Finance Can Be Something That Helps Rather Than Harms Our Communities

Finance Can Be Something That Helps Rather Than Harms Our Communities

FAIR’s Janine Jackson interviews Trinity Tran on AB 857.

The October 2 Fresno Bee reported that California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law allowing cities in California to start their own public banks, to make it easier to fund projects in the public interest. Atypically for such a story, the Bee led with opponents’ argument that “such ventures are risky and impractical,” before offering supporters’ successful view, and a statement from the bill’s author, which the story then undercut with the reporter’s claim that “analyses” determined public banks “could reduce state tax revenue.” Followed by a statement from the California Bankers Association that public banks could “harm local banks,” put taxpayer dollars at risk, and “aren’t always in the best interest of the public.” Before closing with the words of the head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association that the commercial banking industry already provides any services public banks could, and “government tends to mess up most of the things it touches.”

While that story was almost humorously negative, don’t expect a lot of corporate media love for public banks, precisely to the extent that they represent, as David Dayen wrote recently, “a radical shift in understanding money, what it represents, and how it can work collectively.” Of course, that’s exactly why the idea, and this historic step, is so exciting. Joining us now to talk about what just happened in California is Trinity Tran. She’s the co-founder and lead organizer for Public Bank LA, and a founding member of the California Public Banking Alliance. She joins us by phone from Los Angeles. Welcome to CounterSpin, Trinity Tran.

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