Economy

Senator Dodd Doubles Down on a Losing Bet

Watching the devolution of the bank reform bill in the U.S. Senate has been painful. Banking Chairman Chris Dodd’s original proposal unveiled last year had numerous strengths, most significantly the removal of bank supervisory authority from the Federal Reserve. Dodd decided that the Fed had done such a lousy job ignoring the housing bubble and failing to crack down on predatory lending in the mortgage market that it shouldn’t be given a second chance.

But a second chance for this unpopular and failed institution is currently in the works. In an effort to please Republicans and achieve a bipartisan bill, Dodd is not only going to let the Fed keep its bank supervision and rulemaking authority, he wants to give it authority over the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

Take Action on Bank Reform!

The reckless behavior of big Wall Street banks, credit card companies, and mortgage lenders caused a financial crisis that cost us millions of lost homes and jobs, billions in tax-payer funded bailouts and trillions in lost college and retirement savings.

This week, the Senate will take up financial reform legislation that will set the shape of economy for the next 50 years. This is a critical time to call or email your Senator and tell them American families can no longer afford a "boom and bail" economy and it's past time that they cracked down on the abuses that caused the financial crisis.

From March 1-4, you can call the Senate toll free at 1-866-544-7573 between the hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST. The toll-free number, provided by our friends at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), will ask you to dial-in your zip code. You will automatically be connected to your Senators' office. Or you can go to BanksterUSA.org to email your Senator.

Goldman's Golden Fleece

The steady stream of revelations regarding the role Goldman Sachs has played in the fleecing of Europe should reinvigorate efforts in Congress to rein in the reckless trading that could send the global economy into another tailspin.

To recap, Greece and a number of other European Union countries are dangerously in debt. EU rules say member countries cannot have budget deficits that exceed 3 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP). The Greek government recently revealed that its debt is closer to 12 percent of GDP. Other countries including Spain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal are also in trouble. Like our behemoth banks, these countries are “too big to fail.” A default by any one of them would put an end to talks of “green shoots” and could lead to a double dip recession.

JP Morgan Ramps Up Greedwashing

Today's New York Times features a pricey, full-page ad by JP Morgan Chase on a new charitable project. "We believe it's important to listen to our customers and communities. That's why we created Community Giving and let the Facebook community vote on which local charities will receive $5 million in grants from Chase," the ad proclaims.

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Congress Needs to Clip Goldman's Wings

The New York Times' front page exposé on the role that Goldman Sachs has played in the Greek tragedy unfolding in Europe right now raises a huge number of concerns both for the U.S. economy and the financial reform measures now in Congress.

To recap, Greece and a number of other European Union (EU) countries are dangerously in debt. EU rules say member countries cannot have budget deficits that exceed three percent of GDP. Greece's debt is closer to 12 percent. Other countries including Spain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal are also in trouble. These countries are "too big to fail." A default by any one of them would rock the global markets, putting an end to the hopeful signs of an EU recovery and potentially leading to a "double dip" recession here in the United States.

Greece and perhaps the other EU nations have been hiding the extent of the debt for years. This week, it was revealed that they have been able to do this with the aid of major U.S. players like Goldman Sachs. The German magazine Der Spiegel broke the story that Greece did a billion-dollar currency swap with Goldman Sachs in 2002 that did not show up on the nation's books as debt.

Citigroup Offers New "Pick Pocket" Derivative

According to trade magazine RiskNet, credit specialists at Citigroup are considering launching the first derivatives intended to pay out in the event of a financial crisis. These types of derivatives function like an insurance policy, allowing parties to hedge against risk.

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Citibank Sticks It to Customers -- and Congress

fist of money Citibank is dodging newly-enacted federal laws aimed at protecting consumers from unfair credit card company practices. The new law prohibits credit card companies from raising interest rates whenever they like, on short notice or no notice, and for no particular reason.

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Goldman Accused of Rigging "Robin Hood Tax" Vote

It's really unbelievable. The way that Goldman Sachs keeps sticking its foot in it is simply unbelievable. Let's not review their gross profits and bonuses, or their many failed public relations schemes to gloss over unseemly profits, a practice we have dubbed "greedwashing". Let's simply recap this week's news.

On Sunday, the New York Times detailed in a front-page expose' how Goldman may have hastened the demise of AIG, and perhaps the global economy, by betting that the housing market would collapse and jacking up its insurance for mortgage securities with AIG to extract more and more money from the firm as the housing market went south.

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