Time to REBEL! 5 Ways We Can Break the Big Banks' Death Grip on the Economy
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3. Boycott big banks and move public money. One of the key profit centers for banks is their government business. And it isn’t just LIBOR they cheated on. There are investigations and growing scandals around price fixing on municipal bonds as well. Furthermore, banks are holding cities hostage on Letters of Credit (LOC’s) by ratcheting up the cost knowing if cities refuse to pay they may be forced to pay huge termination fees. If increasing numbers of cities, pension funds and other holders of public capital chose to boycott certain big banks and moved money out of those banks, it could be a huge financial hit for them.
4. Enact resolutions at local governments and pension funds. There is a simple way to get started that will send chills down Wall Street banks’ spines. Let’s start moving resolutions in cities and counties big and small around the country, demanding that local government and pension funds explore suing banks over LIBOR and prepare to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages from banks if they won’t renegotiate debt. This sample resolution is a first step in raising the issue locally and starting to build a campaign to force local governments to hold Wall Street accountable.
5. Litigate and legislate. But it isn’t enough just to pass resolutions--that is only a first step. If the banks refuse to renegotiate the debt than we need to litigate and legislate in our local communities. Our pension funds need to sue to recoup their losses. Local government needs to sue to get out of bad deals and claw back money banks unfairly made off of local taxpayers. And we need to follow the lead of Oakland, Los Angeles and other cities that have passed laws saying they will divest from banks that engage in unfair banking practices.
Since the financial crisis hit in 2008, community groups like National People’s Action, ACCE, New York Communities for Change, the New Bottom Line, the Alliance for a Just Society and Right to the City, to name a few, have joined with unions, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Our Homes and hundreds of thousands of people who have stood up to Wall Street greed. Wall Street and banking royalty are no longer untouchable. We have the tools and we have the leverage--let's start using them to start winning for our communities and families. It is our responsibility to REBEL. All of our futures depend on it!
*These figures represent updated estimates from last year's report, The Win-Win Solution, from the New Bottom Line, which investigated the effects on the economy of writing down all underwater mortgages to current market value.