While municipalities in America don’t leverage debt in quite the same way an individual or family does (i.e. they can’t put it all on a credit card or step into a payday lending office), they still find themselves needing to spend on long-term projects they can’t afford through standard taxation. Enter municipal bonds, a type of loan that in ideal circumstances provides stable interest rates and payment schedules for the city and a secure investment for a diverse group of institutional lenders like banks and pension funds. A simplified explanation can make it sound like an easy win-win for all sides. But this isn’t always the case.
In this episode, Maurice explains the struggles Puerto Rico, Chicago, and Detroit have in common when it comes to municipal bonds and urban racial inequity. Joining him to further elaborate and help listeners better understand a purposefully complicated system is Saqib Bhatti. Along with Maurice, Saqib co-founded the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) and currently acts as co-executive director.
ACRE’s research reports cited in this episode can be found on their website here.
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