Home > Uncategorized > Time to consider a municipal bank

Time to consider a municipal bank

[An opinion piece in the Times-Standard by Richard Salzman (which references a guest post on the Humboldt Herald) has also been posted to CalCoastNews.com, where it sparked a long comment thread. Here it is.]

Ten days into the Occupy Wall Street protests, I wrote letters to the editor of several papers complaining about the lack of mainstream media coverage. By the time that letter was printed, they finally got to the story, to their credit.

There are now “Occupy” actions taking place in 1,482 cities across the country including in my own town of Arcata in Humboldt County, California.

Surprisingly, even as the media has covered the story, many seem mystified by the motives and/or lack of a cohesive message. Does “people’s needs, not corporate greed” explain it?

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos  wants his city  to pull its money out of corporate financial institutions and start a municipal bank “so we can control how we are investing in local businesses…” I hope other cities and states will also consider this option.

Long ago, I pulled my money from a big bank and put it into a local credit union. Then it was recently publicized that the CEO of my small “non-profit” credit union was taking home just shy of a million dollars a year in compensation (making the $160k that our county administrative officer earns seem pretty reasonable). I’m sure people would love to put their money in a publicly-owned bank whose CEO doesn’t get paid a million dollar salary.

Here are more excellent ideas, some from Senator Bernie Sanders and some from Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi:

  1. Break’em up.   If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist. Start with repeal of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the separation of insurance, investment and commercial banks.
  2. Pay for bailouts.  A speculation fee on credit default swaps, derivatives, stock options and futures would pay for the bailouts
  3. Cap credit card interest rates, end usury so they’re not permitted to charge  25 plus percent interest.
  4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers more then 15 percent on their income.
  5. The Fed needs to provide small businesses in America with low-interest loans like it gave to foreign banks.
  6. Stop Wall Street oil speculators from artificially increasing oil prices.
  1. Mitch
    October 23, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Thanks, Richard and Heraldo. And thanks to Matt Taibbi, a great reporter, and to Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont, America’s only socialist Senator. (The Guardian had a profile of Sanders up in which they repeatedly had to explain to their European readership just how poisonous the word “socialist” is in America.)

    The Public Banking Institute’s web site has a page devoted to misconceptions about public banking:


    In an attempt to head off the worst, I’ll just quote from them here:

    4) Government being in the banking business is both inefficient and a potential source for mischief caused by politicians. Let’s not argue this point – let’s assume it has merit. Under the BND model, it is the private bankers who decide who get the loans! In other words, commercial loans originate with the private sector (community banks). Risk/reward is then shared with BND at the will of the community bank through BND’s loan participation program. So, loan expansion/contraction is clearly driven by the private sector. There are only a few exceptions to this, but “no more than 4-5* over the last 30 years,” in the words of the former Senior Vice President Trust/Treasury Services, whom we specifically asked regarding this.

    Another way to look at this is the public sector sets up the standards and the programs that identify how liquidity is injected into the economy, and the private sector not only gets to vote on each deal but has skin in the game for each deal. They can’t throw them over the fence, which is what is what had been happening in the public sector mortgage securitization market.

    * These exceptions have more to do with building infrastructure (water pipeline, oil refinery) and are publicly debated and reviewed by the state legislature. As such they are similar to Infrastructure Bank investments, and are rightly debated in the public forum.

  2. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 9:15 am

    You folks are bonkers. Good luck with that. Maybe you could bank roll your muni bank with all the dope money in this community? Or get a grant? Or sue somebody?

  3. longwind
    October 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Good policy list, Richard. I’d put at the top of it instituting a global Tobin Tax on international short-term speculative investments. WTO activists will remember this idea from the 90’s that’s continued to develop traction in Europe. A one percent tax on high-velocity trading would stabilize markets, move prices more slowly, reward genuine investments, and generate revenues around the world. No wonder it’s been vociferously opposed by everyone worth more than $100 mill–which is to say, everyone that matters.

  4. Little Buddha
    October 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Snowflakes are very small, delicate things, but when they team up, they are unstoppable. I just moved my paycheck and savings from CHASE to Provident Credit Union. And if Provident starts paying their CEO $1 million, I’ll move my money again.

    Credit Unions ARE public banks of a sort and are supposed to be non-profits. Let’s just find a few that we can keep honest.

  5. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 9:33 am

    A long thread on CalCoastNews? How many names did Richard use to post how great he is?

  6. Mitch
    October 23, 2011 at 9:42 am

    As skippy has pointed out here, the next act in the banks “repaying us all” is already in progress: the Federal Reserve is apparently OK with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch moving its gambling debts from the uninsured side of the corporation to the FDIC-insured side:


    That’s $75 TRILLION in Merrill Lynch gambling debts that the three branches of government (Fox, Scalia, and Lobbyists) will pass from private hands to the public. The public, thanks to Fox, will soon be blaming the situation on undocumented workers and foreclosed homeowners. The FDIC is not (yet) playing ball.

    After the bailout, the banksters have realized they don’t need to pretend to be legit any more. The fig leafs are getting microscopic.

  7. October 23, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Anonymous says:
    October 23, 2011 at 9:15 am
    “You folks are bonkers. Good luck with that. Maybe you could bank roll your muni bank with all the dope money in this community? Or get a grant? Or sue somebody?”

    You are not thinking very clearly this morning. You see they call it a municipal bank because it is bankrolled with city money. Is there anything about that you don’t understand?

    have a peaceful day,

  8. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Plz!!!!! Soros banking in the back woods. Can’t see how that could go wromg for individual liberties. RS, hows the dog? LOL!

  9. Mitch
    October 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I find the $75 trillion figure very hard to believe — each trillion is a million million– but I think it is due to the growing risk of defaults by banks and governments in Europe. A few years ago, the threat was more like a mere one trillion. Here’s another description of what appears to be going on:


    For any “free marketers” who want to defend this transfer of privately-generated risk to the public via the FDIC, I’d be really interested to hear what justifications you can offer.

  10. Plain Jane
    October 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

    As you can see, trying to have an honest, logical discussion with people like 10:32 is impossible. First of all because they can’t understand what they read. Secondly, even if they could understand what they read, they won’t believe anything that doesn’t come from the corporate right wing media which is obviously true in this case since its infected with SDD (Soros derangement disorder) which is transmitted by the right wing corporate media. They go rabid at the mention of Soros and start frothing at the mouth. Only a new infusion of cash from David and Charles Koch, both of whom are richer as individuals than Soros and donate more to political campaigns (always for their own benefit of course).

