Today is the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Time to remind people some of the key aspects of what we are fighting for.
One of the main things is the big banks in America are largely responsible for the economic conditions we now face. And they were allowed to do this thanks to the Republican-led deregulation of banks.
But the money that goes into these banks is our money. So the obvious thing is for us to move our money OUT of the predatory lenders and into options that serve our communities better.
We are all angry at the big banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and Citibank because of their predatory lending practices, terrible customer service and greedy, selfish politics and business practices. Basically these banks and similar ones have screwed working class and middle class Americans and made a profit off our suffering. Then they got bailed out with OUR tax money when their lousy business practices and predatory lending hit them in the ass. These banks got us into the economic mess we are in and the CEOs of these banks took America to the cleaners and have been reaping the profits while we suffer foreclosures and tough times. And the fees they charge are insane!
I should note that according to Green America's Responsible shopper, the two worst banks in America are Bank of America and Citigroup. Bank of America and Citigroup, are also are two of the top ten tax dodging companies in America. They love to take our tax money, but hate to pay their fair share. If you have any accounts or credit cards with these two banks, I highly suggest switching. These two banks, along with Chase, also get by far the most customer service complaints to the Comptroller of the Currency. Here is the list from 2009 of complaints received:
Bank of America: 7,230 complaints (25.5% of total)
J.P. Morgan Chase: 4,890 complaints (17.3%)
Citigroup: 3,742 complaints (13.2%)
Wells Fargo: 2,695 complaints (9.5%)
HSBC North America: 1,963 complaints (6.9%)
Wachovia: 1,265 complaints (4.5%)
U.S. Bancorp: 1,027 complaints (3.6%)
National City: 586 complaints (2.1%)
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group: 537 complaints (1.9 %)
Key Corp: 343 complaints (1.2 %)
I would say, even taking size into account, Bank of America ranks the worst by pretty much ANY standard. And there are better options. read more »
Relative to its impressive historical development, capitalism is presently in a crisis: no doubt. Truth be told, it has been in crisis for decades; but you wouldn’t know this if mainstream media has been your exclusive information-delivery system all this time.
Capitalism is a flawed system of economics; but then, so too is the basically simple “barter system”. In the human exchanges outside of economic theory, rarely would you find true/or objective equality. That’s because economics isn’t a pure science: the rules are human-made. Behind economic relationships are flawed human beings. We often tend to forget this as many wheel and deal, and scheme and steal (or play it straight sometimes). The honest ones are usually the naïve ones. The naïve ones often get rolled. read more »
I have personally been switching my money (credit cards, accounts, mortgage) away from the big bad mega-banks that screwed Americans with predatory lending and took taxpayer handouts with better banks and financial institution. And I invite you to join me. It is a way of moving your money at least a step away from the worst of Wall Street.
Green America (which I have been associated with since they were Co-op America) has some resources:
And I have some suggestions below. read more »
For some time now, there has been an ongoing group-protest on Wall Street and New York’s financial district. The protesters are mainly young Caucasian brothers and sisters, who are totally fed up with where society, capitalism and democracy have been heading for too long now. It is no secret that significant numbers of enlightened folks nationwide are fed up with the many ways money corrupts the political system; and the many ways greed, connections, influence, self-over-indulgence, indiscretion, recklessness, power, unethical behavior and the like, corrupts the economic system. It’s becoming clearer everyday that our nation’s political, economic and social systems are devolving into places where we really shouldn’t want to go. Morality is now a matter of convenience and not consistency. Morality is no longer about values and ideals, but about personal gain and/or self-aggrandization.
We are a nation in crisis. To read the newspapers and/or listen to the network news it is all about economics: the “great recession” to be exact. But it’s not. It’s way beyond that. It’s way beyond greed and corruption. It’s about so many other things. It’s about over-consumption and waste. It’s about the natural and political environment. It’s about a legacy of racism and the attendant ills: caused by racism’s octopussian-tentacles protruding into every aspect of American life. It’s about racism’s denial by most Americans (black, white and other) and the fact that there are real problems therein. It’s about an education system that fails to graduate most citizens, and then set them all up for a life of moral failure. And by morality -in this particular context- I am talking about the way we interact with, are predisposed to, accept, respect, treat and deal with other human beings; especially people who don’t look, dress, talk, worship, sound, believe, and/ or act like we do.
It’s about the five hundred families whose total wealth surpasses the combined wealth of over 250 million people here (that’s 250 million folks/try to wrap your head around that). It’s about the cavernous gap between rich and poor. It’s about the widening wealth-gaps between black and brown and white. read more »
Banking and Politics: As Old As the Republic
Many economists are now blaming the deregulation of the banking industry by congress as the cause of the nation’s economic crisis. It is important to understand that the intimate relationship between politics and banking policy is not new, nor is its economic influence now unique. Since the nation's beginnings banking regulations have been intimately connected to politics, and the politics of banking is a high stakes game not well understood by the public. It is clearly not understood by today's elected officials who have destroyed Wall Street and the economy of New York City. A review of New York's economic history and banking policy from 1784 to the Civil War clearly shows that banks and banking policy were central to the state's economic development (and closely entwined with politics). It also shows that intelligent banking policy can further economic development while bad policy inevitably causes economic havoc. read more »