New Mexico is facing huge challenges that national institutions, including global financial institutions, have failed to address: poverty, unemployment, low educational achievement, lack of funding for small business, to name a few. These are issues that we have too long waited for others to solve. It is now time to revive American self-reliance, develop pride in our own communities, and put capitalism and democracy to work together.
From the Tea Party on the right to progressives on the left, Americans are realizing that local government can, and must, solve problems that the largest governmental and financial institutions cannot, or will not, solve for them. “We are on our own,” one New Mexico mayor said recently. “If we are going to support local business or health centers, build bridges or support the arts, we are going to have to find the ways to raise the funds ourselves.”
We in Banking on New Mexico have come to the same realization. It is time to generate funding and take initiative at the local level because no one else is putting our problems or the solutions to these problems at the top of their agendas. We can solve these problems on our own with the help of the formation of public banks.
More than 20 states are now considering the creation of public banks as a supplement to community banks and credit unions — increasing local control, reducing paper work, increasing lending to projects that benefit our local communities, and reversing the interest stream that now sends millions out of state. With public banks we can keep that interest at work here at home. This is community capitalism and a more democratic economy.
New Mexico has perhaps the richest history of any state in the country. Some say our diversity and conflict have blotted out our common humanity. We say, give us the tools to make communities work and watch us build a new story of pride and economic success. This can be the new story of New Mexico!