Saqib Bhatti

Puerto Rico defaulted on nearly $2 billion of debt payments this morning, including $780 million in constitutionally guaranteed general obligation debt, almost exactly a year after the New York Times reported that Governor Alejandro García Padilla had declared that the island’s debt was “not payable.” Without a doubt, the debt is not payable because the

In an unprecedented move yesterday, the Chicago City Council rebuked Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to voluntarily pay banks $106 million in penalties to terminate the city’s remaining interest rate swap agreements. In another unprecedented move, I attempted to explain to my mother what had happened. I told her, in a mix of English and our

Roosevelt’s Saqib Bhatti takes a deep look at how to how to free cities across the country from Wall Street’s Control in an opinion piece for In These Times. Wall Street banks are setting arbitrary fees that are creating budget headaches and forcing cities to pay money to Wall Street instead of important services like trash-collection,

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Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he plans to preemptively terminate a large portion of the City of Chicago’s remaining interest rate swaps, which will cost taxpayers $200 million in penalties. He is trying to sell this as a shrewd move that will protect Chicago from future risk and help return the city to

Rahm Emanuel’s victory shows Chicago’s progressive movement still needs to do more to advance a real alternative to austerity economics. On Tuesday night, Chicago voters reelected Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a race that was widely perceived as a showdown between the neoliberal and progressive wings of the Democratic Party. However, the election outcome should not

The ReFund America Project released a new report this morning, “Our Kind of Town: A Financial Plan that Puts Chicago’s Communities First.” The report lays out a plan for getting Chicago’s finances back on track without painful austerity measures, which exacerbate economic inequality by forcing working families to shoulder the cost. Over the last month,

(Updated: 1/5/15) Note: If you like this idea, be sure to vote for it in the Progressive Change Institute’s Big Ideas Project. The top 20 ideas will be presented to members of Congress. Voting ends on Sunday, January 11. Click here to vote! Using our central bank’s resources to save cash-strapped local governments from bankruptcy

The financialization of the United States economy has distorted our social, economic, and political priorities. Cities and states across the country are forced to cut essential community services because they are trapped in predatory municipal finance deals that cost them millions of dollars every year. Wall Street and other big corporations engaged in a systematic