Two organizations I helped co-found and sit on the board of, Americans United for Change and American Family Voices, have launched a new ad campaign today going after Wall Street on the issue of unregulated derivatives.
I have been delighted to see how much attention it's getting -- from Sam Stein here at HuffPost, from the Washington Post's The Plum Line, from Ben Smith at Politico, from ABC News' The Note, among other places. The story -- of Wall Street traders placing "bets on bets on bets", as our ad puts it, in almost completely unregulated markets -- is at the heart of the worldwide economic collapse of the last two years. The big banks on Wall Street made tens of billions of dollars on these derivative bets, and their recklessness caused millions of workers to lose their jobs and millions of homeowners to lose their homes. And they've done so with virtually no negative consequences for their own outrageous behavior.
Incredibly, banker money is now paying for an ad and PR campaign that claims no new regulation or protection for consumers or workers is needed. Frank Luntz wrote a memo for the bankers and their Republican allies on how to beat financial reform legislation, and its rank hypocrisy is remarkable: he suggests tying financial reform to the bailout the banks demanded, and to lobbyist inserted loopholes Republicans supported.
Financial reform will be the defining issue for the 2010 elections. Along with health care and figuring out a better solution to our unemployment crisis, taking on these big banks and stripping them of their power to destroy our economy will be the defining fight of our generation. These financial behemoths are oligarchs with way, way too much power in our economy and political system.
It's time to take them on. Join the fight.