  11. Plain Jane
    October 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Only a new infusion of cash from David and Charles Koch, both of whom are richer as individuals than Soros and donate more to political campaigns (always for their own benefit of course), can calm them down.

    These are the people Matt Taibbi called American peasants. Those lower working class people who hate the educated, professional and unionized middle class for their “superiority” and higher incomes. Their heroes are uneducated blowhards like Rush, Beck, Palin, etc. who pander to them and tell them they too will become rich as soon as the right wing takes over the country and cuts the wages of the middle class parasites who have been stealing their money.

  12. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

    How insightful P J. Those that think you folks are out there are stupid, or can’t read or you rant that they should s t f u. How predictably “progrssive”.


  13. Plain Jane
    October 23, 2011 at 11:09 am

    If 10;32 hadn’t demonstrated that he couldn’t understand what he (presumably) read, you might have a point. 10:59. But then again, you apparently didn’t understand that he didn’t understand it either. Are both of the functional illiterates you, or are you multiplying?

  14. October 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

    To Little Buddha, Provident’s CEO is paid $700K, but keep in mind that they are based in Redwood City and for a bank CEO in the Bay Area that’s pretty modest.

    To 10:32 am, My dog Sarah died a few years ago. Does that make you happy?

    Here’s the post I added to the http://calcoastnews.com/2011/10/consider-municipal-banks/ blog:

    Glad to see I could spark such a lively debate!

    For those of you who want to support the Wall Street Occupiers go to:http://www.nycga.net/how-to-help/ where you can donate money, order them food to be delivered, or arrange to send supplies.

    As to arguments on the six suggestions, it might help to read from the sources (see below) as my abbreviated versions are even more prone to misinterpretation then the full explanation will be.

    One example, the reference to “pay for the bailouts” was to pay BACK the bailouts already made, not to make more bailouts. And taxing speculators will only hurt day traders and those who buy and sell stock in seconds and minutes if not days. Long term investors and consumers would not be hurt by a one tenth of one percent tax on trades, in fact it would likely lead to greater stability in the market.

    To learn more about how successful public banks can be
    (North Dakota owes it’s thriving economy and a budget surplus of 1.2 Bil. in large part to theirs) go to: http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/state_bank_option2.php )
    you can also read more here http://publicbanking.wordpress.com

    On this topic, why is it that you’d trust your safety to public fire and police departments and our national security to the U.S. Military (the best in the world), but you’re sure that when it comes to banking, government employees will not measure up? I’m a patriot. I love my country and I believe in my country and that starts with a government of, for and by the people.

    Details on the six points:
    Matt Taibbi
    1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.
    2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it’s supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.
    3. No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer’s own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can’t do both. Butt out for once and let the people choose the next president and Congress.
    4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires. I defy any politician to stand up and defend that loophole during an election year.
    5. Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later. It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now. That forces everyone to be invested in his own company’s long-term health – no more Joe Cassanos pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses for destroying the AIGs of the world.
    To quote the immortal political philosopher Matt Damon from Rounders, “The key to No Limit poker is to put a man to a decision for all his chips.” The only reason the Lloyd Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons of the world survive is that they’re never forced, by the media or anyone else, to put all their cards on the table. If Occupy Wall Street can do that – if it can speak to the millions of people the banks have driven into foreclosure and joblessness – it has a chance to build a massive grassroots movement. All it has to do is light a match in the right place, and the overwhelming public support for real reform – not later, but right now – will be there in an instant.

    Bernie Sanders:
    1) If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. Today, the six largest financial institutions have assets equal to more than 60 percent of GDP. The four largest banks in this country issue two thirds of all credit cards, half of all mortgages, and hold nearly 40 percent of all bank deposits. Incredibly, after we bailed out these big banks because they were “too big to fail,” three out of the four largest are now even bigger than they were before the financial crisis began. It is time to take a page from Teddy Roosevelt and break up these behemoths so that their failure will no longer lead to economic catastrophe and to create competition in our financial system.
    2) Put a cap on credit card interest rates to end usury. Today, more than a quarter of all credit card holders in this country are paying interest rates above 20 percent and as high as 59 percent. When credit card companies charge 25- or 30-percent interest rates they are not engaged in the business of “making credit available” to their customers. They are involved in extortion and loan-sharking. Citigroup, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase should not be permitted to charge consumers 25- to 30-percent interest on their credit cards, especially while these banks received over $4 trillion in loans from the Federal Reserve.
    3) The Federal Reserve needs to provide small businesses in America with the same low-interest loans it gave to foreign banks. During the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve provided hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign banks and corporations including the Arab Banking Corporation, Toyota, Mitsubishi, the Korea Development Bank, and the state-owned Bank of Bavaria. At a time when small businesses can’t get the lending they need, it is time for the Fed to create millions of American jobs by providing low-interest loans directly to small businesses.
    4) Stop Wall Street oil speculators from artificially increasing gasoline and heating oil prices. Right now, the American people are being gouged at the gas pump by speculators on Wall Street who are buying and selling billions of barrels of oil in the energy futures market with no intention of using a drop for any purpose other than to make a quick buck. Delta Airlines, Exxon Mobil, the American Trucking Association, and other energy experts have estimated that excessive oil speculation is driving up oil prices by as much as 40 percent. We have got to end excessive oil speculation and bring needed relief to American consumers.
    5) Demand that Wall Street invest in the job-creating productive economy, instead of gambling on worthless derivatives. The American people have got to make it crystal clear to Wall Street that the era of excessive speculation is over. The “heads, bankers win; tails, everyone else loses” financial system must end. Most important, we need to create a new Wall Street that exists not to reward CEOs and investors for the bets they make on exotic financial instruments nobody understands. Rather, we need a Wall Street that provides financial services to small businesses and manufacturers to create decent-paying jobs and grow the economy by productive means. Think of all of the productive short- and long-term investments that could be made in our country right now if Wall Street used the money it has received from the federal government wisely. Instead of casino-style speculation, Wall Street could invest in high-speed trains; fuel-efficient cars; wind turbines and other alternative energy sources; affordable housing; affordable prescription drugs that save people’s lives; and other things that America desperately needs. That is what we have got to demand from Wall Street.
    6) Establish a Wall Street speculation fee on credit default swaps, derivatives, stock options and futures. Both the economic crisis and the deficit crisis are a direct result of the greed and recklessness on Wall Street. Establishing a speculation fee would reduce gambling on Wall Street, encourage the financial sector to invest in the productive economy, and significantly reduce the deficit without harming average Americans. There are a number of precedents for this. The U.S had a similar Wall Street speculation fee from 1914 to 1966. The Revenue Act of 1914 levied a 0.2-percent tax on all sales or transfers of stock. In 1932, Congress more than doubled that tax to help finance the government during the Great Depression. And today, England has a financial transaction tax of 0.25 percent, a penny on every $4 invested.
    Making these reforms will not be easy. After all, Wall Street is clearly the most powerful lobbying force on Capitol Hill. From 1998 through 2008, the financial sector spent over $5 billion in lobbying and campaign contributions to deregulate Wall Street. More recently, they spent hundreds of millions more to make the Dodd-Frank bill as weak as possible, and after its passage, hundreds of millions more to roll back or diluter the stronger provisions in that legislation.
    The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are shining a light on one of the most serious problems facing the United States — the greed and power of Wall Street. Now is the time for the American people to demand that the president and Congress follow that light — and act. The future of our economy is at stake.

