Until the 1960s, America's most successful savings bank was run by the post office. Over a billion people worldwide can get financial services at their post office. Now the US Postal Service’s Inspector General has proposed bringing back savings along with check cashing, small loans and other basic services to America’s 30,000 post offices. BankACT (now named Commonomics USA) successfully drafted resolutions to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Sonoma County Democratic Party, and the California Democratic Party in support of postal financial services. We’ll be doing more in 2015.
Public banks can make affordable loans to small businesses, cities and governments, students, and other entities of the public good. They save taxpayers as much as 50% on critical infrastructure projects, schools, and other services. They eliminate billions in banking fees. The Bank of North Dakota, America's only public bank, regularly outperforms big Wall Street banks and is the key to North Dakota's continued economic stability. The founders of Commonomics USA were also instrumental in starting the public banking movement in the United States. They have written dozens of articles and briefed dozens of public officials and advocates on the mechanics and benefits of public banks.
Basic income acts like an expanded social security system. Everyone gets a basic income. It sweeps away costly welfare bureaucracies and helps domestic violence victims gain independence. Basic income strengthens labor markets and increases overall wages. It contributes to social cohesion and public safety. Commonomics USA aims to conduct feasibility studies, information campaigns and public roundtables on basic income policies and practicalities.
Student Debt Forgiveness
An increasingly vocal and growing number of groups both inside and outside of the government are calling for total student loan forgiveness. This policy would improve the daily lives of millions of families, launch America’s largest-ever economic stimulus and restore the futures of a generation of students. The Commonomics team actively supports Strike Debt and other economic justice organizations. Together, these organizations crowdsource millions of dollars in loan forgiveness and "jubilee," and lobby government and all levels to enact loan forgiveness policies.
Development Banks and Reparation Loan Funds
Community-owned development banks can finance true reparations for historically oppressed communities. Such projects can finance minority-owned businesses, revitalize neighborhoods and business districts in communities whose wealth has been extracted by outside interests, and right historical wrongs materially by helping form the basis of community self-sufficiency.
Community Bill of Rights
Whether encoded in city charters, passed through municipal ordinances, or adapted by other means, community bills of rights help build democratic economies and sustainability at the most local level. Residents from over 180 communities across the country have changed the structure of law by passing rights-based legislation. They are asserting the right to local self-government and refusing to let their community be a sacrifice zone for corporate profits.
We work closely with local governments and community activists to prevent foreclosure and blight by using eminent domain to negotiate mortgage principals down to market value.
Expanded Concept of Public Utilities
A decades-long ideological offensive by the hired guns of corporate capitalism has sought to destroy the concept of public utilities and the public good. Commonomics USA fights back. Our members have published dozens of articles in defense of the commons and public-interest policies. We serve up an arsenal of evidence to preserve and expand public utilities — not just for energy, water and sanitation, but for things like legal and banking services.