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The Future of Banking/Sports the Right Way

Ralph welcomes Walt McRee President of Public Banking Associates, who explains how public banks should be the future of banking. And Dr. Ken Reed joins us to discuss how the elimination of phys. ed. classes and intramural sports in schools is contributing to childhood obesity.

Walt McRee is President of Public Banking Associates and Chair/CEO Emeritus of the Public Banking Institute. Mr. McRee has traveled the country consulting and delivering public and media presentations about public banking to public officials, civic groups, industry and legislative leaders. Ellen Brown’s book is entitled “Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age.” 

“In North Dakota there are more community banks per capita than anywhere in the country. And they are multiple times more profitable than other community banks in the country. Why is that? It’s because the publically owned state bank, the Bank of North Dakota partners with the community banks to enable them to make larger loans so that they can be more involved in the development and the investment in the local economy.”  Walt McRee President of Public Banking Associates


“Let’s get right at the so-called “socialist specter,” because what we have here is out of control corporate bank socialism. Namely, they reap the profits using other people’s money. They enrich themselves at the top of the company. They make money from money, which isn’t a very productive enterprise. And then they send the bill to Washington when their whole edifice collapses.” Ralph Nader


Dr. Ken Reed is Sports Policy Director for the League of Fans and the author of “How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan,” “Ego vs. Soul in Sports: Essays on Sport at Its Best and Worst”and “The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place.” He is a long-time sports marketing consultant, sports studies instructor, sports issues analyst, columnist and author.

“All the research shows that the best way to raise academic performance is actually cardiovascular-based physical education because it’s one of the few things, if not the only thing, that grows brain cells. So, these teachers, instead of putting another half hour of study time on them before a test should have the kids out jogging around the school for thirty minutes, and their scores would go up from that.” Dr. Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans

“You’re 8% smarter when you stand up.” Dr. Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans


RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR EP 277 TRANSCRIPT (Right click to download)


  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Looks like correcting Ralph on what the heck socialism actually is is going to be a weekly occurrence now. Rather than make another snarky comment about ignorance or intentions when it comes to ridiculous phrases like “corporate socialism”, how about a quote this time:

    “Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.” –George Orwell

    Socialism is democratic control of the means of production. Language matters.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      That’s a huge problem for the left indeed, Afdal. Even the left doesn’t know what socialism is (or at least the DNC-type left), which IMO is still the result of the evisceration of the 2 Socialist Parties and the Communist Party of the 1930s, plus the gradual destruction of trade unions. Even the venerable New Deal wasn’t 100% socialist; blacks were intentionally left out of it thanks to Strom Thurmond and the other racist Dixiecrats. Moreover our high-water mark for union membership (~34-37%, 1950s) pales in comparison to even what goes on in much of Europe today (60-90% membership depending on country). Since then American have had it hammered into their heads that socialism=USSR=liberalism=Cuba=marxism=tyranny=oppression. I don’t think Americans will ever wake up from that stupor.

      I have the exact same problem with Max Keiser. As with Ralph, I do like Keiser a lot. He’s incredibly intelligent, perhaps crazy (geniuses normally are), and is a massive critic of American political economy and the financial sector (mostly the central banks). He’s an Adam Smith type capitalist, which based on what I’ve read so far in The Wealth Of Nations, is a big improvement from what goes on today. But, many times he’s stated that capitalism has been dead in America for about 80 years (!) and what’s going on today is socialism (!!!). Because he thinks socialism for the rich is actual socialism. Sure we have some socialist constructs (public roads, sanitation, public schools, parks, etc, all of which are being eviscerated ironically) but he’s not talking about that; he’s talking about banks and the rich. Funny thing about Keiser, to listen to what he actually has to say (he’s very pro-worker, pro-society, pro-public sector), it’s very pro-socialist stuff. But when he gets into labels, he gets them mixed up.

      People like Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg and Charles Fourier would be horrified to view today’s America as being anything remotely close to a meaningful level of socialism. And yet we Americans believe that the west coast is some bastion of it. Compare California to what goes on in, say, France or Portugal (not Russia or China or Cuba) and there’s no comparison.

      • Paul Lebow says:

        Yes, money and banking has been made to appear complex. It really is a shame that our greatest advocates, such as Mr. Nader, shy away from understanding the money system especially in light of his fight against corporate capitalism.

        Capitalism is fueled by the ultimate corporate industry, the ringleader, the banking industry – so sad he doesn’t quite get that. Without the current system of bank-created money, corporations would not be able to achieve the monopolistic power they now have.

  2. Mark Hughes says:

    Indeed, Ralph. People do turn off when talking about banking. But that’s because it’s exceptionally complex and nearly impossible to understand. Most people still believe in many myths re money; examples include our government creates all of it, it’s still backed by gold, etc. This is not a natural phenomenon even by old Adam Smith capitalist standards; our monetary system was contrived from the beginning by a class of ruthless, greedy people. They’ve made it complex intentionally; if everyone understood it, things would change drastically. It’s like voting; if it worked it would be illegal.