    For more on the 5 biggest banks: http://www.truth-out.org/which-bank-worst-america-5-behemoths-hold-our-political-system-hostage/1319299908
    For more on Occupy Wall St: http://www.truth-out.org/it-should-be-everywhere-free-economy-liberty-plaza-park/1319217053

  15. High Finance
    October 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Naturally Salzman and other liberals would like to have a government owned bank, as liberals they are interested in increasing the power of government and the control they have over our lives.

    Haven’t they learned anything ? Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were the personal play toys of congress. Their bailout has cost the taxpayers many hundreds of billions of dollars.

  16. Mitch
    October 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    HiFi and those of fellow thought,

    If B of A goes under and saddles the FDIC with $75 trillion of debts run up by its Merrill Lynch investment subsidiaries’ bets on European derivatives, will that be the government’s fault? Will it be President Obama’s fault? Whose fault would it be, HiFi? “Mr. Personal Responsibility, up by the bootstraps…”, whose fault?

    Would it still be President Obama’s fault if it’s thanks to legislation passed and enforced by a Republican congress, or will there be blame to share?

    What about if it’s only $1 trillion in debts ($3,000 per citizen)?

    If a gangster is running low on cash, and steals a couple of Old Masters from the museum, is that the museum’s fault for displaying the paintings instead of keeping them in a vault? Will this theft be the fault of the FDIC, for existing to protect a different breed of bank, one that is tightly regulated and, by law, isn’t connected to risky investments?

    Would you say that it is a national disgrace that Bank of America might be allowed to transfer the bill for its unsuccessful trading operations onto the back of the American taxpayer, or do you think that is free-market capitalism at its finest, all “part of the game?”

    How well do you think the banks’ financial innovations are performing, once a possible $75 trillion loss is added to the mix, or doesn’t that count if the bank can push it onto all our backs, and the backs of our children, by shifting it to their FDIC-insured wing and billing the taxpayer?

    How long do you think they can keep pulling this stuff before a LOT of people decide to start fighting back, for real?

  17. Apologist Not
    October 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    It’s always the morons who hammer us with the sanctity of free- choice who are the first to condemn people’s choice to put their hard-earned money in a state bank.

    Just like the police who used to bust citizen’s heads for unionizing…until they understood the benefits for themselves and their nation.

  18. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Ah. The fascist state to come alive again. Brought to us by the new brown shirts.


  19. skippy
    October 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    This should be on everyone’s radar:

    Potential losses on Bank of America’s massive $75 trillion book of risky derivative contracts has just been dumped onto the FDIC by the Federal Reserve.

    HERE’s the short story, one you’ll certainly be hearing more of in the coming weeks:

    BANK of America has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits– leaving taxpayers on the hook should things go sour. The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the two regulatory agencies overseeing the move, disagree over the transfers. The Federal Reserve said it favors moving the derivatives. The FDIC, which would have to pay off depositors in the event of a bank failure, is objecting. Bank of America, however, doesn’t believe it needs any regulatory approval whatsoever.

    THERE are no losses– yet. Some analysts feel the company is preparing for bankruptcy. Bank of America stock, currently at $6.47, has been tanking for some time losing 50% of its share value in the past year alone. It has $1.04 trillion in actual deposits.

    FIRST leaked by Bloomberg news this week, the originally secretive deal is now out in the open. Writing recently in the Rolling Stone magazine: ‘Occupy Wall Street—Washington Still Doesn’t Get It,’ Matt Taibbi noted:

    “(BY) shifting… derivatives contracts onto its own federally-insured balance sheet… an irresponsible debtor, Bank of America, is keeping a loan shark from breaking its legs by getting his rich parents to co-sign his loan. The parents in this metaphor would be the FDIC. The FDIC naturally is not pleased with this development, but the Fed, the supreme banking regulator, is apparently encouraging this move. Here’s how Bloomberg characterized this move: ‘ In short, the Fed’s priorities seem to lie with protecting the bank-holding company from losses at Merrill, even if that means greater risks for the FDIC’s insurance fund.’

    “AGAIN and again, the Fed proves it has no appetite for allowing Wall Street to eat its own pain, and continually encourages banks to stick the government with its losses and bad assets. This move will allow Bank of America to keep a Band-Aid over its disastrous financial situation far longer than it would be able to in a genuinely free market. People should be outraged at this development.”

    THIS IS big news, folks, and we should be outraged. Is Bank of America Too Big to Fail?

  20. High Finance
    October 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    There is plenty of blame to go around Mitch. Despite what trolls like Apologist Not say.

    What ? You think the politicians are blameless ?

  21. Plain Jane
    October 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    No Hi Fi. They are both to blame and they are pretty much one and the same. When corporations can fund campaigns to get their crooked pol elected, When corporations can send their lobbyists in to write the legislation for their benefit and their corporate owned government employees can just sign their names to it, they are to blame along with the crooked politicians. Expecting a different result from the legal bribery system we have is pretty nuts.

