COMMONOMICS
Growing Our Common Wealth™
Postal Banking Named Top 10 "Big Idea" with One Million Votes Cast
by Commonomics Media Team on January 20th, 2015

On January 16, advocacy organization Progressive Change Institute announced that “Expand the Post Office,” which explicitly includes postal banking, was among the ten most popular “Big Ideas” in the organizations’ just-completed public policy competition. More than 30 federal lawmakers — senators and representatives — committed to taking a closer look at the top vote-getting ideas for potential legislative action. “Expand the Post Office” was one of the ten most popular concepts among more than 2,400 competing policy proposals. Altogether, people cast more than 1,000,000 votes in the competition.

“We are thrilled to see the Postal Service and especially postal banking gain such overwhelming validation,” said Commonomics USA president Marc Armstrong. Commonomics USA has been a leading voice for postal banking since USPS inspector general Dave Williams first proposed it in January 2014. Williams proposed that America’s 30,000 post offices offer “non-bank financial services,” widely dubbed “postal banking,” to help millions of lower-income working families and retirees.

“It is exciting to see this commonsense policy idea come of age,” Armstrong said. “It’s a decisive victory for We the People and rebuke to forces inside the USPS, Congress and Wall Street that want to kill postal banking before it’s born.”

Armstrong noted that the inspector general issued his postal banking proposal around the 150th anniversary of US Post Office launching financial services, a historic event that USPS leadership pointedly refused to honor. Among other services, US postal clerks today sell some 95 million money orders annually.

As one of the top ten policy concepts, the postal Big Idea reads in full:

Expand the Post Office. Stop using US Postal Service revenues (all non-taxpayer) to reduce the deficit, and eliminate the $5.5 billion annual fee to pre-fund retiree health benefits. Lifting this onerous requirement would make it unnecessary to close mail processing centers, and revenues could be used for reforms and expanded services instead -- starting with a postal banking system offering savings accounts, check cashing, small loans and other basic financial services. [Emphasis added.]

Lawmakers committed to taking a closer look at top-voted policies from the Big Ideas competition, including postal banking, are appended below.

About Commonomics USA

Commonomics USA (CommonomicsUSA.org), formerly BankACT, advocates economic solutions that grow our nation’s common wealth. Commonomics USA spotlights ways that private interests are defunding and privatizing the commons, and shows how their actions devastate families and diminish communities. With other organizations, Commonomics USA fights privatization and demands that the commons be funded and even expanded to more fully benefit everyone. Postal banking is Commonomics USA’s first major initiative.

About the “Big Ideas” Project

The Big Ideas Project (thinkbig.us) — launched December 2014 by the Progressive Change Institute, a Progressive Change Campaign Committee (BoldProgressives.org) sister organization — is a crowdsourcing platform that lets the public, leading policy experts, progressive organizations, celebrities, and others submit and vote on big ideas they believe lawmakers and supporters should champion in 2015-16. The Progressive Change Institute works to change the battlefield on which other progressive actors are fighting — by educating the public and making new ideas credible in the national conversation.

Federal Lawmakers

These lawmakers have committed to taking a closer look at top-voted Big Ideas, including postal banking, for possible legislative action.

Senators

Harry Reid (D-NV)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Representatives

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Ruben Gallego (D-AZ
Alan Grayson (D-FL)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Jared Huffman (D-CA)
Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)
Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Ted Lieu (CA-33)
Rick Nolan (D-MN)
Beto O'Rourke (D-TX)
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI)
Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)

Links

http://CommonomicsUSA.org
http://BoldProgressives.org
http://www.postalbankingaction.org
http://www.postalbankingaction.org/FAQ
USPS inspector general’s report
Resolutions by the US Conference of Mayors on postal banking


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