Declare a Jobs Emergency on September 15!

Job cuts have a way of sneaking up on you -- a few teachers here, a police officer there and another fire department that is not open when you need them. In some areas it is a slow bleed, but as every Emergency Medical Technician knows, a thousand small cuts can still kill the patient.

Welcome Mr. President, but Laverne and Shirley Don't Work Here Anymore

For many Americans, Laverne and Shirley remain the enduring icons of the city of Milwaukee. Barack Obama was a teenager when the sitcom about two independent young women working in a beer factory was a popular hit in the late 1970s. But the sad truth about Milwaukee is that Lavern and Shirley don't work here any more.

Banking on a Lighter Note

The accolades for Elizabeth Warren keep rolling in on the petition. If you have not had a chance to sign it or leave a comment, click here. While you are at it, check out the amusing video produced by the Main Street Brigade to promote her candidacy for the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Washington Post reports that Warren has been spotted meeting with bankers. No, I don't believe she has gone to the dark side, however I do believe that this indicates the administration is serious about her nomination and has asked her to build some bridges.

Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall when she meets with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: "so Lloyd, are you still selling securities that are designed to fail?" Or with Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf: "have you stopped juggling customer late fees to maximize the pain for consumers?" These are just some of the big bank tricks featured in our last column.

Will Perpetrators of Financial Crimes Ever Face Justice?

Some will rob you with a six gun and some with a fountain pen – Woodie Guthrie

Like mushrooms popping up in a damp basement, a slew of court settlements have been registered recently involving the big banks and their role in the financial crisis. An informal review of settlements over the last two years reveals about 16 multi-million dollar payouts from the big banks amounting to some $1.6 billion in fines and restitution and $13 billion in buybacks of auction-rate securities that were represented to be as safe as cash.

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But when fines are stacked up against an elite white-collar crime spree worth trillions, it is a little less impressive.

President Obama, Give Liz a Job

Elizabeth Warren is one of the most educated, clear thinking, ethical advocates for the consumer that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing and hearing. As a consumer, I would feel it was a true measure of this administration's faith in me, and my place in this country, if Elizabeth Warren were confirmed as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

-- Judith Safley

With news reports that Government Sachs is trying to prevent Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren from being nominated by President Obama to head to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there is one crowd she clearly has in her camp, the American people.

Bankster Scorecard

I asked subscribers to the Bankster list to rate the bank reform bill that just passed Congress. I appreciate the fact that some folks took the time to rank the three parts of the bill, which include: 1) the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; 2) the derivatives chapter, and; 3) our favorite "too big to fail" section.

Those that took the time to rate all three sections of the bill averaged a "B" for consumer protection, "C" for derivatives, "F" for too big to fail. However, most Bankster subscribers gave the whole bill an "F." There was general agreement that the bill would not prevent the next crisis because it did not do enough about the financial institutions whose size, power and influence pose a threat to our economy. Bankster subscribers have always cared the most about the "too big to fail" issues and supported the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, hard size caps on the big banks and other measures to break up the banks.

Tell the President to Put Warren to Work!

Elizabeth Warren
One of the strongest parts of the Wall Street reform bill that just passed Congress is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). But whether the new bureau delivers on its promise to protect consumers depends in large part on who runs it. The agency was the brain-child of Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren who has championed consumers and taxpayers for decades.

Apparently, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner would rather see his top aide, Michael Barr, in the position. While Barr has been good on the CFPB, he is off-base when he applauds Treasury's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) as a success.

Warren on the other hand has been a strong and consistent critic of the failures of HAMP in her position on the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout. Below, you can watch her grill Geithner on this point just a few weeks ago. Unlike Geithner and crew, she has brought a much-needed sense of urgency to the foreclosure crisis that is devastating so many lives and communities.

Taxpayers Owed Big Bucks Under the Bailout, Little Help for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

The June update of federal government expenditures in the Wall Street bailout by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the multi-trillion dollar legacy of the financial crisis largely remains on the government's balance sheet. Our calculations put the total bailout expenditure at $4.74 trillion and the total outstanding balance at $2 trillion.

These numbers are much higher than what is reported in the media because CMD's Wall Street Bailout Cost Table takes into account all 35 government programs, not just the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) managed by the U.S. Treasury Department. Still unpaid: $568 billion in TARP money and $1.4 trillion in Federal Reserve loans and investments.

Wall St. Reform Passes! Reformers Celebrate Rare Victory Over Entrenched Special Interest

After a classic David and Goliath showdown between Wall Street might and a small band of reformers, a 2,000 page Wall Street reform bill passed the U.S. Senate Thursday afternoon 60-39. The bill is now final and is headed to the President Obama’s desk for signature.

“We were outmatched 300-1, but the bill became stronger as it worked its way through the process,” said Heather Booth, director of the national coalition Americans for Financial Reform (AFR). This shows that “with organized people and committed leadership, things can move in the right direction,” said Booth.

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