    Mr. McRee is correct in many things, our banks do create most of our money, which has been fiat at least since 1971. But in another way, they don’t create real money itself; they create debt and credit. You can’t create one without the other. If people made more money, in addition to spending on goods and services, they’d pay off their debts. And once that happens, “money” then disappears because when debts are paid, credit disappears as well. When money disappears, our society would react very strongly.

    That all said, if people want to know how money works I strongly suggest going to They have a great 6-part video series called “Banking 101” that gives great insight into how money used to work, supposed to work, and how it actually works. I suggest this strongly because Mr. McRee touched on several things I already knew thanks to Here’s a link:

    However, when Ralph states only in the last several decades have banks made money just from money, as if that’s not the case when they make loans. In a purely Marxian point of view, that’s how banks have always operated (M-M’). Banks don’t sell a commodity per se (money being the universal commodity aside), they sell money. When they give you a mortgage loan, they normally don’t own the house prior to you “buying” it, that’s normally the builder in the case of new homes and the prior owners in the case of used homes. If banks did outright own the house and sold it as a commodity (M-C-M’), then one could say they’re not merely selling money for money. But aside from foreclosures I presume, that’s not the case. Furthermore, banks can only survive in a society where commodities, at least your major ones (housing, cars, healthcare, education) are unaffordable. If people made enough money to buy these things outright, that would severely reduce the need for loans. Because of this, banks are predatory in nature and can only survive where incomes stagnate. If people had meaningful incomes, banks would only be needed for depository purposes, and if that’s all banks could offer then their ability to really make money suffers. Remember, banks began several hundred years ago as usury, then they “evolved”, but now they’re basically back to usury.


    On child activity, I’m all for kids being active. That said, our culture has changed and, as a parent, it’s very difficult to get kids to get their 1 hour or whatever of activity in each and every day. While activity is indeed big, and I’m not belittling this, I don’t disagree with Dr. Reed in the least, there are several other factors that keep children inactive. Examples include inner-city urban kids whose parents don’t let them outside that much due to the high risk of getting caught up in drugs or other criminal activity, the hotter weather thanks to climate crisis (summers are hotter, I don’t let my kid be at the pool more than 2 hours tops due to heat, etc). Just yesterday (Friday) here in the greater Raleigh, NC, area we were under a ground-level ozone warning and were advised to be outside minimally. I can’t imagine what roofers go through in this. Not to mention our food system is a complete botch job. Forgive my lapsing memory but I recall a documentary (on Netflix I think) I saw a couple years ago on our agrisystem, and one of the things mentioned was that the whole being active and burning calories mantra we’ve heard for decades sprung from corporate food science, not academic science, and that was Big Food’s way of putting the onus of responsibility for being thin (Americans care more about that than being healthy) on people. And when Richard Simmons came along, food giants couldn’t have asked for a bigger advocate. I’ve also noticed around me that some people take exercise and activity too far; it’s become a mania for them, they can’t stop. It’s like a version of an anorexic mindset. So what I see most days, there’s something much deeper going on than just a lack of activity.

    But, my kid loves taekwondo, takes it 5 days a week, 2 of those days twice a day, so I’m not terribly worried about him. Some parents force their kids into stuff, my wife and I don’t do that. He genuinely loves TKD and we’re going to let him pursue this as long as he wishes.

  3. David Faubion says:

    Aside from junk food and sedentary lifestyle add environmental toxicity to the obesity profile. Toxins are lipophiles, they settle in fat. The two most fatty organs in the mammal body are the most vital, the brain and liver. Thus the endocrine system in all its wisdom modifies our hormonal balance. Diabetes also seems to play into the protecti’ve fat regime.

    Super nutrition is the alternative to the syndrome of prophylactic fat. Vitamin C, a high fat diet, sulphur bearing amino acids and sweat producing exercise all flush out toxinc, for example heavy metals.

  4. Don Harris says:

    I recently informed you that would be publishing the article I sent you through CSRL (Are you supporting a small donor candidate or a small contribution candidate?). They will not be publishing the article.

    The edit they sent had removed the focus of the article and the “summarizing” of other parts changed the meaning of what was in my submission or made no sense at all.

    The part edited out was about citizens signing up now on the One Demand website that they will only vote for small donor candidates in 2020, pledging to contribute to small donor candidates (directly to the candidates- not through One Demand) and how this could have an effect on our political process.

    The editor said this part would be inappropriate because it was advertising and self-promotion.

    There are many ways that information is disseminated to the public.

    Paid advertising is one way. Another way is through news outlets that by definition provide information and ideas that are not always available through other sources such as paid advertising.

    So the news outlets are advertising the information and ideas- it’s just not paid advertising.

    As the idea is that citizens can sign up on the website to influence and put pressure on candidates to run small donor campaigns (In a way like using your Citizen Summons in the voting booth) and it is the information and idea, then does it make sense to you that including this information in the article is inappropriate because it is advertising (what a news outlet DOES) and self-promotion?

    And if a person has an idea that they think will improve out political process isn’t promoting that idea what that person is supposed to do?

    If that is self-promotion, then why is self-promotion not acceptable?