  22. October 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Just as with singe payer health care, there would still be private option that HF or anyone would be free to use. There’s both private insurance and private doctors in most western countries that also offer a public health system. What, you thought the upper class in Britain wait in line with commoners?

    Also, the primary client of these public banks is the government itself who profits from the billions passing through their hands, instead of a private institution.

    Interesting info here: http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/state_bank_option2.php

  23. High Finance
    October 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Richard, you know that if the government gets into providing health insurance the taxpayers will end up subsidizing the cost. Then private insurers won’t be able to compete.

    It will be only a matter of time before the only real provider of any size will be the federal government. Once they get to that point they will dictate terms & conditions to all the health care providers.

    And that is how the federal government takes over 17% of the nation’s economy.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  24. High Finance
    October 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you PJ for that honesty. As long as you blame both parties then we are in agreement.

    The problem is not the power of the lobbyists (I notice you left out the unions), it is the power of the government.

    If you reduce the power of the government, the lobbyists will go away and have to do something else.

  25. Plain Jane
    October 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Why is health care only 5 to 10% of the GDP in European countries, HiFi with virtually everyone insured from the cradle to the grave?

  26. Plain Jane
    October 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Right HiFi. So long as we don’t pass any laws to constrain them, make them pay taxes or have any watchdog agencies, THEY WON’T NEED TO BUY POLITICIANS. That sounds like a great solution for our over-crowded prisons as well. Let’s just cancel all the laws. People can’t break laws if none exist.

  27. October 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    We need health care not health insurance. Health insurance is a scam and it is illegal in most countries.

    Let’s move to a rational single payer health care system like Canada’s and forget about “reforming” the health insurance “industry.”

    have a peaceful day,

  28. October 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Hi-Fi, single-payer or almost any other form of government-run or government supervised health care would reduce costs for businesses and insure everyone. You make these ideologically-driven claims, but they are not supported facts.

  29. October 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    It’s so easy to make arguments when you are unencumbered by the facts. These private insurance companies profit (or as you say “compete”) fine in Britain and most other socialized countries, as I just explained.

    You do know that we have (subsidized) state colleges in America and yet schools like Yale and Harvard are still able to “compete” (Harvard’s endowment is 25.9 Billion)?

  30. October 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    We need a national health corps of doctors, about 100,000 of them.

    We can train new young doctors in 18 months in government classrooms and then deploy them to every county in America for five years of service after which they can move to private practice.

    We are in a national health emergency.

    have a peaceful day,

  31. Mitch
    October 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    That would be nice, Bill, but the money is vitally needed for the new Lockheed/McDonnell/Boeing B-98 super-fighter, which will be developed and manufactured in more than 27 of the 50 states, and is scheduled for deployment in 2027.

    I don’t suppose your “young doctor” proposal involves cost-plus contracts, does it? Because then maybe we could talk.

  32. October 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Ha ha Mitch. yep you are right not much profit in government schools. But we are literally in a health care emergency. Health care for many has gotten worse since Obama, not better. And of course the Republicans are literally telling us to fuck off and die.

    The health care system is beyond reform it must be completely reconstructed.

    have a peaceful day,

  33. High Finance
    October 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I don’t want a doctor working on me who has only 18 months of training.

  34. Walt
    October 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I’m with you, Bill, but it’s going to take bodies lying in the streets before we get single payer. It will also take someone other than Democrats (“It’s not on the table.”) and Republicans (“The uninsured dying without healthcare? Hooray!”) representing us.

  35. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I don’t think it’s possible to adequately train doctors in 18 months, but you can train physicians assistants and family nurse practioners who can do a large share of traditional MD duties and free the doctors up for the more complicated cases and supervision of the PAs and FNPs.

  36. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    And the VIP’s like HiFi who are too superior to let a PA or FNP touch them.

  37. jr
    October 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    A true community credit union would be one like the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union in that it is based on the Community Development Financial Institution model. When one enters CDFI into your search engine of choice you will see that the Arcata Economic Development Corp and the Del Norte EDC are the only CDFIs on the north coast, but neither functions as a bank. If a CDFI was established here similar to the Santa Cruz Community CU, we would have a financial institution that would use member’s funds to make small business loans as the main focus. Joe Nocera has a column about CDFIs in last week’s NY Times.

  38. October 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    “…the Republicans are literally telling us to fuck off and die.”

    True words. And the Democrats are saying, “I feel your pain. Please die quietly.”

  39. October 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    624 we can debate the training time it is a legit debate, but i am speaking of GPs that will be out in the community, not surgeons or specialists, 100,000 of them. I think a qualified college graduate can learn the basics of family medicine in 18 months of rigorous study. I think that out of 10,999,000 unemployed we can find 100,000 who are qualified and have a good probability of completing such a course.

    Think Manhattan Project. My position is that we are in an emergency and we have to act.

    You would think that the doctor’s union, the American Medical Association (AMA) would welcome 100,000 potential new members at least after their five years public service.

    have a peaceful day,

  40. Thorstein Veblen
    October 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Two thoughts;

    “Ha ha Mitch. yep you are right not much profit in government schools.” Yes, unless you sell schoolbooks that are hand in glove with a national testing requirement. Then there is lots of profit in govt. school

    And, govt banks aren’t really needed if the prescriptions set forth by Richard 11:29 is adopted.

  41. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Isn’t that sort of like lowering MD standards to PA and calling them doctor, Bill?

  42. October 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    No I think a GP can be adequately trained in 18 months in an emergency like the one we have. They will be at least as well trained as the graduates of traditiional medical schools.

    Don’t tell me it can’t be done the military does it all the time.

    have a peaceful day,

  43. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    The military requires 30 post graduate clinical credits before they will even accept an applicant Bill. Add that to the 18 months.

  44. October 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    As to the municipal bank which I think is a fine idea, there is also in Calfornia AB 750 which sets up a feasiblilty study to set up a state bank in California like the one in North Dakota. Below from HuffPo:


    “A state-owned bank can provide that opportunity. North Dakota, the one state that currently has its own bank, is the only state to be in continuous budget surplus since the banking crisis began. North Dakota’s balance sheet is so strong that it recently reduced individual income taxes and property taxes by a combined $400 million and is debating further cuts. It also has the lowest unemployment rate, lowest foreclosure rate and lowest credit card default rate in the country, and it hasn’t had a bank failure in at least the last decade. “

  45. October 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    650 What you say may be true but if the military faced the kind of crisis we face in the private sector health care system those requirements would go away quickly until the units were fully manned. That doesn’t mean they would be less well trained.

    have a peaceful day,

  46. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    North Dakota must be a bastion of commie fascism.

