A graphic of a bank with a coin
credit: Forbes

In order to meet our social responsibility to build housing, create an employable populace and provide opportunities to earn livable wages, we need to control our money better. Power and politics have been screwing up the economy for several hundred years.  

In an interview in a recent documentary, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen recounted the 2008 crisis in which people lost jobs, homes and savings. “It was looking into the abyss,” she said. The government bailed out Wall Street, but not the people. The US bailed itself out and survived. Still, Yellen said she was worried about another crisis.  

The Federal Reserve keeps raising the interest rate unnecessarily, blaming an inflation crisis that does not exist. These increases stifle business development, job availability, home purchases and the opportunity to save and spend. Yet despite the negative impact on individuals, families, communities and municipalities, we have survived.  

We give our public trust to others. We know that nothing is perfect. As people living in a society, we need to be more inquisitive and proactive in advocating and creating a society that meets people’s needs. 

In Washington, D.C., we need to educate ourselves and increase awareness of how we can help our leadership stay on a good path. We have a lot of apartments and condos available, yet too many people remain homeless and struggle paycheck to paycheck. We need to look at how to put people in stable homes and keep them there.  

We should look at our budget and find ways to solve the housing crisis. For instance, we could establish a public bank instead of putting all our money in private banks that profit from the fees we pay. We might also consider renegotiating city contracts created by private equity hedge fund managers who use loopholes to retain our money. 

The bottom line is that we, as individuals and as a community, need to take a more active role in helping develop of a more financially beneficial city that serves the public interest  

Call your mayor and city councilmember today. Tell them what you want. Let’s go to work. Let’s avoid another crisis. 

Angie Whitehurst is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.