Belabored Podcast #41: Can Postal Banking Deliver Us from Wall Street? With Dave Dayen

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In light of the budget problems facing the postal service, many conservatives have called for mass layoffs and privatization as a way to “modernize” the institution. But one alternative reform proposal challenges stereotypes of the postal service as a creaky old bureaucracy–and highlights its potential to challenge Wall Street’s hegemony: Postal banking. By offering basic, low-cost financial services like savings accounts, small loans, and money transfers, post offices could help bring economic equity to underbanked low-income communities, save vital civil service jobs, and drive a real public option in a sector long dominated by banking behemoths. We speak with Dave Dayen about the idea and the rising political prospects for instituting financial services in the postal system.

We also discuss the latest news on teachers and nurses organizing for workplace rights, how Wal-Mart’s anti-labor actions may be undermining its bottom line, a legal victory for immigrant guestworkers, and the crowdsourced sweatshop.

News:

Strike action in schools:

St. Paul Teachers Take Strike Vote Feb 24

St. Paul Teachers Prepare for Possible Strike

Subs in Classes during Medford Teachers Strike

Portland Public Schools Hiring Replacement Teachers on Craigslist

Union Warns of School Bus Strike

 

Nurses strike in Altoona, PA

Nurses Stand Up to UPMC Over Frivolous Spending

 

Wal-Mart’s self-sabotaging labor practices

Walmart’s Labor Practices Backfire

Understaffing is hurting Walmart, says equities research firm

 

Court ruling on prevailing wage rules for guestworkers:

Court of Appeals Hands Victory to U.S. Workers

Michelle: A New Door for Guestworkers?

Michelle: Immigrant Supply-Chain Labor Struggles Galvanize Walmart Activism

Senate Democrats Block Funding for Guest Worker Protection Rule

Michelle: Court Okays Labor Department Rule: Guestworkers Must Earn Prevailing Wages


Conversation with Dave Dayen:

Dave Dayen: The Post Office Should Just Become a Bank: How Obama can save USPS and ding check-cashing joints

Dave Dayen: Obama’s Partly to Blame for the Postal Service’s Backward Ways

Dave Dayen: Signed, Sealed, Deposited

US Postal Service Office of the Inspector General: “Providing Non-Bank Financial Services for the Underserved”

Felix Salmon: Why the Post Office needs to compete with banks

 

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!:

Moshe Marvit, The Nation: How Crowdworkers Became the Ghosts in the Digital Machine

Jennifer Pan, Jacobin: The Labor of Social Media

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