Posts Tagged ‘Bank of North Dakota’

Lessons from North Dakota

July 11, 2016

A century ago, the state of North Dakota underwent a peaceful political revolution—one more radical than what Bernie Sanders attempted this year.  The benefits to the people of the state endure to this day.

North Dakota farmers were subject to the domination of banks and flour mills in Minneapolis-St. Paul.  They set mortgage interest rates and the price of wheat.  Business interests dominated North Dakota government.

But progressive reformers opened up the political process through the initiative (voters could propose laws), the referendum (voters could vote directly on laws) and the recall (unsatisfactory state legislators could be voted out before their terms ended).  More importantly, the state legislated open primary elections.

This opened up the process for the Non-Partisan League, organized by a fiery socialist named Arthur C. Townley.  Starting in 1914, he recruited 40,000 dues-paying members, mainly farmers, in a state whose population was 600,000.  The NPL then endorsed and campaigned for candidates who adopted the NPL program.

In 1916, NPL candidates effectively took over the Republican Party in the state.   NPL candidates won all statewide offices and a majority in the state Assembly; in 1918, they took over the state Senate as well.

Among their reforms were a state grain grading service so that farmers were assured a fair price, regulation of railroad shipping rates, and authorization of state-owned enterprises, including the Bank of North Dakota, the crown jewel of the NPL program, which is still going strong.

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The passing scene: Links & comments 11/22/14

November 22, 2014

Whatever Happened to Overtime Pay? by Nick Hanauer for Politico.

Nick Hanauer, the wealthy entrepreneur who wrote “The Pitchforks Are Coming … for Us Plutocrats,” wrote a new article about how the erosion of overtime pay is a reason so many middle-class people are poorer than their parents.

In 1975, the Department of Labor’s definition of eligibility for overtime pay—time-and-a-half for overtime— applied to 65 percent of the American work force.  Now it only covers 11 percent.

President Obama could fix it with a stroke of the pen, Hanauer wrote.  Either millions of workers would get more pay raise through overtime.  Or millions of jobs would be created as employers sought to avoid paying overtime.  But Hanauer said his inside information is that this isn’t going to happen.

Bank of North Dakota Outperforms Wall Street by Ellen Brown for Counterpunch.

The Bank of North Dakota, which is the only U.S. bank owned by a state government, outperforms the big Wall Street banks while promoting the state’s economic development and financing public works.  Ellen Brown said the reason for the bank’s success is that it doesn’t gamble with speculative investments and it plows its profits bank into the state rather than into big bonuses and executive salaries.

How the Government Steals from Citizens by A. Barton Hinckle for Reason magazine.

D.C. police plan for future seizures years in advance in city budget documents by Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Steven Rich for the Washington Post.

 A reminder: The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that “no person … shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”  This is a principle of justice.  It should not be regarded as an obstacle to get around.