If you’ve seen the Obama administration’s financial regulatory proposals, formally released today, you might be a bit overwhelmed. The 85-page document details many different elements deemed necessary for financial reform, including the creation of a strong Consumer Financial Regulatory Agency, new rules to prevent predatory and reckless lending, and much more.
But none of these reforms can take place with the current attitudes of the banking industry and Wall Street. Even Sen. Dick Durbin (D- Ill.) has said:
“The banks are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”
Even as it gets trillions of taxpayer dollars in bailouts, the industry that got us into this economic mess is lobbying as hard as ever against real reform. Never mind that Bank of America, after taking $45 billion of our money, spent $10 million on a five-day Super Bowl party. Never mind that AIG, after taking over $170 billion of our money, handed out $165 million in bonuses, including millions to traders who contributed to the company’s collapse.
That’s why Public Citzen has banded together with nearly 200 other organizations, ranging from financial experts to community advocates, to form Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition dedicated to changing the dynamic that has been in place too long where Wall Street bankers write the rules for themselves. Together, we’re calling on Congress and the Obama administration to put in place a strong watchdog structure with the resources and authority to keep Wall Street in check and protect our financial security. Our ultimate goal is to achieve reforms that keep people in their homes and prompt smart investment in communities and businesses that create good jobs and strong neighborhoods.
Want to get involved? Sign our petition demanding transparency, oversight, and accountability in the financial industry. We must remind our representatives in Washington that the bankers on Wall Street never again have so much control over—and so little concern for—the citizens of Main Street.