Chicago’s Ameya Pawar argued that public banks could combat economic inequality.
“Big banks nearly caused a global economic meltdown in 2008 and in order to prevent another depression, taxpayers bailed out ever big bank. We infused capital and confidence into the markets,” he explained. “A near collapse didn’t prevent the banks from paying out millions in bonuses and golden parachutes to executives.”
Pawar says that, since the bailout, banks haven’t been making it easier for working-class individuals by doing things like refinancing student loans or providing working capital to small businesses, but have rather been hoarding money and profits for themselves. So, he says it’s time to launch a public bank.
“Banks that report to the public, not shareholders, banks that prioritize investments in our communities over profits on a spreadsheet, banks that democratize community development and investment, democratize our money,” he explained.
Pawar also says that public banks would alter the priority of boardroom meetings to advance the American public, end racial inequality, and strengthen democracy rather than making more and more money.
“The time for a public bank has come, and I hope that we can start organizing around the country to make them a reality,” he said.