It's looking increasingly likely that a moderately helpful financial reform bill to address some of the problems of the banking system that led to the financial crisis and the bailouts will pass Congress and be signed by President Obama.
The biggest problem is that it may be Too Weak to Succeed by allowing the megabanks to remain Too Big to Fail, thus insuring that the next cycle of boom, bust and bailout remains baked into the system.
There's a still chance to fix that, and you can help. (Sign here.)
Senators Sherrod Brown and Ted Kaufman have introduced the "Safe Banking Act" which would put a hard cap of 3% of Gross Domestic Product on the assets of all bank holding companies. This would mean that that 6 largest banks which now hold assets exceeding 60% of GDP -- Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs -- would be broken up into smaller banks that would be Small Enough to Fail. This is what Teddy Roosevelt did in 1911 when he broke up the Standard Oil trust.
For the Brown/Kaufman Amendment to have a chance of reaching the Senate floor for an up or down vote, much less of passing, it will require a massive show of public support. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and a New Way Forward have started a petition drive to support Brown/Kaufman.
Please stop whatever you're doing right now and go here to sign the petition. Then forward it to everyone you know--email them, twitter them, put it on your Facebook page. And when you're done doing that call the White House, your Senator and your Congressman and urge them to support Brown/Kaufman.
I'm also urging MoveOn.Org--the only organization with a large enough email list to generate hundreds of thousands of signatures in a short time--to immediately join this campaign and email its entire membership urging them to sign the petition.
This won't be an easy fight. Neither the Obama White House nor the Senate Democratic leadership currently supports breaking up Too Big to Fail Banks. Every indication is that Tim Geithner's Treasury Department even opposes including the Volker Rules--which would limit proprietary trading in the global financial casino by federally insured banks--in the final legislation. President Obama is likely to remain silent on breaking up Too Big to Fail banks, or even work behind the scenes to prevent Brown/Kaufman from making it to the Senate floor. Same for the Senate Democratic leadership who may want to block a floor vote which would force Democratic Senators to choose between standing with the people and passing Brown/Kaufman or standing with their big campaign contributors--who are spending $1 million a day to lobby against real financial reform--and voting it down.
Only a massive show of popular support will give Brown/Kaufman a fighting chance. Sign the petition here.
As Obama said during the presidential campaign, "This is our moment. This is our time." Let's make that true.
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