01 February 2012

Here is a tweet I posted that goes to my segment of testimony in support of a bill in the Washington State legislature to create a state bank. Below the tweet are more words in support of the public banking idea.

January 2012
Dear Washington State Legislators, Representatives, Senators, and Governor,

I urge you to support the creation of a state bank. The creation of a public banking sector in Washington State would benefit the people of Washington in two over-arching ways.

First, the intent of the State Bank would be to make accessible more money at more affordable rates for public works, infrastructural development and repair, as well offer more competitive rates for student loans and small business start-ups.

Secondly, the State Bank would provide an alternate to the use of large multinational Wall Street type banks. A usable alternative to Wall Street banks—banks like the Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and others—would be a meaningful step toward accountability and refusal to play in the harms that these banks engage in—whether that is harmful lending practices, or lending for harmful projects, like environmentally destructive resource extraction.

Wall Street banks and other businesses and/or industries are attached to bottom-line profit maximization. The system requires this need for what sadly amounts to vicious and harmful competition. In the present system, companies have a fiduciary responsibility to investors—and are rewarded for "externalizing" harmful impacts of their industrial activities.

A state bank would not have to play by those rules, but would instead be able to provide financial assistance toward the public benefit, toward common good.

This would put the interests of people before the interests of money. People are more important than money, and it is perpetually troubling to see money get in the way of insuring that all people are treated well in our socio-economic-cultural system.

State Treasurer Jim McIntire argued against the proposed legislation. However, I think it is entirely possible for the Office of the Treasurer and a State Bank, i.e. the Washington Investment Trust, to get along‚ to co-exist side-by-side—in order to best serve the people of the State.

It also seems entirely feasible that the State Bank could be incrementally and gradually capitalized over a period of years, so as to prevent any shock or unnecessary disruption, for the benefit of all Washingtonians.

I look forward to further talking up the state bank idea, and keeping a friendly attitude toward public banking!

Thank you.
Berd Whitlock

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