Mike Krauss tribute

Public banking pioneer Mike Krauss passes away, leaving behind a vibrant movement in Pennsylvania and beyond

Mike Krauss, one of the original founders of Public Banking Institute, passed away October 10th at his home in Mexico. He was a powerful speaker and bipartisan organizer.

Our colleagues gave us these tributes:

Marc Armstrong:

“I got to know Mike Krauss as we launched the Public Banking Institute back in late fall of 2010. He played an important role elevating the conversation, as his perspective was all-encompassing and long-term. His voice was one of compassion — he regularly spoke up for the destitute and those without political representation. He was unique that way, embodying compassionate conservatism on his own terms. Ever anxious to make public banking a reality in Pennsylvania, his role challenging the status quo earned him a lot of respect from his friends and colleagues. His vision for public banking was to level the playing field, to address economic inequality at its root and to provide access to capital to every small business owner who wanted to have a chance to prosper. He believed, probably more so than anyone I know, in the promise this country holds in spite of its shortfalls. Mike’s desire to remedy our economic system was matched with conviction and, sometimes, a brash assault on whatever got in his way. If you knew him you had to up your game, and we are all better for it. Mike Krauss will be missed.”

Walt McRee:

“It’s at times like this, when we ‘lose’ each other through death, that we also can rediscover each other’s unique gifts. Mike’s gifts were many and inspiring.

“The remarkable effort to create a public bank in Philadelphia over these many years is a product of a vision that began with Mike Krauss, on my deck along the Delaware Canal in Pt. Pleasant (PA), probably with a glass of red wine in hand.

“Mike was involved with the first gathering of folks who were in conversation with Ellen Brown as they discussed the upshot of her book ‘Web of Debt.’ Mike was immediately engaged by the realities of the inequities and powers wielded by the Wall Street banking cartel and made it his life mission to change that. He was part of the small core group that started the Public Banking Institute.

“But he realized that PA, and Philadelphia in particular, was a more practical place to start to gain traction and so he established the PA Project, making connections with local folks and talents, and with people in all corners of the state and building on his considerable political expertise and connections in Harrisburg.

“Mike moved on to driving for a PA state bank, and he would report to me on his continuing outreach with State-level players. There were repeated visits to City Council members (including Jim Kenney) and various local forums, video productions, and countless public appearances that we made to get the ball rolling. We met with the PA Banker’s Association, Josh Shapiro when he was in Montgomery County, union heads, mayors and staff in Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Lancaster and so very many more meetings and forums as well as working all available political hustings.

“This went on for years. He was diligent and indefatigable.  He made the difference for us all.

Mike did not live his life as if it were a ‘brief candle,’ but with a profound respect for its gift, the love of others, and the use of his talents. I think George Bernard Shaw’s statement in ‘Man and Superman’ describes Mike’s life best:

‘This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

‘I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

‘I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.’

“May we all adopt this wisdom, and give thanks for Mike’s singular contribution.”

Ellen Brown

Mike was a pleasure to work with — a dedicated board member, an excellent speaker and an innovative thinker. Fun and motivating. He will be sorely missed.”

Frank Nuessle

“I remember fondly setting up meetings for Mike and running around Philly going after funding for a Philadelphia Public Bank and our Public Bank intro presentation one sweaty July afternoon at Drexel University where attendance was sparse, except that then Supervisor Kenny was in attendance, yet nothing dissuaded Mike from giving his usual impassioned presentation.

Mike was great fun to work with because he always had a smile right along with his iron will to initiate public banking throughout the United States. His efforts will always be remembered.”

Peter Winslow

“Mike was a pillar of the public banking movement in Pennsylvania. Mike will be missed.”

Stan Shapiro

“I do remember well those early meetings in Philly and the excitement they generated. And although Mike drifted away from the Philly work, we knew he was always present in the struggle in spirit, and continuing the work himself at the state level.

“May his memory be a blessing.”

Selected video presentations:

Mike Krauss on Public Banking (2015)

Banking on Colorado Conference: Call to Action by Mike Krauss (2015)

Public Banking Panel 1: Ellen Brown, Gwendolyn Hallsmith & Mike Krauss, Banking on Colorado Conference (2015)

Philadelphia Public Bank Project (2013)

Money Is Not Safe In The Big Banks (2013)

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