Hightower: Dollar Bill Phil Gramm

"Dollar Bill Phil" Gramm, The senator who's raising bundles of cash from Wall Street in his bid to be the Republican presidential nominee, likes to tell audiences how tough he is on those who commit "crime in the streets." But when it comes to "crime in the suites," ol' Phil turns into a bleeding heart, knee-jerk defender of corporate muggers. These thieves can be more brutal than any thug who grabs your purse on the street. Ask the victims of Prudential-Bache -- a blue chip mugger who ripped-off not a purse, but the life savings of trusting retirees all across the country who had invested in a fraudulent securities scheme Prudential peddled to them in the eighties. Not to worry though -- Ol' Phil Gramm to the rescue! The rescue of Prudential and other white-collar criminals, that is. While he's been raising money from Wall Street firms, he's been using his Senate position to protect them from you small investors. Last year he single-handedly choked to death two bills: one that would have made investment advisors more accountable to their customers, and another that would have made it easier for you to fix mistakes they make on your credit reports. This year Gramm is even trying to strangle the tiny "office of Investor Education and Assistance" -- the consumer agency that tries to inform you investors of your rights and help you get your money back when some high-powered stockbroker steals from you. And now "Dollar Bill Phil" has managed to weasel his way onto the Senate finance committee -- which oversees the securities industry -- giving him even more power to be a willing accessory to Wall Street's "crime in the suites" -- and making it harder for you victims to do anything about those crimes. So when you hear Phil Gramm going on and on about how he's going to "free the marketplace," grab your wallets -- It means he's turning loose his corporate contributors to mug you.

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