5/26/16 The nation’s 25 highest-earning hedge-fund managers earned $12.94 billion in 2015 – more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country combined.
And eight years after our economy crashed and teachers, nurses, firefighters and postal workers rescued Wall Street, 63 percent of working people still don’t have enough money saved to cover an unexpected $500 car repair. But Jamie Dimond, the CEO of bailed-out Chase Bank, got a $7 million raise last year.
These startling discrepancies were the impetus for a campaign to Take On Wall Street.
At the campaign’s launch on May 24, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who was instrumental in passing post-crash financial reform legislation, said we need to go much further.
“The rules that protect our economy boil down to two basic principles,” she said. “Financial institutions shouldn’t be allowed to cheat people.
“I know that’s controversial in some places,” she said with a laugh, “But think about it. When giant financial institutions are allowed to build their businesses around a model that cheats people, not only are those folks ripped off, but over time it puts the whole economy at risk.
“And second, financial institutions shouldn’t be allowed to force taxpayers to bail them out.”
The campaign to Take On Wall Street is comprised of 20 groups, including the APWU, which have united around five points.
One is to expand access to fair and equitable consumer banking services, including the implementation of postal banking.
Warren noted that more than a quarter of American families have no checking or savings accounts, and rely on payday lenders and check cashers that “trip and trap” people with exorbitant fees they can’t afford.
“We can do something really innovative here: Let the United States post offices offer basic banking services – bill paying, check cashing, small dollar loans – so that hard working people don’t have to rely on the payday lenders that rip them off.
“It is good for families, its good for the post office and its good for postal workers. Let’s do it!” she said.
The campaign’s five point agenda is:
- Make Wall Street pay their fair share of taxes by implementing a Wall Street Speculation Tax.
- End tax evasion by money managers by closing the private equity and hedge fund manager loopholes.
- End banks that are “too big to fail.” Make banks smaller, simpler and safer by reinstituting the separation between commercial banks and high-risk investment banks.
- End the CEO bonus loophole, so the public no longer has to pay for sky-high executive compensation.
- Expand access to fair and equitable consumer banking services, including through postal banking, and end predatory lending.