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Dear President Obama: Please Fix the Bank Bailout

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We observe this President's Day with pride in your election and hope in your Presidency as the ordinary citizens who came together to elect you.

We trust and appreciate that you want to help millions of Americans who are losing their jobs, homes, small businesses and health care. We were heartened by your strong words about the economic recovery plan rejecting the "failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place."

But, Mr. President, those failed economic theories are in full force in your Treasury Department's approach to the bank bailout. The new bailout continues the failed policies of the Paulson bailout and eight years without real bank regulation, while the economic divide grew between ordinary citizens and corporate CEOs.

The bailout gives another $2.5 trillion to the banks, again with no real responsibility demanded from them. The last administration already mortgaged our children's future with $350 billion of taxpayer money that banks have used to pay for bonuses, junkets, jets, mergers, and even to make predatory loan products in some cases. It has done nothing to keep people in their homes and lend to small businesses and consumers. These are the essential, normal bank activities that we need if the economic recovery is going to succeed.

Our neighborhoods and communities are withering under a perfect storm of layoffs, foreclosed homes, local businesses dying, tenant evictions and gutted public services. Meanwhile, your Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled the "new" bailout last week with almost no details and continuing delays in your promised help for homeowners.

The rising tide of foreclosures will only build, from the two million homes already lost to more than five million in the next four years if nothing substantial is done to help homeowners. This is an economic riptide that will drag America down.

An immediate moratorium on foreclosures is necessary to keep families in their homes while a systemic solution is developed. Giving local bankruptcy judges the power to fix home loans will also make more loan modifications possible both directly and by pushing banks to solve problems earlier.

Taxpayer money must go toward helping communities, not fattening up the bloated carcasses of greedy banks.

Please listen to us, the people who elected you and worked our hearts out for your campaign.

We need help now, and we need strong leadership from you to raise America back up again.

To send this letter to the Obama Administration, visit the California Reinvestment Coalition.