Your Money campaign encouraged millions of Americans to take their money out of big commercial banks and hold the funds locally in credit unions and community banks.
Is it time for state governments to move their money?
Across the US, millions of dollars of taxpayer funds are held in big commercial banks and invested on Wall Street. If Arizona had a public bank, the state’s rainy day funds would be held and invested in Arizona.
Local investment of state funds translates into jobs and a stronger economy. An Arizona public bank could create jobs by investing in public works projects, can boost entrepreneurship by backing small business loans through community banks, can build our state’s future by helping finance college loans—and much more. Isn’t it time that Arizona invested in Arizona—instead of Wall Street?
Why does Arizona need a public bank?
- Maybe it's because Arizona has a crumbling infrastructure and "no money" to fix roads, bridges, and public buildings?
- Maybe it's because Arizona's entrepreneurs can't get the capital they need to grow and innovate?
- Maybe it's because cities and towns are strapped for cash and have have to sell bonds and pay high fees in order to get credit?
- Maybe it's because Arizona has the 3rd lowest credit rating in the US, making borrowing extremely expensive?
- Maybe it's because Arizona is among the 10 worst states in the country for home foreclosures?
- Maybe it's because 10 Arizona banks have failed in the last few years?
- Maybe it's because university tuition continues to increase, pricing young Arizonans out of the market for higher education?
The answer is, of course, all of the above and more.
Come to the January 23, 2014 meeting of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Tucson Chapter to learn how public banking can build Arizona’s economy and benefit Arizona’s citizens. [Event details and video after the jump.]
As one year comes to a close and another begins, people often look back at events to reflect and perhaps resolve to improve their lives or change their behaviors in the coming year. In 2013, the Do-Nothing-at-All Congress-- led by the nose by Teapublicans-- continued its war on the poor-- fighting for cuts to food stamps and unemployment and fighting for austerity for the 99%, while disingenuously padding the pockets of their corporate benefactors.
As Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs teaches us, people must satisfy their basic needs before they can become fully self-actualized, before they can reach their full potential. To put this simply, if you don't have food, water, and shelter, your time, energy and resources will be spent obtaining those basic needs. Until you have security and the necessities of life, you will not have the luxury to worry about trifles-- Christmas gifts, video game releases, wine selections, fancy coffee, designer-label clothes, insignificant social snubs, political differences-- in other words, "white people problems".
Since our country is governed by the Congressional millionaire's club, it's no wonder that they can't relate to the poor (or even the struggling middle class).
Tucson is one of the most impoverished cities in the country—for many reasons. The Arizona Legislature—driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and short-sighted, “small government” ideology—has routinely swept funds earmarked for counties and cities to "balance" the state’s budget or fund pet projects like lower corporate taxes.
Beyond the Legislature’s negative impact on Baja Arizona, the Tucson economy is not diversified enough. Manufacturing is nearly non-existent in Southern Arizona. There is an over-reliance on defense spending, University of Arizona spin-offs, tourism, low-wage service jobs, and growth/development. During the Great Recession, multiple income streams for our local economy were dramatically reduced or eliminated—resulting in the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of good-paying jobs due to budget cuts, business closures, and the housing market crash. People and jobs left the area.
In August, the Arizona Daily Star ran a week-long series on multiple aspects of poverty in Southern Arizona and just this week, the Star ran a story that stated Tucson was second only to Detroit in the proliferation of crappy, low-wage jobs. In a survey of 52 metro areas with over 1 million residents, Tucson was in the top 10 for job creation; the problem is that more than half of the projected 28,000 new jobs will pay less than $13.84/hour. (If you really want to be depressed, check out the list of Tucson's fastest growing occupations here. None of these jobs requires a college education. Thanks to TREO's efforts, telemarketer is #1. Thanks to Tucson's ample supply of old folks, the next four most popular jobs are low-wage health/caregiver positions. We won't break the cycle of poverty in this city with a jobs picture like this.)
So, we know that our city has big economic challenges. Now what? As I wrote back in August, it's time for some creative economic solutions. It's time to STOP our addiction to military spending. It's time to STOP relying on temporary construction jobs and low-wage hospitality industry jobs. It's time to defund TREO and STOP chasing rainbows by competing with other metro areas for "the next IBM" or the next spring training team. It's time to STOP sending our money to Wall Street for investment. It's time to START investing in Tucson. It's time for public banking. [Read why after the jump.]