  47. October 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Oops it looks like Gov. Brown vetoed it, but it did pass both houses. He says the legislature can study the idea themselves. We wil see if they have the guts.

    have a peaceful day,

  48. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 6:45 am

    9/26/11 AB 750 was vetoed today by Gov. Brown. Brown does not want a Blue Ribbon Commission – he wants the Assembly and Senate Banking and Finance Committees to study the formation of a state-owned bank on their own. The veto letter says that the matter is “within the jurisdiction and competence of the Assembly and Senate Banking Committees, and we should use our existing resources.”

  49. High Finance
    October 24, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Bill, I thought you were a blackjack dealer and not a doctor. My mistake ?

    You have pontificated that a GP can be adequately trained in just 18 months so I guess you know this because of your own training ?

  50. October 24, 2011 at 7:54 am

    What I have proved Mr. or Ms. High Finance poser is that I have the intelligence to actually run a business in the private sector and make a profit at it. You have proved exactly nothing.

    BTW I never said I was a blackjack dealer I said I was a casino executive. Not only are your math skills lacking but your reading comp is sketchy too.

    have a peaceful day,

  51. October 24, 2011 at 8:27 am

    High Finance says:
    October 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    “I don’t want a doctor working on me who has only 18 months of training.”

    And if your choice for medical care is an 18 month wonder or no doctor at all? What then High Finance? You are spinning yourself into imbecility.

    Health care here in the US has descended below third world levels for millions of us. That’s why we need the barefoot doctors.

    BTW I would also support a quick pathway for experienced PAs and nurses to full doctorhood. That is also a rational approach to the emergency.

    have a peaceful day,

  52. October 24, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Questions for Heraldoites:

    1. Which bank does the city of Eureka currently use for its funds?

    2. Do you think a municipal bank would be a good candidate issue in next years council elections?

    have a peaceful day,

  53. Mitch
    October 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Scene: Los Angeles, large city on the West Coast of the United States of America. A former democracy that continues to hold regular elections, the United States has a population of approximately 300 million, Earth’s seventh highest per capita GDP, and the largest nation-state economy (though China is expected to take this status in approximately 2016.)

    Date: Present day, October 2011

    Event: free four day medical clinic:


    Background information: Citizens typically pay for medical care by purchasing private insurance. Historically, insurance is provided as a benefit of employment. State official unemployment now approximately 11%; employers also cutting back on insurance programs. Recent attempts at ensuring all citizens have medical coverage have met with outrage from various broadcasters. The United States annual military budget (excluding debt service and veterans medical care and pensions): approximately $700 billion.

    Explanatory Quote: “Fletcher and many others here are out of work, and they’re out of choices when it comes to taking care of their eyes or their teeth. That’s because in a round of budget cuts a couple of years ago, Medi-Cal — the state’s low-income health insurance — stopped covering dental and vision care.

    “They do not cover any kind of dental what so ever,” said Corey Barnes, 33. Barnes doesn’t hesitate to smile, even though his front teeth are missing. They got knocked out eight months ago in a motorcycle accident, so he looked forward to seeing a dentist.”

    Pull quote for graphic: “They do not cover any kind of dental what so ever.”

    Photographs and details:

  54. October 24, 2011 at 9:04 am

    HiFi, who cares about Bill’s poor choice of a specific time period for training physicians. At least he’s thinking about solutions, which is more than we can say about you, isn’t it?

  55. October 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for that link Mitch. Yes we need 100,000 dentists too.

    If we don’t address this health emergency now we may have a lost generation – a whole generatiion of younger workers lost to bad health.

    have a peaceful day,

  56. October 24, 2011 at 9:29 am

    The problem is access to health care, not the number of physicians out there.

  57. October 24, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Hello Joel,

    What do you attribute the lack of access to?

    have a peaceful day,

  58. Walt
    October 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

    “Yes we need 100,000 dentists too.”
    I got a pair a pliers n a bucket: where do I sign up?

  59. October 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I will submit that there is a shortage of doctors in the U.S. btw, because the US has 2.3 physicians per 1,000 pop as compared to Greece, Italy, Russia, Uruguay, Belgium, Switzerland and Israel all have 3.5 to 4.5 physicians per 1,000, almost double. Oh and Cuba too.

    source: http://urlet.com/formulate.lays

    have a peaceful day

  60. October 24, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Walt, all you need to be a dentist is somewhat higher than average IQ, (120 will do) and a strong enough stomach to peer into human pie holes all day long. Not everyone is qualified but if you are go for it bro. We need help out here.

    have a peaceful day

  61. October 24, 2011 at 10:36 am

    “What do you attribute the lack of access to?”

    You’re kidding, right?

  62. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Does this mean Dick is going to be writing letters to the editor (and blogs) with a fake name, saying how great he is?

  63. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 11:27 am

    It’s funny when an anonymous complains about others not using their name. Funny when an anonymous thinks its funny too, I know.

  64. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 11:27 am

    no, it doesn’t

  65. October 24, 2011 at 11:38 am

    “Does this mean Dick is going to be writing letters …”

    What are you yammering about? Grow up.

  66. October 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    No Joel I am not kidding. Agreed that there is lack of access, but why? I have my own ideas of why but I would like to hear yours. Not starting an argument.

    I think that the idea of providing health care for profit is economically and socially unsound and illogical. Therefore the for profit model must be destroyed and replaced with something else.

    have a peaceful day,

  67. Apologist Not
    October 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for the link Bill!

    The U.S. shares similar doctor/patient ratios with nations offering universal health coverage, making access the primary issue, although, an influx of physicians would have a positive impact.

    According to the May, 2005 JAMA the U.S. leads all other industrialized nations in the occurrence of every major illness, infant mortality, and suicide, and we have the shortest life-spans.

    The overall problem is the average citizen’s access to this information with disastrous impacts on their judgment and motivation to vote.

    Every new day of economic decline exposes the hypocrisy of “free choice, small government,” Reich-Wingers who would deny Americans their state bank of choice, and the freedom to see an 18-month trained GP, (or a Mexican doctor/ dentist downtown), for 90% of human illnesses that are, in fact, routine.

