Former Labor Secretary and occasional adviser to the president Robert Reich, alongside a coalition of progressive organizations, has launched a new push for the firing of Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis.
The high-profile economist, who endorsed Obama during the campaign and has consulted with him since, has lent his voice to a video put together by SEIU and Brave New Films, titled "Fire Ken Lewis."
The film dips into the mushrooming sense of populist anger with the excessive of corporate culture and the bank industry in particular.
"The anger is stoked when people learn that while we taxpayers are bailing out the banks, certain bank executives have been taking home boat loads of money and lots of perks for themselves," Reich narrates. "Someone needs to explain why certain CEOs remain in their jobs after taking tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money, giving themselves huge paychecks and firing thousands of their hardworking employees."
The Take Back the Economy campaign, accompanied by an email blast from the SEIU to its supporters also calling for Lewis' departure, urges viewers and recipients to sign a "taxpayer's proxy card" showing support for the firing. It also puts Reich and the union somewhat at odds with the president they both support. Barack Obama, and by extension his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have indicated a willingness to take a tougher line on bank executives in the future. But so far, the only high-profile firing pursued by the administration was that of General Motor's CEO Rick Wagoner -- a move critics said demonstrated a double standard when it came to reviving the automotive and bank industries.
"Someone needs to explain why certain CEOs remain in their jobs after taking tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money," says Reich in the video, "giving themselves huge paychecks and firing thousands of their hardworking employees."