Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street’

[original post 9/11/2010]

In the six days that followed the attacks on September 11th, the New York Stock Exchange was closed for the first and longest time ever since the Great Depression and World War I.  The markets would reopen on September 17th, but to quite a rocky start.  During the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the heartbeat of our nation’s economy stopped, suspended in time.  And a forgotten class of Wall Street workers faced the difficult decision of whether or not to return to work. Those who did would return to a completely different world, one that had already changed them forever.  And today, nine years later, many of them are still there.  In a polarized political environment where the bad behavior of a few has unfairly demonized all of Wall Street’s workers, their contributions to our post-9/11 recovery have been largely ignored.  But had these workers made the choice back in 2001 never to return again, what might have happened?  This is one story, out of many, of the courage, determination and dignity of an entire class of forgotten patriots who stood by their country in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001 when it would have been so easy to simply walk away.

 

Nine years ago, my brother Will was working for a Wall Street brokerage firm just steps away from what is now known as Ground Zero.  His office building overlooked Trinity Church on one side and the World Trade Center on the other.  Just on the other side of the river, near his home in Hoboken, NJ, he boarded the PATH train every day, bound for the bustling station at the World Trade Center.  Like so many others, he went to work on September 11th thinking that day would be just like any other.

Just before 8:46 am as Will was settling into his day with his co-workers, a loud, screeching sound of shearing metal boomed just outside their building.  He looked up at the trading desk manager, and both were stunned.  Will thought it might be a high rise construction accident; the desk manager suspected an explosion.

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[original post 5/13/2010]

The financial reform bill is finally in its home stretch in the Senate, but Americans have yet to fully engage on the issue.  In fact, in recent weeks as I’ve worked with various grassroots leaders across the country to discuss the bill, its impacts on our economy and on us as American citizens, I must admit, it’s probably the first time I’ve ever found myself frustrated at the progress of activism.

It’s a complex issue, and let’s face it, not exactly an exciting one either.  But that’s precisely what the left is counting on.  So, whenever I find myself feeling frustrated that others might not share my same level of fervor on the issue, I remind myself of its complexity and lackluster appeal.  And then, I proceed directly to the source – the bill itself.

I hone in on a few key points in three categories that resonate with most activists I know:  Big Labor, Big Government, and Big Brother.  Put those together in the context of Big Banks, and they spell out big disaster.

As the left goes on demonizing Wall Street and big bankers on one hand, Democratic lawmakers on the other hand are busy making sweetheart backroom deals with them up on Capitol Hill, promoting their legislation to the public as “consumer protection.”  But really, such measures are nothing more than payback to the likes of three-way mortgage entitlement partnership stronghold of the Bank of America, Center for Responsible Lending and Fannie Mae.

Meanwhile Democrats and Obama allies like Organizing for America are also using the issue as a shameless fund-raising opportunity.

ObamaAd

The banks actually SUPPORT this bill – so don’t let that “Main Street Not Wall Street” message fool you, no matter which side of this issue you’re on.

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[original post 4/5/2010]

schumer-indymac

Now that the health care bill has been passed into law, many Americans are asking, what’s next? Will it be Immigration Reform?  Will it be Cap and Trade in the Senate?

Take a cue from the White House’s recent announcement to use TARP funds to expand the housing aid program, which will also enable some homeowners to refinance their current private-lender mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) instead.  And if you’ve followed some of my SEIU posts in recent months, you know very well that Financial Reform has been number two on their list.

Just days ago, the Senate Banking Committee approved Senator Chris Dodd’s (D-CT)  financial reform proposal, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.  Behind the scenes, Dodd is said to have been working with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) to negotiate a final version of the bill that the House will approve.  Just two weeks before it passed the Health Care bill last December, the House passed H.R.4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.  While Dodd’s bill is viewed as less stringent than the House bill, both include a controversial stand-alone Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).  If these next several weeks of closed-door negotiations are successful, word on The Hill is that we could see financial reform enacted by Memorial Day.

The proposed legislation, most specifically the CFPA, extends far beyond Wall Street; it will expand government even further and give it unprecedented powers like never before.  And with more government power comes the potential for abuse.

Let’s be reminded, for example, of what Senator Chuck Schumer did to one financial institution in 2008.

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[original post 1/27/2010]

We saw their fury throughout 2009:  “Capitalism is Dead”, “Kill the Corporation”, “Bust Up Big Banks”, “Greed Kills”, “Bank of America, Bad for America”.  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) led an all-out assault on Wall Street – and on capitalism and corporations – coining words and phrases that have since become common staples in the vocabulary of the bank-bashing craze.  That fury hit a fever pitch last March when word of the AIG bonuses went public.  It was the SEIU out in front of the protests, at AIG offices, and bussing protestors to the homes of AIG executives.

AIG_Rally_AndyStern_March19

The months that followed saw more of the same.  In April, SEIU hailed the ousting of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner.  That same week, it stepped up its battleplan with the Mother of all Corporate Campaigns against Ken Lewis, Bank of America CEO and Chairman – complete with videos, rolling billboards, smear sites, petition drives, letter campaigns, media blitzes and more, while it placed equal attention on Bank of America, forcing the company to respond with a $40 million image boosting campaign of television and print ads.

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