    Reich-Winger’s promise of small government, opportunity, and individual freedom of choice isn’t so different from the promises made to the original native inhabitants who’s lack of financial resources to participate were just the beginning of their problems.

    Tricking and trapping people out of their homes, land, health, and livelihood, is as old as “civilization”.

  68. October 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Tens of millions of working Americans lack access because they cannot afford insurance and their employers cannot afford to provide it. Also, millions more who have insurance pay high deductibles, which limits their access. Worse, they never know whether or not treatment will be covered until they are injured or ill.

    And I agree, Bill, that for-profit healthcare is illogical.

  69. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    120 iq is very good. hell most of the world is around 100 or less/ on the other hand if more people were 120 ish the dems&progs&statests would have no one to man their crappy protests/ PJ might actually have a clue rotflmao!!!!!!!! Joel and HB should go live in the Netherlands for a couple of years and see how they really like socialism up close and personel/ hell guys, if you like it you could stay

  70. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    It takes 5 years to become a doctor in Cuba but it’s free. 2 years medical education, 3 years hospital training.

  71. October 24, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I do like socialism, you easily amused (e.g., “rotflmao!!!!!!!!”) nitwit.

  72. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    In the Cuban everybody is nobody dictionary “nitwit “, is defined as a dumb ass american like Joel Mielke. Funny as hell . You can’t make shit like that up. LOL!LOL!LOL! Cubans just shake their heads at you.

  73. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    You’d think that a lifetime enjoying a public education would inspire these miscreants to extend their socialist bounty to others.


  74. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Anon 219 calls someone else a “dumb ass”, yet he/she can’t write a comprehensible statement.

    “…everybody is nobody dictionary nitwit, is defined…” WTF?

  75. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Maybe it’s Cuban and English is its second language.

  76. October 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Hello Joel thank you for your answer as it moves the dialogue along.

    You are of course right that unemployed have no insurance and that some employers can’t afford to provide it, that is a relic of an employment based health insurance model that has failed.
    You are also correct that high deductibles discourage access. Let me add also that high copayments discourage the poor from even basic care like at the emergency rooms.

    We need to move on beyond the insurance model. We need to make “health insurance” illegal. The elephant in the room is that there are millions of Americans who cannot buy health insurance on the open market no matter how much they want to pay. This is because they are aged, disabled, have a pre existing condition, have a vulnerable genetic profile and on and on. Insurance companies will not sell insurance to people like this unless they are forced to becuase they will take a loss on every policy. “Health” insurance is not like auto insurance where chance comes into play. Every human being without exception (unless they die of accident or homicide) will reach that point in life where he or she will be uninsurable on the open market.

    Because of this inconvenient fact for any insurance scheme to work the government must force the private insurers to accept custormers from some kind of assigned risk pool, or the government must subsidize each such policy, or both.

    I think it is also true that if the assigned risk pool were created it would overwhelm the current system. It would cost too much.

    I think it is sadly also true that if the government chose to subsidize individual health insurance policies for the uninsurable that the cost would also be prohibitive.

    The only solutiion is to eliminate health insurance completely and replace it with health care. Direct health care.

    have a peaceful day,

  77. Mitch
    October 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    All your paranoid fantasies are owned by us: 150 companies, with Barclays at the top, own about 1/3 of the world:


  78. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    The insurance industry’s squeezing of reimbursement as practice expenses go up encourages doctors to retire early while they raise rates every year.

  79. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    4:26 take a pill

  80. Walt
    October 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    “Tens of millions of working Americans lack access because they cannot afford insurance…” So clearly the solution is to make buying private insurance MANDATORY. If they can’t afford it, send them to prison and make them work for peanuts. Or they can get jobs as mercenaries in Iraq.

  81. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Lots of prison labor jobs available. The Alabama prison system is going to lease the illegal immigrants they sweep up back to the farms where they used to work but for $2 an hour, not minimum wage.

  82. October 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Yes Walt the Democratic Party and President Obama completely failed with their health care plan. Since the system is still employment based the 10 million have little chance of getting insurance so it is just a fantasy kick the can down the road.

    The Democrats AND Republicans need to wake up. America is at a revolutionary moment. The economic system has failed. The health care system has failed. These two parties think they are gambing with the 2012 elections but they are really gambling with the future of the United States.

    have a peaceful day,

  83. jr
    October 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    How difficult would it be for Obama to make a Presidential edict to lower the qualifying age for Medicare to 1 year? Doesn’t he have the authority as President to make such a decision?

  84. worker bee
    October 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Anyone notice how Arcata’s transient population has co-opted the the Occupy Wall Street cause? Personally it would make more sense to occupy the front of Arcata’s corporate banks (B of A, Us Bank and Wells Fargo), instead of the center of the plaza.

  85. October 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Edicts are unconstitutional so let’s hope that Obama or any other presidents don’t issue any. However since we live in a representative democracy it is fair to ask “How difficult would it be for Congress to pass a law making everyone eligible for Medicare enrollment?”

    Apparently very difficult.

    The insurance “industry” owns enough Congressmen and women to stop this idea dead. It is so off the table.

    have a peaceful day,

  86. October 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Here’s another article on the success of the one state owned bank

  87. Anonymous
    October 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

    At the very least, they should not be allowed to use the word “insurance”.

    As Bill observed above, insurance is for something that might happen. Illness always happens.

    Thus, they ad layers of trickery to profit from the inevitable: co-payments, stop-losses, and deductibles that begin anew every year, exclusions, out-of-network doctors and hospitals, and U.S. courts filled with wrongful denial claims by those who survive long enough and have the resources to hire attorneys.

    The human costs of this massive corruption is staggering.

  88. scooter
    October 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    The corruption in amerika’s hospitals is also staggering. Overcharging is standard procedure. Not just a little overcharging, but huge exponential overcharging. We can not reduce medical costs if hospitals are not subject to price controls. Hospitals should also be subject to payroll caps if they take public funding in any way, which they all do.

  89. anonymous#1
    October 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Worker Bee, Yeah I have noticed the transient aspect of the Occupation around McKinley. Not all but a lot. If you are a street person you have to be good at identifying opportunity and exploiting it.

