Public Banking — From Radical to Conservative
by Tom Sgouros
Democratic candidate for Rhode Island General Treasurer
Posted: April 13, 2010 01:49 AM
“…My current favorite example of successful and competitive public service comes from those radicals in North Dakota. North Dakota is a pretty conservative state these days. They voted for McCain, and have a Republican Governor and two of the most conservative Democratic Senators in Congress. But a century ago, North Dakota was near the center of the Populist movement that nearly elected William Jennings Bryan president in 1896. Agrarian populists promoted all kinds of economic and fiscal reforms meant to pull power away from the financial and industrial elite of that “Gilded Age” and give it to farmers and workers. Part of their platform was to reform the banking industry to serve producers instead of bankers, and in 1919 they managed to squeak a measure through the North Dakota legislature to establish a public bank.
“…The Bank of North Dakota is the nation’s only state-owned bank.
“…But the part that I like best about the North Dakota bank is that it was founded by radicals but now run (and defended) by conservatives. This puts it in the company of many other common-sense public policy institutions, like disability insurance, unemployment compensation and Medicare.
Read the entire article here.
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