Dear Fellow Americans,
During the Great Depression, Congress passed laws designed to ensure that our economy would never collapse like that again. Regulations were enacted to keep banks and insurance companies separate, to establish regulatory bodies with real oversight, and more. Unfortunately, over time Congress succumbed to Wall Street and repealed those laws1 and sowed the seeds of the current crisis.
Why did they do this? One answer is the need for ever increasing amounts of money to pay for expensive political campaigns. Some Democrats2 wanted to compete with Republicans over who can be more 'business friendly' by loosening the controls that kept our financial system stable.
The result? A Dow Jones index nearly half what it was a year ago. Trillions of dollars in bank bailouts, loan guarantees and stimulus packages. Unemployment is up, retirement funds have been decimated, and there's a tidal wave of foreclosures and bankruptcies. And we might not have hit bottom yet.
Why did this happen? Because Wall Street got enough political power to set aside the regulations that kept them in check. They used it to earn obscene compensation totally unrelated to the real economy of goods and services that people need. And now we're the ones paying the price.
We hope President Obama can make a difference - and soon. But we also need to make sure this never happens again. Our idea? Tell your Representatives and Senators to make the pledge: No more Wall Street money!This isn't all we need to do, but it's a good start.
You might have heard about our successful tour of the homes of AIG executives' homes and the AIG headquarters in Wilton, CT. See a great video about it here and read what other WFP supporters had to say to AIG. Are we standing on the verge of a new progressive era for New York and America? Make it happen by signing up to join us as a campaigner.
Director of Online Organizing
1Two great articles on this process: Thomas McCraw at The New Republic and Matt Taibbi at Rollingstone.
2Hillary Clinton leads the pack of New York politicians with $6.7 million from Wall Street, including $37,965 from AIG (in 2009). But Charles Rangel, Kirsten Gillibrand and Joseph Crowley have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars each as well. Learn more about the nexus of Wall Street and political donations here.
Help Working Families fight for the little guy: We can't count on Wall Street. We rely on contributions from ordinary people like you to keep the WFP going. If you'd like to support our work, visit:http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/contribute.php
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!