  90. Walt
    October 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Twenty five years ago, a teacher friend went into the hospital. Being a stickler for details, she carefully scanned her copies of the bills when she got home, and found charges for things she never received. As a matter of principle, she called the hospital and told them. The response: “What do you care, the insurance will pay for it.”

  91. Anonymous
    October 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Worker Bee, I overheard a food service worker talking about her experience selling food on the plaza last week. She said one of the dredlocked types holding a sign for the Occupation group accused her of being a “fascist pig” for working there and taking money for food.

  92. worker bee
    October 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    No Doubt Anonymous, I’m on the Plaza daily and i know the crowd that’s there. Most of Occupy Arcata are transient kids and unfortunately give the cause a bad vibe.

  93. October 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    “We can not reduce medical costs if hospitals are not subject to price controls.”

    Unfortunately the “improvements” that the Republicans cynically deride as “Obama-care” do nothing to control costs, while forcing workers to buy the crappy, expensive product that insurance companies offer. The Democrats are shameful and the Republicans are shameless.

  94. All seeing eye
    October 25, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I predict: that to some degree, in the future our health care system will collapse and stop providing services to a large part of the population.

  95. Percy
    October 25, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Wonder if we in CA could institute our own single payer like Romney did in Mass but hates to take credit for now. If our chickenshit pols won’t pass it there’s always a referendum. I would guess we have enough population to make it feasible. Just a thought.

  96. High Finance
    October 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Right. The only way single payer works is to force our young people to impoverish themselves paying for health care premiums they don’t need to pay for your premiums.

    It is a huge wealth transfer from the younger generation to the older generations.

  97. What Now
    October 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    OPur young people are tapped-out.
    They’ve been presented the bill for disaterous foreign wars, corporate mythology, and the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush wealth transfer from wage earners to parasitic predatory world trade organizations.

  98. Remove HSU BofA ATM machine
    October 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Here’s an idea for local “Occupy”

    Lobby HSU to remove the Bank of American ATM machine on campus and replace it with a Credit Union ATM.

  99. Percy
    October 26, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Well lets make sure they can’t afford health care by making them buy insurance they can’t afford so assholes like you hifi can keep your free market, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, everybody has the same chance for success fantasy.

  100. October 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    High Finance, you are a real 10 watt bulb.

    When we get single payer health care, it will not be paid for by “insurance premiums” it will be funded out of general government funds gathered through rational progressive taxation. It will not overburden the younger workers, it will benefit them. They will pay far less in taxes than any insurance the insurance racket will sell them, and they will get better health care. Like in other civilized industrial countries.

    Did you read above? We need to eliminate health insurance completely it is a parasitic “industry.”

    have a peaceful day,

  101. High Finance
    October 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Lucky for the country that you are not in charge Bill.

    I hate to argue with blackjack dealers who have not the faintest clue as to economics, but you have advocated for free health care and free higher education. What else do you advocate should be free, housing, food, clothing ???

    How far does your greed go ?

  102. Percy
    October 26, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    How far does your greed go? This is hifi asking of a leftist socialist. What am I missing here?

  103. Walt
    October 27, 2011 at 5:49 am

    “How far does your greed go ?” You might ask the Koch brothers or RA. The fact that they refuse to negotiate their “right” to take all the money in a closed financial system will insure that Bill WILL be on top soon. Occupy is just the beginning.

  104. Plain Jane
    October 27, 2011 at 6:46 am

    How far does their greed go? Well, they’ve seen a 275% increase in income by off shoring jobs, putting Americans out of work, cutting social programs and working class wages but they are still demanding even more tax cuts, more people out of work and more wealth concentration. It just goes to show that for the greedy there is no such thing as “enough.” People like our resident frightwinger are happy for the crumbs that fall off the 1% tables and are worried someone else will grab them if they don’t suck hard enough on their master’s appendage.

  105. October 27, 2011 at 6:58 am

    HiFi @ 9:45

    Serious? Are you serious or do you secretly loath
    yourself and your country?

  106. High Finance
    October 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Try thinking for a change.

    The left wants more of everything without working for it. The want the taxpayers to pay for their student loans, pay for their mortgages, reduce or eliminate their taxes and on and on and on.

    Meanwhile they don’t want THEIR taxes raised, they want that guy over there to pay for it all. That is the very essence of greed.

    Just because you are liberals it doesn’t give you the right to stop thinking.

  107. Sarah
  108. The Big Picture
    October 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Every creature on Earth seeks the most gain from the least effort.

    It can mean the resourceful ingenuity of good business, or it can mean the exploitative legacy of empire.

    U.S. corporate access to worldwide resources, oil reserves, $0.25/hour slaves, and zero corporate taxes, require massive subsidies provided by the American taxpayer.

    Nevertheless, there’s always the psychotic minority cheer-leading for empire, unable to fathom the irony that those at the top are being largely subsidized by the “want-something-for-nothing” poor that are irrationally condemned.

    Our poor rural Reich-Wingers will never gain direct access to the “cheap” labor of children, the cobalt of Congo, or the oil of Niger. Instead, they must angrily grovel in the isles of Walmart with the rest of the peasants, self-deluded that the benefits of empire that they are enjoying do not require unsustainable public subsidies from those who do not share in the opportunity.

  109. High Finance
    October 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I knew that if I didn’t give up I would read something, someday by Big Picture that was correct.

    “Every creature on Earth seeks the most gain from the least effort.”

    True. The poor are no different from the rich. The rich aren’t more evil and the poor aren’t more noble. Greed is a human condition.

    BOTH need watching to stop abuses. The rich through the economic world and the poor through the political world.

  110. Anonymous
    October 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Now if the economic world would just quit dominating the political world……..

  111. Plain Jane
    October 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    HiFi builds a rickety straw man out of his clueless ideas about what the left wants and doesn’t want and then accuses US of not thinking.

    You notice he, like the corporate media, won’t admit that the root of everything individuals on the left are talking about is the corporate political power in this country to tilt the economic table to their benefit, even to the point of tipping it over and wrecking our economy. When he says, “BOTH need watching to stop abuses. The rich through the economic world and the poor through the political world.” does that mean the rich can police themselves through their economic transactions but the poor must be policed by government (political)?

  112. Anonymous
    October 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Indeed PJ. I’ve yet to hear an example of when privatization has really been more efficient than governance in the public service realm. Except in the military. And even there, Blackwater is a perfect example.

