The Covid19th The pandemic has shown that while we are all connected – through the air we breathe, our public health system, the economy – the government is largely absent from American life and we as individuals into what are called “free market. “
The crisis has wreaked economic havoc among working Americans. But US billionaires have 62 Percent richer during the pandemic, while over 86 Million Americans lost jobs, some 3rd Million households now report concerns about impending displacement and key workers – particularly Latinos, indigenous and black workers – continue to die from Covid19th at disproportionate prices.
The vaccines that are now saving hundreds of thousands of lives were developed with public research and funding. But the pharmaceutical companies that own the patents on these vaccines are now refusing to share critical information with countries grappling with the devastating effects of the pandemic. And in a number of states, officials have outsourced the use of vaccines, tests, and other vital services to corporations in an attempt to play the profit motive against the public interest.
In other words, a privatized America is a divided, unequal, and lonely place.
This is why a new experiment by the US Postal Service (USPS) to offer post banking is so remarkable. In September, the country’s most popular federal agency began cashing paychecks at several post offices on the east coast, in partnership with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and after it was founded pushed by numerous community groups. Now everyone can get paychecks in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Md., Falls Church, Virginia, and the Bronx in New York City in exchange for Visa gift cards worth up to. redeem500. The postal agency expects to expand the program to billing services and ATMs in the future.
The role of the APWU cannot be overstated. In addition to financial reforms, faith and community groups, the union started the campaign for post banking in 2015 and organized rallies and days of action for years to make the program a reality. The APWU also carefully negotiated with the management of the postal service to conduct the pilot when reported
until American prospectus.
By offering banking services, USPS is choosing to use public power to really change the lives of many Americans rather than pit us against each other in private markets. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) estimates that 7th Million US households currently have no bank account and another one 20th Millions are underserved, which means they have bank accounts, but rely on payday loans, check cashing services, and other alternatives. Payday loans are notoriously predatory, with interest rates of up to 589 percent– and the industry often targets black and Latin American communities. While the new program’s check cashing fee – a flat rate of5.95 – is higher than it should be, it is lower than what some private companies charge, which can add up $fifteen or more.
This approach isn’t exactly new – USPS actually offered post banking from 1911to 1967. During this time the program offered a stable alternative to private banks, first for immigrants, then for white farmers during the Great Depression, and then for the rich in the 1940 s as they sought decent returns in the low interest economy of the era. It ended in an effort by the Lyndon B. Johnson administration to streamline government.
Today, more than 90 percent of post offices around the world offer financial services, making the US a global outlier. Youngest Survey
shows that a strong majority of Democrats and
Republicans support post banking. California Governor Gavin Newsom only signed an invoice to investigate a government option for banking services such as debit cards.
We must call for these pilot programs to be extended to thousands of post offices across the country, both in cities and in rural areas. A full one 69 Percent of census counts with a post office location – represented 60Millions of people – do not have a local bank branch. The people who live in these areas either do not have a bank account or rely on large Wall Street banks that are prone to predatory tactics such as crowding credit cards, charging high fees, and even Opening an account without the knowledge of the consumer.
And we have to fight back when the big banks and their ideological allies deliver age-old – and imprecise – criticism of post banking. Ross Marchand of the Right-Wing Alliance for the Protection of Taxpayers responded to the news in the American banker with the assertion: “The legislature has to face a government rampage instead of asking for federal banks. âMarchand has claimed that “many companies “offer toll-free bank accounts with no minimum deposit requirements. But if that is really the case, why does one in four US households have no or no bank account?
The truth is that the predatory credit industry targets vulnerable Americans, especially people of color. Black people are for example about twice as likely as with whites Live a mile from a high-yielding, short-term lender like a pawn shop or payday lender.
Right-wing forces oppose postbanking because it threatens a multibillion dollar industry keen to keep poor and working Americans on debt cycles just so they can afford rent and groceries. For example the Trump administration ended an Obama-era rule that forced payday lenders to ensure that borrowers can repay their loan when it is due.
The Post’s new program is a welcome start after years of pressure from postal workers, community groups and officials such as Senator Bernie Sanders (I â Vt.) And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D â NY) who introduced Postbank Act in 2019. It may seem radical, but that’s just because Wall Street pals and right-wing critics want us to believe it is. But post banking is actually as American as apple pie – a public good that is paid for by all of us, that serves us all and that leaves no one behind.