    P.S.- It has now been over eight months since you said on Washington Journal this idea deserved to be heard and that you would have me on the radio hour to discuss it. If you have changed your mind I would appreciate an explanation of this decision.

  5. Michael Westgaard says:

    I really enjoy the show and have one quibble with the bank discussion. Money is not created at the commercial bank or by “tax payer” dollars, it’s created at the fed through key strokes. I agree with the reasoning for a public option to remove profits from basic transactions, give people access to banking without exorbitant fees and having an option again exempt from the risk taking side of financial institutions. It is vital that we remove this misunderstanding about money it creates negative correlations for the social safety net, nations saving account that is referred to as “debt” and other Congressional spending. The nation is a monetary sovereign so spending is approved by Congress and created at the federal reserve and taxes don’t fund federal spending. Please have any number of great resources on to discuss this more deeply. Warren B Mosler, Stephanie Kelton, Pavlina R Tcherneva, Billy Mitchell, Raul Carrillo, Scott Fullwiler, Mathew Forstater or Nathan Tankus

    • Hi Michael, In our current money system, the money supply is created by the private commercial banks when they issue loans. And, yes, it is by key stroke. The Fed is the bank to the bankers. Yes, it can loan reserves to its member banks, and in doing so it is also creating new money. You are correct that the government does not create money; it must borrow money from the circulating supply that has been created by the loans of the private commercial banks.

      It is misleading to maintain that because the government can borrow endlessly, that this is the equivalent of ‘creating’ new money for the supply. In 2018, taxpayers paid $357.3 billion in interest on Treasury Securities Held by the Public —out of $2,103.4 billion in total revenue for the Operating Budget (17 percent of our operating fund going to those who can buy and hold US government securities.) We are borrowing NOT creating money. Our government does create our coins as ‘sovereign’ money and the difference between the cost of production and their face value is entered onto the books as income and a cash asset. Government borrowing is correctly entered on the books as ‘debt’ and the interest as an expense.

      Our bank-created money is authorized as legal tender by law, and it is guaranteed by the full faith, credit, and commonwealth of the nation. It is ‘national’ money. However to say that this authorization and guarantee is the equivalent of ‘creation’ is false. And, since government does not create our money, it is false to say that has monetary sovereignty.

      We can change our money system FROM debt-credit private bank money TO public asset money, also known as “sovereign money.”

    • Paul says:

      Oh my, Michael Westgaard! The Fed, by law, is forbidden to create money. It can create “reserves” which are only exchanged between banks, never into the real economy. Yes, money is created by “keystrokes”, but within the offices of a private commercial bank.

      The nation is a monetary sovereign which has, through legislation, ceded that privilege to the banking industry.

      If you need to see more information on money creation read “Modern Money Mechanics” put out by the Federal Reserve. Or literature put out by the Bank of England.

  6. Wilson Riles says:

    The social justice history of public banks is not good. The danger is that national social injustice is handed off to local social injustice with the type of public banking governance that has previously existed. One example is the financing of slavery and supports fro the slave industry with public banking institutions in the South following Andrew Jackson’s administration. Another example is the currently existing North Dakota public bank; the North Dakota bank invests in fossil fuel enterprises and invested in militarization of the suppression forces that brutally attached the Standing Rock demonstrators. The bank of North Dakota is essentially governed by the corporate forces of North Dakota. Despite the rhetoric, the history is that these ‘so called’ public banks have not been governed by consulting the needs of the tax payer or the every day person.

    • paul says:

      So glad you raised this. People get all swooney when they see the word “public”. Public banking is not just another Public Citizen offshoot. It has some potential to save municipalities some banking fees and to fund smaller local banks – but its not even close to being “the solution”

  7. joe peeer says:

    Esteemed mr Nader,
    to participate in the system, u Americans insist on drug test’s.
    u use the results to impede certain folks from participating in civil society.
    any body trying do any good with that data.
    like heat maps of contaminates ?
    we should check for pollutants and contaminates as well. heavy metal’s and such.

  8. Henry Hakamaki says:

    Speaking of someone who was a kid not too long ago, one of the biggest issues today with the younger generations is the absolute lack of an attention span. Getting friends and siblings to do anything that requires any sort of patience, and doesn’t provide instant gratification, is almost impossible. The video games that most of my peers grew up with caused them to become accustomed to constant stimulation and consistent gratification, and unfortunately the real world outside of the virtual world that the majority of these people live in is not like that.
    Yes, I agree kids need to be more active in sports and other athletic activities, but I would also advocate for encouraging kids to take up hobbies that require perseverance and patience. Once they have perseverance and patience instilled in the very fabric of their being, practicing for sports doesn’t seem like as much a drag. Sports that aren’t consistently gratifying will be more fun for when the gratification DOES come. Failure/losing won’t put off kids completely, they will be willing and able to overcome short term adversity.
    At least this is my two cents. I’m certainly not an expert on childhood development, but it’s something I’ve noticed as someone who has grown up in the video game generation, but didn’t personally partake in it.

  9. Public Banking is of course a good reform. but the money system requires a paradigm/entire pattern change. For the details on that change consult the book Wisdomics-Gracenomics: The New Paradigm Theory of Economics and The Money System