  113. Plain Jane
    October 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    The entire privatization of the supply side of the Iraq war was a disaster, 3:09. BILLIONS of dollars just vanished, no-bid, cost-plus cascading contracts with no accountability, convoys of “sail boat fuel” charged as gas with loss of American life moving them back and forth across the desert, fleets of trucks and armored vehicles junked for lack of maintenance and replaced all adding the cost-plus to each level of the contract from primary to sub-sub-sub-sub contractor.

  114. Plain Jane
    October 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    But to be fair, they said the Iraqis were going to pay for it all with oil so maybe it was just the Iraqis they planned to cheat.

  115. Thorstein Veblen
    October 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Actually, the private sector does a lot of things that are probably more efficient than the public sector could do. Do you want Rays Food Place, Murphys Market, Safeway, Eureka Natural Foods and the CoOp, or do you want a County-run grocery store?

    But in general, business has lost much of its claim on efficiency. Ever since it found out it was easier to make money by lobbying the government for legal advantages, exemptions from certain rules and liability, govt. contracts, bailouts, etc. than it was to actually compete in a marketplace. Making the rules to benefit your business is now a popular model for making money. Or better yet, keeping rules from being imposed in the first place.

    Perhaps more relevant than public v private is the issue of scale. The BofA transfer of trillion$ in bad debt risk to the FDIC and the taxpayers couldn’t have happened in the old days (pre-Reagan) when banks could only operate in one state. Actually, at one time, Texas allowed banks to have only one branch; try making a devastating world economic meltdown with that kind of scale limitation.

    One thing I don’t get is how righties crow on about competition and efficiency and free markets, but then everything they want to do tends to create the opposite, i.e., greater concentration, less competition in the markets, and monopoly.

  116. Fact Checker
    October 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The cost to taxpayers for bailing out mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t be quite as bad as previous estimates, according to the federal agency overseeing the two companies.

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency now estimates that the net cost of the bailouts through 2014 will be about $124 billion, down about 19% from an estimate of $154 billion a year ago. (more)


  117. Fact Checker
    October 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    High Liar said:
    October 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    “BOTH need watching to stop abuses. The rich through the economic world and the poor through the political world.”

    Yeah those poor have been abusing the political process; buying politicians, sending lobbyist through the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. Someone has got to stop the poor. Stop them High Liar, stop them!!!

  118. The Big Picture
    October 28, 2011 at 11:29 am

    The world economy is melting down, and not because of, “the homeless defecating in bushes disrupting Eureka’s economy” (quoting HiFi).

    Conceding general abuses by the rich, this late in the game, is hilarious.

    A job that provides fundamental necessities and dignity in life is far easier than sleeping on the ground, searching for a public toilet and shower, joining hundreds for turkey dinner again, watching one tooth after another fall out of your head while being told by a mobile medical volunteer that you need $100,000 in annual cancer treatments…etc, etc.

    Most of the homeless would find a good job as the far easier existence, but the jobs, training and placement are no longer there.

    If these people don’t belong in the OWS encampments, no one does.

  119. Dan
    October 29, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Robert Scheer, 30 years of unleashed greed.


  120. Plain Jane
    October 29, 2011 at 8:04 am

    That is an excellent essay, Dan. Of course, that is exactly what many of us have been saying for years. It feels pretty good to be vindicated by the CBO and to see the country and the world finally starting to talk about it honestly. But you notice the HiFi’s won’t respond other than with silly “Poor libs,” “class envy,” “class warfare,” “whining losers.” Those smears to deflect the truth won’t work anymore but that’s all they’ve got. Those pretending not to get what OWS is about are seen as ringers or idiots because everyone is suffering from their corruption of our country now.

  121. Anonymous
    October 29, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Big Picture, what you said is accurate, except for the mental health issue, that is so often the real underlying cause for the homeless problem. Most people who have the skills and wherewithall to work find assistance and a place to lay their heads. Most chronically homeless have emotional disorders preventing them to search or want help.

  122. October 29, 2011 at 9:07 am

    OK anon @ 8:16 you have identified two components of the homeless population. Lets agree for the moment that you are right (I think you are oversimplifying) what are your solutions for 1) the mentally ill homeless and 2) the able bodied homeless?

    I am not attacking you, I think you are just passing on a meme that you have heard that sounds reasonable, and you might be doing it entirely innocently. Be that as it may, just saying that “the underlying cause is mental illness” does nothing to get anyone off the street and into housing, neither the mentally ill or the able but out of work.

    So what in your opinion should be done?

    have a peaceful day,

  123. The Big Picture
    October 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Bill, 8:16 uses the sophistry of HiFi; bigotry framed in reasonable prose, designed to deceive.

    When you offer concise retorts, they search desperately for an angle for satire or insult. If they have none, they disappear into the next thread to repeat the process. Just like talk-radio and Fox.

    When trolls lure us into their trap, they win.

    Without a community media to remind us, anyone born after 1970 is oblivious to the fundamental social programs that used to offer willing and able Americans jobs, training, placement, transportation, housing and free public universities. (Universities built by our ancestor’s taxes…another public asset transferred to the privileged who can afford prohibitive user fees).

    Today’s bigots, traitors, and fascists are no different from the last Depression, when they also whined about the “want-something-for-nothing” poor amid the worldwide impacts of unparalleled government/corporate collusion and corruption.

    The obvious explanation is a mass-psychology of schadenfreude that grips our culture today; those who’s deep-well of bitter unhappiness and inadequacy is made tolerable only by daily comparisons to others who are worse-off.

    For those who are psychotic and unaware of their repressed consciences, my apologies.

  124. Dan
    October 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Stiglitz wrote, “Yet, in our democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income — an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”

  125. Artie Ooper
    November 1, 2011 at 9:09 am

    When you think about it, Tyson already has Eureka involved in a municipal insurance business with the self insurance so why not a municipal bank? It could be set up just like the local insurance pool, with Eureka and the smaller communities working together. Put a branch bank in all the little towns too.

  126. Plain Jane
    November 1, 2011 at 10:05 am

    While it seems like a no-brainer to many that when wealth is concentrated too densely at the top there isn’t enough circulating through the working class to fuel the economy, the “masters of finance” who are so deserving of the billions they are hoarding and their political whores can’t seem to make that connection. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

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