Showdown On Wall Street

[Scott Thill, AlterNet]
Good thing Goldman Sachs reported its first-quarter profits on the popular pot holiday April 20. Because you had to be totally stoned to appreciate the sheer, corrupt elegance of its nearly $3.5 billion earnings.

It’s hopefully Goldman’s last outrageous ripoff. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges as recently as last week against the rapacious vampire squid of a bank. “People are angry and frustrated with how the big banks drove our economy into the ditch, took billions in taxpayer funded bail-outs, and are now doing nothing to help fix the mess they created,” said Liz Ryan Murray, senior policy analyst at National People’s Action, which is marshaling thousands with the help of the AFL-CIO, PICO National Network and more to launch the “Showdown on Wall Street!” protest on April 29.

“While we struggle with the foreclosures and unemployment their reckless and greedy behavior caused, they’re back to huge profits and obscene bonuses,” Murray said. “We’re sending a message to these banks that enough is enough. The American people aren’t going to stand for it anymore, and we will continue to keep the pressure on until they change their behavior. We’re also sending a message to Congress that we’ve had enough of them putting the profits of Wall Street ahead of the needs of Main Street. We know the Senate will be listening and watching as thousands of American voters take to the streets to demand real reform.”

The NPA is also working with local community organizers to protest Wells Fargo’s April 27 shareholders meeting in San Francisco, Bank of America’s shareholders meeting on April 28, and more. These progressive showdowns coincide with a growing stream of dissent against lending institutions and their political enablers, adding proof to the thesis that the people are as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. Their more overt protests are mirrored by establishment actions like the SEC’s suit, or retiring Senator Chris Dodd’s Wall Street reform bill, which begins doubtlessly charged congressional debate this month. Or the Agenda Project’s open letter to Senator Harry Reid and Senator Mitch McConnell, which argues that Dodd’s legislation needs strengthening and is signed by economic heavyweights like Robert Reich, Robert Kuttner, Jim Chanos and more.

The same day Goldman announced its fat paycheck, the International Monetary Fund proposed a plan to tax banks to pay for bailouts. Even Vice President Joe Biden lobbied for financial reform at a relaunch of the economic think-tank Hamilton Project, founded by ex-Goldman Sachs suit Robert Rubin, whose championing of deregulation during the Clinton administration directly led to the financial excesses of the Bush administration. And the nightmare of the Obama administration.

“The middle class needs to get its fair share again,” Biden argued to the Rubin-ites. “It sounds like a trite political slogan, but folks, the system is not going to work if they do not believe they’re getting a fair share commensurate with the effort they put in.”


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