Saturday, November 07, 2009

"10.2 percent jobless: Obama must take on the banks"

Brent Budowsky (The Hill):
The jobless pain now increases to 10.2 percent of the nation. One hundred and ninety-thousand more jobs lost.

The American people are in a state of deep worry and major backlash that will now grow greater against Washington and Wall Street. The president should do what he should have done long ago: ask banks what they can do for their country. And ask them now. And act if they do not answer with the patriotism expected of all Americans and most especially those who made profits from the giant bailout paid for by the people who endure the pain.
It is time to ask Wall Street and banks what they will do for their country. The president should set a meeting with CEOs of banks and Wall Street firms within two weeks and ask them to come to the White House with hard proposals to do their part, to create good jobs and good wages.

The president should make this the personal mission of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and if he does not succeed in moving the banks to make a patriotic contribution to create jobs, Geithner should be replaced. And the president should push to bring back usury laws, enact aggressive limits on bonuses and pay, and break up the big banks once and for all.

Credit card banks should end their war against customers and immediately stop raising interest rates, raising fees, cutting credit lines, lowering credit limits and imposing excessive minimum payments on good customers. All banks should increase lending and significantly lower the amount of cash they are hoarding, with short-term actions to increase lending to small business and growth firms that create the best and most jobs.

America is now in a state of populist revolt with economic anxiety and political anger that has spread from right to left to center. There is an anti-incumbent tidal wave that is wide and spreading. There is an urgent public call for Washington to act boldly to create new jobs and it is high time the president take them on if they don’t.

Democrats should get off the defensive and advocate a progressive populist patriotism the way John F. Kennedy challenged the steel industry to help the nation, not just enrich themselves, at the nation's expense.
The fact is, so far, the president has largely allowed the trickle-down policies of George W. Bush to continue. It is time to take a stand, call the nation to arms, push the banks to help the nation and take aggressive action if they don’t.

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