Friday, November 20, 2009
Are the American people finally starting to stand up to Wall Street?
Some of Goldman Sach's biggest shareholders are demanding that executive compensation be reduced. As the Wall Street Journal notes:
Their complaints in private conversations with the company and at analyst meetings show how anger over its big-money culture is spilling into the ranks of investors who typically shy away from debates over Wall Street pay.
Congresswoman Kaptur advises her constituents facing foreclosure to demand that the original mortgage papers be produced. She says that - if the bank can't produce the mortgage papers - then the homeowner can stay in the house.
And even popular personal finance advisor Suze Orman is highlighting the debtors revolt phenomenon on her national tv show.Congress Is Starting to Get the Message
The American people are shouting so loud at their congress members and Senators, that even some of the most pro-Wall Street congressman are starting to get it.
For example, the Congressional Black Caucus has been hearing so much about how congress is failing to address the crisis of unemployment from their constituents, that the CBC delayed Barney Frank's proposed financial reform.
The House Financial Services Committee received so many phone calls from constituents that it approved the Ron Paul/Alan Grayson bill to audit the Fed and defeated the trojan horse alternate bill written by Mel Watt. Indeed, I have heard from congressional sources that the only calls to support the Watt alternate bill were from the Fed itself. And see this.
The Committee also approved Congressman Grayson's bill to rein in foreign currency swaps.
Even Bernanke's re-appointment is no longer certain.
And Obama's approval ratings have now dipped below 50%, largely due to his mishandling of the economic crisis.
As Congressman Peter DeFazio notes:
Are the American people are finally starting to awaken?
There were a lot of Democrats who were "upset and nervous with" the handling of the economy by the administration.
"It is pretty embarrassing for a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress to be identified with total attention to Wall Street and nothing for Main Street and jobs," he said. "There are a lot of Democrats who... want to see something more effective done to create employment."
DeFazio insisted that President Obama and, by extension, the Democratic Party were hampered by Geithner's policies for economic recovery. He pointed to the inability of the administration to spur small business lending and the lack of effective TARP oversight as particularly egregious examples of mismanagement. More than anything else, the Oregon Democrat deemed it untenable for the president to continue employing his current economic team given the taint of Wall Street that clings to many of those advisers.
"I have had a number of people say to me, 'I feel the same way you do but I'm not going to say it.' People are worried it will rub off on the president who still enjoys popularity," he said. "I tell them I still support the president. I just think he is being poorly served by his economic team."
"The truth of the matter," DeFazio added, "is that we have not changed the way the money is being used. It is not being used for the purpose it was supposed to be used for. We are not creating jobs and we have not aggressively taken on the culture of Wall Street"...
One of his chief concerns was that the president appeared enamored with the lords of finance. "The administration has, thus far, not threaded the needle here," he said. "They have taken care of Wall Street but not the rest of the country."
We've been down this road before
Shown worse devils to the door
Throw off our chains of slavery
Now is the time to set ourselves free
And reclaim our liberty ...
They bought the politicians and the news
They've got all the weapons (which they like to use)
But they are few and we're billions strong
We are the giant ... been sleeping for too long
Time to wake up and sing our victory song
- The Voice
The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal racial discrimination.
- PhD Economist Dean Baker
Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into a power which can move the whole world.
The power of an aroused public is unbeatable.
- Dr. Helen Caldicott
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
In times of danger large groups rise to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, courage and sacrifice . . . Mankind will be refashioned and history rewritten when this law is understood and obeyed.
You let one ant stand up to us - then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a 100 to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life.
- Hopper (a grasshopper who is the leader of the gang of thugs who are stealing from the other bugs, speaking to fellow grasshoppers in the Disney/Pixar movie A Bug's Life)