Three years ago, Wall Street crashed our economy and the federal government had to step in to save the culprits.
Has Wall Street learned its lesson? The answer: a resounding no.
Instead, big banks like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have taken away millions of homes from families through fraudulent foreclosures. They’ve drained billions of dollars from communities through the bailouts and wealth-sucking predatory actions. And they’re sitting on more than a trillion dollars instead of paying their fair share of taxes that could support education, roads, jobs, and pensions. Making matters worse, they’re converting that cash into political influence, as too many government officials are siding with the big banks and their big dollars over the needs of the everyday people they represent.
Wall Street and the Big Banks are making record profits at the expense of the rest of us, and draining our wealth to pad their bottom line. While we struggle with less and less, the big banks profit more and more. So how do we go about establishing a new bottom line-an economy that works for all of us that includes good jobs, healthy communities, and a government that fights for everyday people?
Recently, economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich summed up the solution at a fair economy summit organized by Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Take Action Minnesota and more when he said, “It’s only through grassroots organizing and activism that the voices of average Americans can be heard above the roar of corporate and Wall Street money.”
Pay US Back: Fighting for The New Bottom Line this Fall
So let OUR roar begin. Starting September 20 in Seattle, and rolling for weeks thereafter, that anger will reverberate in cities across the country, where everyday people confront the big banks directly.
We know where the money is to keep our communities strong and healthy. It’s not in Grandma’s pension. It’s not in the homes of families fighting foreclosure. And it’s not in the pockets of American schoolchildren or schoolteachers. It’s not in cuts to what we care about most. The money is on Wall Street.
Everyday people from all walks of life will come together throughout the next few weeks to demand that the big banks "Pay US Back." They’ll organize and participate in innovative protests, shut down buildings, hold prayer vigils and more.
They’ll go to J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and demand the big banks “Pay US Back” and that they must:
- Pay their fair share of taxes: Stop draining government of revenue and pay their statutorily required 35% corporate income tax. Stop gaming the system through off-shore tax shelters, loopholes and scams.
- Stabilize the housing market and revitalize the economy: Reduce principal for all underwater homeowners to current-market value. This would end the foreclosure crisis, reset the housing market, pump billions of dollars back into the economy and create 1 million jobs a year.
- Invest in American jobs: Stop sitting on trillions in cash reserves that could be invested into small businesses, the main source of jobs in the U.S. as well as into additional into job-generating investments
But when the actions are over will we just disappear? No, this is just the beginning.
Grassroots organizations across the country will make Wall Street accountability central to the 2012 campaign agenda, including ballot initiatives, local, state, and federal legislation and divestment campaigns forcing city and state governments to divest from the big banks that are destroying their communities. New Bottom Line members will advance policies that make candidates choose, “Which side are you on: Wall Street or the people?"
No matter what, we need to create a crisis. Not for us, but for them-for the big banks, for the super rich. Stephen Lerner of SEIU articulates this argument and reminds us, "This is our time."
Do you want to join the "Pay US Back" fight? Then join here to get announcements of on-the-ground and online actions. We'll also be posting regular updates of all the actions right here at www.newbottomline.com, at our twitter feed @NBLcampaign and our Facebook page. Click here for a full list of cities.